There are quite a few therapies and theories that are magnets for those who believe they are pseudoscience. And sure enough there is quite a bit of quackery out there in one form or another.
I have quite an open mind when it comes to alternative therapies and part of the equation is the power of the mind which manifests itself in the ‘placebo effect’.
This is an improvement in a patient’s condition when their expectations are of a positive outcome from the treatment despite there being no real health benefit. For example dummy pills given in a trial to treat a serious disease, that miraculously results in an improvement or even a cure for some patients.
One of the interesting ways that the benefit of some of these alternative therapies can be tested is when they are used for the treatment of animals. For example the ancient healing therapy of acupuncture is commonly used on animals including dogs and horses with improvements to their conditions. They are not susceptible to the ‘placebo effect’!
One of the theories about the body and its health which comes in for a great deal of stick from the pseudoscience brigade is Biorhythms… and after over 25 years of my experience with this pseudoscience I would like to share my opinion.
The Biorhythm Theory
Back in the 1990s I came across an article about biorhythms. It was at a time when I was exploring my own health, studying nutrition and the human body and fascinated by how amazing our bodies are.
Sally 24 stone 1994 age 41
In 1996 I had been losing weight for over a year and by that time I had already lost eight stone with another three more to go. I was eating healthily with plenty of fruit, vegetables, moderate carbohydrates and mainly fish. I had the occasional glass of wine if we were out, but apart from that I was teetotal.
I was walking 3 miles a day five days a week, doing aerobics and swimming. I felt so much better than when I weighed 24 stone as you can imagine. But every few weeks I would hit the wall physically, mentally and emotionally.
At that time I put it down to several reasons including sugar withdrawal, but also at my age there was likely to be a reduction in hormone levels which could be having an effect on my sense of well-being. I did some research, which was somewhat limited in those days, and came across an article on an alleged unproven theory concerning biorhythms.
What are biorhythms.
There is a theory developed by a number of 20th century scientists Alfred Teltscher, Hermann Swoboda and Wilhelm Fliess, a German ear, nose and throat practitioner at the turn of the 20th century and a friend and collaborator of Sigmund Freud.
- Fleiss believed in the concept that our daily lives are affected by rhythmic cycles with periods of 23, 28 and 33 days.
- Each connected to one of the three key health indicators.
- Physical cycle 23 days, Emotional 28 days and Mental 33 days.
- According to Wilhelm Fleiss, a person’s life is influenced by these cycles from birth and oscillate in a regular pattern throughout a person’s life.
- When modelled mathematically this pattern can be identified and a person’s state within those three states can be predicted.
- Each of the cycles flows between highs and lows and will reach a high or low independent of the others at certain points in the cycles over a period of time.
- However at certain points of this regular oscillation there are periods in our lives when all three states of body and mind are all at their lowest point or at their highest, together.
This can result is either a burst of physical and mental energy when a person feels like they are firing on all cylinders when the three lines converge at the top of the chart.
Or the reverse when all the cycles meet at the bottom of the curve and they feel drained of energy and in the dumps to use a common description of being totally out of sorts.
As you will see on this biorhythm calculator, the three cycles move between the maximum at +100% down through 0 (neutral) and then on to – 100%
Red: Emotional – Green: Physical – Blue: Intellectual
For several years, particularly when I was going through the menopause until age 54, I would check the biorhythm calculator on a frequent basis. Over time I began to notice that when I was feeling physically drained, lacking in energy, had brain fog and felt flat emotionally, it coincided with all three cycles being in the -100% sector of the chart at the same time.
Although I have not checked my biorhythms on a regular basis since my mid 50s, a few weeks ago I felt particularly flat physically, mentally and emotionally, and I decided to check out the state of my three key indicators.
I checked the biorhythm calculator.. and sure enough all three of the cycles, physical, mental and emotional were at the bottom of the curve and would be in the lower part of the sector for two or three more days before passing through the 0 median point.
Sure enough three days later I woke up feeling much better and all three rhythms were on their way back up the chart.
Here are some examples of what a chart will look like as the cycles flow up and down the chart –
I felt great and the cycles were all in the top half of the chart with intellectual the top of its curve.
I was getting a great deal accomplished plus getting some gardening and household projects crossed off the list and finished the editing for my poetry collection.
I am writing this on July 28th 2021 I don’t feel as great today…intellectually I am at -75% and emotionally -44%
Although I have managed quite a bit today as far as writing posts, some poetry and preparing podcast posts. I am firing on some cylinders but not all of them.
Now taking the chart forward across the months and you will see on November 15th, which happens to be our 41st wedding anniversary… all three cycles are well and truly in the minus percentages. This does not mean anything dire will happen, but I will probably take the day off from the blog, get out and let someone else prepare dinner and enjoy a celebration.
My conclusion after 25 years of testing this theory out in practice.
I believe the 20th century scientists were on to something when they concluded that there is a cycle to everything in nature and therefore it must be applied to humans.
We cannot sustain being in high performance mode 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and the body’s energies fluctuate depending on a number of factors, including diet, exercise, sleep patterns and fitness. However, when these external pressures are compounded, such as with the stress of Covid, enforced isolation, changes to work and home routine, we should expect to have periods of time when we feel physically, mentally and emotionally under the weather.
Add in the normal rhythms identified in the theory and it adds a great deal of stress on the body and our mental well-being.
This has led to an alarming increase in the prescription of anti-depressants not always appropriately. Women going through the menopause are being put on anti-depressants even though they have not been proven to be effective in the treatment of the symptoms of this natural phase in a woman’s life.
Also worrying is the number of under 17 year olds, many who have not gone through puberty who are being prescribed anti-depressants. CCHrint.org
I might be cynical, but to me, there is little incentive for the pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession, to recognise that there might be some merit to this 120 year old theory about natural cycles throughout our lives, which may result in periods of time when we do feel under the weather and mentally and emotionally flat…
Like the common cold, which is unlikely to be cured, since the annual revenue from over the counter symptom suppressors feeds a multi-billion dollar industry, there is little likelihood that there will be a decrease in the millions of prescriptions for anti-depressants each year. The global anti-depressants market is expected to stabilize and reach $19 billion at a CAGR of 7.4% through 2023 – Global News Wire
I do believe that we should be looking at our lifestyles in more detail and strategies to reduce the external stress factors, improve our diets and work more closely with our body’s natural biorhythms.
N.B.. If you are currently being prescribed anti-depressants by a doctor then do not stop taking without consultation.
If you would like to test this theory out for yourself and see where your biorhythms are today and going forward over the next few weeks, check this free biorhythm calculator.
And remember if all of your cycles are in the lower sector of the graph together and even more so close to the – 100%, there is some comfort to be found in that in a few days you are likely to feel better.
As always a nutritionally packed diet, plenty of fluids and moderate exercise is one of the more natural ways to keep you body and mind fit and healthy, even when the biorhythm cycles are on the decline. You can find a shopping list here for all the foods that provide that nutrition. Smorgasbord Health Column – Nutrients the body needs – Weekly Grocery Shopping List
©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021
I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.
If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here::Sally’s books and reviews
Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.