Some believe that there is no such thing as a coincidence, while others think that coincidences are everywhere and include the fact that humans are here and having such discussions. Regardless of where you might stand, it’s clear that occasionally there are confluences of events that are nearly poetic.
Such a confluence, I suggest, begins with the recent report of a study comparing knee joint replacement surgery with noninvasive options. Skou et al described in the New England Journal of Medicine their study which looked at 100 patients who were randomly assigned to surgical treatment plus nonsurgical follow-up versus a group which received only nonsurgical treatment.
At the same time, a commercial is running on various television channels in which spokesperson and former game show host (Love Connection, Dating Game, etc.) Chuck Woolery speaks with deep feeling about a device called the Willow Curve. The Willow Curve is shown to feature a dazzling display of sequentially flashing lights inside the titular curved object, which fits nicely over one’s knee (or as later images show, just about any part of the body you can imagine). According to a report of a 2013 phase I clinical trial, the Curve “emits thermal kinetic energy and photonic energy” and was developed to treat chronic knee pain. A laser is involved, which is always a plus. This may not be scientific, but the only way to describe the Willow Curve is that it looks wicked cool and as if it came straight out of Star Trek (it looks like a close cousin of Bones McCoy’s tricorder), or Star Wars.
That, of course, brings us to the third element of the poetic confluence. In mere weeks (December 18, 2015…tickets selling fast already) the next installment of the Star Wars franchise will arrive in theaters.
There is no apparent marketing connection between the movie and the Curve, but that will remain an open question until the film is actually released. It’s easy to imagine that the aging Princess Leia or Han Solo or even Chewbacca would be suffering from knee osteoarthritis. As a result, it would make sense if something very much like or exactly like the Willow Curve were suddenly whipped out by a medical person (played by former actor, libertarian, and gun advocate…thanks Wikipedia…Chuck Woolery), applied to said knee or knees or elbows or whatever, with the patient then leaping up ready to dance around and wield a lightsaber as in the old days.
Han: “Leia! Look out behind you!”
(Leia spins, leaps aside to avoid a blaster ray and uses her lightsaber to hack off the arm of an Imperial Stormtrooper, who stares at the arm in disbelief)
Leia: “Thank the Force for the Willow Curve. I could never have made that move the way my knees used to feel!”
Han (leaping to deliver a kick to another Storm Trooper): “Ditto!”
Someone not given to choosing flashy over mundane in treating her joint pain might want to consider the TenDlite, which looks like a pocket flashlight producing red instead of white light. The company says that it is an “Anti-Inflammatory & Analgesic LED Light Therapy Device.” Note that a laser isn’t involved here but a red LED light is. Much more economical no doubt (and available on Amazon). Their promise: “joint pain relief is possible by using TenDlite®.” The emphasis is mine, intended to highlight the company’s admirable willingness to recognize life’s many uncertainties. There is no mention of clinical trials or studies, but there is a nice photo of a group of people with lab coats and stethoscopes.