Holistic Therapies: Access Bars

This week is Access Bars, which I happen to find at random one day when I first discovered the directory and I was taken aback by how ridiculous it sounded and amazed that it could ever be taken seriously by any thinking person. Access Bars is the brain child of a man named Gary Douglas who can be found on his site grinning back at you with the intellectually secure, knowing look of the ‘guru’.  The website also has the inevitable links to testimonials that always accompany pseudo scientific crap that has either been disproven by scientific testing or is non-falsifiable. These tales, as a lot of skeptics know, unfortunately speak more to people’s daily lives than the cold facts associated with evidence based reasoning and are more convincing as a result. Despite the number of these testimonials and the fact that they come from people probably convinced of their truth, we all know that the plural of anecdote is not evidence.

 

Mr Douglas – humble black and white photo with

a disarming and knowing head tilt? Sign me up!!!

The core concept behind Access bars is the idea that there are “32 points on your head which, when gently touched, effortlessly and easily release anything that doesn’t allow you to receive? These points contain all the thoughts, ideas, beliefs, emotions, and considerations you have stored in any lifetime. This is an opportunity for you to let go of everything!” Activating these bars, it is claimed, will allow energy to flow and open new possibilities for self improvement and the site poses you the question – “As there are Bars for every aspect of your life do you think its possible that you could clear limitations relating to money, healing, body, control, awareness, creativity, communication, hopes and dreams, sadness and joy, aging and money?” (On a personal note, I love the fact that they mention money at the start of the list and at the end of it too. It gives me a warm feeling inside. Also, AGING?) The neurological literature behind these claims is unfortunately not linked to but I would be happy to give it a layman’s look over if somebody can provide it, although I doubt people will consider me cynical if I were to suspect that it doesn’t exist.

Something that concerns me about the majority of sites that are selling the benefits of Access Bars, that I looked at during my research, is that there was a surprising amount of preamble that you had to get through to find out these core beliefs. You are seduced with promises of life affirming changes and great developments using the all too familiar sales pitch of alternative therapies that could easily be whittled down to something similar to “Are you a person? Do bad things happen that you don’t like and want to fix? Have previous attempts at fixing these problems been bad? Well we have the solution”. (NOTE: the previous sentence is to be read in the tone of a QVC shopping channel presenter). The site was one of the more transparent sites I found and it begins on its home page with the promising line Aren’t you just a little curious what Access is all about? and (wait for the sarcasm) follows it up with some informative, beautifully constructed and easily intelligible sentences such as Access consciousness is about empowering you to know what YOU know. So that YOU have the life YOU truly desire. What if you’re the creator of your life? And if you’re the creator, you can change any part of it?”. The details of what ‘Access Bars’ are, however, isn’t addressed on this page so you move on to ‘The Bars’, a section on the site which gives you the lowdown on the 32 Bars and provides you with a helpful graph:

 

Reading more of the details on the site left me scratching my head between the bars for ‘creating life forms’ and ‘money’ (which surprisingly didn’t result in any Leprechauns. Go figure?), and ruminating on a final couple of sentences I read. “At worst you feel like you have just had the best massage of your life. At best your whole life can change into something greater with total ease” and “And if you’re a healer or practitioner of any kind, how excited would your clients be if you were to add this to your list of service?”

The first sentence could apply to a lot of alternative therapies that usually involve a hands on approach (unlike Reiki for instance) but it was the last sentence that I dwelt on most of all. These sites are selling to an audience, not only of prospective customers of ‘Access Consciousness’ but also practitioners who want to add to their repertoire of alternative treatments. AccessBars.ie has a course advertised where you can, for an investment of 160 (80 for repeats), be guided through the first steps of Access consciousness. I can only assume this is 160 euros as it’s not actually stated on the site but it could be space hugs for all I know and I’m reluctant to assume anything when dealing with people so divorced from reality. Likewise the access consciousness site itself has a page () with details on how to become an access facilitator for the currency specific amount of $100 which is to be paid on an annual basis so that you can keep your ‘license’. Access facilitators appear, at least from my interpretation, to be a self regulated group. I suppose doing essentially nothing, for money, could hardly be seen as harmful outside of the financial costs incurred by the credulous but it is this approach that lends a false legitimacy to innumerable forms of quackery and helps them to present themselves as something other than fantasy bullshit. Access Bars appears to just be another form of magical thinking that if believed by its proponents has no real effect outside of head massage. For those practitioners who don’t believe in its claims, it is just a well packaged, self regulating school of crap that you can practice with all the bells and whistles of accreditation for an annual fee and a suppression of your moral instincts.

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My New Project: The Irish Holistic Directory

My Blog posts have fallen off as of recently and I think the main reason is that I don’t have a project to tackle. In my previous posts I have taken a look at some of the pet peeves, like my annoyance at  gurus like Eckhart Tolle or frauds like Sally Morgan, that I have and  tried to stay topical but I don’t think that’s really what people are interested in. So I came up with a solution. I am going to try and pick apart the Directory for Holistic Practitioners and the therapies they have up on their site. Here is the list as it appeared on their site at the time of this post:

5 Rhythms Dancing

Abundance

Access Bars

Accredited Supervisor

ACT (Acceptance and CommittTherapy)

Active Birth

Acupressure

Acupuncture

Acupuncture Supplies

Addiction Counselling

Alexander Technique

Allergy Testing

Amatsu

Angel Card Reading

Angel Healing

Angel Readings

Angel Shop

Angel Workshops

Animal Healing

Animal Kinesiology

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy and Healing Massage

Art Therapy

Artists Way Workshops

Assertiveness Training

Astrology

Aura Imagery

Aura Photography

Aura Soma

Autogenic Training

Ayurveda

Baby Massage1

Baby Sign Language

Bach Flower and Bush Remedies

Beauty Therapy

Bi-aura

Bio-Energy/Healing

Biodynamic Massage

Biodynamic Psychotherapy

Biofeedback1

Body Harmony1

BodyTalk System

Bootcamp classes

Bowen Technique

Brainwave Optimization

Brennan Healing Science

Bush Flower Essences

Career Evaluation

CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)

Chakras

Chi Kung

Chiropractic

Coaching

Colonic Irrigation

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Counselling

Cranio-sacral

Creative Dance

Crystals

Cupping

Cutting the Ties

Dance

Dance Movement Therapy

Deep Tissue Massage

Divining

Divining for Water

Dorn Method

Dowsing

Dream Interpretation

Dry Needling

Ear Candling

EFT Emotional Freedom Technique

EMDR

Emotrance

Energy Healing

Energy Pschology

Enneagram

Equine kinesiology

Equine Touch for Horses

Feldenkrais Method

Feng Shui

Fertility Treatment

Food Intolerance Testing

Geopathic Stress

Gestalt

Gift Vouchers

Hair Mineral Analysis

Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage

Healing

Healing Massage

Healthfood

Heavy Metal Detoxification

Herbalist

Holistic Law

Holistic Massage

Holistic Pet Products

Home Birth

Homeopathy

Hot Stone Massage

Human Givens Therapy

Human Infrastructure Healing

Hypno-Band Weight Loss System

HypnoBirthing

Hypnosis

Hypnosis for Birth

Hypnotherapy

Indian Head Massage

Infant Massage

Integrated Energy Therapy (IET)

Iridology

Kinesiology

Laser Therapy

Laser Weight loss

Law of Attraction

Life Coaching

Lomi Lomi Hawaian massage

Louise Hay

Loving Relationships Training (LRT)

Magnified Healing

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Martial Arts

Massage Therapy

Medical Doctor

Meditation

Medium

META-Medicine

Metamorphic Technique

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Mindfulness Meditation

Moxibustion

Naturopathy

NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming)

Numerology

Nutrition

Osteopathy

Pain Management

Palmistry

Panic Attacks

Parenting

Past Life Regression

Personal Fitness

Personal Training

Physical Therapy

Physiotherapy

Phytobiophysics

Phytotherapy

Pilates

Play Therapy

Polarity Therapy

Pranic Healing

Pregnancy Massage

Prenatal Pilates

Prenatal Yoga

Primal Integration

Primal Integration Facilitation

Psych K

PSYCH K facilitator

Psychic

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Psychologist

Psychotherapy

Qi gong

Quantum Touch

Raynors Massage

Rebirthing

Reconnective Healing

Reflexology

Regression Therapy

Reiki

Retreats

Rolfing

Scenar Therapy

Seichem

Sexuality Issues

Shamanism

Shen

Shiatsu

Smoking Cessation

Soul Retrieval

Sound Therapy

Spiritual Healing

Sports Massage

Stop Smoking

Stress Management

Structural Integration

Swedish Massage

Tai Chi

Tantra

Tapas Acupressure

Tarot

Thai Massage

Thai Yoga Massage

The Secret

Theta Healing

Thought Field Therapy (TFT)

Time Line Therapy

Touch For Health

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Transference healing

Transpersonal Psychotherapy

Tui Na Massage (Chinese Massage)

Unconditional Energy VibratiWorkshop

Weight Loss

Weight Management

Workshops

Yoga

Yoga Therapy

Zero Balancing

Zumba

 

 

 

Yes, I know it’s a LOT of bollox to put up on one site and a lots of these ‘therapies’ will probably be loafed together rather than given a whole post but I think I can eventually get through it. The idea is that I, and hopefully you, get a better understanding of the some of the crap that’s being peddled right under our noses that mightn’t get the attention that Homeopathy or Reiki get and believe me, even a brief glance at some of the magic potions on offer shows you there is no shortage of magical nonsense to throw your money at.

The plan is for a post every week tackling one or more of the therapies and each one will be chosen at random until I get through the list. I have started with Access Bars as my first post and I will post it by the end of this week. (Believe me, it’s a doosie). Any comments or feedback would be really appreciated and I mean on the posts themselves or on whether you think this is a good idea.

 Note: There are some legitimate therapies here which have the support of scientific assessment/evidence and unlike the majority of the practices they also hold a grain of plausibility too. Weight Loss and Psychotherapy are mentioned in the list and you would be at a loss to find fault in them unless you’re a feeder or a Scientologist respectively. These topics I will only touch on as they have a weight of evidence surrounding them that is hard to contest and the point of this blog is to show the crap out there and unfortunately that’s a big enough task as it stands.