There was a hilarious interview on Newsnight last night between Jeremy Paxman and an Amercian called Paul Dennison, who is the creator of “Brain Gym.” Brain gym, for those of you not in the know, is an exercise technique increasingly used in schools all over the world (including several thousand in the UK, apparently) as a means to sharpen children’s mental powers. Seemingly derived from acupuncture, the technique works on the assumption that there is a series of reflex points, or “brain buttons,” positioned all over the body, and that stimulating these improves blood flow to the brain, thereby increasing concentration, mental alertness and so on. Dennison’s grilling by Paxman was preceded by interviews with various scientists, who dismissed the theory as nonsense.
A wide-eyed mumbo-jumbo spouting Californian would-be guru like Dennison was always going to prove easy fodder for the likes of Paxman; and so it proved. “Can you just explain what a brain button is, please?” Paxman began, feigning interest, before having fun with Dennison’s wackier claims—among them, the belief that the human body is “electrical” and that “processed foods do not contain water.” (By way of justifying the second of these propositions, Dennison expressed his view that “pure water is more active and immediately available to the brain,” which to my mind made him sound unerringly like the demented General Ripper in Dr Strangelove, with his talk of “pure bodily essences” and the threat of “fluoridation”).
The inverview is well worth watching—someone should put it on YouTube—but at the moment the only way to see it is by going to the Newsnight site, clicking on “Watch Last Night’s Programme,” and then scrolling through the programme until you get to it (it starts on just over 30 minutes).
Extra Note: Actually, I tell a lie….as as the enigmatic commenter “K” has pointed out, you can actually see just that bit by clicking on the relevant link here.
Extra Note mark 2: Actually, it’s not me, but “K,” who is telling the lie; that link only connects to the report that preceded the interview. I think you do have to scroll through the actual programme to see the interview.