BioRhythms - Science or Pseudoscience?

The idea of biorhythms first appeared in the late 19th century, when a doctor named Wilhelm Fliess came up with the idea that women ran on a 28-day cycle and men on a 23-day cycle. The theory of biorhythm owes its origin to a friend of Sigmund Freud named Wilhelm Fliess.

BioRhythms - Science or Pseudoscience?

The idea of biorhythms first appeared in the late 19th century, when a doctor named Wilhelm Fliess came up with the idea that women ran on a 28-day cycle and men on a 23-day cycle. The theory of biorhythm owes its origin to a friend of Sigmund Freud named Wilhelm Fliess. A nose and throat doctor who thought sexual abnormalities could be corrected by applying cocaine to the genital areas of the nose, Fliess began the theory after observing that waxing and decreasing the physical health of his patients appeared to occur in 23-day cycles. Subsequent studies by other researchers further developed the theory and also revealed 28-day emotional and 33-day intellectual cycles, increasing, decreasing and repeating, a series of sinusoidal waves that begin at birth and continue reliably until death. Since then, a number of further lengthier cycles have been proposed, each of which continues the 5-day rise in period:- For example, the 38-day intuitional cycle, the 43-day aesthetic cycle, and the 53-day spiritual cycle have all been proposed.

Derived from Greek roots, biographies (life), and rhythms (movement or movement that occur regularly), biorhythm can be considered as the holistic mathematical system of the body that can predict, or when studied, consciously control certain aspects of life, such as high performance, creativity and emotions receptivity.

In a sort of last breath for biorhythms, an expert spoke to Hartford Courant ahead of the 1988 Super Bowl between Washington and Denver. A 1978 study on the incidence of industrial accidents found no empirical or theoretical support for the biorhythm model. The study showed that unsafe driving behaviors were directly correlated with the biorhythm of drivers, which was analyzed by biorhythm software, which showed connections between unsafe driving behaviors and the “critical days” recorded in their biorhythmic cycles. A 1978 New York Times story said that managers of several Major League Baseball teams adjusted pitch rotations according to biorhythms and that five NFL teams used them to explore opponents.The first team to exploit computer scouting, the Dallas Cowboys, was also the club that invested the most in biorhythms. In the midst of a very serious effort to determine which one was more important, the biorhythms of horses or their jockeys, a breeder in Maryland reported receiving ten calls a week asking for the birthdays of her horses.

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There is a requirement for statistical evaluation when dealing with instances and chance.

As interest in biorhythms began to resurface again in the 1970s, several cases of tragedies occurring to people on single, double or triple days of lows or crucial switchings, as well as numerous examples of triumphs occurring to others when their rhythms suggested high points, emerged. Disasters may include things like plane accidents on bad days for the pilot, while triumphs could include things like sporting victories on good days for the pilot.

In the majority of cases, no effort was taken to determine the degree to which such incidents were statistically unlikely to occur in the general population, or to trace the overall pattern of such events throughout the course of an individual's life. Without sound statistical analysis, such collections of evidence are mostly meaningless if they allow the researcher to cherry-pick the data, that is, to look for occurrences that support the theory under investigation while disregarding events that are in opposition to it.

Skeptical evaluations of the various biorhythm proposals led to a series of criticisms that criticized the issue published in the 1970s and 1980s. Shortly thereafter, Swiss biorhythm expert George Thommen warned that Gable would soon face a double critical day, and that his health was in danger. Both the theoretical basis and the practical scientific verification of the theory of biorhythm are lacking. 

Poor Scientific Falsification?

The notion of biorhythms would have researchers think that accidents, and other calamities, are far more likely to occur on "important" days than on other days. So most research focused on such data. In a 1979 research published in the Journal of Safety Research, Wood et al. concluded that an investigation of 700 incidents resulting in ER admissions revealed no evidence of biorhythm impacts. Reilly et al. found no evidence of biorhythm effects in 610 top-ranked European female track and field competitors over a full season in 1983. Similarly, investigations examining naval pilot landing skills, college quiz scores, suicide dates, and death dates, among others, all failed to demonstrate statistically significant impacts.

In 1975, Williamson conducted a study of helicopter accidents and discovered that 58 percent of the incidents in his sample occurred on biorhythmically "important" days. He stated that slavish adherence to the actual date of a critical day is not always rational; while someone born a few minutes after midnight is undoubtedly closer to the preceding day than someone born 12 hours later, their biorhythms are identical; similarly, someone born nearly 24 hours later at a few minutes before midnight is undoubtedly closer to the following day. To circumvent the cut-"artificial" off's character, Williamson decided it was prudent to include both the day before and the day following a vital day. However, when it came to trumpeting his nearly threefold increase in positive results over other trials, he (and others following suit) appear to have forgotten that, whereas previously we used only 20.4 percent of critical days, he was now using nearly three times as many, and thus would expect nearly three times as many "positives" simply by chance, in fact around 58 percent!

Indeed, Hines' 1998 evaluation of 132 published research, which included examination of over 25,000 incidents, discovered "no suggestion" of a biorhythm impact, even when only events involving significant human error were included. It is troubling that the books devoted to promoting biorhythm neglect to mention much of this body of work, much of it conducted by safety professionals with the goal of unearthing any such effects so they can be profitably exploited, that has singularly failed to reveal any biorhythm effects that survive objective statistical analysis.

BUT: That's not what BioRhythms are about!

I like to treat BioRhythms like weather forecasts. It is useful to take an umbrella with you when rain is forecast. Whether it can be scientifically proven that I got wet or not is irrelevant. A scientific refutation is therefore not provided for my own use. 

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Floyd Bellafiore
Floyd Bellafiore

Award-winning music advocate. Devoted travel junkie. Certified social media evangelist. Award-winning web buff. Hardcore internet fanatic. Incurable zombie specialist.

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