Try diet and exercise instead

I have heard that if you stand on your head for a few minutes before getting on a weight scale that your weight will actually go down. I think collegiate wrestlers do it, but I am incapable of performing the trick, so, tell me please, is this true?

— Mikee S., Ashland

Well Mikee boy, there doesn't seem to be much truth to this one.

Southern Oregon University head wrestling coach Mike Ritchey has heard of the trick, but never allows any of his athletes to do it, he said.

"The theory is that the blood is flowing the other direction for a little while ... it's kind of an anti-gravity theory, but I have no verification that it actually works," Ritchey said.

The best explanation online comes from Charlie's Physics Blog, at http://burkphysics.com/wordpress/charliet/. It's a nearly 2,000-word experiment review pertaining to the issue, which concludes "I rate this plausible, but to a small degree ... typically one would lose only 0.1 (pound). ... It's worth a try, but I wouldn't count on it."

Dr. Peter Ka-Chai Wu, a physics professor at SOU, called Charlie's experiment, which used liquid filled bottles, "pretty reasonable," but added "my problem with his experiment with the liquid in the bottle is, where is the empty spaces in our body for the blood to free fall? We cannot have air space in our blood vessels, we will have died."

Bottom line, Chuck's experiment isn't relevant to the human body, Wu said, "mass is constant, which is your mass, if you just stand on your head then you lose nothing ... it doesn't make any sense to me."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.


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