Therapeutic ringtones proving a hit in Japan

Latest reports from Japan indicate that the country is under the spell of a new craze - mood-altering therapeutic ringtones - which claim to be able to solve a number of life's woes; from motivation problems to improving your skin.

They're the creation of Matsumi Suzuki, the head of the Japan Ringing Tone Laboratory, an 8-year-old subsidiary of the Japan Acoustic Laboratory. He's the chap who developed the Mosquito - a high-pitched tone inaudible to anyone above the age of 25 - which has come in quite handy from dissuading teenagers from gathering in public places at night.

While there's almost zero scientific evidence for whether the tones work or not, Index - a mobile content provider that sells the tones - says "the number of downloads suggests the ringtones must be working to a certain extent". There's tones that cure hay fever, tones that scare away crows and tones that either help or prevent you from falling asleep.

The hay fever one claims to work by emitting a series of sounds at different frequencies "so that people can choose the sound that resonates most to their sinus and causes pollen lodged there to fall from the nasal cavity". The idea is that you hold it up to your nose, and the vibrations make the pollen fall out.

We can't see it catching on over here.