What is ANF?
Amino Neuro Frequency is a treatment system being taught mainly to physical therapists and chiropractors. To quote from the website:
ANF is a revolutionary holistic approach to pain and inflammation. Practitioners examine the body following the nerve paths and focus on finding the root cause of the patient’s problem. They apply ANF discs to the skin to reduce pain, remove inflammation and prevent it from spreading via the nervous and lymphatic systems. They use the discs in conjunction with manual therapy.
How does it work?
From the same website:
It uses a combination of frequency emitting wearable devices, the ANF Discs. Each disc is applied directly on the skin and activated by the body heat. They transmit a unique range of frequencies through the neurons in the body. The nervous system picks up these frequencies, starting a self-healing and self-regulating process. By improving the nervous system signaling directly at the cellular level, the effect of the treatment is much faster and has remarkable durable results. The ANF Therapy does not require the use of any drugs or chemicals.
ANF discs are one-inch patches that stick to the skin. They contain 22.8% organic carbon fragments that allegedly store and transfer radio frequency in the form of sub-harmonic signals, programmed to a specific frequency by a patented AFG device. It provides the biofield with information via sympathetic resonance; your body recognizes which targeted result the patch is supporting. The “connection from the patch to the body is made through the nervous system and the seven layers of bio energy the body naturally produces, the patch providing the signal to promote cellular communication to reduce stress and anxiety while restoring imbalances, as an example.”
I don’t buy any of that. Do you?
Can you buy the discs?
No, first you have to attend the courses to be qualified to use them. Each course introduces a range of discs. Course 1 introduces the use of the first 20 discs, which is sufficient to help 80% of all pain and inflammation cases. Multiple discs are used on each patient. In the videos, they have them stuck all over, prominently on their face, several in one anatomical area like the abdomen. The discs allegedly decrease pain levels within minutes and are effective for 72 hours.
There are three video testimonials from doctors who use ANF and claim to have gotten dramatic results treating everything from sprains to fibromyalgia. The titles of the videos list them as “doctor” and do not divulge that they are chiropractors rather than MDs. One describes a patient whose pain went from 10/10 to 2/10 mere minutes after the disc was applied. If the pain is caused by injury or inflammation, how could it resolve so quickly, without time for tissue repair?
There are patient testimonials, of course, which are always problematic. What is missing is any evidence from controlled scientific studies. We are asked to accept the efficacy of ANF on the basis of testimonials alone, with nothing resembling scientific evidence. And we all know that testimonials are not reliable evidence and that any quack or snake oil salesman can provide any number of testimonials (some from actual customers, some fabricated).
A student reports
We have a first-hand account. A physical therapist attended the level 1 course and described his experience.
First, he explains why he attended the course. His wife has multiple health issues and has been “miserable for the last ten years.” After multiple conventional practitioners had failed to help her, “it came time to look into doing some crazy stuff.” A friend gave her ANF disc treatments, and “Her energy changed, her skin tone changed, and she had a life again… [she was] starting to feel better for the first time in over a decade.”
He attended the course with “an open, yet skeptical mind.” He learned that the body is full of energy, and there are thousands of different frequencies (Hz) in the human body. The ANF discs have flexible carbon metal built in; they have varying frequencies meant to target different systems/structures/etc.
After ANF treatment, he was able to touch his toes for the first time in 20 years. The class was small (15) and students got at least two patients every hour to learn with. Every single patient got results, some more than others.
The class included a review of anatomy, especially the lymphatic system. He says, “We as clinicians very frequently forget how important the lymphatic system is for everything.” (Oh, really? How important? How do you know? And what does that have to do with the discs and frequencies? And I really doubt that it is important “for everything.”) ANF was taught as an adjunct to other treatments, not as a replacement.
He plans to use ANF in his practice, but he still has some questions. And I have some answers:
- How do we know what structure/system/cell/etc of the human body is what frequency? [We don’t.]
- How are the discs created and how do they hold their energy? [They won’t tell us how they are created, because they don’t want to reveal how bogus their proprietary method is. And they don’t hold energy.]
- What type of research was done specifically to develop treatment protocols? [None whatsoever.]
He assumed that the improvements he observed were produced by the discs. But the discs may have had nothing to do with it. There are other possible explanations for his observations: factors like attention, suggestion, relaxation, peer pressure, etc. To rule out the possibility that the discs are mere placebo, you would have to do a double-blind study. And it would be trivially easy to do. The manufacturer could supply placebo discs that had not been processed and programmed. If the ANF discs are truly effective, doing a proper placebo-controlled study would have validated their product and the expense of a study would have been an excellent investment that would give them bragging rights with great potential financial returns. No such study has been done. I think I can guess why.
I encourage you to go to this webpage and click on the video “Why Does It Work” where a patient asks that question and the therapist attempts to answer. He gives a hilarious non-answer filled with all kinds of pseudoscientific gibberish; it’s quite entertaining. Among other things, he explains that after treatment, the patient can expect to experience the symptoms of detox: dizziness, nausea, sweating, headache. He says this is a good sign because it shows that the body is healing; the symptoms can last for a couple of days.
“Embedded frequencies” are bogus
I have written about “Frequencies and Their Kindred Delusions” before. Some other products that claim to have embedded frequencies are Power Balance products, Ancestor Bands (they have the special frequencies that will put you in touch with your dead ancestors), and Philip Stein watches (with frequencies that will help you sleep).
They usually use the word “frequency” in isolation. But the word is meaningless unless you specify “frequency of what.” Frequency is defined as the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time, and you have to specify what event is repeating. Revolutions per minute (RPMs), heartbeats per minute, waves of light or sound, cycles per second. Hertz is the unit of frequency defined as one cycle per second.
There are a number of questionable websites like this one with long lists of frequencies for everything but the kitchen sink and the family cat: things like the body as a whole (62-72 Hz), individual organs (liver is 55-60 Hz), diseases (colds and flu are 57-60 Hz), “receptive to cancer” (42 Hz), canned food (zero Hz), fresh foods (20-27 Hz), and essential oils (320 Hz for rose oil). They mention nonsense like Rife generators, Kirlian photography, and electrodiagnostic devices derived from EAV (Electroacupuncture of Voll). Some even claim that if you maintain the proper body frequency you will never get sick. The claims on these websites are pseudoscientific balderdash, bull, codswallop, drivel, flapdoodle, piffle, and twaddle. Take your pick. The information on those websites is not to be trusted.
You can’t embed a frequency. You might be able to embed something that would produce vibrations or electromagnetic waves with a frequency, but it would require a power source. If a product contained a frequency generator, so what? It requires a phenomenal leap to imagine that exposing the body to that frequency would have a specific beneficial effect on an individual organ or that it would somehow improve human health.
Conclusion: “Embedded frequencies” are bogus
A little knowledge of basic science and human psychology should be enough to vaccinate people against believing the claims for ANF, especially in the absence of anything remotely resembling scientific evidence for its efficacy. In my opinion, it is a theatrical placebo like acupuncture.
This article was originally published in the Science-Based Medicine Blog.