How my ideas have changed the world
Pacing, and The Standing Computer Posture
My name is Max Banfield and I have been doing medical research for forty years, and have recently found that my ideas are now being taught at universities all around the world.
For example, they are being taught at the University of South Australia, and Flinders, Monash, and Griffith Universities, and used by Fitness Australia, Baker IDI, and the National Heart Foundation, and have been reported in the Adelaide News, The West Australian, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Washington Post, and have been discussed on the Today Tonight, and Sixty Minutes TV shows.
However, most people don’t know my name, and I haven’t been paid, so I will now describe what happened.
In 1975 I had a lot of health problems which were not responding to any form of treatment, and none were evident on blood tests or x-rays, so whenever I asked my doctor what to do next he would shrug his shoulders.
I considered that those ailments had probably existed for thousands of years and that if no-one had been able to treat them effectively in the past that I had better try to develop my own treatment methods.
I was also having trouble with exertion so I developed some methods of exercising in my own way and at my own pace.
I later invented the Standing Computer Posture, and discovered that the chest pain was due to postural pressure which displaced the eighth rib and made it loose and occasionally slip to pinch a nerve.
Those problems had previously been thought to have a psychological basis, and yet I had discovered physical causes, so I often wondered why I hadn’t become rich and famous, but then one day about four years ago, I met a physiotherapy student who would occasionally talk about those ideas, and I eventually asked him if he knew that I had developed them, and he said that he didn’t.
I therefore became more and more curious about how those ideas, which did not exist before I started, and which had attracted hostile arguments when I produced them, were now being taught to university students as if they were standard knowledge which had always been known.
Since then I have looked for the reasons and have found them, and I would now like to describe what happened in more detail for anyone who is interested, including the many millions of patients who have been helped by my treatment methods.
How I started
As I said in the introduction, none of the ailments were evident on diagnostic tests, so they were almost universally considered to have a psychological cause.
However, I knew that leaning toward a desk was causing me pain, so if I did any reading or writing I would soon develop an ache in my upper abdomen which would then become gradually worse until I stopped.
I also knew that if I did my own research it would involve a lot of reading and writing so I established a plan of reading for a few minutes and then spending most of my time thinking about each small amount of information.
It was based on the idea that if you walk only one step at a time you can eventually travel a mile.
I therefore purchased a small medical dictionary and began reading about one or two diseases in alphabetical order, for a few minutes, and then lay on my back and consider them for the remainder of the day.
I also made observations of the various factors which induced each symptom, and looked at diagrams in books of anatomy to locate the relevant sites of pain.
When I began reading research journals I didn’t know the meaning of many of the words, so I also began learning the medical language at the rate of one or two words a day.
My first ideas
I knew that leaning toward a desk was causing abdominal pain, and soon observed that I would sometimes get that pain when I bent down to tie up my shoelaces, and occasionally felt breathless when leaning toward a bench, and would feel faint and weak when squatting down and leaning forward, so I concluded that the movement was placing the weight of my head and shoulders forwards and downward on my chest and abdomen, and compressing my ribs, lungs, stomach, and kidneys etc.
I then found a mechanism whereby leaning forward could compress the air in the chest to reduce the blood flow between the feet and brain and cause faintness, and then combined all of those ideas together into one essay called The Matter of Framework, which was published in the Australasian Nurses Journal in June 1980, and which I have since called The Posture Theory.
Also, as I mentioned in the introduction, I needed to treat the problems related to exertion, so when I found out about a research organisation in North Adelaide, which was conducting exercise programs under medical supervision for members of the public, I decided to enrol.
However even those experts couldn’t find any evidence of disease so when I had trouble with their standard exercise program they told me to think positive, ignore my symptoms, and keep up with the other runners, and that I should go faster and faster each week in order to achieve a cure.
Nevertheless when I tried to do that my symptoms became worse so I had to consider what to do.
In that regard, if I left the program I would only be able to ask my doctor for advice, but it was clear that he didn’t know what to do, so I decided to continue, but the only way to do that was to slow down, and develop my own methods, and proceed at my own rate.
There were many problems, and they were complicated and difficult to evaluate, but I was able to increase the frequency of training from twice per week, to three times at the institutes venues. and later to an additional four times per week on my own at local ovals and parks.
At about ten months after I started I injured my knee and had to stop, but I continued to study the problems.
My exercise research
About two or three years later I was reading a book at the Adelaide University medical library when I read that researchers were trying to determine the physiological affects of regular exercise, but they couldn’t because their patients were not completing the twelve weeks of training required.
I knew exactly what the problems were, and that they were so complicated that nobody else was ever likely to solve them, but that I knew what to do.
However I had been doing research on my own, so I didn’t know how to contact those individuals.
Another year of more went by when I was walking down North Terrace in the city and met a friend of mine.
His name was Clive Thelning who I met several years earlier when I was studying leadership in a course called Group Work.
He was blind and sitting on his own, so I decided to talk to him, and found him to be as easy to have a conversation with as a sighted person, and it wasn’t long before he became friends with many of the other students.
When I completed the four year part time course each student was encouraged to do another two years full time study to get a degree, but I decided to leave.
However Clive said that he completed his degree and was then working as a psychologist in the North Eastern suburbs.
He then asked me what I was doing but I didn’t want to embarrass him by saying that I had proven that chronic fatigue was a physical and not a mental problem, but he persisted with his questions so I told him about The Posture Theory.
He was very enthusiastic about that idea so I also told him that I knew how to solve a major research problem related to exercise, but that I didn’t know who to talk to about it.
He then said that he was a member of the Adelaide West Lions club, and that he met Tony Sedgwick there, and that he was the head of the research institute where I had trained, and that he was a friendly and approachable person who would be receptive to my ideas.
My first meeting with Tony Sedgwick (in 1982)
I therefore phoned him to arrange a meeting, and when I arrived at the venue there was a muddy four wheel drive vehicle parked near the entrance with two canoes on top, and I thought that if he was the owner we should get on well because that is the sort of activity that I was involved in when I was a teenager.
When I spoke to the receptionist I told her that I had an appointment, and just then Tony came walking along the corridor, so I was introduced to him.
He told her to cancel all phone calls for half an hour because he was having a meeting, and asked me to follow him.
When he opened the door to his office I expected to see about a dozen men dressed in black suits and ties, and white shirts, sitting around a long table, but soon realised that it was just going to be a meeting with him.
He was a very easy person to talk to, partly because of his affable nature, but also because he would have known about the research problem, so I explained that I had trained with his organisation for ten months about seven years earlier, and that he could check his files to confirm it.
I then told him about the overseas researchers who were having trouble getting patients to train for only twelve weeks, and described how I could easily solve that problem by writing a set of guidelines to explain how I did it for nearly a year, and that many other patients would then be able to do it by using the same method.
I also said that it would then be possible for any researcher in the world to organise exercise programs with success, and then be able to get any information they wanted about the effects of regular training, including data on the thyroid, the adrenals, or the nervous system etc.
He was very enthusiastic about the idea, and I knew that he had two professional medical researchers working at this institute, one who appeared to be in his late thirties, and the other in his mid fifties who would have had a lot of experience.
I therefore asked him if he could discuss my method with them to see if they would be prepared to conduct a project to scientifically verify it’s effectiveness.
During that meeting I also discussed my other ideas and explained how I developed The Posture Theory.
My second meeting with Tony Sedgwick
I phoned him again about two weeks later and he arranged another meeting at which he said that his researchers were too busy on other projects, so I was about to get up and leave, but was then surprised when he asked me to organise it myself.
I reminded him that I didn’t have any medical qualifications, and therefore didn’t think that I could be authorised to do such a study, but he then explained that I had the experience and qualifications to establish a committee of suitably qualified members who could authorise it.
I then said that if I did the research, I didn’t want to do the instructing as well, and that I would need someone who had experience with different types of diseases and exercise regimes, so that he would understand the importance of adhering to my guidelines.
He then said that he had several instructors with the relevant experience and would choose one for me to interview to confirm his suitability.
I also told him that I didn’t think that a medical journal would publish the research paper even if I produced it, so I would have to give the matter some thought and let him know later.
During the next two weeks I had to make a decision, but I knew that doing all of that research would require me to do a lot of reading and writing at a desk which would be causing a lot of pain, so I definitely didn’t want to do it, but I wanted the problems to be solved in my lifetime, so I decided to agree.
My third meeting with Tony Sedgwick
At our next meeting I gave Tony my decision and we began planning what to do next.
I didn’t think that his two researchers, who were both older than me, would be overly keen on following my instructions, but he said that he would be on the committee, and that he would arrange for them to do all the medicals and provide the results on file, and then he gave me some contact details for doctors who may be interested in participating in a research project.
As our meeting ended he asked me to follow him to a bookshelf in the corner of his office, and he withdrew a book and read a quote from Machiavelli, which I can paraphrase . . .
“Whenever someone produces a new idea he is likely to have thousands of hostile and vindictive enemies who benefited from the old ideas, and would try to crush and destroy them at the slightest sign of weakness, and a small number of lukewarm supporters who would abandon them when there was the slightest sign of trouble”.
I told him that I was familiar with that concept but that I had problems to solve regardless.
The early phase of the project
I interviewed several doctors over the next few weeks, and between myself and Tony, managed to recruit the numbers required to authorise that the project met all safety, ethical, and scientific standards, and was likely to produce useful results.
I also interviewed the instructor and found him to be suitable, and explained the exercise regime in detail, and prepared some basic written guidelines for him to follow.
I also told him that if he had any problems he could phone me and I would tell him how to solve them.
We also needed to recruit some patients to the program, so I contacted Diane Beer who was one of the medical editors for the Adelaide newspaper called The News. She asked me what to call the condition so I told her that there were many labels which were too complicated for the public to understand or even pronounce, or which included psychological terms, whereas I was studying the physical basis. I eventually suggested that she refer to it as neurasthenia, so she used it in the article which invited the relevant patients to enrol.
The project was then ready to start.
The first three months
About a dozen people enrolled and had their medicals, and started training, and about five completed the twelve week program.
I then collected their files and began preparing the first draft of the research paper.
Nobody reported problems, so I had scientifically proven the effectiveness of the method.
The second three months
When I discussed the success with Tony, and described how everything had proceeded as smoothly as clockwork, he asked me to continue the project for another twelve weeks, so I agreed.
The world first success was reported in the News, and more patients were recruited, and the original members continued training so that by the end of six months about nine had completed 12 weeks training, and five had completed 24 weeks.
I had therefore developed the method in 1976, and refined it between then and 1982 when I scientifically proved it, and then reproved it’s effectiveness in 1983.
The final stages
I then completed the research paper, but was in so much pain that I wasn’t interested in doing any more, as no further proof was needed or was going to make any difference.
In fact, I had provided a method which any reasonably intelligent researcher could follow, and use to determine the effects of regular exercise on any aspect of health.
Consequently when Tony asked me to increase the size of the project to include 200 patients, in order to have a major impact on world opinion, I didn’t think it was necessary, and told him that I was leaving.
However I took part in the planning of an extension of the study in 1984 called “Project 24” (to gain more data on the effects of 24 weeks of training).
I was also told that the instructor was still supervising the existing clients, and that one of them trained for almost a year and participated in a six mile running event which meant that he was essentially cured.
In the meantime I sent a copy of the research paper to two medical journals, but when it wasn’t accepted I assumed that it was because I didn’t have any medical qualifications, so I put it in my filing cabinet.
Nevertheless I knew that I had solved a major research problem, and that I needed to get something published somewhere, otherwise someone else could steal the idea by claiming to be the first to develop it in the future.
I was eventually able to contact a freelance journalist in Melbourne who verified the facts with the Institute, and then sent an article to several newspapers.
I then found three of them in the local newsagent which kept stock of The Sydney Morning Herald, The West Australian, and the Courier Mail in Queensland, where the success was reported.
I understood that other people could use the method for research purposes, but that they would need to mention my name in the credits in their research papers and books, and that it was inappropriate and unethical for them to misrepresent themselves as the developer
However, if they wanted to use it for commercial purposes, i.e. to get large research grants, or as a treatment, then they would need to get my written and signed permission and pay me royalties.
I was diagnosed with cancer
About nine years later, in 1993, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a form of cancer, and a medical specialist told me that I had only two months to live and no hope of a cure, and advised me to write my will.
By then I was confident in my problem solving ability but I was also aware that cancer had existed for thousands of years, and that millions, if not billions of dollars in research funding had been provided to give researchers the incentive to cure it, so I didn’t think that I could do better in only two months, so I didn’t even try.
I simply decided to leave that up to my doctors and specialists, but I did contact the National Cancer Foundation who provided me with a kit of useful information about the nature of the problem, what to expect from the treatment, and what could be done about the side effects of chemotherapy.
I also concluded that there wouldn’t be much point in me doing anything to make money because I wasn’t supposed to live long enough to spend it, so I decided to write a book about The Posture Theory and keep on adding ideas and information to it until I died.
I found a nineteenth century book about ailments caused by tight corsets compressing the waist
At about that time I also found a book from the nineteenth century which described how women of that era had exactly the same problems due to wearing tight waisted corsets, which reinforced my findings that postural pressure on the chest and abdomen was the cause.
Furthermore, I found that chest pains, breathlessness, faintness and fatigue, and also horrendous indigestion, and heart disease and cancers were very common in such women.
I also found evidence that the tighter the corset the lower the life-expectancy, which was evidence that the worse a persons posture, and the more time spent leaning toward a desk, the shorter their lifespan.
My next meeting with Tony Sedgwick (about 1996)
I decided to contact Tony again a few years later, in about 1996, and show him the fifth edition of my book which had accumulated to 320 pages in size and been published in hardback cover for the first time.
The Institute had moved to another location in North Adelaide, and when I met him he was just as friendly and enthusiastic as before, and told me how interesting he thought it was, which was somewhat unusual because I had received a lot of skepticism and criticism from some people, and sometimes even hostile arguments about the idea that the symptoms were physical and not mental.
The book was supported by 82 references, including many from previous centuries, and every decade of the 20th century, which would collectively have information from studies of hundreds of thousands of patients, and which I used as clues for the development and independent verification of my ideas.
The first illustration at the front of the book was a skeleton standing at a tall desk and reading a book on a flat surface.
However I presented the copyright symbol on each edition just in case I survived the cancer, and then I might eventually derive an income from it.
In the meantime I sold it to school and public libraries to provide parents and teachers with ideas and information aimed at helping them to prevent the next generation of children from developing the type of ailments that I had to endure.
My experiments which led to the Standing Computer Posture
While writing that book between 1994 and 2000, I was experiencing a lot of abdominal pain so I could only write one sentence or paragraph a day, and perhaps draw a diagram the next, and occasionally write an essay which resulted in more pain, and at the end of each year I would need to edit dozens of pages at a time, so the pain would become severe, and persist for months.
I therefore began experimenting with increasing the height of my desk to see if would result in less leaning forward when I read.
I first added a six inch platform to the top of my desk, and later added another six inch one on top, and noticed slightly less pain, so I started standing at a tall platform, and then tried writing onto an angled platform.
One day while I was walking through the Tea Tree Gully library I saw a computer which had a typing program opened on the screen so I began to type c,c,c,c, and the a, a, a, etc, and within a few days was typing “c,a,t”, and “d,o,g” etc,. when a librarian walked into the room and asked me what I was doing.
When I told her that I was learning to type she said that the computers were for staff use only so I had to stop, but a few weeks later I purchased a large typewriter at an auction which had a two inch screen on it, and kept practicing, and then I purchased a small one unit computer, and a typing program, and was soon typing at sixty words a minute which was three times faster than hand writing speed.
It meant that I could produce three times as much text in the same amount of time with the same amount of pain.
About a year later I purchased a computer which had a screen which was separate from the box, and when I placed the top of the screen just below eye height, and the keyboard at elbow height I stopped getting abdominal pain for the first time in several decades.
I was essentially able to type for two hours or more without getting any pain at all, and although some of that pain has returned since it has never been as severe or persistent.
I had already drawn an illustration of the standing desk posture for some earlier editions of my book, but I was not a good artist and I didn’t want to breech anyone else’s copyright so I used an illustration of a standing skeleton from the Andreas Versalius in 1543, and adapted it to suit my purposes, and then modified it to be the standing computer posture on the first page of the 10th edition of my book which was published in 1998.
My cancer was cured by a stem cell transplant in 2000
During that time I had two operations for cancer, and six months of CHOP chemotherapy, followed eighteen months later by three months of DHAP chemotherapy, and then a stem cell transplant.
I was told that there was a 10% risk of death from the transplant, and that I should rewrite my will again, so when the 11th edition of my book was ready for publication I loaded it onto a computer disc and posted it to the printers.
There were quite a few problems with the transplant, but about four weeks later an intern tapped me on the shoulder and woke me from a sleep.
He was holding a clipboard and reading some blood test results and said that I was one of the lucky ones who had recovered sufficiently and would probably survive.
After several months of nausea and other complications I arranged for the 11th edition of my book to be published.
It had reached a thousand pages, and contained more than 130 references, and 300 illustrations, and had an automated index to thousand of items, so I considered that if I hadn’t convinced people of the importance of the relationship between posture and health by then, I never would, so adding more information was a waste of time.
I therefore sold it to libraries and stopped writing any more.
During that time
Whilst I had cancer I also developed angina due to coronary artery disease in 1997, and was advised to have bypass surgery as soon as possible, but I read a book by Ross Horne, about the Pritikin Diet, and became a vegetarian, with some slight modifications to his diet to accommodate my other health problems, and was able to stop taking medication in six months, so I didn’t need the surgery.
Also, since I began my health studies in 1975 I would occasionally hear discussions or read items about my ideas but nobody was mentioning my name, so they were attributed to other individuals, or to general knowledge.
The physiotherapy student
However, I suppose it was about three or four years ago (in 2012), that I first met a physiotherapy student who was studying at the University of South Australia.
I sometimes discussed my ideas with close friends, but because of the prejudice related to the topics, I had almost never discussed them with casual acquaintances, but he would occasionally mention what he was doing at the time.
On one occasion I decided to ask one of those “do you know this” questions, and I asked him if he was aware that leaning toward a desk can compress the internal anatomy of the chest and abdomen to cause breathlessness, digestive problem, faintness, fatigue and abdominal pain, and he said, in a casual and friendly manner . . . “Yes, of course, that’s been known for years”.
A few months later he would be talking about another topic and I would say “did you know anything about pacing, which is an exercise method where patients with chronic fatigue train at their own rate rather than using the standard method?”, and he would say “That’s right, people are different, and exercise programs need to be arranged to suit each individuals requirements”.
Several more months went by when I would say “One way of treating the health problems of desk workers is to use standing computer desks”, and he would reply “Oh yes, people shouldn’t sit at a desk for any longer than two hours at a time because it can affect digestion and blood flow and cause fatigue, so they should get up often, and move about, and vary their activities by using standing computer desks in between”.
At one stage I asked him if he knew that lower left-sided chest pain was due to postural pressure which displaced the eighth rib and made it loose and occasionally slip to pinch a nerve, and he said “Oh yes, that’s just musculoskeletal”.
He didn’t know that they were all my ideas
Naturally, I became more and more curious about how he knew such things, so I eventually asked him if he was aware that those ideas didn’t exist until I wrote them from 1975 onwards, and that I was the inventor of The Posture Theory, The Standing Computer Posture, and that I discovered the cause of the chest pain, and was also the inventor of the exercise method for treating chronic fatigue.
He said that he didn’t, so I decided to show him a copy of my thousand page book which had the standing computer posture as the first illustration, and dozens of diagrams of spine and chest shape which I had drawn while writing theories on the cause of pain, and I showed him some of the 100 pages on the cause and nature of chronic fatigue.
I began searching for information about how the change occurred
I therefore began searching for an explanation about how those ideas had come to be taught in physiotherapy lectures at the university, as if they were widely accepted scientific facts which had been known for hundreds of years without there ever being any mystery, confusion, doubt, or controversy.
Why wasn’t my name mentioned
I also wanted to know how that happened without me being told, or without anyone acknowledging that they were my ideas, or asking my permission to use them, or asking me to be a consultant, or paying me a license fee, and how physiotherapy students could qualify, and then go into the community and charge fees for using my ideas as treatments without paying my a royalty each time.
The evidence from witnesses
While doing the research to determine the cause of diseases I needed evidence as clues to the answers.
However, when I eventually made my discoveries I also needed to provide evidence that they were world first, which is why I had them published in essays, newspaper articles, and books, where my name and the date were included.
There were also people from the past who were witnesses to my discoveries, but my theories and methods often attracted hostile insults, and I regarded that aspect as my problem, and mine alone.
I therefore protected the people who might have been able to help me by not mentioning their names, as the controversy might adversely affect their careers etc.
Nevertheless, in recent years I decided to contact two people to discuss what had happened.
One was professor Tim Murrell who I met more than thirty years ago when he was the head of the Department of Community Medicine in the Royal Adelaide Hospital where he was also head of the University of Adelaide Medical School.
On one occasion he said that he envied my intellectual initiative with reference to my ability to develop ways of solving problems.
However, when I tried to contact him a few years ago I found that he had died of a heart attack in 2002.
The other person was Tony Sedgwick, but I couldn’t find his phone number or any contact details anywhere.
I therefore did a search for the South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training, but again, I couldn’t find any contact details.
However, a few months went by when I began to wonder if I had spelt his name correctly, and if there was no “e” after the “g”, so I looked through my old research papers and found a page with a letterhead from the Institute which had his signature at the end with his name typed under it.
It was Tony Sedgwick without an “e” after the g, so I did another Google search and eventually found all of the information I needed to explain how my ideas become so widely known, and which I will now describe.
The sequence of events between 1982 and now
I can first explain that when I was nineteen years old I was offered three scholarships to study leadership in a course called Group Work at the SA Institute of Technology between 1969 and 1973.
About seventeen years earlier Tony Sedgwick completed a BA in Physical Education at Birmingham University in England, (between1952 and 1956), and was later a Senior and then Principal Lecturer at the Adelaide Teachers College between 1969 and 1983. At some stage the Institute of Technology and other colleges, including the Adelaide Teachers college, merged to become the University of South Australia.
As I said before I first met him at his office in the SA Institute for Fitness Research and Training in 1982, when I discussed The Posture Theory, and told him how to solve a major research problem related to chronic fatigue and exercise, and where he asked me to organise the research project which scientifically proved the effectiveness of my method.
The whole process took about two years during which time, as you can see, he was also Principal lecturer at the Adelaide Teachers College, which has since merged into the University of South Australia.
Peer Review of my research at Uni-SA
Physical Education topics are very closely related to physiotherapy where there would be an overlap of topics, so Tony would have discussed my ideas, which would have become known to the physiotherapy students, lecturers and professors at the University of South Australia.
They would have then given them some thought, and tested their merits in a manner which would otherwise be considered as “peer-review” of my ideas, and ultimately found them to be correct, accurate, and useful, and gradually incorporated them into the physiotherapy curriculum, lectures, and examinations.
Copyright theft and plagiarism
I have also found in recent years that copyright theft is very common in the academic world. which needs to be considered in relation to the transfer of my ideas from then until now.
For example, some students are sent to university by their parents who pay the fees, but they don’t want to study, so they copy whole pages from text books and use it in their exam papers.
Sometimes the examiner will know that it is copy and will fail the student, or ask them to redo the exam, and some students will bribe the examiner to get a pass, or will plead with them to give a pass so that they don’t have to go home and tell their patents they failed.
There are also cases of lecturers who will read the assignment of a student, and steal the idea to get it published in a journal as if it is their own idea.
There are others who go to university to learn how to steal the ideas of other academics or ordinary people, and use them to get promotions or million dollar research grants etc.
However there are also other ways in which ideas get discussed without the next level of people knowing who produced them.
How my ideas became known to the physiotherapy student
Regardless of the exact sequence of events the fact is that the ideas which I developed did not exist until after I started in 1975, and are now being taught in the physiotherapy course, which is how my friend learnt about them.
However, he had the false impression that they have gradually evolved in the past as general knowledge which means that for one reason or another he has not been told that I was the author.
What happened to the SA Institute for Fitness Research and Training
While I was looking for more information I discovered that the SA institute for Fitness Research and Training was sold in 1999 and the new managers changed the name to Fitness on the Park, and it is still in business.
The new organisation called Fitness Australia
Some time after that Tony set up a new organisation called Fitness Australia, and they had about four main aspects.
Firstly they conducted courses for personal trainers which would presumably involve instructions on the type of exercise methods which could be used to help athletes win events, ordinary people get fit, overweight people to lose weight, and those with particular diseases to get well or manage their ailments more effectively.
I would assume that they would also be taught my method of what type of exercise to apply to chronic fatigue patients.
They would probably also get some clients who were referrals from doctors who were formerly referred to psychotherapy.
Fitness Australia also advises people how to set up fitness centres and run them as profitable businesses.
They also arrange group fitness programs for the staff of large businesses where I assume they would teach my methods of preventing or relieving the health problems of desk workers who would be told to sit less, move more, and use standing computer desks etc.
Fitness Australia and another study which “is among the first to show a prospective relationship between standing and health” – from 2006 to 2012?
I soon found that Fitness Australia also has a webpage with the title “Stand up – You may live longer”, with ideas which obviously came from my discussions with Tony during my research project between 1982 and 1983, and my book in 1996, and from my later books and websites.
However that page does not mention my name, or my research, or my books or website, but gives a different explanation for the source of ideas.
The information is attributed to a very recent 2014 research paper called “Standing time and all-cause mortality in a large cohort of Australian adults”, authored by van der Ploeg HP, Chey T, Ding D, Chau JY, Stamatakis E, Bauman AE, and published in the Journal: Preventive medicine”.
The following words are quotes from that page . . .
“Some public health experts suggest that ‘sitting too much’ is a chronic disease risk factor”, and . . .
“There is little consensus at present as to what amount of daily sitting may lead to negative health outcomes. However, public health agencies, such as the World Health Organisation (who.int/en/) and Australian Department of Health (health.gov.au) recommend that adults should limit their daily sitting time. One of the suggested alternatives to sitting is to stand more often, however little is known about the health benefits of standing. The aim of this study was to determine the association between standing time and all cause mortality”, and . . . “This study used data from the Australian 45 & Up Study of 220,000 individuals which was collected at two time points: (1) 2006 & (2) 2012 . . . and was based on self-reported daily time spent standing”, and . . . “This study is among the first to show a prospective relationship between standing and health. While studies such as these, which rely on self-report assessments, have their limitations (they are prone to measurement error e.g. under and/or over-reporting), health professionals should ‘spread the word’ and encourage everyone who sits for long periods during the day to stand more often.” Strategies could include, standing up during meetings at work, stand while talking on the phone and standing up when working on the computer*. (end of quotes).
See more here http://fitness.org.au/articles/exercise-research-reviews/stand-up-you-may-live-longer/8/639
Fitness Australia has another webpage called “Movement matters to the desk-bound” dated 20 Oct-2014
The following words are direct quotes . . .
“Standing for one hour can reduce death risk by 12%. Office workers shackled to desks all day could be sitting on a ticking time bomb, as new research reveals that standing for just one hour could lower the chance of dying by at least 5 per cent.”, and . . .
“Swapping an hour of sitting for walking or other moderate to vigorous activity can reduce a person’s mortality risk by as much as 12 per cent to 14 per cent, the research shows. The data was presented at Sports Medicine Australia’s be active 2014 conference in Canberra last week.”, and . . .
“The conference’s keynote speaker, Active Living and public health expert Professor Stuart Biddle from Victoria University, said incidental exercise such as a standing at a desk or standing while talking to someone could be beneficial”, and . . .
Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney said the data came from the 45 and Up Study managed by the Sax Institute in partnership with Cancer Council NSW.
“More than 200,000 NSW men and women aged 45 and older participated in the study between 2005 and 2009, and the first major follow-up of participants began in 2012.”
He “believed it would soon be imperative for employers to offer workers opportunities to be more active. ”Activity-based working . . . moves away from sitting fixed all day in front of a computer; He said there must be investment in research into the toll of excessive sitting in terms of chronic disease. ”We know it’s perhaps the number one reason, cause of chronic disease”
The Heart Foundation
The Fitness Australia webpage called “Stand up – You may live longer” also provides a link to the Heart Foundation page called “Sitting less for adults”, with a list of suggestions titled ‘How can I reduce my sitting time?” and it contains many recommendations including the following examples . . .
“Stand to read the morning newspaper . . .
Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes . . .
Stand to greet a visitor to your workspace . . .
Stand during phone calls . . .
Use a height-adjustable desk so you can work standing or sitting. . . .
Have standing or walking meetings . . .
Use headsets or the speaker phone during teleconferences so you can stand . . .
Stand at the back of the room during presentations . . .
On public transport, stand and offer your seat to a person who really needs it.” (end of quotes).
At the end of the page they thank three people for helping them prepare the information sheet, including Professor David Dustan (of Baker IDI), and they list 12 references as the source of the ideas (but none are my research papers or books).
See more here http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/HW-PA-SittingLess-Adults.pdf
Fitness Austalia’s webpage about exercising safely
They also provide guidelines for exercising safely.
For example, it also has a page which recommends that individuals should begin with very light to somewhat hard exercise, and “As fitness improves they may then incorporate some vigorous intensity exercise” here https://fitnessaustralia.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/uploaded_file/file/204/Cardiovascular-exercise-prescription-for-healthy-adults.pdf
As you may recall, in 1975 every sports coach, doctor, and researcher in the world was encouraging, or even forcing everyone to exercise faster and faster each week to gain fitness, but it made me worse, which is why I had to invent a new method.
I then explained it to Tony, in 1982, and then scientifically proved it to be effective, so he has included that method in the Fitness Australia guidelines since, about how to exercise safely (i.e. not just for chronic fatigue patients, but as a general policy, so as not to do more harm than good).
Fitness Australia’s policy about copyright
It also has a page called “Exercise Guidelines” which contains their policy on copyright with the following words . . .
“Copyright information that refers to listed Standards, Guidelines & Policies
For information about Copyright permissions relating to the Standards, Guidelines and Resources at www.fitness.org.au please refer to the Permitted Use Statement or contact Fitness Australia on 1300 211 311.
Without limiting the foregoing, any use of the Standards, Guidelines and Resources at www.fitness.org.au by educational organisations for teaching purposes beyond the limits prescribed by the Copyright Act 1968 must only occur with the permission or licence of Fitness Australia.
If you are an educational organisation and wish to request permission from Fitness Australia to use the Standards, Guidelines and Resources for educational activities that extend beyond the limits outlined in the Permitted Use Statement, please submit your request in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that education providers in the fitness industry are required to hold a licence with the Copyright Agency Limited in line with advice provided by the Australian Quality Standards Authority (ASQA).
See more here http://fitness.org.au/articles/policies-guidelines/exercise-guidelines/4/39/20
Tony Sedgwick’s book on “Safe and Effective Lifting”
Tony has also written a book with co-author John Gormley who has qualifications from Loughborough College, England, Flinders University, Adelaide, and the University of Illinois, U.S.A.
Their book is called “Safe and Effective Lifting”, and has the following comments about intellectual property rights . . .
Copyright © 1997-2009 All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher.
Boca Raton, Florida U.S.A.
i.e. they both recognise the value of ideas and copyright and the importance of compliance.
Tony Sedgwick’s publications
The book also states that he has had other items published in the British Journal of Physical Education, The British Medical Journal, the Australian Medical Journal, the Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Applied Ergonomics, and Research Quarterly etc.
Tony Sedgwick’s qualifications
It also contains information about his qualifications.
He had a BA in Physical Education from Burmingham University, England (1952-56), and an MA in Physical Education from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada (1963-65).
He had been a physical education teacher in Oxford England, and Sydney Australia, a Lecturer at the University of Adelaide, a Principal Lecturer at Adelaide Teachers College between 1969 and 1983, and the Head of the South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training inc. for thirty years between 1969 and 1999.
The website of Fitness Australia also has information about their partners who included Baker IDI.
When I saw that I recalled a channel nine “60 Minutes” TV show from about six months earlier on 28-9-14 when they interviewed associate professor David Dunstan, Head of the Physical Activity Laboratory at Baker IDI Diabetes Institute in Melbourne.
He was also Adjunct Professor in the School of Sports Science, Exercise and Health at the University of WA, an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, an Adjunct Associate Professor the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University and an Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine at Monash University.
He was described as doing ground breaking research into the harmful effects of sitting (which is just another way of saying the harmful effects of poor posture), and as conducting a “pilot study” where he was introducing standing computer desks into a private primary school and business offices to determine their beneficial effects.
The interviewer also spoke to a student who said that he found that sitting all day made him uncomfortable and irritable, and that he found it difficult to concentrate, and that when he stood at a desk he could think more clearly and learn more (which is what I said decades earlier).
A teacher then said that the use of such desks was so useful that she recommended them for every school in Australia.
(I sold many of my books to school libraries in South Australia, and public libraries in Victoria for the same purpose between 1994 and 2000).
They also interviewed an Apple computer company executive who said that her own health had been wrecked by the sedentary lifestyle, and that she changed from sitting all day to moving more often and sometimes standing, so she was introducing standing computer desks to her company offices in Silicon Valley so that her staff would be healthier and more productive.
More information from Baker IDI and David Dunstan
The following quote about David Dustan comes from the Baker IDI website . . . “His research focuses on the role of physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the prevention and management of chronic diseases. His research program has attracted considerable external funding from the NHMRC, VicHealth and the National Heart Foundation. He has published 110 peer-reviewed papers, including publications in high impact journals such as Circulation, Diabetes Care, Diabetologia, Obesity Reviews, Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Over the past 15 years, David has established an extensive media profile including interviews with National Public Radio, Wall Street Journal, CNN, the New York Times and the LA Times.” (end of quote).
Research grants to Baker IDI, and their comments on intellectual property rights
As you can see David Dunstan has had the opportunity to gain research funds to peer review ideas (which were mine), and that there is an information trail that transports my ideas to Tony Sedgwick, and then David Dustan to Universities and newspapers all around the world.
In fact the website indicates he received a $600,000 research grant to do the pilot study into standing computer desks in schools and offices, and that the desks were sold for a cost of $700 each, which means that the manufacturers of those desks were making profit from my ideas without knowing or mentioning that it was my idea, or paying me royalties.
Their website also refers to some of their products being used by an associated company to enter the stock market, which means that they are aware of the value of protecting their intellectual property.
Baker IDI also have comments about their standards and ethics.
The Washington Post
At one stage I also saw a Twitter link to a Washington Post article which contained a full page of information about posture and health.
Since then I have found that it was published in the Health and Sciences section of the paper on January 20th 2014 here, under the heading of “The hazards of sitting” (which is just another way of saying “the hazards of sedentary posture”).
The reporter was Bonnie Berkowitz and the diagram was drawn by Patterson Clark, and the predominant feature was a similar diagram to mine, but drawn in a different artistic style, with the list of symptoms on both sides instead of one.
There were comments on the strain on muscles, neck and backache, herniated discs, and the sluggish blood flow to the brain causing foggy brain (a symptom seen in chronic fatigue syndrome), with additional remarks about the effect on cholesterol levels, and then heart disease, and the pancreas to cause diabetes, and they said that the risk of colon, breast, and endometrial cancer was unclear?, and used the explanation of a theory that sitting for too long caused excess insulin production etc.
They also referred to blood pooling in the legs and the affect on gait, and the overall reduced life-expectancy associated with too much sitting, and they included a smaller diagram on “The right way to sit” – with an upright posture.
The ideas in the article were attributed to “four experts, who detailed a chain of problems from head to toe.“
They were James A. Levine who they said was the inventor of the treadmill desk and director of Obesity Solutions at Mayo Clinic and Arizona State University, Charles E. Matthews, of the National Cancer Institute investigator and author of several studies on sedentary behavior, Jay Dicharry, director of the REP Biomechanics Lab in Bend, Ore., and author of “Anatomy for Runners”, and Tal Amasay, biomechanist at Barry University’s Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences.
Note that my 1000 page book on posture contains a page on the compression of the pancreas, and several on the comparison of postural pressure on the chest and abdomen with the pressure from tight waisted corsets, where there was information from the nineteenth century about the higher incidence of heart disease and various cancers in women who wore them, and whose life-expectancy was reduced in relation to the tightness of their corsets.
I then sent an email to the editors of Washington Post informing them of the breech of my copyright, but as far as I am aware they have chosen to ignore it.
breathing.com’s fraudulent claim that my diagram of 1980 was their copyright of 1997
At one stage, in February 2014, I also saw a blatant copy of my diagram on a website called breathing.com for the first time, and have checked since and seen it many times.
They have photocopied my diagram, slightly modified it, and produced a mirror image of it facing right, instead of left. They have also deleted a couple of symptoms, and replaced them with others to make it look different, and deleted my title of “The Posture Theory Diagram” and replaced it with the words in large red print “Poor Sitting Posture” and “© breathing.com”.
They have also read some of my ideas about posture and symptoms and rewritten them in different words, and then included the following comments at the end of the page . . .
“© Copyright 1997-2014. All text and images on this web site are protected by international copyright laws and may only be used by consent of Michael Grant White.” here.
I then sent him an email to let him know that I found his page, and that he was in breech of my copyright, and that he should link to my book or website where he got it from, or remove it.
He hasn’t replied so I assume he is intent on fraudulently misrepresenting it as his own idea indefinitely.
Chiropractic Health & Wellness in San Diego
I then found that the breathing.com copy of my diagram was also on the website of “Chiropractic Health & Wellness in San Diego”.
I probably then sent them an email to notify them that it was an illegal copy of mine, because when I checked the link recently I saw the words “Page Not Found (Error 404), so I assume that the owners recognise their ethical and legal obligations and have removed it.
Adelaide’s Standing Computer Professor
When I was reading about Tony’s biography I noted that his book on “Safe and Effective Lifting” was co-authored by John Gormley who has qualifications from Flinders University, which may be relevant to an interview on the Adelaide Channel 7 TV show called ”Today Tonight” on 10-9-13.
During the previous week there was extensive promotion of that show with comments about Adelaide’s Standing Computer Professor.
I was therefore curious about who was involved, and when the day came I saw them interview John Coveney, who said that he started using the Standing Computer Posture for the benefit of his own health in 2005 (seven years after I invented it).
He added that he found it useful and had been researching the method, and discussing it with his Australian and International students and colleagues ever since.
I later found that he had multiple university qualifications and had also been a professor of Public Health and an Associate Dean of disease prevention and health promotion at the School of Medicine, and Co-Director at the Physical Activity and Nutrition Observatory.
I then decided to contact him by phone and ask him if he knew that I invented the method and he said that he didn’t, so I told him that he could confirm that fact by reading my books and website.
I also mentioned that it was my copyright and politely requested that he mention that it was my idea when he was discussing it in future.
I haven’t contacted him since or been able to confirm if he has complied with my request or not, but my ideas about the Standing Computer Posture would have spread throughout the world through his academic and public media discussions.
Conclusion, and my intellectual property rights
Since 1975 I have been involved in research, mostly on my own, and I published my ideas with copyright symbols on my books and websites, and was waiting for someone in a position of official authority to finally acknowledge how effective and useful my ideas and methods were. However, that rarely happened, but now I find that they are being used all around the world without most people knowing my name, or paying me. While my ideas can be used in minor ways as part of research studies, or peer review, they are nevertheless my intellectual property and cannot be used for commercial purposes without my written permission. Universities derive profit from their courses, and should pay a licence for teaching my ideas, and students who qualify and begin to derive an income by using them as treatment should pay me a royalty each time. In fact, where they are paying Fitness Australia license fees they should, in future, pay me for every aspect of that organisations fees that were derived from my research. If honesty, integrity, and the law prevail, then all fitness and educational organisations, and universities will pay me license fees, but if there is a resort to a myriad of loopholes about how long ago these things happened, or how much proof is required etc, then there is no certainty to what will eventuate. In the meantime I will carefully consider what to publish in future, and in some cases will require payment in advance. re: if I don’t publish my ideas no-one else can use them. What I could have done instead Like everyone else, I was not born with a set of instructions about how to lead a life and solve problems, but if I had the knowledge I have now, and had led a perfectly healthy life, and completed a medical degree by the age of 20, then I may have appreciated the ramifications of controversy more fully and taken steps to avoid it. I could also have easily and effortlessly continued the SAIFRT research project of 1982 until more than 1000 people had been involved, and with that success become so widely known that subsequent people would not have been able to claim authorship. However, I wasn’t born wealthy, and I wasn’t fortunate enough to have perfect health, so that didn’t happen. Nevertheless, while other people may think that they could have done better, nobody did, and if it wasn’t for me the discoveries and changes would not have occurred, so that is just the way it was, and in fact the only way it was ever going to happen. I would therefore like every honest person in the world to mention my name whenever they hear about those ideas, and not let anyone else take the credit.
A sequence of events from the IFRT research committee of 1982, to now
In part 1 of this essay I described how my ideas and research have been transferred along a line from Tony Sedgwick of the SA Institute for Fitness Research and Training (SAIFRT), to the Adelaide Teachers College, and then to the physiotherapy course at the University of South Australia, and then to physiotherapy students who will go on to derive an income as physiotherapists in private practice.
I also described how Tony Sedgwick sold the SAIFRT in 1999, and then set up Fitness Australia, and how that organisation sells guidelines to educational organisations including UniSA by charging licence fees.
Through Fitness Australia my ideas were also passed on via their partnership with Baker IDI to David Dunstan, and then to Victorian schools and businesses, and to Monash, Griffith, and Queensland Universities, without acknowledging me as the source of the ideas.
The IFRT research committee
However, I would now like to discuss an additional pathway of transfer which is through any one of the members of the 1982 IFRT research committee.
They included myself as the sole source of the project plan and organiser of the project, with Tony Sedgwick as the facilitating manager.
He recruited two research cardiologists from his staff, who also did the medicals and scientific testing of each participant. They were Roy Lee, who by appearance was a very experienced cardiologist in his mid fifties, and W. Chapman, a research cardiologist in his late thirties or early forties.
They were both understandably somewhat arrogant, and quietly resentful toward me, because they perceived me as an unqualified upstart who hadn’t been through the formal education and advancement process and didn’t have the ability to do research, or deserve the right to make major discoveries.
In other respects, through Tony Sedgwick they were professional and co-operative.
The fourth member was a general practitioner named Gavin Beaumont who I recruited from a list of doctors which Tony gave me to approach and interview.
The fifth member was a psychiatrist named John Wurm who was a tall, lanky, and shy man.
I can’t recall how he became involved so it may have been that he was recruited through a notification at the Institute.
I had no personal reason to want him removed from the committee but I saw that his involvement could present problems later.
For example, the objective of the project was to scientifically establish scientific proof of a physical basis for chronic fatigue, but future assessment may have him perceived as being in charge, and patients may misconstrue my objectives and wrongly resent me for investigating psychological aspects.
I therefore preferred that he wasn’t involved buy it was time consuming to recruit new members, and all I wanted to do was start and complete the project in a timely and efficient manner, so I included him rather than finding someone else.
It was not my intention to ask the participants anything about the psychological aspect but he provided a psychological questionairre, so in returning the favour of his involvement I included it in the study.
In hindsight I should not have used it because the task of evaluating it was very time consuming, and I could have accomplished a lot more if I focussed solely on the physical data.
The sixth member was an instructor who had several years of experience in conducting exercise programs for people with a variety of ailments.
Tony recommended him, and I interviewed him and found him to be very suitable for the task. He was a volunteer, and from what I can recall had university qualifications in architecture, although I cannot recall his name.
Any one of those six people could have communicated the success of the project, and the exercise guidelines to researchers in London, which is what I will discuss next.
How my ideas were transferred internationally
The progress and ultimate success of the project was reported by one of the medical journalist from the News in Adelaide, but also by a freelance journalist in Melbourne whose summary was reported in several interstate newspapers, including the Sydney Morning Herald on the 20th August 1983, and about a week later I received a phone call from Tony.
He said that one of his cardiologists (presumably Roy Lee) had been transferred to a research position in Sydney and that he had seen the article in the newspaper, and he asked Tony not to mention the word “hypochondria” in any future news articles.
I wasn’t given a reason, but essentially it was acceptable for me to scientifically prove that chronic fatigue was physical, but embarrassing to other people for me to be proving that the supposedly imaginary symptoms of hypochondria were real.
Although I had no intention of embarrassing anyone by proving that their previous ideas were wrong, it was a co-incidental consequence of my findings.
However, I explained to Tony that I had been researching every aspect of the problem to find some answers, and that if I didn’t trace clues from the literature under the label of hypochondria I would be trying to solve a problem with less than complete information.
i.e. even when other authors discuss the supposed “imaginary” nature of symptoms, they also add other facts which are relevant.
I didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the label issue at that time, so I continued to use it and it has created a lot of problems since.
The project had been through two phases of three months each with up to sixty people making enquiries, and some going through the training, and I had to compile all the data.
I had scientifically proven and reproven everything, and by the time I had completed reviews of the data in sixty files, all the desk work had caused me so much pain that I just wanted to stop and do something else.
How to have a major influence of would attitudes
Consequently, when Tony asked me to increase the size to 200 patients to have a major influence on world attitudes I told him politely that I would be leaving the project, and that if he wanted to continue it the same instructor could just follow my guidelines routinely, and I prepared a continuation called Project 24 (for 24 weeks of training).
The only way to succeed in the future
I knew that if anyone wanted to succeed in future they would have to use my methods (because all the previous methods had failed and would continue to fail), and I expected that if they succeeded on a larger scale, it would be reported, and my name would be mentioned, and I would start deriving an income from it, but I never heard anything at all.
However, one day, a few years later, (probably 1988), I heard a newspaper report of a brand new disease called the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so I took it for granted that someone somewhere had read my research, and changed the label to reflect the physical basis of the condition.
The radio report
As more time passed I heard a radio interview in which a patient described how grateful he was to a psychiatrist who gave him very useful advice that included real practical ways of controlling his symptoms.
He added that they were much better than the old ideas about psychotherapy and the mysteries of the sub-conscious mind.
I knew immediately that the only way anyone would be able to give such advice was if they had read my ideas, but I didn’t know who was talking on the radio or how to contact the relevant people.
The Posture Theory
Many things happened during the next 25 years which I was not aware of (people stealing my research without telling me!), some of which I have discussed in part 1 of this essay, but then I heard about a new internet publication called Wikipedia.
Several of my friends told me that it had the reputation of being compiled by juvenile delinquents and propagandists, and that it was so unreliable that any student who quoted it in their school or university exam papers would get an automatic fail.
In fact, I was visiting a library one day when I asked a librarian about it and she directed me to a pile of pamphlets which gave warnings to students about why they shouldn’t use it.
If I had formal medical qualifications I would have sent my ideas to top quality medical journals, but I didn’t want to waste my time sending material to disreputable internet publications.
However, after a couple of years of repeated suggestions that it had improved it’s standards I decided to contribute.
New contributors were invited to use their own name, but could also choose a specific Wikipedia ID, so, as I was interested in posture and health, I called myself Posturewriter.
I then found that there were many rules, including the fact that it was acceptable to write about your own ideas, but there were recommendations not to do it because other editors might delete it on the grounds of conflict of interest.
Nevertheless I could easily send one paragraph of other types of useful information per week for at least a year, so I joined for that purpose.
Some time went by when I received an email from a woman who had read my book in her local library and said how useful it had been for understanding and treating her own health problems, and how much she appreciated it.
Soon afterwards, when I was adding more general information to Wikipedia it occurred to me that I could ask her to write an independent review of my theory and then it would comply with the rules.
She agreed, but my book had 1000 pages of detail so I wrote an accurate summary, and sent it to her to rewrite in her own words (if she agreed with it), and to add whatever other aspects which she thought were important to her.
After about a month of correspondence to check it’s accuracy she joined Wikipedia and submitted it, and everything proceeded smoothly with other editors joining in and adding useful improvements to the text and layout until it looked to me as if it was one of the best articles I had ever seen about my theory.
It essentially said that poor posture and anything else (such as tight corsets) which compress the chest and abdomen can cause chest and abdominal pains etc.
However I then asked her to mention that prior to my theory of physical cause those ailments had been regarded as the imaginary symptoms of hypochondria and attributed to psychological causes.
Within a few hours about six editors rushed into the discussion on the topic with comments such as “delete, delete, speedy delete, speedy delete, delete, delete”.
It was obvious that the theory met all of the standards and rules, and that those anonymous editors didn’t want the readers to know that there was evidence of cause which was different to their own personal views.
In other words, for reasons of conflict of interest, they wanted it removed.
However they needed excuses for deleting it, and in their haste, they each accused the reviewer of breaking different rules, which were just their individual excuses for deleting it.
For example they accused the reviewer or breech of copyright, so I joined the discussion to tell them that I had given her permission to do the article.
They then tried to make their actions appear to be respectable by asking me for names, dates, evidence and proof of everything, which I did, but they deleted it anyway.
They then said that I could appeal the decision to delete it, but it was obvious that I would be wasting my time so I continued to edit other articles.
Da Costa’s Syndrome
I went through possibilities alphabetically, for example “b” for backache, and “c” for chest pain, and then I came to “d” for Da Costa’s syndrome, and then found that Wikipedia had a page about it with only four lines of text and no references and an invitation to help improve it.
I added some independent information, and then some additional comments on my own research from 1982/3 and almost immediately two editors began criticising my edits and ridiculing me.
Their names were “WhatamIdoing” and “Gordonofcartoon”, and they carried on as if they were Wikipedia’s top and most powerful editors, but when discussing them with my friends I referred to them as WaWa’s and Goofy.
Each week when I added a paragraph, one of them would accuse me of breaking a rule, and within a day the other one would typically say “by the way I was just passing through when I noticed this discussion, do we all agree then, good!, then I will delete it”.
They were tag teaming in an edit war against me where they set up about a dozen discussions, some of them in secret, to whip up a frenzy of hatred against me, and eventually arranged for another equally offensive individual named Moreschi to use the “ignore all rules” policy to ban me. (He had previously been banned himself, and had rejoined, and argued that the courtesy rules compiled by more than 100 other editors were shit and that he could write better ones).
In the meantime, another editor had linked the page to lists of hundreds of psychiatric labels and WaWa’s and Goofy told everyone that I had the disorder, despite my requests for them to stop breaking the rules about personal privacy and courtesy.
Also, while they were telling everyone that my ideas were nonsense and rubbish they were deleting it on one page, and secretly adding it to other pages on similar topics.
They also kept my treatment recommendations but attributed them to other authors.
I also noticed that they had pages about the chronic fatigue syndrome, and although I didn’t read them in detail I did notice that as I added information about Da Costa’s syndrome there were corresponding changes to the CFS pages.
Therefore, in early 2008, I decided to write some more details about that topic on my website to demonstrate to my readers that my knowledge was vastly superior.
Unfortunately that gave Wikipedia editors, and other people the opportunity to steal more of my ideas, so in an attempt to stop them I called the guidelines The Banfield Principles, and then ceased adding any more useful information anywhere.
Peter White’s $5 million PACE trial for CFS
I didn’t know it at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight I found that six months later Peter White of London started copying me in a five million dollar, five year pace trial.
I can now describe how that happened.
In 1975 when I asked my doctor to explain my symptoms he would shrug his shoulders and provide medications which didn’t help, and my health would be getting worse. That would be called Standard Medical Care (SMC).
He would tell me to ignore my symptoms and continue doing everything in the normal way but that was making me worse. It would be called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
I then joined a medical research organisation where I was advised to run faster and faster each week to return to normal health but it made me much worse. That would be called Graded Exercise Therapy (GET).
I then decided to slow down and change the way I did everything and exercise at my own pace. That would be called PACING.
Seven years later the head of that research organisation asked me to design a project to scientifically prove the effectiveness of the method, and the success was reported in newspapers.
The total number of participants who enquired, enrolled, or trained was 60.
I proved that my method of PACING was the better than the previous methods of SMC, CBT, and GET.
Thirty years later Peter White and dozens of his colleagues began his $5 million dollar trial of 600 patients to determine the effectiveness of SMC (with the specialised methods that I added making it SMC plus S = SSMC), CBT, GET, and PACING.
They came to exactly the same conclusion on a larger scale, increased from 60 to 600.
He claimed that his study was a world first, but it was just a duplicate of my 1982 research, or the equivalent of 10 photocopies with some of my improvements added.
The pace trial has produced CFS treatment manuals (reworded duplicates of my methods), and states that they “are available, free of charge on the Trial information page . . . and that . . . Any use of these manuals should acknowledge the PACE trial (www.pacetrial.org) (end of quote).
However, those guidelines are my intellectual property and not his, and as such are not available for him to claim authorship, or the give away for free.
Any honest and ethical health care professional who wishes to use those ideas legally should acknowledge me as the source, and pay me license fees and royalties.
During that time (2009-2012)
In the meantime, after I was banned from Wikipedia in 2009 I spent a couple of years providing a massive amount of evidence and proof that my two critics were liars and cheats, but nobody inside that organisation did anything about it so I decided to go back to researching health problems.
However I couldn’t publish anything because other people could, and would obviously steal it, and lawyers weren’t being very helpful with their suggestions that I could sum up as “copyright law is useless”.
With the passage of time I was forgetting some of my good ideas, so I then decided to publish them with acronyms such as the wav principle or the DATT method etc.
I then decided to put together a list of my ideas and charge a fee in advance before publication but that resulted in more problems.
For example, patients were expecting me to provide information for free, and accusing me of exploiting the pain and suffering of others for selfish and greedy purposes.
However, at the same time they were raising money or asking governments to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for research aimed at solving their problems.
In late 2012 I saw a comment on twitter about a psychiatrist called Simon Wessely who had been given the John Maddox Prize for his research into chronic fatigue syndrome and exercise, so I suspected that he may have been stealing my research.
I soon found that he started in 1987, just four years after I had scientifically proven and re-proven the effectiveness of my methods, which meant that someone from the IFRT research committee in Adelaide had probably contacted him by phone or letter, or travelled to London to tell him what I had done.
Alternatively, there were newspaper reports of my success in Australian newspapers including the Sydney Morning Herald, so there may have also been reports in international newspapers, such as London, which prompted Wessely to make enquiries.
I ultimately found an article about him in Wikipedia which was portraying him as leading the way in chronic fatigue syndrome research, and had written a book on the topic, and many research papers, and had chaired most of the major U.K. and international conferences of the subject.
It became obvious to me that he started stealing my ideas a long time ago, and got away with it once, and then twice, until he became a serial copyright thief.
It was also obvious that if my name, and links to my books and website were in Wikipedia, some of the readers would notice that Wessely was stealing my ideas, which is why the two editors had been to so much trouble to delete my name and links to my website, and ban me.
Other examples of deletion of my ideas
Since then I decided to add an article to my website in which I informed people that if they wanted to use my ideas for non-commercial purposes they were welcome to, as long as they mentioned the source, with links to my website and books so that I could make money out of book sales.
However, on one occasion a woman wrote to me asking for permission to use The Posture Theory diagram in an article that she was submitting to a prestigious journal.
I was happy to let her do that but about two months later I asked to see a copy, and she told me that she had submitted the article but, although the editors were still considering her essay, they would not be using the diagram.
I have also seen many copies of my diagrams on Flickr, without mentioning the source, so I emailed some of them and asked them to provide links to my website or book, but they generally deleted the diagram from their webpages, or continued to use it and create the false impression that it was their own idea.
I have also seen the websites, books, or guidelines of CFS patients or groups who have obviously been through the indexes on my books and website, and produced neat summaries in which they claim that they did the research and developed the ideas themselves and claim them to be their own copyright.
I have also attended book launches and public talks where individuals discuss my ideas and create the false impression they are their own, and have listened to radio, or watched TV reports where other people are claiming to be the authors of my ideas.
The State Library
At one stage I decided to phone the South Australian State Library to see if my book called The Posture Theory was still available to their readers.
The receptionist said that there was no evidence of books by that name in their collection.
I then told her that I was the author, and that I was required by law to donate a copy of my book to the State Library, the South Australian Parliamentary library, and the National library of Australia in Canberra, each time I published one, and that I had seen my books in the state library shelves before, so I asked her to check again.
She returned a few minutes later and said that there were two editions, so I told her that I had published 11, so she checked again and found them.
However if anyone else had phoned up the would be left with the false impression that they didn’t exist.
It was therefore evident that there were people of considerable influence at the highest level who, for any one of many reasons, do not want doctors, specialists, patients, or the general public to know that I invented those ideas.
A final note of irony
My research was intended to develop effective methods for treating my own ailments which meant determining the physical basis for the symptoms, but by implications it involved considerable controversy because it also proved that many psychological theories were wrong.
Therefore, as it was my problem, I didn’t want to get Tony Sedgwick involved because he had a conservative approach, so in order to protect him and his organisation from the adverse affects of that controversy I rarely, if ever mentioned his name in relation to what I was doing.
Ironically, that meant that there was no obvious link between him and me, and gave him the opportunity to steal my ideas, because all he had to do was to use them without mentioning my name.
In 1975 it was obvious that my doctor didn’t known what to do about my health problems, and in 1976 it was also clear that no-one at the highest level of medical research how to treat the symptoms effectively.
I therefore began doing my own research and my ideas are now used to help countless millions of patients all around the world, but many other individuals have claimed the credit, and the vast majority of people don’t know that I am the original author.
If I start getting paid commensurate for what I have already done in the past I will begin describing better methods, but if I don’t get paid I won’t.