The Therapeutic Touch Scam

May 31, 1998 - Rocky Mountain News

(... about a workshop with Randi in Pasadena...)

Therapeutic touch is another practice whose practitioners are deluding themselves. An honored guest at the workshop was Emily Rosa, the 11-year-old from Loveland whose fourth-grade science project showed that therapeutic touch practitioners can't perceive the "human energy fields" they say they can manipulate.

Emily brought her apparatus, a shield made from a cardboard carton painted blue with a blue towel stapled to it, and her randomizing device, a penny. She demonstrated her protocol on a couple of volunteers from the audience, who claimed no special talents and displayed none.

Randi presented Emily with a $1,000 award from the foundation, and also a plaque from the Guinness World Record people for being the youngest researcher to have a paper published in a major medical journal.

Emily, in her acceptance speech, put the matter very well in her own terms. When you get a Barbie doll, she said, "It's pretend time. It has to be great because you've already bought it."