The Most Egregious Quantum Bullsh*t

Chris Ferrie
5 min readSep 11

Quantum energy. It’s a favorite term in alternative medicine, promising revolutionary breakthroughs and miraculous healings. But what is it really? And more importantly, is it legitimate or just another scam?

Just the Hype, Thank You

Quantum energy claims abound, but more often than not, the “quantum” tag appears to be nothing more than a buzzword. While it would be great if every product labeled “quantum” actually hinged on the discrete principles underpinning quantum physics (Hello, Planck’s constant!), most are simply using the classical idea of energy with a “quantum” sticker slapped on top. Examples are not hard to come by.

Enter the Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface (yes, it’s real), a device now outlawed in the U.S. but still being peddled by its fugitive creator from an old Budapest hotel. This device, like many others, claims to solve a plethora of health issues — from headaches to…cancer? These claims, as outrageous as they sound, morph frequently, making it hard to pin down what exactly these devices are supposed to do.

To add to the confusion, these devices often undergo frequent name changes. The aforementioned Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface? It’s now known as the Electro Physiological Feedback Xrroid. But for simplicity’s sake, let’s just call it the “Xrroid-thing.”

Bill Nelson, the so-called “inventor” of the Xrroid-thing, is an intriguing character. Not only have they made audacious claims about the device’s capabilities (like tumors literally falling out of a patient’s body post-Xrroid-treatment), but they’ve also adopted an alter ego, Desiré Dubounet, to give presentations about it. According to their probably self-populated IMDb page, Dubounet is also the producer of several erotic comedies, which are likely about as effective as quantum medicine is.

But the shock doesn’t end there. Believe it or not, over 20,000 Xrroid-things have been sold worldwide. Some even made their way into a U.S. hospital! What’s worse is that people have died — not by using them (they don’t do anything) but by using them in lieu of actual medicine for completely treatable illnesses. (Yeah, people died — hence the whole fugitive thing.) For my own health and sanity, I stopped my own plunge down the rabbit hole there. But if any true crime podcasts are reading this, you’re welcome.

Like the Xrroid-thing, the story of most “quantum” products quickly goes off the rails. Why is that?

Why Quantum?

Classical physics, which includes the work of Sir Isaac Newton, deals with large, visible objects and the forces acting upon them. Here, energy, whether kinetic (due to motion) or potential (due to position), is continuous and can change by any amount. This classical view reigned supreme until the end of the 19th century, when certain experimental results couldn’t be explained by classical theories, especially at atomic and subatomic levels.

The dawn of the 20th century saw the rise of a new theory, thanks initially to Max Planck. In 1900, trying to solve the black-body radiation problem (an anomaly where classical physics predicted wildly incorrect results), Planck introduced the radical idea that energy is quantized. Instead of being continuous, energy could only change in discrete amounts or “quanta.” This was a revolutionary shift from the classical view.

Planck’s constant, a tiny number approximately equal to


was introduced as the proportionality constant between the energy (E) of a photon and its frequency (v), represented by the equation E = hv. This quantization was the foundation upon which all of quantum physics was built.

While classical physics works excellently for everyday objects, quantum physics reigns supreme at atomic and subatomic scales. But everyday objects are made of atoms, so — in a sense — everything is quantum. It’s just that the characteristic discreteness is so small as to be irrelevant…except when it’s not.

Real Quantum Energy

Imagine the difference between “classical” and quantum energy, as it relates to your daily life anyway, like this. Some large amount of energy is hitting you. It’s discrete, so it’s made of tiny particles — like little balls. What we call “classical” energy is the scenario in which there are lots of particles with low energy, like being hit with billions of packing peanuts. Fun, right? If the energy is “quantum,” it means the discreteness is noticeable — all the energy is packed into a single particle, like a bullet. Not so much fun.

In fact, this scenario is probably happening to you right now. On one hand, visible light from your computer screen is made of countless tiny particles called photons. Visible light has a modest frequency, so the energy each of these photons possesses is not a problem. However, you are also being bombarded by thousands of high-energy particles called muons that are ricocheted from the upper atmosphere by constant rain of cosmic rays hitting Earth. Most of these tiny bullets pass right through you. But the ones that hit your atoms have enough energy to do damage. (You may have heard this referred to as ionizing radiation.) Ionizing radiation is what comes from radioactive material, which is why it is considered dangerous, highly regulated, and handled only by professionals. This is the “real” quantum energy.

Ionizing radiation is useful in many areas of science, technology, and medicine. But here’s the thing: It’s been developed and tested by millions of expert scientists and engineers over the past century. If you believe some rogue self-styled professor has harnessed it in their garage to create a product “doctors don’t want you to know about,” then…well…like quantum energy, your life might end up being more discrete than continuous.

Red Flags in the Digital Age

We’ve all seen them: enticing YouTube videos that lead us down a rabbit hole of dubious websites, each one more suspicious than the last. By the time you’re asked for your credit card details, you’re not even sure what you’re purchasing. And let’s face it, if an online deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Next time you’re faced with such a situation, take my advice: Clear your browser and soothe your soul with some Bob Ross videos.

While it can be entertaining (and sometimes horrifying) to delve into the world of quantum energy scams, the reality is these products can be dangerous. Opting for a vibrating hat over seeking advice from a medical professional could have dire consequences. So the next time you’re faced with a product boasting “quantum” benefits, remember the case of the Xrroid.

Have you ever encountered “quantum” products? Share your experiences in the comments. If you want to learn more about what exactly quantum physics is and isn’t, grab a copy of Quantum Bullsh*t.

Chris Ferrie

Quantum theorist by day, father by night. Occasionally moonlighting as a author.