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Tour the Turn of the Century Electrotherapy Museum (Video)

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the slip-the-juice-to-me-Bruce dept.

Medicine 29

Since he was a teenager, Jeff Behary's been interested in the work of Nikola Tesla, and has been collecting antique electric devices of a particular kind: ones that send electricity through the human body to effect medical benefits, many of which do so with the aid of Tesla coils. Tesla's not the only inventor involved, of course, but his influence overlapped and widely influenced the golden age of electrotherapy. Behary's day job as a machinist means he has the skills to rehabilitate and restore these aging beasts, too, along with a growing family of related devices. He's assembled them now, in West Palm Beach, Florida, into the Turn of the Century Electrotherapy Museum. This is a museum of my favorite kind: home-based and intimate, but with serious depth. Though it's open only by appointment, arranging a visit there is worth it, whether you're otherwise part of the Tesla community or not. Behary knows his collection inside and out, with the kind of deep knowledge it takes to fabricate replacement parts and revamp the internal wiring. The devices themselves are accessible, with original and restored pieces up close and personal — you need to be mindful about which ones are humming and crackling at any given moment. (There's also an archive with books, papers, and other effects relating to Tesla and other electric pioneers, not to mention glowing tubes that predate the modern vacuum tube, and the oldest known surviving Tesla coils, recovered from beneath their maker's Boston mansion. Electrotherapy is the organizing principle, but not the extent of this assembly.) And while Behary isn't fooled by all the therapeutic claims made by some machines' makers about running current through your limbs or around your body, he also doesn't discount them all, either, and points out that some of them really do affect the body as claimed. Yes, he's tried most of the machines himself, though he admits he's never dared taking the juice of his personal Tesla-powered electric chair. View the first video for a tour of part of this astounding collection; the second video is an interview with Jeff Behary.

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Back Up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42205785)

Good to see Slashdot back up. Tried the site through three different networks just to make sure it wasn't on my side.

For a tech site, Slashdot sure doesn't seem to be very tech savvy, does it?

Re:Back Up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42206001)

That's nice. I cannot log in still, the postback or whatever just goes forever.

The longest intro (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42205821)

Does that set the record for the longest intro/summary? With the attention span of a gnat I lost track

Scientology, anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42205955)

Now where is my E-meter?

Re:Scientology, anyone? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#42205983)

Now where is my E-meter?

Just behind your Violet Wand.

Re:Scientology, anyone? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42206133)

I actually tried that in the mall one time. I observed that you could control the meter based on how hard you squeezed the metal cylinders. I mentioned that to the person giving the test and she said "don't do that" and I countered with something along the lines of "If I don't do it consciously, I'll do it subconsciously" and I think she could tell that I wasn't going to fall for their tricks. Not that I haven't been bamboozled on some occasions; but it wasn't happening this time.

Re:Scientology, anyone? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#42207861)

i think that what you are doing is changing the capacitance of the circuit so yah its a bit iffy.

Re:Scientology, anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42209309)

Or just the contact resistance, which for skin can vary a lot depending on pressure. Play with an ohm meter, and if your hands are not too wet, you can get usually anywhere between 100k and a couple megaohms. I think the e-meters are just measuring the resistance or conduction between the two cylinders. In which case, it would be amusing if you could apply a small voltage across them, small enough to not hurt of course and possibly be from just a battery with leads connected to your wrists under a long-sleeved shirt.

Talk about a Turn of the (21st) Century website! (3, Insightful)

Ann O'Nymous-Coward (460094) | about 2 years ago | (#42206013)

Eye watering background, check! Terribly ill-advised fonts, check!

It's even part of a Web Ring! I haven't seen one of those since Geocities kicked the bit bucket.

Re:Talk about a Turn of the (21st) Century website (1)

Ossifer (703813) | about 2 years ago | (#42206865)

I wonder when people are going to stop implying that "turn of the century" refers to exactly two turns of the century ago...

Re:Talk about a Turn of the (21st) Century website (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#42207289)

I was just amazed we still had electrotherapy clinics as of only a dozen years ago.

Now I'm not. Color me disappointed.

Old tech (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 2 years ago | (#42206155)

Pfft. Electricity.

Orgone energy is where it's at today. The universal life energy comes to us free from the screaming void of space to help us control weather and cure many private male issues.

oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42206745)

Oatmeal, Tesla, etc.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla

where there's smoke, there's fire (0, Offtopic)

nido (102070) | about 2 years ago | (#42206867)

I'm a little cautious to be posting this, because strict materialism is strong with users here, and vitalism-haters always pop up to spout their beliefs. I was once a materialist too, but then the medical establishment left me out in the cold.

Materialism was seemingly supported by science. But in the past few decades non-dogmatic scientists have made great progress in giving names to phenomenon which existed before anyone knew how to describe them, or had tools to measure them. A few examples:

Action potential [wikipedia.org] : In physiology, an action potential is a short-lasting event in which the electrical membrane potential of a cell rapidly rises and falls, A nerve conduction study (NCS) [wikipedia.org] is a test commonly used to evaluate the function, especially the ability of electrical conduction, of the motor and sensory nerves of the human body. The Goldman–Hodgkin–Katz flux equation [wikipedia.org] (or GHK flux equation) describes the ionic flux carried by an ionic species across a cell membrane as a function of the transmembrane potential and the concentrations of the ion inside and outside of the cell. Since both the voltage and the concentration gradients influence the movement of ions, this process is a simplified version of electrodiffusion. Electrodiffusion is most accurately defined by the Nernst-Planck equation and the GHK flux equation is a solution to the Nernst-Planck equation with the assumptions listed below.

My journey back to health started with nearly losing it completely. I knocked myself out and nearly drowned at the lake when I was 17 years old. While the emergency medicine was great - I didn't need a hole drilled to relieve pressure from intra-cranial bleeding, but it was nice of the doctors at the hospital to watch my condition long enough to make sure. I have Retrograde amnesia [wikipedia.org] starting an hour or two before I sustained the injury, and Anterograde amnesia [wikipedia.org] for the next two weeks (first 10 days were at the hospital). My memory started to recover at about the 2-week mark, and had mostly recovered by 6 months.

The neurologist who'd followed my case at the hospital sent me for neuro-psychological evaluation, and said I'd probably get better without interventions. Indeed, the double vision had mostly resolved after 4 or 5 months. But my everyday experience wasn't like before. I got headaches from running, wearing birkenstocks, and certain foods, so I stopped running and wearing birkenstocks, and paid close attention to what I eat.

When I started at college, things went rapidly downhill. It was an entirely miserable 3.5 year experience, and after I graduated with my CS degree I spent the next several years trying to figure myself out.

At one point I found a really neat email list. The owner of said list said that "if you have a health condition, the best place to start is with what Edgar Cayce said about it." He also said that the best current source of information about the body's subtle energies is Donna Eden, author of Energy Medicine [innersource.net] (actually written by husband David Feinstein, based on interviews with Donna). Edgar Cayce was known as "the sleeping prophet" because he had no conscious memory of the health readings he gave. They followed up on the recipients of the readings, and people who implemented the suggestions usually got the benefits they were told to expect.

My reason for sharing all this now, in this slashdot story about an Electrotherapy Museum, is that Edgar Cayce sometimes recommended electro-therapeutic devices. These included the violet ray (which is mentioned at the electrotherapymuseum's website), a weak battery called the "wet cell", and a subtle battery now known as the Radial-Appliance [teslabox.com] .

The Radial Appliance was said to help balance the body's "subtle electric charge", to help improve a person's ability to relax. I had trouble sleeping, and decided that I needed a Cayce Radial Appliance... But all I could find was the device made by the Cayce Association's "Official Supplier", and there was also a website detailing the difference between the Baar Radiac [radialappliance.org] and the Radial Appliance described by Edgar Cayce (the original website was taken offline when Baar threatened to sue his dissatisfied customer for trademark infringement).

So I decided to build my own. I had trouble falling asleep from childhood until I started using my device regularly. It's a rather niche product, but the people who buy my version tend to love them.

I don't have any Radial Appliances left to sell right now because I've been concentrating on a new project related to natural approaches to health. The Birth Control situation is rather tragic. Over the course of the 20th century various scientists described the hormone system, and figured out how to use human-identical hormone supplements to help women balance their hormones. Safe bioidentical hormones are not profitable for the pharmaceutical industry, so they sell women various xeno-hormone-based drugs instead. This is why birth control is so good at helping women gain weight, for example.

Progesterone USP is non-prescription for physiologically-appropriate amounts (women make 15-20mg/day during the luteal phase of their cycle) because it was available before the 1938 Food & Drug act was passed.

And interestingly enough, researchers have recently found that giving progesterone USP injections to humans who sustain a traumatic brain injury [nytimes.com] doubles their survival chances. I wonder what my experience would have been if they'd known to give a useful form progesterone right away, way-back-when.

Since the users here are mostly men, I guess I should say that Perfect Progesterone [perfectprogesterone.com] can buffer high levels of testosterone, and might help your hair grow back. I use Amazon's fulfillment service, so if you don't like what you get just send it back.

Re:where there's smoke, there's fire (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#42207905)

Congratulations on discovering the placebo effect. Let us know when you can show a statistically significant effect from a properly controlled(blinded, randomized) experiment.

Re:where there's smoke, there's fire (1)

nido (102070) | about 2 years ago | (#42210781)

Someone like yourself once asked Mr. Cayce how he could prove he was real. Cayce responded that it wasn't his job to prove anything, and asked the questioner how he could convince himself.

Similarly, I have NO need to "show[] a statistically significant event" to you - you'd just find a reason to explain it away. I simply offer my experience in the hopes that maybe someone will find it useful.

Re:where there's smoke, there's fire (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42213915)

I have NO need to "show[] a statistically significant event" to you

Then why did you post here in the first place, where we demand such things? Why don't you take that stuff to naturalnews where someone might care?

Re:where there's smoke, there's fire (1)

nido (102070) | about 2 years ago | (#42221309)

..., where we demand such things?

drinkypoo != 'we'

Re:where there's smoke, there's fire (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42233219)

I am part of "we" and we do demand that you have some basis for your wild-ass claims. Anyone who says different is selling something. Something not worth having. Like your opinion.

Re:where there's smoke, there's fire (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#42214725)

But we're not going to find it useful because you assume it's not your job to convince us.

I'm not trying to be mean or anything, but the problem with posting a "I tried it and it worked" testimonial about some concept that seems shakey, when there's a documented phenomenon called "the placebo effect", is that, well, we'll assume it's the placebo effect that caused you to write "I tried it and it worked" to begin with, assuming we don't doubt your sincerity.

There is no onus on you to prove your case, unless you want to convince others of your position. As long as there are more rational explanations for your testimonial than the conclusions you draw, we're more apt to believe those explanations over your own. That's human nature, and it means you possibly need to drop the "I have no need to explain myself if I'm trying to make a point" position.

I don't expect everyone to be convinced by my view of the world, but when my opinions veer away from the provable, I rarely mention them, and if I do, it's merely so that others can understand me, not so that others can share my opinion.

Re:where there's smoke, there's fire (1)

nido (102070) | about 2 years ago | (#42222059)

I thought that the article should have an on-topic comment, so that interested people could have some points to look up if they were so inclined. I prefaced my comment with the bit about 'vitalism haters' to acknowledge that most slashdot users won't be interested.

..., but when my opinions veer away from the provable...

People tend to be wedded to their belief systems, thus it is very challenging to 'prove' anything to their satisfaction.

Re:where there's smoke, there's fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42296515)

... a subtle battery now known as the Radial-Appliance [teslabox.com] ... Cayce Association for Research and Enlightenment - "Official Supplier". there was also a website detailing the difference between the Baar Radiac [radialappliance.org] and the Appliance described by Edgar Cayce. ... Perfect Progesterone [perfectprogesterone.com] [perfectprogesterone.com] can buffer high levels of testosterone, and might help your hair grow back.

There. It wasn't very nice what those vitalism-haters did to your "informative" comment. Hopefully all your links will show up on the google cache now. :)

-Mr. Coward

Truly the dark ages of psychology. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42207129)

It can't be said in any different way.

That and lobotomy were among the worst and most deeply wrong things medicine ever invented.

Re:Truly the dark ages of psychology. (3, Interesting)

kulaga (159303) | about 2 years ago | (#42208763)

Unfortunately it's still going on today. Google Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT. Apparently it can be a very effective temporary treatment. However, I still shudder when I think of observing a session during Nursing school 10 years ago. Very sterile and anesthetic is used, but still disturbing.

Re:Truly the dark ages of psychology. (1)

drkim (1559875) | about 2 years ago | (#42211533)

Unfortunately it's still going on today. Google Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT.

...shouldn't that be GECT?

Hell yeah. (1)

durgledoggy (1931480) | about 2 years ago | (#42207473)

Violet wands, about 17:00 1st vid. Biggish fetish market for them.

What a coincidence (3, Interesting)

NonFerrousBueller (1175131) | about 2 years ago | (#42208035)

Wow, what timing. Just discovered this museum an hour ago as this morning I was given a Cox-Cavendish Galvanic Battery (I think) by my physiotherapist and was doing some Googling about it. What a great site, though it does have me wanting to start a new collecting hobby. Great to see that someone who collects these also opens his collection to others, documents it, and puts it on the web. If only more collectors would do the same.

"...restore these aging beasts" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42208079)

"he has the skills to rehabilitate and restore these aging beasts"

I'm not the only one that read that as "breasts"...am I?

Turn of the century? (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 2 years ago | (#42210759)

I wasn't aware electrotherapy was in common use in 2000AD?

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