IN a small, shabby shop in Tsz Wan Shan, dozens of elderly people streamed in and out believing electric shocks would cure them of insomnia, hypertension and even make grey hair dark again. Inside, a man in a suit was making a speech about the wonders of the therapy, while the elderly people sat attentively on 16 wooden chairs connected to three machines. There were wires connected to a cushion on each chair and a slight vibration could be felt by touching the chairs. The man, whose surname was Yau, appeared caring towards his 'patients' and kept asking about their health. I tried the therapy and felt the electric current running through my body. It brought on a feeling of numbness and sleepiness. A poster on the wall said such a response was normal and indicated the therapy was working. Mr Yau boasted that static electricity could purify human blood. 'By dissolving the cholesterol and fat in our blood, the impurities will flow out of our bodies together with the urine.' He said the therapy would be effective for most kinds of 'elderly people's diseases' if used regularly for a long period. A leaflet distributed at the shop claimed the therapy would be 90 per cent effective in treating constipation, 80 per cent for insomnia and 70 per cent for hypertension. It said the success rate would be even higher if the therapy was given under professional advice. Each participant is given a pocket-sized card to mark the number of visits to the shop. On it are cartoon characters and Japanese writing that the patients cannot understand. Mr Yau's partner, a woman whose surname is Tse, said the machine was popular in Japan. 'We hope that people will tell others about the advantages through word of mouth. Some homes for the aged and hospitals have bought our products.' She even pointed to a middle-aged man in the crowd and said his grey hair had turned dark after the therapy. She claimed the Queen Elizabeth Hospital had bought one of the machines. But a hospital spokesman denied this, saying static electricity had never been used to treat patients.