Tuesday, December 31, 2013

#851: Michio Kushi

Michio Kushi is something of a grand old man in the domain of food and health woo, which he mixes with an unhealthy dash of spiritual development talk. He is responsible for introducing the idea of macrobiotics to the Western world. Macrobiotics is an arbitrary schema for breaking the foods consumed by human beings down into yin and yang foods, and subsequently proposing a balance scheme. Sticking to the scheme will then help you achieve significant life extension and prevent cancer (that particular idea is discussed here and here). According to the material issued by Kushi’s institute the macrobiotic way of life should include chewing food at least 50 times per mouthful (or until it becomes liquid), not wearing synthetic or woolen clothing next to the skin, avoiding long hot baths or showers, having large green plants in your house to enrich the oxygen content of the air, and singing a happy song every day.

Yes, it is complete bullshit, but his ideas have nevertheless achieved significant popularity. And no, it is not “ancient wisdom” (as if that would have made a difference). The idea was invented by Georges Ohsawa in the 1930s, who also proposed that the blue or gray smoke coming out the front of a cigarette is yin (cancer-causing) while the yellow or orange smoke coming out the back that the smoker breathes in is yang, and who subsequently died of smoking-related cancer. There is a discussion of the macrobiotics crackpottery here.

But food woo is big stuff, and Kushi has his own center in Massachusetts, where “health comes naturally.” According to Kushi, natural and macrobiotic medicine encompasses: (a) astrological diagnosis; (b) aura and vibrational diagnosis – allegedly based on the color, frequency, ‘heat,’ and intensity of a one's "radiating aura" and "vibrations"; (c) consciousness and thought diagnosis, a variation of mind reading; (d) environmental diagnosis, whose theory posits “celestial influences”; (e) meridian diagnosis, which purportedly reveals valuable information about "internal energy flow"; (f) pressure diagnosis, which supposedly reveals “stagnation of the streaming energy”; and (g) spiritual diagnosis, an apparent variation of aura analysis. Yep, absolutely everything is there.

Diagnosis: Hardcore crackpot and woo extremist. Kushi has long been, and remains, one of the most seriously influential pusher of questionable (well, completely delusional) regimes out there and must be considered extremely dangerous.


  1. I don't know, I would say that singing a happy song every day was a splendid idea and not 'complete bullshit' as claimed.

  2. Been a follower of Macrobiotics since 1969. Wouldn't have it any other way. As a result my family and I have remained drug free(medicinal and otherwise), vaccine free, active, hearty, happy and healthy.
    Yin /yang are nothing more than a means of categorically classifying all phenomena in terms of opposites. Up/down, male/female, night/day, positive/negative, hard/soft, winter/summer, red/violet, hot/cold, centrifugal/centripetal, small/large, solid/hollow, ... Macrobiotic principles define our way of life as well as choice of a plant based diet: whole grains, seasonal fruits and vegetables (including seaweed), legumes, nuts, seeds, enzyme-rich fermented foods( miso, tempeh, natto, sauerkraut, pickles) but no food is verboten, it's about moderation and balance.
    By the way George Ohsawa did not die of lung cancer, it was attributed to heart failure.