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This site received an Encouragement Award in the 2012 Millenium Awards. The award citation read:
Shuzi Qi are getting an Encouragement Award because they need encouragement. They burst on the Australian scam scene like a meteor, recycling an old scam in new packaging. When challenged they didn't even try to fight back, but simply rolled up the tents and stole away in the night. Did I say "stole"? How appropriate, given that their corporate mission was to steal as much money as possible from as many people as they could get to before the authorities came knocking. I said that they were like a meteor, and meteors burn up before they achieve anything. Maybe a better astronomical analogy might be to a comet - they appeared and have now gone away, only to reappear at some time in the distant future, maybe with a different name and product. Somehow I hope they come back, because kicking them into submission this time was so much fun and I would like to do it again.
See Shuzi. See Shuzi run. (11/8/2012)
Among the weirdness and woo at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in Sydney in May this year there was the usual collection of people running scams that rely on the public's general ignorance of science. One of these was Shuzi Qi, who had this to say about themselves in the program:
Shuzi Qi strengthens and fine-tunes the human biofield, making your mind and body more resistant to the effects of stress in any form, including electromagnetic fields (EMF), harmful emissions radiating from electronic equipment such as cell phones, computers and hair dryers. Electromagnetic fields can stress the body in several ways, such as affecting your heart rate, disrupting your brain activity during sleep and even reducing your body’s production of melatonin, thereby diminishing your resistance to cancers. Shuzi Qi uses subtle vibration programmed at the nano-level to create a stronger frequency for your biofield and those cells of which it is comprised, enabling your body to more capably resist the effects of any stress it’s subjected to. Your body can reset and self-correct more quickly and easily. Cells communicate with each other by known methods of chemical reactions and through the biofield. They have a resonating frequency at which they operate in order to stay healthy, but these cells are affected by outside electric and magnetic environmental conditions. Subtle vibration can reinforce a cell’s natural frequency to override outside environmental influences, which cause cells to communicate better.
Sounds like the standard rubbish that comes from this sort of outfit, but Shuzi make some actually testable claims.
Now, if I could do that with a metal ring or bracelet I'd be willing to put it to the test. I might even try to get $100,000 from Australian Skeptics or $1,000,000 from James Randi. That would be easy money which could then be spent promoting the product to doctors who treat circulation problems. As an example, there are a lot of people in the world with diabetes who are at risk because of poor circulation. If a treatment for this became available the market would be huge, billions of dollars would roll in and there might even be a Nobel Prize in the offing.
Oops. I forgot for a moment there that this is a scam and these people would run from any testing like cockroaches when the light comes on. They don't need to do real tests when they can just say that these rings do things and hope that suckers believe them.
But how new is the Shuzi invention? Is this a new breakthrough or a recycling of another, older scam? Here is something that appears on Shuzi's US web site:
Shuzi (pronounced shoo-zee ) utilizes a proprietary chip from the United States, which is programmed to resonate with your cells’ natural frequencies and causes your blood cells to separate and un-clump therefore creating a better blood flow with more oxygen through out the body.
The Shuzi device is intended for use to stimulate and strengthen the body's biofield by fine tuning the body's own natural frequency and providing healthier blood.
The combination of multiple tuning forks that emit their own frequency create a subtle vibrational energy, effective enough that it interacts with the body's biofield.
The Shuzi device emits many unique frequencies chosen to be compatible with human cells, and is effective incontact with the bodys biofield, usually with in 6 inches of the body.
Something in that caught my eye, and a couple of minutes on Google turned up the venerable Q-Link, the rings, bracelets and pendants endorsed by such well-known medical experts as Anthony Robbins (from the Self Help and Actualisation Movement, or SHAM for short) and Oprah Winfrey. These things have been around for years, and have this to say:
Q-Link and other SRT™ products support the body's innate intelligence, energetic systems and inbuilt capabilities - working like a series of optimally vibrating tuning forks to constantly resonating with, tune, enhance and support the body's own natural healthy frequencies.
Do I see a mention of tuning forks there? Shuzi can't even invent their own analogies.
I must admit that Shuzi don't make anywhere near the number of claims that are put out there for the Q-Link, but they are a relatively new business and Q-Link has been scamming the public for years. Still, you would think they would like to take on some skeptics and relieve them of their money. Except that would mean passing a test.
So where is Shuzi Qi now. Are they prospering in the Australian market, curing peripheral neuropathy, reducing the potential for strokes and making athletes perform better by more efficient supply of oxygen to muscles? Let's have a look at their Australian web site to see how they are going.
So that's how they're going. Going away. When asked to put up or shut up they chose to shut up shop.
Of course we haven't seen the last of them or scamsters like them. Even now someone is probably looking at web sites about old-style frauds like Q-Link and thinking "If I can get someone in Hong Kong to make me some cheap jewellery I can make a fortune lying about magic powers".
As Joseph Bessimer (not Phineas T Barnum) said: "There's a sucker born every minute". Our job is to remember another misattributed quote from John Philpot Curran (not Thomas Jefferson), which can be paraphrased for the occasion as "Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom from scams". They won't give up, and neither will we. Running this crowd out of Australia is a nice result, but it is just one step on a long journey.