Disclaimer: This article is the author's statement, based on her own conclusions about Cosmo Dr. came after she had attended several sessions herself.
Some of you may have come across their pop-up showrooms at locations in Selangor.
In these, some elderly people sit in chairs and pay close attention to young and happy showmen in brightly colored Afro wigs beating drums to celebrate the healing miracles of chronic body pain.
If you thought that there was already a lot going on in this sentence, the reality might confuse you even more.
I am speaking of the ongoing fad of Cosmo Dr. in the elderly in Malaysia.
It is believed to be a form of physical therapy that uses "high-voltage electrotherapy devices" to relieve headaches, stiff shoulder, insomnia and constipation.
However, younger relatives of these targeted elderly have expressed their dubious thoughts about this surgery.
A fraudulent operation, relatives claim
"This is a scam operation aimed at unsuspecting elderly people," described a Redditor on the r / malaysia thread.
The Redditor went on to describe how the operation worked and how concerned he was with how his elderly relatives were falling for the sellers' claims.
Cosmo Dr. has been operating in Malaysia since the second half of 2019 and operates pop-up showrooms across the country.
These showrooms have chairs with mats that are said to conduct electricity after being connected to a central machine that generates the electricity.
A show person describing how the machines work / Photo credit: Cosmo Goodness Malaysia's Facebook
These currents, according to the brand, help alleviate a number of health problems that older people face.
To make the experience even more appealing to these old people, the service is completely free and open to them every day.
However, there are of course several catches.
To be too good to be true
First, Cosmo is Dr. still a brand that advertises its own products, which can cost up to RM 12,000.
During the sessions, people were shown photo claims of diseases the machine would cure, including cancer, stroke, diabetes, and even skin burns.
All of this is meant to "prove" that their devices are working and close sales from people who have been virtually brainwashed to believe it.
Second, the troops never stay in the same area for more than 3 months.
They move from area to area and some fans will follow to keep participating in the free sessions.
Those who met Cosmo Dr. Skeptical about this have come to the conclusion that this is a tactic used to create a sense of urgency in purchasing their products.
Some time before they actually move, the sellers also use psychological manipulative tactics.
Skeptics have made the following claims made by Cosmo Dr. highlighted as just a few examples of their manipulation tactics:
- Regret that rental costs in the current region are too high requiring them to move or sell more products;
- They say they can no longer sell enough products to keep the free sessions going. or,
- They claim that they sell so many products that the few that still have them can now get a discount while they're still in the area.
As someone who has actually attended several of these sessions at Seksyen Seventeen, Petaling Jaya, at the urging of a close relative, I can vouch for many of these claims and accounts by skeptics to be true.
And as someone who personally deals with important health issues and has them monitored by actual health professionals, I am also a skeptic.
What happens there?
Let me share more details about my own experience to learn more about how absurd the operation is.
The service is available from 10 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. That is why the room is often filled with old people.
During the 15 minute "therapy session" you will be instructed not to speak, sleep, or use your phone as the "radiation" will interfere with the effectiveness of the therapy.
The showmen claim that these machines "massage the blood vessels" and increase your "natural healing powers" by charging electrons in your body.
This “cleanses dirty blood” to cure many participants of a variety of diseases, including cancer.
After that there was a testimony sharing session where they walked across the room to stamp our attendance cards and ask if we had felt any improvement from their therapy.
After collecting some stories, the show people took a small Chinese drum to beat a rhythm while sharing the good news from the participants.
Together they would get everyone to raise their thumbs and shout "very good" together.
They keep their thumbs up to ease the pain of their teammates / Cosmo Goodness Malaysia's Facebook
Electrotherapy is real, but …
Like the younger relatives named above, I have many concerns about Cosmo Dr.
There are claims that Cosmo Dr. surpasses the performance of its products, but I also couldn't find a proper expert opinion on whether these devices work or not.
At the moment it is only confirmed that Cosmo Dr. Has been around for a while at least since 2007 (especially in Singapore).
While we are unsure of the company's status in the eyes of the MOH, we have confirmed that several of its devices are registered with the Medical Device Authority Malaysia (MDA).
These are the 4 devices from Cosmo Dr. that are registered with the Medical Device Authority Malaysia
Publisher's Note: Previously, we falsely and generally claimed that Cosmo Dr. be not MOH certified. We have since changed the paragraph above to reflect greater accuracy.
The first three devices in the image list are Class B devices, which means they have low to moderate risk, while the fourth device is Class A, which represents minimal risk.
Note, however, that medical device registration in Malaysia does not generally require clinical trials.
Electrotherapy is a real form of therapy. It's a gentle and non-invasive method that stimulates nerves and muscles through the surface of the skin.
"We physiotherapists use electrotherapy to treat chronic pain, musculoskeletal injuries, muscle wasting and nerve pain through targeted and controlled electrical stimulation."
This was said by June Ho, a member of the Malaysian Physiotherapy Association (MPA) who has worked in pain relief, stroke rehabilitation and sports injuries for the past 5 years.
Since electrotherapy differs depending on the device used, she shared that it is supposed to work in different ways:
- Sending electrical impulses that block or interfere with the body's pain signals and result in less pain
- Release of endorphins that naturally relieve pain in the body,
- Stimulating muscle tissue to correct muscle atrophy,
- Creating a warming effect in the body that improves blood circulation and stimulates healing,
- Stimulating cells that reduce inflammation, promote collagen production, and inhibit pain.
The difference between electrotherapy by experienced practitioners and Cosmo Dr. however, is that the former is targeted and the latter is not.
Electrotherapy works because it is applied to specific areas of the body that need help.
Sitting on a mat with electricity running through your bum then probably won't do much for diseases above or below that area.
While it is fair for us to have our doubts, I cannot say for sure that Cosmo was Dr. doesn't work, at least until a study or research proves it.
What we can question, however, is how it is marketed to the elderly with no studies or research to suggest that it actually works.
The real worth of Cosmo Dr.
It can not be denied. Old people love the service. They are happy to be there and come back for free every day.
As long as the machines don't harm their bodies in the long run, I don't see anything wrong with them enjoying the free company and free service.
Participants are waiting for their turn to be treated by / Cosmo Goodness Malaysia on Facebook
But sick old people are also desperate for treatment.
Cosmo Dr. lure them in first with this free service that makes the elderly addicted.
When the elderly move away, they can choose to follow treatment to the next location or buy their machines.
They are never forced to buy the machines, but the desperation of never receiving treatment again can be so urgent that the elderly use their savings to buy one.
Why the urgency? Because you can't see any improvement if you don't do it every day.
And that is the main problem I and many other relatives have with those who are involved in Cosmo Dr. are entangled.
The sense of urgency that Cosmo Dr. generated later is undeniably unethical, especially towards distressed, sick old people.
That being said, the fact that the service takes old people out of their homes to meet new friends and be pampered by the showmen and machines isn't a bad thing.
It could be argued that the "improvements" many older people experience after each session could simply be the result of interacting with others and having fun with them.
Usually this group tends to snoop around miserably at home alone, and the mental state can also negatively affect the physical body.
Hence the real value of Cosmo Dr. for me, how older people are brought into an external environment and showered with attention and companions.
Get expert help, not a chair mat
Regarding the actual healing with electrotherapy, June had some advice to share with our elderly relatives.
"I would recommend these elderly populations to actually seek professional medical advice instead of sitting in a chair that doesn't have proper scientific approval or doesn't know how the machine's electricity gets into our bodies," she said.
She added that we need to make sure that the currents flowing into our bodies are not harming us either, which is worrying as studies and research on Cosmo Dr. and their effectiveness is lacking.
There is no short cut in healing your body as it takes effort to get results. Get a proper diagnosis and treatment from real and certified physical therapists who can create a specific and correct treatment plan for your body and health.
June Ho, an MPA certified physical therapist
Selected image source: Cosmo Goodness Malaysia Sdn Bhd