MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

By Guest Blogger Carlos Orsi, Instituto Questão de Ciência – Brazil

Elizabeth spent her whole adult life on yoga, follows a raw vegetable diet full of detox juices, studies acupuncture, and all of a sudden, in spite of this super healthy New age lifestyle, she is diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer, stage 4. After one course of chemotherapy and one of radiotherapy, both the main tumour and the metastasis vanished! She considers herself fully healed. A victory for Science, of course! Or isn’t it?

Not accordingly to the interpretation of “Heal”, Netflix’s recent documentary.

Even after Elizabeth’s doctor suggested that maybe the quick and relatively simple remission might be due to a misdiagnosis made at the beginning, that overestimated the severity of the tumour, the film insists that the actual reason for Elizabeth’s recovery was the release of negative emotions and energy. Those, they say, had accumulated for decades, ever since the day when the patient, still a small child, was humiliated by her kindergarten mates for bringing a pack of crackers for Show and Tell.

Produced, directed, written, and hosted by Kelly Noonan Gores (American actor that can be seen on the episode “Sex, Lies and Silicone” from the series CSI, New York), “Heal” tells the stories of two women struggling with disease. While Elizabeth deals with her cancer, Eva suffers from a mysterious type of rash, undiagnosed by doctors. Eva, of course, is also searching for a cure.

The documentary features both women -either talking about their ailments or consulting with alternative doctors and practitioners – and interviews with authors of mystical self-help best-sellers, such as Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lypton and Kelly Turner.

For those not familiar with these celebrities, Chopra is the one who claims that the human body is a “field of energy and awareness”, and that it is possible to stop the process of aging, and even reverse it, using meditation, physical exercise and plain strong will. There is a parody twitter account, @WisdomOfChopra, that produces nonsense phrases, indistinguishable from the pseudo-sayings of this mighty guru. There is even a scientific paper (http://journal.sjdm.org/15/15923a/jdm15923a.html) showing clearly that everything Chopra says is actually identical to random nonsense.

Lypton, on the other hand, believes that since gene regulation – the study of which genes are active and which are not within the cells on a given moment – depends partly on environmental signals, then it obviously should be possible to turn genes on and off by sheer will and power of the mind. Kelly Turner has travelled the world interviewing cancer survivors who faced the worst prognoses, asking them how they assessed their own healing process. It makes sense of course, if you consider it wise asking lottery winners how they pick the numbers!

More self-help celebrities lend their grace to “Heal”. Rob Wergin, the “Divine conduit”, who claims to channel healing energy directly from God to the patients, and the so-called “medical medium” Anthony Williams, both show up in the documentary and even John of God, the famous Brazilian medium healer, features a small part. Heal was filmed in 2017, before John of God was tried and arrested for the sexual harassment and rape of over 400 women. Too bad no fortune-teller or tarot reader predicted this and warned the producer beforehand…

Quantum Physics, Buddha and Epigenetics

One guru/coach/master/whatever in the film cites the phrase “each men and women are the architects of their own health”, and attributes it to Buddha. That is false, Sidarta Gautama, the Buddha who taught in India around 500 BCE probably never said that. The statement, however, immersed in an atmosphere of profound “wisdom” and absolute certainty, is the hallmark of the documentary as a whole: every mention of science, epigenetics, physics or placebo effect is either false, twisted or out of context.

Let’s start with Physics: all the practitioners in the film seem to believe that the Matter and Energy equivalence, as described in the Theory of Relativity, together with certain aspects of Quantum Physics, somehow validate a kind of dualism in the world, where matter and soul would be separate entities. These scientific theories, in the film’s assessment, would also validate the predominant role of spirit over mundane things: if everything is about energy, then the physical world is nothing but an illusion, easily manipulated by sheer will.

No need to mention just how wrong this line of thinking is. Energy, in Quantum Physics, is a physical property of the world. It can be measured and manipulated with the appropriate tools, and it does not represent any kind of abstract or divine power.

Both in logic and rhetoric, this misuse of words is called “equivocation”: using the same word in the same argument several times, but with different meanings, pretending not to notice the change.

The stars of the film seem fascinated by examples that some mental states correlate with physiological states, but do not seem to realise that this does not mean mind rules over matter, but rather that the mind is also subject to physiological changes.

More scientific concepts are twisted during the show: epigenetics and the placebo effect are hyped all the way to the moon and back. Epigenetics – which deals with the cellular mechanisms responsible for turning genes on and off – is pictured as the key to positive thinking in cellular biology: “If I change my perception, my mind changes my beliefs about life, I change the signals that are going in and adjusting the functions of the cell”, says Bruce Lypton, author of “Biology of Belief”, looking straight into the camera.

Lypton jumps to the conclusion that if different hormones can make identical stem cells differentiate in different organs, by turning genes on and off, then surely thoughts can have the exact same effect, in any kind of cell! Of course, if there was any truth to this, it should be possible to differentiate an ear from a finger, or regenerate a lost member, just by wishful thinking.

A similar explanation is given by the author of “You are the placebo”. Joe Dispenza argues that if the placebo effect, generated by a combination of classic conditioning and self-suggestion, can make the body produce opioid-like molecules for pain, then surely faith and belief can make the body produce virtually anything necessary to heal. The writer claims to have healed himself of a severe spinal injury, using nothing but visualizations and positive thinking.

To sum up

Heal’s leading claims state that all illnesses are self-inflicted, result from emotional stress (bad emotions create “density” which weakens the immune system and causes cancer), and are as such, self-healing. And of course, we know that because of Quantum Physics, Epigenetics and blah-blah-blah.

There is a slight attempt – very slight indeed – not to blame the patients. It is mentioned at a certain point that the patients are not to blame for their own diseases; it is the modern lifestyle that poisons us all. The overall message, however, is very clear: everything happens for a reason, and it is all in your head. Noonan Gores tries to sell the documentary as a message of hope. Sadly, it is but a message of despair and guilt.

Perhaps the most naïve demonstration of this message is Kelly Turner’s idea -as stated in her book Radical Remission – that people who recover from malignant tumours have “found the cure to their own cancer”. Collecting and cataloguing these survivors’ “habits” makes no sense unless you compare them to a control group: a group pf people who shared the same habits and lifestyle, and did not recover.

The film also shows a man who presents himself as a brain cancer patient. He takes part in a very emotional sequence, where he shares a “mystical moment” in Rob Wergin’s arms. Everyone in the room looks really moved, and it is clear that the patient believes himself cured. But was he? The film conveniently stops right there.

Eva, the second protagonist, with the mysterious rash, has no closure either, and finishes the documentary exactly at the same place where she began: no diagnosis nor treatment – or so they say. One doctor put her on steroids, another gave her antibiotics. The holistic therapist that helped her go through childhood issues and release negative emotion did not seem to help either.

The main – and only – cure shown in “Heal” is Elizabeth’s, who treated her cancer with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The producer, however, refuses to connect the dots and give credit to “Western medicine”. Western medicine is after all, an aggressive monster, and full credit is given to alternative medicine alone. The reality of course, lies on the other end: the adoption of alternative therapies actually increases the risk of death in cancer patients (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2687972 ).

The true “power of the mind”, it seems, lies in ignoring the obvious and falling desperately in love with a pseudoscientific fantasy. A cruel fantasy for those who fall, a very lucrative one for those who sell.

99 Responses to “Heal”, the documentary: nonsense and cruelty on health and disease

  • How could you suggest that something a trivial as chemotherapy and radiotherapy could possibly be responsible for Elizabeth’s remission? Every one knows that dried frog pills* are the real cure.

    *My thanks to Terry Pratchett for bring this cure to my attentior.

  • Tribute to a certain form of zeitgeist. Fallback from rationality in sciences to idealistic philosophic dreams. A ban on the question of “where is the evidence?”. I’m sure this is partially caused by disdain of natural sciences in the educational system. Even simple logicial violations are not recognized. For example, the thesis of “modern lifestyle” causing illness should provoke the counterquestion if there where better lifestyles and less illness in former times?

    In Germany, author Dietrich Schwanitz postulated in his bestseller “Bildung” (“Education”), that mathematics and natural sciences don’t belong to the valid education canon but belong to peripheral special knowledge. He got much applause on that. Why? Among other things, because it is comfortable… It is easier to listen to what one wants to hear. Further, it gives positive feeling to hear this from any celebrities. And it is uncomfortable to listen to these annoying skeptics… they always destroy the feelgood…

    I’ve dealt with the roots of disrespect on science for years. I don’t believe that this could be completely eliminated. But why isn’t there a much more louder voice all over the scientific community about that?

    • in my experience the experts [in medicine] tend to smile at all this, think it is not important, and are far too busy to give it some serious thought.

    • Some useful investigation will be: How many people participating in this forum has a chronic disease? How many people with chronic diseases thinks different from skeptics, an finally: What thinks people with chronic diseases about medical cruelty? If we are open mind we must think about everything, not just that what matches with our beliefs.

  • This sort of thing is so nasty and cruel. If your stage 4 cancer doesn’t go into remission, it’s because you are holding onto negative emotions. How could you possibly measure that? And how could someone with stage 4 cancer not have negative emotions?

  • Thank you for exposing this scam. Kelly Noonan Gores would do well to do an investigative film on Mind control techniques. This all reminds me of a cult I was recruited into more than 30 years ago. The facilitator also claimed he had healed cancer the size of an orange by positive thinking.This same facilitator got me pregnant whilst he was trying to help me overcome the effects of sexual abuse using NLP. Needless to say although financial support was promised in writing all the cheques bounced.He is now the Director of the cult. Perhaps Kelly should watch some YouTube video’s on Derren Brown who exposes faithhealers and their methods.Of course this would all involve negative critical thinking which she probably has been brainwashed not to do! One final point….when you vocally meditate to clear your mind….any obscure lecture by a cultleader will go straight into your subconscious. Because all mind control is designed to bypass the conscious mind and be registered in the subconscious mind. That is why people reason and think the way they have been programmed to think. Only when you realise you were hypnotized when you thought you were meditating ,will the realisation that these thought processes were planted in your brain hit home. Even then you have to be around people who haven’t been brainwashed,who you trust ,to start to question it. Unfortunately many people get so high after they have been brainwashed and continue to engage with like minded individuals that it is difficult for them to break free.

    • how sad you let someone have sex with you and impregnate you and then refuse to accept your responsibility for it; sad indeed that person was a charlatan but unless he raped you, you let him do it so maybe you are responsible for it too? or if he raped you, why don’t you call the police and get him convicted? or blame the cult? of course it was a bad cult, but from what i know pregnancies do not happen from pills and speeches, someone consented to have sex (did you) and if not, report such abusers to authorities..

      • I came on this website just to see the critic of the doc heal before I watched it and found your unbelievably ignorant and judgemental comment. If Charlottes story is true then she does not have to justify anything to you in what happened to her and it is you that is severely lacking in education and compassion. I would be ashamed and disgusted to write what you have. You have judged with very limited understanding of the relationships between therapist and patient and how it is incredibly unprofessional and damaging to the patient for therapists to be sexually/romantically involved as they are in a position of influence. Do yourself a favour and do not comment on things you have given very little thought about.

      • This comment made my whole body shiver. Extremely insensitive, ignorant and off the point.
        No wonder the author wouldn’t even put his/her name to it.
        My sympathies go out to you, Charlotte.

  • So are you saying that the Relaxation Response and Meditation do not have measured, published, legitimate, positive scientific results? Although ‘Heal’ has lots of questionable segments, without any scientific research, I believe that RR and Meditation are very affective with stress… i.e. the mind affects the physical body and can regulate certain chemicals/hormones/breathing to produce positive medical results. If it can help stress, which is a HUGE problem, why is there not the possibility that (though not proven) it can mitigate some disease processes.

    • Jane

      It is no secret to medical science that stress is a killer, they’ve know it for decades. Anybody that denies the dangers of both acute and chronic stress are inept or delirious.

      • Rg. So, it is thus pretty straightforward that stress needs to be avoided in order to limit Its effects on disease. That is exactly what They are saying in the documentary.. Unfortunately, people experience a lot of stress due to the activation of a mostly unneeded fight/flight system.

  • Both in logic and rhetoric, this misuse of words is called “equivocation”: using the same word in the same argument several times, but with different meanings, pretending not to notice the change.

    I am watching this documentary right now. It is revolting. I think you are too kind and polite. What these people are doing, is not just equivocation. It is prevarication.

  • Yes there is a deal of speculation served in this film and by self appointed educators and healers . I found this website after seeking to find more recent news for the brain cancer patient, his name wasn’t given. He was being manhandled by Rob Wergin. The film was released in 2017 it is now 2019. I would also like to know about the consequences for other people with illnesses that have come into contact with him. Yes possible and unusual positive results for cure could merely be attributed to their physical possibility to heal rather than divine intervention. However I would also mention the reversal and cure of extreme and terminable medical cases, outside of this film, have defied medical prognosis.

    I have a great deal of respect for the medical profession particularly doctors and surgeons who can often provide, definite, relief from pain and physical disease. I think we could all agree, though, that medical knowledge is still progressive and that there is a great deal about the functioning of the human brain that is still unknown. This does leave opportunity for the abuse of peoples trust by those that are guessing. For those fake healers that are using this ambiguity, knowingly, and for their own agrandisement, i can only think of them as behaving sociopathically. Far better, surely, for this subject to be discussed rather than enticing others to bolster their opinions about what the unknown is. The worst kind of religion. Gregg Braden’s explanation for entanglement and that we were all connected before the big bang. Before the Big Bang? perhaps he ought to think about what an incredibly stupid thing he has said. It just discredits what there is and reduces the possibility for the medical profesion to be involved with and test. There is so much alternative therapy that people do benefit from such as Yoga and meditation. I could also tell the truth and talk about how my personal cynicism was striped away by supernatural experiences, these i never asked for but was privileged to experience. Its not something i would just want to describe, my words are not enough, apart from those who sincerely have experienced and know already i would just want other people to be granted this from the source.

    • you seem to think that a medical prognosis is a cast iron thing – well, it is not. it always must be an average around a fairly wide range. and there are always spontaneous recoveries.

    • if you don’t want to describe your ‘supernatural’ experiences, why mention them at all?
      most people probably have them; they remain meaningless cognitive biases unless you attach a meaning to them.

      • R Lee wrote “I could also tell the truth and talk about how my personal cynicism was striped away by supernatural experiences, these i never asked for but was privileged to experience. Its not something i would just want to describe, my words are not enough…” and Edzard responded “if you don’t want to describe your ‘supernatural’ experiences, why mention them at all?” I will tell you why (and R Lee already said) words truly are not enough. My mathematics PhD father, a computer scientist and innovator starting repeatedly sharing rather mystical theories with me in his old age, and I, his electrical engineer son, was dismissive and thinking he was just losing his grip on reality. Now at 60, after personally experiencing too many seemingly supernatural experiences myself, I have found that sharing my stories either return puzzled looks or a flood of like stories from those who always say they kept quiet themselves until I came along.

        Also like R Lee, I would love much more data on how successful spiritual and energy healers really are. The “placebo effect” baffles many who try to explain it, but it cannot be ignored. Here is how Harvard Health talks about it: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-placebo-effect-amazing-and-real-201511028544 . The ‘alternative’ healers speaking in Heal are telling us how to tap into it and use it… and beyond trauma processing and lowering stress, ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ is a key part of this. I am complete done with dismissing what I don’t understand.

        My words here won’t convince you. Only once your own bizarre, supernatural experiences you occasionally experience become too hard to ignore, or you make a connection with someone magical, will show you that skepticism is rooted in fear and it limits your options.

        • Jamie, can you direct us to the section of the movie where the gurus tell us how to tap in to the placebo please? I watched it all the way through but must have missed it.

          • Joe Dispenza starting at around :35. Basically, I guess, much of the movie is about mind body connection that is routinely scientifically observed and often called the placebo effect.
            By the way, this movie has different thought leaders somewhat contradicting each other but that is okay because they are not systemically unified with standards and ratified protocols. If you watch Forks over Knives, which everyone who eats food should watch, it is science based and focused on nutrition predominantly and not the mind body connection.
            I observe that most say that you have a great opportunity to understand and use your mind as part of healing, but you also better get the sleep you need, eat a whole plant-based diet, get exercise, and process the childhood coping mechanisms that don’t serve us so well in adult relationships.

          • Jamie, Dispenza starts this section made up examples of Placebo Effects, stating that the body produces the same chemical that an actual drug would contain, this may be correct for pain drugs but I doubt whether the Palcebo would work to replace antibiotics for example. All he goes on to say following this assertion is:

            “The qusetion is, is it the inert substance doing the healing? Or is it the the body’s innate capacity to heal?”.

            There is no evidence of which I am aware that Placebo’s heal anything. And if they did Dispennza does not show us how to utilize them at will.

    • Amen!

  • On a side issue to the movie one of it’s stars, Joe Dispenza runs the usual new thought workshops. At two of these workshops a large proportion of the audience came down with something like flu. Here’s Dispenza’s explanation:

    https://drjoedispenza.net/blog/change/processing-a-biological-upgrade/

    If I didn’t know better I’d think it was a parody. The comment section would be funny too they weren’t posted by victims of this quack/

  • I came looking for smart, objective counterpoints to the documentary because I believe there is no one correct extreme and both the medical field and the holistic field have strong points and potential benefits. I’m a firm believer in science but I also think it’s ridiculous to think that the mind doesn’t have power over the body and arrogant to think that the science we know today is the absolute truth and there isn’t a whole universe of knowledge yet to be discovered about how our bodies and minds work.

    Disappointed to find that instead of a serious, professional rebuttal you’ve chosen to write a condescending and sarcastic piece that just feels like you taking an opportunity to mock something you don’t agree with. Yes, there are extremes in here that amount to little more than nonsense, and any information should always go through scientific fact checking. But you’re failing to acknowledge the more powerful side of this argument which is precisely the not-so-extreme one: the very basic notion that emotions can have physical effects on our bodies.

    I think we could all benefit from a more serious, less dismissive analysis of these concepts.

    • “the medical field and the holistic field”
      this does not make sense!
      all good medicine is holistic!

    • Adrian – thank you for your considered and balanced comment – refreshing.

      The red banner is annoying – it makes me focus more on the many assumptions by skeptics (which was apparent enough before):
      Bruce Lypton jumping to conclusions? Having met him and listening to many of his lectures, he presented as a fine scientist, well researched with a valuable delivery.

      Chopra a celebrity? He, as his father did, wants to aid people’s empowerment towards good health. As a person he is unlikely to claim guru/celebrity status.

      • The problem with the mind over matter apologist is the inferences that they draw from partial quotes, for example:

        “Lypton jumps to the conclusion that if different hormones can make identical stem cells differentiate in different organs, by turning genes on and off, then surely thoughts can have the exact same effect, in any kind of cell! Of course, if there was any truth to this, it should be possible to differentiate an ear from a finger, or regenerate a lost member, just by wishful thinking.”

        Which seems to be a valid statement in the case of Lipton the point being made is specific. Lipton’s mind requires it to have independent existence, which is just a version of Cartesian Dualism.

        You use the word sceptic here in derogatory sense, but isn’t Lipton a sceptic and doesn’t he make assumptions? Or is your vehemence only reserved for those who are sceptical of your beliefs?

        A detailed and fair assessment of Dr Lipton and his recent works can be found here:

        https://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/bruce-lipton-quack-creationist-buffoon-phd/

        • Andy – you lead to a detailed and fair assessment of Dr Lipton and the link contains the words buffoon and quack. Needless to say I won’t be reading it:; these derogatory words are used a lot to describe those who have views different to yours.

          I have not been derogatory or vehement and don’t have beliefs.

          But of course you know that : what’s a little inflammatory comment after all if it produces a response and keeps the blog going…?

          • Angela, good see that you don’t have any beliefs. The headline of the blog is a little unfair given Lipton’s valuable contribution to Cell Biology up until 1992 when he gave up on the scientific method.
            But this blog is not about a Lipton it’s about a movie called Heal and Lipton is only one of the characters.

            What makes this movie bad? It is presented as absolute truth it would have been good see it in the format Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis given the putative scientific bases. As it stands it’s just a compendium of unsupported assertions made by, what appears to be, a group of self proclaimed experts, who at no point were questioned. It has the look of a promotion for the producer’s vitalistic world view.

    • THANK YOU ADRIAN.
      I COULDN’T PUT IT BETTER. CURRENTLY AFFECTED BY CANCER IN MY FAMILY, I CAN’T EXPLAIN HOW ANGRY EDZARD’S ARTICLE MADE ME FEEL.
      HOPE IS A POWERFUL EMOTION, WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO CRUSH PEOPLE’S HOPE WHEN IT IS FUNDAMENTALLY WHAT SICK PEOPLE & THEIR LOVED ONE’S NEED?
      YOU ARE SARCASTIC AND VILE, AND YOU SOUND SMALL MINDED. WELL DONE YOU.

    • Adrian – that’s a balanced viewpoint and SHOULD resemble the balance between modern “scientific” medicine (or “Corporate Medicine” is maybe more accurate) and holistic approaches to healing.

      Edzard – of course there is a difference between both “fields” and of course there is a function for both. Scientific/Corporate Medicine is evolving, and I believe that some day scientific medicine will truly understand the concepts that holistic healing promotes. Is it fair to say our current understanding of the human body is amazing in the context of where we came from; but limited in the context of the many unknowns about the human body? Especially around emotions/hormones/energy etc.

      A quick example – my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer (aged 32) – the agreed probable cause was long term use of the birth control pill which was originally prescribed 15 years ago to control a skin condition. The solution? Take A DIFFERENT PILL (Tamoxifen) for 5-10 years. When asking the oncologist about other steps she could take to stay healthy, the response was “no – just enjoy your balanced life, have your burger or your wine if you wish to”. This is what I call Modern/Corporate Medicine – from a leading Oncologist in a world-leading cancer hospital I might add. This knowledge is obviously based on a limited understanding of the human body (are we eating right, are we absorbing nutrients; are they the right kind of nutrients; are we absorbing chemicals; effects of estrogen and cortisol and other hormones; how can we regulate those WITHOUT introducing new chemicals/hormones etc etc.). But also a limited interest in the root causes of illness and too much focus on fixing the problem with an expensive drug.

      After all, if we all ate properly and lived healthily and didn’t need doctors or medicine… who would make money from that?

      • never consult an oncologist wearing a McDonald uniform!
        in case you think this make little sense, I’d say, it make more sense than your comment.

      • @Patrick

        Please enlighten us on the difference between nutrients and chemicals.

      • Adrian – that’s a balanced viewpoint and SHOULD resemble the balance between modern “scientific” medicine (or “Corporate Medicine” is maybe more accurate) and holistic approaches to healing.

        That makes just as much sense as saying that aviation should resemble a balance between modern scientific aeronautics and yogic flying.

        • A variant of the “healing crisis” gambit. If you get better, its the healing, if you get worse, its also the healing doing its wonders. Either way the healer wins 😀

          • Indeed, and if the patient dies when treated by a doctor, it is because the doctor killed the patient, but if the patient dies when treated by an alternologist, it is because the patient didn’t follow the instructions.

      • You may want to watch this episode from “60 minutes Australia”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCN2Uvyz72k

    • Refreshing to read your comment in the midst of all the negativity and anger on this page.
      As someone who has been diagnosed with a mysterious rare skin disease and prescribed lethal drugs like steroids and Dapsone that are known and proven by medical science to have serious debilitating side affects. I came to a point where i realised it was my body and up to me to be in control and be very aware of what ‘Doctors’ were prescribing me and the potential long term side affects and more problems they would give me.
      That is an incredibly important message for people to take on board and to not become a victim twice of their illness. To not give up their power and realise that they do have a part to play in their own disease.
      Of course what we eat, what supplements we take, our emotional stress and if we exercise has a huge part to play in our health and to assume otherwise is ignorant. Nothing wrong with that message and the pathways people choose to heal themselves with is their choice entirely. That is what is important here, realising you have a choice.
      Enough with the childish vitriol this article entails. It should not be either // or approach, us verses them. We have enough divisiveness in this world we certainly do not need it when it comes to dealing with the health of our own selves.
      Lets just try and evolve a little bit here shall we ? and leave the nastiness aside there is no need for it.

    • What is missing in this blog – that dismisses alternative healing methods from standard Western healing methods – is any evidence that the author of this blog piece or any of those who wrote the angry and seemingly fearful responses has tested out any of the hypotheses set out in the film and proved or disproved the efficacy of those modes of treatment. Faith in the medical system is still just faith – before seeking regular medical attention one must have faith in it. Touting radiation and chemo-therapy, while not acknowledging that radiation also causes cancer and that chemo-therapy is poison and patients die from it, is disingenuous.

      Not all doctors are saints. Some are in it for the money.

      Others cheated to get into medical school and cheated their way through it. https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/what-can-i-do-to-stop-cheating-in-med-school.1299828/

      Some commit medicare fraud. https://www.aginginplace.org/medicare-fraud/

      Some are pedophiles and perverts. https://ktla.com/2019/08/12/berkeley-pediatrician-accused-of-showing-boy-pornography-as-allegations-against-ca-doctors-rise-in-metoo-era/

      Some are alcoholics and drug abusers. https://www.physicianhealthprogram.com/addiction-news/alcoholism-drug-abuse-doctors/

      Some surgeons make disrespectful statements while patients are undergoing surgery. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/04/07/patient-hid-recorder-in-her-hair-as-surgeons-operated-on-her-their-words-left-her-deeply-distressed/?noredirect=on

      Our opiod crisis was fueled by doctors overprescribing because they had incentives from the drug company. https://www.realclearhealth.com/articles/2018/07/05/did_doctors_help_create_the_opioid_crisis_110802.html

  • Anything positive in this world get mocked by people who don’t believe in anything. SOME of you are already dead being alive. You don’t have hopes or dreams and you put all negativity on other people just because you don’t like a movie .It’s a good documentary I enjoyed watching and definately I learned few things .I have cancer and I know if I don’t believe if I will be sceptical about everything I will not make it so if you have nothing good to say don’t say at all .peace

  • I watched Heal with a heavy dose of scepticism but despite a lack of thorough examination of some of the claims made, the core message is simply one of common sense. We all know from experience that people with a more positive fame of mind tend to be healthier and fight off illnesses more easily, whereas as those with with a negative frame of mind tend to suffer more ill health. Some hospitals employ clowns, as it has been shown that laughter can help the healing process. Certainly claiming that pure thought alone can cure late stage cancer requires far more thorough investigation but I feel simply discounting everything in the documentary out of hand is unhelpful. All good science starts by asking questions and very often it’s when people start to think outside the box and look at other possibilities that new discoveries can be made.

    • “All good science starts by asking questions and very often it’s when people start to think outside the box and look at other possibilities that new discoveries can be made.”.

      If only the producers of this movie had followed this advice. As far as I can tell no question were asked at all.

      • Yes, I agree as an investigative documentary it was very poor. I was looking for the follow ups to the highlighted cases and it would be interesting to know what actually happened to those people. However, I feel conventional medicine does need to start looking beyond the mere mechanical aspects of the body and explore other aspects of health.

  • The end of the movie says “In the memory of…”. I tried to read it 3x and it vanished faster than my blinking eyes. Could anyone tell me who died? It surprises me that the “ In the memory” dedication by the end of the movie lasts 1/2 second. At least watching it through Netflix I can’t read it.

    • Hi Anna, the dead people mentioned are Louise Hay who became famous by claiming to cure AIDS back in the 80s and Wayne Dyer who’s claim to fame is plagiarising Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy and his catch phrase I am that I am, which I believe, is taken from Bible.

  • My goodness, it seems that negative emotions are breeding like wildfire. I don’t think anyone had pointed out that this documentary was a suggestion to healing, and that every patient has the right to chose their own treatment. It is not the first time that I have heard of people refusing modern medicine, because they understand their own bodies, and feel its better to give it a longer more natural healing time. I know not the same can be said for aggressive and life-threating illnesses such as cancer, but I still have experienced people refusing ‘life-saving’ drugs because the side-effects are negatively impacting them. Why is it all ‘these people have no facts?’ and ‘how dare people slander the scientific community?’ to a personal and important issue as choosing an appropriate healing and also living standard, not another persons healing, our own healing. Too many people get their egos wounded by the mere suggestion of a ‘non-believer’ of social norms. Well, I don’t believe in God, I believe in science, I don’t believe in magic, I believe in meditation and love. I have never felt more powerful and healthy than when I have no anger or resentment towards myself or others. If you cannot appreciate and respect the power of peace and love and respect for our world, than you are wrapped up to much in the narcissistic ideal that proving another person wrong is more important than accepting and respecting another persons happiness.

    • So your argument is not about the content of the critique of the movie and the characters therein, but rather with the motivations of those doing the criticism. In short the film may or may not be rubbish but the author of the article and those leaving comments have no right to do so on the grounds that it disrespects the happiness of others And the only reason they would do this is that they are all mentally ill.

      I wonder just how powerful you felt when you posted this angry and resentful comment?

      • Andy

        You percieve anger and resentment from Eve ? hmmm
        What I took from her post is that she is advocating a “live and let live” philosophy of life… without aggressions …nothing more.

  • Something about the energy that causes the earth to revolve around the sun. Do we really have control over this energy? If mankind needed the orbit to reverse so we could save us all – for some strange reason – could we use our collective thoughts to cause it to happen? I am trained in conventional medicine but have opened my mind to all kinds of other possibilities. I have sadly watched many hundreds of humans and their families suffer through illness and death over the past 45 years. Although organized religion helps millions to believe in something greater than themselves and find comfort there (and GOOD for them), my personal belief is that there is something powerful within us all – but not a preacher so will stop there.
    This “movie” to me reeks of “Jeez. Let’s do something cool and cause a stir. Maybe we can get on Netflix” Lots of scientific things that make people think you are real. The first thing that bugged me was the beautiful women and the handsome men with perfect teeth. Was I seeing an advertisement for a new drug for sale?
    Show us the reality. Show the dying bodies and the broken loved ones. Tell me how we can help them.
    Then maybe I will seriously listen to you.

  • The documentary was really a beginning for many people to look at holistic modalities for healing serious chronic diseases and bringing back the mind body connection that is inherent in helping maintain good health. It should be obvious this documentary was not a PHD dissertation recorded on film or a final exam at a medical school to receive one’s MD degree. I find it so annoying to read these ‘limited in scope criticisms’ by medical professionals of a documentary that explores healing from other perspectives such as nutrition to the miraculous spontaneous remissions; if these same medical professionals looked back at their medical doctor colleagues in the past, they would find doctors advocating cigarettes for health and radium treatment on benign skin lesions on infants in the 1950’s. The cigarette recommendations go all the way into the sixties and doctors still smoked at nurses’ stations in the 1970’s. They thought women could smoke to reduce birth weight for easier delivery. These same doctors would love to condemn scientists like Bruce Lipton PhD, Kelly Turner PhD. (medical researcher and statistician). The hubris of medical doctors with closed minds is well known. I have dealt with a chronic disease and it was only using alternative modalities that has kept me alive. Why don’t the critical doctors mention how many people die from prescribed medications per year. “Estimates dating back nearly two decades put the number at 100,000 or more deaths annually, which includes a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998 that projected 106,000 deaths. A more recent analysis estimates 128,000 Americans die each year as a result of taking medications as prescribed” (from 2016 article): https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-danger-in-taking-prescribed-medications Vioxx alone killed 40,000 people before being pulled from the market. Regarding aspects of medical science, as Bruce Lipton said if in a serious accident, he would want a surgeon, not a chiropractor or a nutritionist. So the future will incorporate the best of both worlds. Let us all keep open minded and open hearted.

  • It is all true.
    Leave it to the Superiors
    They will decide who shall be healed.

  • Haven’t you heard about psychoneuroimmunology? Psychogenetic stress plays a huge role in epigenetics and the disease process. Look up Robert Sapolsky or Gabor Maté. Robert Sapolsky is a Stanford University Professor and Gabor Maté was a medical doctor who has written several best selling books. Sapolsky wrote a really interesting book on this topic called “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”- it is based on rigorous scientific evidence. Maté wrote “When the body says no”- he used both his own client case reports and references to published, scholarly peer reviewed papers. I’m not saying that stress/emotional suppression causes cancer or any other disease directly, but there is enough evidence to show that it can play a major role in the development and maintenance of the disease process. This is modern science, it’s not airy fairy pseudoscience. You cannot separate the mind from the body. I think that people can over-stretch things when they don’t fully understand the concepts, but there is a lot of merit to this topic.

    • The only people separating mind from body are those in the movie who come across as dualists of the Cartesian variety whereas the two scientists that you mention are distinctly materialist.

      Also you state “psychogenetic stress plays a huge role in epigenetics.” What does that even mean?

  • It is so sad how ignorant & closed minded you are. For any 1 of us who have HAD cancer & who HAVE gone the original way to healing , whIch IS an holistic & dietary way & are in perfectly balanced good health , we can say , NOTHING in a dietary change( unless u are allergic to something, will harm you & WILL improve your overall health. NOTHING in positive thinking will cause you to be in a more diminished state of mind but, will in fact improve your mental stability & therefore help you to heal.. So very sad to me that people are completely closed minded to what I know to be true. Sad to know that ppl arent willing to help themselves & give their power to anyone who those a pill at them.

  • I just noticed that this site edzardernst.com, States -please remember if you make a claim in a comment support it with evidence. This is very humorous to me considering in your way of thinking, you have shown absolutely no proof that positive thinking or change in diet do not help. Isn’t that quite hypocritical?

    • “you have shown absolutely no proof that positive thinking or change in diet do not help”
      nor has anyone shown that sharing a joint with the spaghetti monster cures hair loss.

  • EE

    I’ll save you and the readers here the exorcise of posting any diet related links. Your claim that a change in diet can not help anyone is so ludicrous that I won’t address it further in this response. I’m pretty sure you even know better.

    As for positive thinking;
    “Here’s heartwarming news: People with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook.

    That’s the finding from Johns Hopkins expert Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., and her colleagues. The finding held even in people with family history who had the most risk factors for coronary artery disease, and positive people from the general population were 13 percent less likely than their negative counterparts to have a heart attack or other coronary event.”

    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-power-of-positive-thinking

    • @RG

      PITY THAT YOU CANNOT READ PROPERLY
      I did not say what you are trying to put in my mouth!

    • RG

      I’m not sure which it is with you – intellectual dishonesty, or simply poor intellect.

      Edzard’s comment regarding positive thinking and appropriate diet was in response to Kim Mosley’s apparent belief that cancer can be healed by them.

      So why did your link relate to heart disease? Stress and heart disease are well known to be related – cancer, not so much.

      In any case, the heart disease study was not really about the power of “positive thinking” – considered as an act of will. It was about people born with the good fortune to have a naturally positive and happy outlook on life compared to those born without it.

      The article was not so heartwarming for unhappy people. If correct, it might lead to more cardiac events.

      • Leigh Jackson

        My poor intellect was in taking as many years as it took me to see through, and accept the fallacy of EBM, the evidence is poor, but the rewards are rich.
        Congratulations to those of you reaping the rewards.

  • Hehehe

    C’mon EE
    Don’t blow a gasket, that can make you sick.

  • Carlos Orsi

    you, and many others, will be SO surprised when, after the physical body dies, you discover the existence of eternity and of God, as well as causes, basen on the mind, that are far more nuanced than you can imagine. You’ll be so surprised

      • That’s quite the intriguing response, Alan. I would expect asking for Karin’s proof, or something like that. But a definitive “nope” implies that you can back up why you won’t be surprised.

        Do tell…

        • LOL! I really don’t think it’s worthwhile asking Karin for proof, do you? I would be SO surprised if she did – definitive proof of an afterlife would be even more profound and remarkable than, say, homeopathy or reiki. I’m sure we’d have heard about before now.

        • No, I really don’t think it’d be worthwhile. But since you’d also need proof for a definitive “nope”…I’m really curious what you found. The best you could do without proof would be a definite “who knows”. Maybe even a hearty “no way to tell”, or a heartfelt “beats me”.

          So I’m on the edge of my seat here waiting to hear what you’ve discovered…do tell! 🙂

          • Something that has no evidence at all, beyond the implausible random imaginings of people compounded by an unreliable narrator does not require more than a simple “nope”. If I told you there were 487 fairies following you and dancing in your shadow whenever you weren’t looking, would your response be “no way to tell”, or would it be a simple “nope”?

          • Peter, if there’s no evidence either way…you’d have to go with “no way to tell”. In your particular case I’d probably go with “I can’t see them”. Realistically, I’d probably ask you for more details – that’d be fascinating.

            Not as fascinating as Alan’s afterlife proof (and how he got it)…but definitely amusing.

    • That is a very specific claim. Is it based on any evidence that you would like to share with us? As far as I know there have not been any verifiable cases of a person returning from the dead and describing what it was like.

      • I have no energy to try to convince anyone or try to prove anything for anyone. And I don’t need it either. Why should I?
        As things are arranged in the universe, each person has to find his or her own way and in time, experience his own evidence.
        The existence of God cannot be proved with the tools of the physical world. But that does not rule out the existence of God.

        There is, as far as I could see, a single person here in this conversation, who had the courage to realize that although life cannot be proven to be eternal, it cannot be disproved either.
        I respect that person very much. Sorry I can’t remember your name. But respect from me.

        In my opinion, it’s a little foolish to believe, that anyone can be sure that physical life is the only life we ​​have. To me, it illustrates a limited and solidified mindset.

        If nothing else, a person with a scientific mindset should be able to acknowledge, that there is something that cannot be proven, and which must therefore be left open.

        Well, I’ll stop here, and remind myself that the last laugh is the best laugh.
        See you, somewhere out there in eternity.

        • “a person with a scientific mindset should be able to acknowledge, that there is something that cannot be proven, and which must therefore be left open.”
          no, treatments either work or they don’t; if they do, I can be demonstrated with science.

  • The Energy Cure. William Bengston. Studies effects of energy on cancer in a college research setting St. Joseph’s in Ny. Has had amazing results curing deadly cancer. Everything can not be explained by science. Like the nature of electricity. However some people like to claim they know something does not work because well, science.

    • “amazing results curing deadly cancer”
      where is this published?

      • Hi EE, it was publised in a journal called “The Jurnal of Scientific Exploration” which seems to deal with all sorts of magical thinking. Here’s the paper by Dr Bengston: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/Documents/jse_14_3_bengston.pdf
        Benstone is dead but I’m sure that his regeisterd trade mark for the Bengston Technique cancer cure will live on for many years to come.

      • Edzard,

        I googled “bengston energy cure” and found a promotional Web site:
        https://www.equilibrium-e3.com/bengston.php

        This had a link to another site, Bengston Research:
        https://www.bengstonresearch.com/

        They have a list of publications, and one of them seems to have been in a proper medical research journal, though not one that I am familiar with. They are very pleased with themselves about it, though, saying:

        “Transcriptional Changes in Cancer Cells Induced by Exposure to a Healing Method,” Dose Response, July 2018 (with Sarah Beseme, Dean Radin, Michael Turner, John McMichael).

        This article is a bit of a breakthrough, in that it is published in a “conventional” biology journal

        They also provide a link to the full text:
        http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1559325818782843

        I have had a look at it, and unfortunately their methodology and statistical analysis aren’t very sound. The authors were looking at how their interventions might alter gene expression in cells in culture (either by practitioners “healing” the cultures or else by playing “energy” sound recordings to the flasks – they describe the settings on the computer and amplifier used, but unfortunately they do not give the sound pressure level, which is easy to measure and, I would have thought, much more relevant). They refer to “electromagnetic recordings”, by which I suppose they mean that they played them back through conventional loudspeakers as opposed to electrostatic or piezoelectric speakers, since the recordings themselves were stored digitally on a computer (though maybe they mean that the sounds were recorded electromagnetically, i.e. using a specific sort of microphone; this might be in contrast to early gramophone recordings which were made acoustically, though possibly I have completely misunderstood their use of the word “electromagnetic”; certainly they seem to use the term “energy” rather differently from how it is normally defined).

        The investigators examined a panel of 167 genes and found that 37 of them showed a statistically significant difference in expression in the interventional group compared with the controls, though the size of the effect was small. Since they did not specify in advance which genes they expected to show changes this is clearly a random effect and the statistical significance that they found was the result of applying the test inappropriately.

        I am surprised that the journal published this at all.

        To go from this isolated and rather dubious study to recommending treatment requires a huge leap of faith as well as a complete lack of understanding of what they were doing.

    • Everything can not be explained by science. Like the nature of electricity.

      Science has never claimed to explain everything. Indeed, one thing that distinguishes the scientific method is that it is OK to recognise that we don’t know something, rather than trying to fill the gaps in our knowledge with unjustified and untestable explanations.

      However, when it comes to electricity Science has explained that pretty comprehensively as far as I am aware.

    • Eve

      What makes you think that science is unable to explain “the nature of electricity”? It is understood at an atomic, subatomic and quantum level.

    • @Eve
      Please listen very, very carefully to what this wise man has to say. At least three times.

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