To Whom it May Interest,
Thank you in advance for your time. This is my first foray into the Skeptic Forum, and already I've learned something about zebras. Yet another question, non-mammalian in nature, haunts me. A technically non-medical product called HeartMath emWave is being marketed as a way to relieve stress. The makers purport to have 15 years of research backing them up, most of it coming from an affiliated non-profit called the HeartMath Institute. The technology itself comes in two varieties, including a portable device and software/hardware for a computer. Both are meant to facilitate "coherence" via a change in heart rate variability.
As I am optimistic about the potential for biofeedback to improve people's lives (including my own), I have repeatedly attempted to vet this item for purchase. Each time, I become suspicious enough to shy away from the product without definitively concluding that it is a fraud. Surprisingly, I can't find any previous venue thoroughly debunking HeartMath. It's on http://www.quackwatch.org
, for example, but there is no specific entry explaining why
Besides what I've already mentioned, there are various other warning signs about HeartMath. A few of them include:
-none of the studies listed on the website (at least that I've read) even mention the emWave, but rather the potential for heart rate variability and "coherence" to reduce stress. See http://www.heartmath.org/research/publications.html#basic_research
-the founder of the institute is Doc Childre, who isn't actually a doctor. You can find a short biography of him at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/doc-childre
-the organization (or one of its subsidiaries) was, in some way or another, once associated with Dan Winter. An admitted scam artist, his website was recently seized as part of a court order against him. Therein, a HeartMath representative insists that Mr. Winter actually had very little connection to his organization, despite the latter's claims. Unfortunately, Mr. Winter's New Age chicanery is so outrageous and disturbing that any connection whatsoever is highly suspicious. See http://www.danwinter.com/HeartTunerStatements.html
So, now I would like to remand it back to the committee of the whole. I want to dismiss this product, but I've also read promising research about biofeedback and been given anecdotal testimonials by several people I know. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
--spelling errors corrected