Monday, February 22, 2021

#2443: Eric Zielinski

A.k.a. EricZ


Eric Zielinski, DC, is a chiropractor, essential oil salesman, and apparently a practitioner of “biblical healththrough an Atlanta-based online ministry. Despite his almost painful lack of relevant expertise, Zielinski is one of several (equally credible) “experts” used to provide anti-vaccine talking points in Ty Bollinger’s 2011 antivaccine conspiracy flick The Truth about Vaccines (thoroughly reviewed here, here, here, here and here.


Zielinski’s website, Natural Living Family, is primarily pushing essential oils for all sorts of conditions, backed up with vague but deeply religious fluff and occasional handwavy appeals to “valid research to suggest that they [essential oils] can help in a myriad of ways” with (e.g.) cancer, without actually citing any such research or even trying to specify the “myriad of ways” (when he pushes turmeric Zielinski tellingly cites Mike Adams as a researcher, no less). They do have plenty of quack miranda warnings, though. “Beat cancer God’s way” announces one of the articles, which recommends that you buy essential oils from him and otherwise put your trust in the will of God. “When it comes to beating cancer, or any disease for that matter, there is no right or wrong,” says Zielinski. There is, and Zielinski’s way is wrong. It is hard to fathom how reasonable people could fail to be put off by his grift, but then: reasonable people are probably not in his target audience. Desperate people in desperate situations constitute a far more profitable customer base.


Zielinski recommends for instance foregoing the flu shot and using his essential oils instead. “There is a growing body of research showing that various essential oils attenuate not only the flu, but other viruses as well,” says Zielinski, because he can say whatever he wants as long as it is vague enough not to be legally compromising.


Zielinski is not a nobody on the crazier fringe of Big Wellness, however, and he was found sufficiently notable to receive some attention in Netflix’s relentless balance-fallacy pushing in the documentary (Un)Well, from which Zielinski at least didn’t emerge entirely unscathed (“I mean, our most expensive masterclass is $77 dollars for digital access. I mean, anyone can afford that! […] Even if you’re on food stamps, government assistancehey, stop drinking Starbucks for two weeks in a row and there’s $75 bucks, right?). But even (Un)Well didn’t bring up Zielinski’s 5G fearmongering or his (subsequently deleted) attempts to downplay the coronavirus epidemic on social media.


Beyond Netflix, Zielinski may be most familiar for his involvement in Chad Tackett’s weight-loss scam: Zielinski, together with his wife Sabrina Ann (“Mama Z”), would recruit people for a “weight loss study” aimed at demonstrating the efficacy of Tackett’s program for a cut of the registration fee (people with any experience with real studies should have noticed plenty of red flags, but there are probably few of those on Zielinski’s mailing list). In 2018, the mailing list for “Dr. Eric and Mama Z’s Essential Oils” sent out an “URGENT” notice about a “university-sponsored” weight loss study in which[q]ualified applicants would “safely lose 10 Lbs” by the end of the following week. The study, of course, didn’t exist, and instead of admitting that, Zielinski doubled down and claimed, completely falsely, that the study was associated with actual doctors as well as with the University of Arizona.


Diagnosis: Oh, we have no doubt that he believes his own falsehoods and nonsense, but what he is engaged in is nevertheless a grift. Being deranged doesn’t relieve you from moral blame.

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