The Corona Panic (I): Chemicalizing versus Minimalizing!

Within the past decade there has been a progressive and widespread neurotic tendency to use cleansing chemicals in health-related facilities, athletic clubs and gyms. In this blog, Dr. E argues against our dependency on disinfecting chemicals, and promotes his doctrine of minimal exposure to germs as the most viable alternative.

Dependency on cleansing chemicals has become an indispensable part of our modern lives!

Beneatha: Dr. E, I understand that you are a diehard opponent of excessive use of chemicals. What’s your take on individuals who obsessively wipe down the equipment with disinfectant sprays in the gyms and health clubs?

Dr. E: I’m utterly concerned about this! This neurotic behavior has progressively become trendy since 2010. There used to be a time that when I shook hands of the women, I could feel their softness. Nowadays, they give me the sandpaper’s sensation!

The Old School versus the New School: I have lived a relatively healthy life of more than 70 years, and for as long as I can remember the gyms, sport facilities, and health clubs have always been an indispensable part of my daily routine. Trust me when I draw over 70 years of experience and say, “during all these many years I have never seen so much obsession about the use of chemicals as I have witnessed it within the past several years”.

The Gym Usage Wisdom: All I can tell you is that it appears that back then there was a collective wisdom of the gym usage. It was an unspoken gym etiquette that everyone just knew deep inside.  You sweat all over your equipment, you clean it! You don’t make a mess in the gym, you’re just fine! You should not pollute the gym with the disgusting odor of your cheap cologne or ozone-layer-destructive deodorant! Be courteous, as the equipment you are text messaging on doesn’t have your name written on it! It is only fair if every now and then you raise your head and acknowledge the people who seem to be waiting to use the same equipment, and so on…

Chemical Dependency of Health Facilities:  Is this current trend of chemical dependence based on the assumption that the new generation of gym users do not have as much gym-wisdom or etiquette as the generations before? For what I know, back then the use of gyms was limited to those with an athletic history behind them. However, don’t be mistaken, these days still we have many gym users who have excelled at the art of gym etiquette. Yet, nowadays most gyms, in addition to recruiting athletes for their physical excellence, also aggressively target a wider segment of individuals in various geographic areas for promotion of their health and longevity. As a result, the classic gym (old school) wisdom seems to have been greatly reduced (diluted) these days!

Beneatha: I always thought that the use of sanitizers is a good idea because I see them everywhere!

Dr. E: First and foremost, do you know what I call those chemicals? I call them “insanitizers!”

The fact that they are everywhere doesn’t mean that you be insane and obsessive about using them. Have you ever thought about the behind-the-scenes wizards of Oz, the chemical and pharmaceutical companies, who are manipulating the gym-users’ behavior to rake-up their profits?

Beneatha: People who use gyms or sport facilities are directed by signs that are exhibited by their gym’s managements to spray or wipe down the equipment with disinfectants after they are done using each equipment. Isn’t this a good practice?

Dr. E: I personally follow a revised version of this advice. Are you ready to hear Dr. E’s Gym Usage Principle on this matter?

Beneatha: The suspense is killing me, and I can’t wait to hear it! Please tell me about the principle! I know you must have a thoughtful suggestion for the management of health clubs across the country!

Dr. E: Yes, I do! This is what I suggest that they post instead:

“We are concerned about your hygiene, we SUGGEST that you wipe down our equipment BEFORE using them!”

This is what the gym signs should say!

I am content with my gym equipment without the add-on sanitizer! If I want to take the risk of not wiping out my gym equipment before using it, let it be my discretion! Anyone, who loves to clean any equipment before using it, should be able to do so because of his or her own volition! This is a free country after all! Do I care if they clean any machine before or after their workout? Of course, I don’t! Let them scrub the machines crazily before, after, and even during their workouts!

The unfortunate matter is that not all the people are well-versed in health and hygiene. When they see signs all over the gyms directing them to clean their equipment after workouts, they tend to take it as a directive that must be adhered to very tightly. For the latter reason they often may get disappointed to see that another person not cleaning his/her equipment after workout. If we suggest cleaning equipment before using them, we exempt those who are disgusted with the chemicals from having guilty feelings!

Please continue with Part II to see how you may excel at your physical health and hygiene by following Dr. E’s principles!

Dr. E

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Also known as "Dr. Testbuster", Dr. Eftekar (Dr. E) is the founder, head coach and lead lecturer of the medical board training programs at Northwestern Medical Review. A unique attribute of Dr. E is his well-rounded academic background that, in addition to the science of medicine, extends over several other disciplines such as physiology of aging and longevity, philosophy of science and medicine, and integrated kinesiology.

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