Neuroplasticity Nonsense Is Full of Red Flags

Adora Winquist offers advice about neuroplasticity, but hers is not the language of science or reality.

Can this alchemist provide credible information about neuroplasticity? I don’t think so!

Neuroplasticity is real and is being used in rehabilitation. We have learned that the adult brain can grow new neurons and the brain can be re-wired to function in new ways. In a recent email I was offered an interview with Adora Winquist to learn about neuroplasticity. I declined. There were red flags galore in the invitation and on Winquist’s website, and I realized I could not learn anything useful about the science of neuroplasticity from her.

Her top 5 tips to optimize neuroplasticity are essential oils, meditation, diet, exercise, and music. There is some evidence that some of these can enhance neuroplasticity, but nowhere does she mention evidence or science. She has a new book out: Detox, Nourish, Activate: Plant and Vibrational Medicine for Energy, Mood, and Love. There are already two alternative medicine buzzwords in that title, detox and vibrational medicine, but it gets worse. Adora has managed to pack in an incredible number of red flags. As the Nobel Prizes are being announced, she deserves some kind of prize too, for the most prolific use of the red flags that signal alternative medicine nonsense.

She is the founder of The Soul Institute, an innovator in the field of aromatherapy and energy medicine, and “a visionary in the nascent field of Quantum Alchemy, an evolutionary transformative path for self-mastery which facilitates healing at the DNA level using an amalgamation of plant and vibrational modalities”. Her initial product line, Rhiamon Energy Essentials, was one of the first to combine aromatherapy and energy healing. She went on to create ADORAtherapy, an award-winning aromatherapy brand. She supports women in the awakening journey of the Divine Feminine. She teaches veterans to make their own medicines with herbs, essential oils, and mindfulness techniques. She is a modern alchemist and an expert on crystals. She created Aromatic Neural Repatterning (ANR) to rewire the brain to expect positive experiences.

She makes a number of questionable claims without providing any evidence.

  • Eating blueberries will soak up toxins and can maintain and even grow new brain cells.
  • Tension and stress can rip apart the neurons and release toxins that damage synapses.
  • If you listen to your favorite concerto for 10 minutes a day for a week, you will notice changes in your mental and emotional outlook and response.
  • There are “superfoods” such as turmeric and Goji.
  • Essential oils hold a full spectrum of vibration and sacred geometry.
  • Essential oils are a most potent form of alchemy, encoded with ancient earthly and cosmic frequencies that clear, awaken, align, and activate our innate healing ability throughout the DNA.
  • They work synergistically and holographically with the nervous system to clear trauma.
  • There is an auric field.
  • Eucalyptus oil carries the vibrations of expansion and freedom. It is one of the best oils to clear stagnant energy and emotions.

That’s not the language of science or reality. It’s more than enough to convince any thinking person that she lives outside the universe of science and in a world of fantasy, wishful thinking, and wild imagination. She didn’t hit every possible red flag, but she managed to hit a great many. I advocate science-based medicine, so her only interest to me is as a bad example. If understanding what science-based medicine ISN’T can help people understand what it IS, her example may be useful. She represents the epitome of non-science-based medicine. I wonder if she even knows what science means.

Conclusion: Adora Winquist’s vision of neuroplasticity is not reliable

You may call it fantasy, imagination, or wishful thinking. Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with evidence or science and can’t be trusted.

This article was originally published in the Science-Based Medicine Blog.

Dr. Hall is a contributing editor to both Skeptic magazine and the Skeptical Inquirer. She is a weekly contributor to the Science-Based Medicine Blog and is one of its editors. She has also contributed to Quackwatch and to a number of other respected journals and publications. She is the author of Women Aren’t Supposed to Fly: The Memoirs of a Female Flight Surgeon and co-author of the textbook, Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions.

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