Bemer 3000 story

Magical mystery tour a few weekends ago

Sonoma hosted an event called the Health and Wellness Festival. I, like you, preferring good health to bad, decided to check the thing out. I figured these folks, professional health mavens, might know a thing or two about feeling great. I expected a platoon of super fit specimens cornering the market on joie de vie, dewy-faced Gumby’s sans cellulite and arthritic knees.

Walking in, an odd smell greeted us, a weird combination of essential oils and armpit. My eight-year-old clapped his arm over his nose and bluntly pronounced, “It stinks here.” I shushed him, of course, though it didn’t smell great, and we boldly waded into the fray.

Tables groaning with crystals were first, pretty rocks promising to promote mental acuity. I picked one up and promptly forgot why I was holding it, so I put it down and moved on. There was a woman in a corner doing psychic readings, her customer leaning in looking worried. “So I shouldn’t confront him, is that what you’re saying?” The mystic gave her a mystical look I couldn’t divine.

There was a photographer offering to photograph our auras. She had samples of others she’d done; weird, astral lights haloing the model’s head in rainbow colors. Yellow suggested a sunny disposition, green stood for vitality, and purple indicated a yearning for growth. A kaleidoscope swirl, apparently, revealed a capacity for magic, a concept I still don’t really understand. I thought of all the people I know, myself included, who simply didn’t fit the palettes’ paradigm. What color curmudgeon? What color agnostic? What color obsessive-compulsive attention deficit?

There were hawkers of liquids promising all sorts of gains. Being polite, I downed something called Tunguska Blast. It numbed my tongue and tasted like fertilizer, and after that I was a bit quicker with my “No, thanks.”

There were all kinds of people lying on tables, a variety of experiments being exacted on each. Over here, a team of three waving hands over their client’s topography, never touching but hovering near. And a woman with tuning forks she’d clang noisily together, their calamitous music some kind of absorbable good vibration. The weirdest of all was a guy giving massage. He leaned over his customer and lay down his hands, issuing a frightening hiss as he did it. Each subsequent stroke came with a new sound effect, from huffing to hissing to shouting out ‘oh!’ The dude was so loud that I assumed he was mic’d, but he was unplugged as it turned out after all. I didn’t know humans could emit at those decibels. Ah, enlightenment: perhaps I was beginning to get it.

There were people who read hands and others able to intuit a person’s medical condition, there were folks being healed with “energetic light.”

I gave the bio-electric magnetic energy regulation – or BEMER – a try, a black mat that was supposed to recalibrate my capillaries. The rep turned it on and I lay there just waiting. When I told her I couldn’t feel anything, she smiled and said, “Most people don’t.” At three thousand dollars, that’s a whole lot of nothing. I thanked her and went on my way.

With the hall chock-a-block with disciples and devotees, I felt like an obvious charlatan. If my skepticism had a color it was probably brown, and I was oozing it all over the room. As I wove past the vendors of magic concoctions and miracle cures, I thought of the money one could spend seeking true wellness. And perhaps it’s the journey that’s kind of the point, with belief as the ultimate medicine: if you think something’s curing you, it is.