Is This Electrotherapy Treatment An Alleged Scam?
Some of you may have stumbled across their pop-up showrooms around locations in Selangor.
In these you’ll find a group of older people sitting in chairs, paying special attention to the young and cheerful showpeople dressed in colorful Afro wigs beating drums to celebrate miracles of healing chronic bodily pain.
If you thought there was already a lot going on in this sentence, you might be even more puzzled by the reality.
What I’m talking about is the current fashion for Cosmo Dr. among the elderly in Malaysia.
It claims to be a form of physiotherapy using “high voltage electrotherapeutic devices” to relieve headaches, stiff shoulders, insomnia and constipation.
However, the younger parents of these targeted elderly people expressed their doubts about this operation.
A scam-type operation, relatives claim
“This is a scam that targets distraught elderly people,” a Redditor wrote on r / malaysia.
The Redditor went on to describe how the operation worked and his concern over how his older parents fell under the vendors’ claims.
Since the second half of 2019, Cosmo Dr. has been operating in Malaysia, which operates by managing pop-up showrooms across the country.
In these exhibition rooms are chairs with mats that are supposed to conduct electricity after being connected to a central machine that produces currents.
These currents are what the brand claims to help alleviate a number of health issues that older people are likely to face.
To make the experience even more appealing to these seniors, the service is completely free and allows them to try out every day.
However, there are of course several takes.
Too good to be true
First, Cosmo Dr. is still a brand promoting its own products, which can cost over RM12,000.
During the sessions, people were shown pictures of machine-cured illnesses, ranging from cancer, stroke, diabetes and even skin burns.
All of this is to “prove” that their devices work and make sales to those who have been practically brainwashed to believe it.
Second, the troop never linger in the same area for more than 3 months.
They move from area to area, and some fans will follow to continue attending the free sessions.
Those who are skeptical of Cosmo Dr. have concluded that it is a tactic used to create a sense of urgency to purchase their products.
Some time before their move, salespeople also apply psychological manipulation tactics.
Skeptics pointed to the following claims by the sellers of Cosmo Dr. as just a few examples of their manipulation tactics:
- Deploring that the rental cost in the current area is too high, so they have to move or sell more products;
- Say they are no longer able to sell enough products to support the free sessions; or,
- Claiming that they sell so many products that what little they have left is now on sale while still in the area.
As someone who has attended several of these sessions at Seksyen Seventeen, Petaling Jaya, at the insistence of a close relative, I can vouch that many of these claims and reports from skeptics are true.
And as someone who personally deals with major health issues and have them watched by real health experts, I’m skeptical as well.
What’s going on there?
For more information on the absurdity of the operation, let me share more details about my own experience.
The service operates from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., which is why the hall is often filled mainly with elderly people.
Throughout the 15 minute “therapy” session, you are instructed not to speak, sleep or use your phone as “radiation” will affect the effectiveness of therapy.
Showpeople claim that these machines “massage the blood vessels” and enhance your “natural healing powers” by recharging the electrons in your body.
It “purifies the dirty blood” to cure many participants of a large number of diseases, even cancer.
After that there was a testimonial sharing session where they would come into the room to stamp our attendance cards and ask if we felt any improvement in their therapy.
After collecting a few stories, spectators picked up a small Chinese drum to beat a rhythm while announcing the good news of the participants.
Together, they would get everyone to put their thumbs up and shout “very good” in unison.
Electrotherapy is real, but …
Like the aforementioned younger parents, I too have a lot of concerns about Cosmo Dr.
There are claims that Cosmo Dr. is overselling the capacity of their products, but I also haven’t found a proper expert opinion on whether these devices work or not.
All that is confirmed at the moment is that Cosmo Dr. has been around (especially in Singapore) for quite some time, at least since 2007.
Despite this, its machines are still not recognized by the respective MOHs of Singapore and Malaysia.
Electrotherapy is a real form of therapy. It is a gentle, non-invasive modality that works by stimulating the nerves and muscles through the skin’s surface.
“We physiotherapists use electrotherapy to treat chronic pain, musculoskeletal injuries, muscle wasting and nerve pain using targeted and controlled electrical stimulation.”
This was said by June Ho, a member of the Malaysian Physiotherapy Association (MPA) who has been practicing for 5 years in the management of pain relief, stroke rehabilitation and sports injuries.
As electrotherapy varies depending on the device used, she said it works in several ways:
- Sending electrical impulses that block or interfere with the body’s pain signals, causing pain to decrease,
- Releasing endorphins which naturally decrease pain in the body,
- Stimulate muscle tissue to correct muscle atrophy,
- Create a warming effect in the body which improves blood circulation and stimulates healing,
- Stimulant cells that reduce inflammation, promote collagen production and inhibit pain.
However, the difference between electrotherapy performed by expert practitioners and Cosmo Dr. is that the former is targeted, and the latter is not.
Electrotherapy works because it is applied to specific areas of the body that need help.
Sitting on a mat that conducts electricity through your butt probably won’t do much for ailments above or below that area.
While it is fair for us to have our doubts, I cannot say for sure that Cosmo Dr. does not work, at least until a study or research proves it.
What we can dispute, however, is how it is marketed to the elderly without any study or research that claims it works as well.
The true value of Cosmo Dr.
It cannot be denied. Seniors love service. They are happy to be there and come back for free every day.
As long as the machines do not harm their bodies in the long run, I see nothing wrong with them enjoying the free company and service.
But sick elderly people are also in desperate need of treatment.
Cosmo Dr. appeals to them first with this free service which makes the elderly dependent on it.
When they move away, older people who wish to continue to benefit from the treatment may choose to take it to the next place or purchase their machines.
They are never forced to buy the machines, but the desperation of never getting the treatment again can create enough urgency for the elderly to withdraw their savings for a purchase.
Why the urgency? Because you won’t be able to see any improvement if you don’t do it every day.
And this is the main problem I have, along with many other relatives of those trapped in Cosmo Dr.’s operations.
The sense of urgency that Cosmo Dr. later creates is unquestionably unethical, especially towards the desperate and sick elderly.
That aside, the fact that the service takes the elderly out of their homes to meet new friends and be pampered by showpeople and machines isn’t a bad thing.
It could be argued that the “improvements” that many older people experience after each session could simply be the result of interacting with others and having fun doing it.
Usually, this group has a tendency to mope miserably alone at home, and their mental state can negatively affect the physical body as well.
Therefore, the real value of Cosmo Dr. for me is how he places the elderly in an outdoor environment and gives them care and companions.
Get expert help, not a chair pad
When it comes to actual electrotherapy healing, June had a few tips to share with our older parents.
“I would recommend these groups of older people to see a professional doctor instead of sitting in a chair where there is no proper scientific approval or knowing how the electricity from the machine is transmitted through our bodies. », She declared.
“Personally, I do not approve of it because I have not yet heard of any physiotherapy using this machine, nor approved by the Ministry of Health.”
She added that we need to make sure that the currents entering our bodies do not harm us either, which is concerning due to the lack of studies and research on Cosmo Dr.’s machines and their effectiveness.
There is no shortcut to healing your body because effort is required to create results. Get proper diagnosis and treatment from real, certified physiotherapists who can design a specific and correct treatment plan for your body and health.
June Ho, MPA certified physiotherapist
Featured Image Credit: Cosmo Goodness Malaysia Sdn Bhd
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