Holford has recommended a number of biologically implausible treatment modalities over the course of his career: this is not a case of the odd inadvertent mistake, but a consistent pattern of credulity. Holford may have moved from recommending health dowsing to the more high-tech looking QLink pendant, but the plausibility and efficacy of these approaches is identical.
Early in his career (reportedly, shortly after he spent some time studying with Hoffer and Pfeiffer, and after he had started treating patients) Holford argued that
Although it is hard to believe, [health dowsing] is an accurate and simple method of diagnosis that uses intuition rather than logical thinking to determine people’s nutritional needs
This is hard to believe – because we know no plausible mechanism through which this might work, and have no good evidence that it does. The above diagram – from Holford’s Whole Health Manual – shows one of these kits in action: apparently, one has to learn to ask it appropriate questions. And no – we can’t see how that type of thing would produce meaningful results, either.
Also early in his career, Holford argues that
While the concepts behind [Applied Kinesiology] are often hard to grasp there is little doubt that it works and is a useful test in improving the overall function of our bodies
However there is – once again – no plausible mechanism though which Applied Kinesiology could work. We also lack any good evidence that it does work: as John Garrow has shown, Applied Kinesiology produces results similar to chance when subjected to blind testing.
Unfortunately – despite his claimed decades of nutritional research – credulity is still a problem for Patrick Holford. Holford states that
Although less well researched, you may wish to investigate homoeopathic immunisations. In one study 18,000 children were successfully protected against meningitis with a homoeopathic remedy, without a single side-effect.
Again, there is no plausible mechanism through which homoeopathy might work and no evidence that it does work any better than placebo. To suggest that this is used as an alternative to proper vaccination for such a dangerous disease is extremely unwise.
The QLink Pendant
Holford has claimed that
There are many gadgets out there promising to protect you from electromagnetic radiation and give your energy a boost. I’ve investigated many and didn’t find any stacked up. The one exception is QLink. The scientific proof is deeply impressive.
However, once again, there is no plausible mechanism (aside from the placebo effect) through which these might work, and no good evidence that they do. In fact, as Ben Goldacre found that they don’t do anything useful: they don’t emit any interesting ‘frequencies’, and they contain a “coil connected to nothing. And a zero-ohm resistor, which costs half a penny, and is connected to nothing.”
Oh dear. All of this leaves me with one question – is homoeopathy or Applied Kinesiology the better treatment for chronic credulity?