This pilot study is “delving into the potential benefits of Reiki therapy as a complementary intervention for the treatment and management of stress and anxiety”.
A total of 31 volunteers self-reporting stress, anxiety, or psychological disorders were enrolled. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) was assessed using the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) Questionnaire for anxiety and depression. Pre- and post-treatment HRQoL scores were meticulously compared, and the significance of the disparities in these scores was meticulously computed.
Analysis was restricted to volunteers who completed the 3-day Reiki sessions. Statistically significant enhancements were discerned across all outcome measures, encompassing positive affect, negative affect, pain, drowsiness, tiredness, nausea, appetite, shortness of breath, anxiety, depression, and overall well-being (P<0.0001).
The authors concluded that the constancy and extensive scope of these improvements suggest that Reiki therapy may not only address specific symptoms but also contribute significantly to a predominant escalation of mental and physical health.
This study is almost comical.
Amongst all the many forms of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM), Reiki is perhaps the most ridiculous scam. It is a form of paranormal or ‘energy healing’ popularised by Japanese Mikao Usui (1865–1926). Rei means universal spirit (sometimes thought of as a supreme being) and ki is the assumed universal life energy. It is based on the assumptions of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the existence of ‘chi’, the life-force that is assumed to determine our health.
Reiki practitioners believe that, with their hands-on healing method, they can transfer ‘healing energy’ to a patient which, in turn, stimulates the self-healing properties of the body. They assume that the therapeutic effects of this technique are obtained from a ‘universal life energy’ that provides strength, harmony, and balance to the body and mind. There is no scientific basis for such notions, and reiki is therefore not plausible.
Reiki is used for a number of conditions, including the relief of stress, tension and pain. There have been several clinical trials testing its effectiveness. Those that are rigorous fail to show that the treatment is effective – and those that are dripping with bias, like the one discussed here, tend to produce false-positive results.
The present study has many flaws that are too obvious to even mention. While reading it, I asked myself the following questions:
- How could a respectable university ever allow this pseudo-research to go ahead?
- How could a respectable ethics committee ever permit it?
- How could a respectable journal ever publish it?
The answers must be that, quite evidently, they are not respectable.
Supportive care is often assumed to be beneficial in managing the anxiety symptoms common in patients in sterile hematology unit. The authors of this study hypothesize that personal massage can help the patient, particularly in this isolated setting where physical contact is extremely limited.
The main objective of this study therefore was to show that anxiety could be reduced after a touch-massage performed by a nurse trained in this therapy.
A single-center, randomized, unblinded controlled study in the sterile hematology unit of a French university hospital, validated by an ethics committee. The patients, aged between 18 and 65 years old, and suffering from a serious and progressive hematological pathology, were hospitalized in sterile hematology unit for a minimum of three weeks. They were randomized into either a group receiving 15-minute touch-massage sessions or a control group receiving an equivalent amount of quiet time once a week for three weeks.
In the treated group, anxiety was assessed before and after each touch-massage session, using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory questionnaire with subscale state (STAI-State). In the control group, anxiety was assessed before and after a 15-minute quiet period. For each patient, the difference in the STAI-State score before and after each session (or period) was calculated, the primary endpoint was based on the average of these three differences. Each patient completed the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Questionnaire before the first session and after the last session.
Sixty-two patients were randomized. Touch-massage significantly decreased patient anxiety: a mean decrease in STAI-State scale score of 10.6 [7.65-13.54] was obtained for the massage group (p ≤ 0.001) compared with the control group. The improvement in self-esteem score was not significant.
The authors concluded that this study provides convincing evidence for integrating touch-massage in the treatment of patients in sterile hematology unit.
I find this conclusion almost touching (pun intended). The wishful thinking of the amateur researchers is almost palpable.
Yes, I mean AMATEUR, despite the fact that, embarrassingly, the authors are affiliated with prestigeous institutions:
- 1Nantes Université, CHU Nantes, Service Interdisciplinaire Douleur, Soins Palliatifs et de Support, Médecine intégrative, UIC 22, Nantes, F-44000, France.
- 2Université Paris Est, EA4391 Therapeutic and Nervous Excitability, Creteil, F-93000, France.
- 3Nantes Université, CHU Nantes, Hematology Department, Nantes, F-44000, France.
- 4Nantes Université, CHU Nantes, CRCI2NA – INSERM UMR1307, CNRS UMR 6075, Equipe 12, Nantes, F-44000, France.
- 5Institut Curie, Paris, France.
- 6Université Paris Versailles Saint-Quentin, Versailles, France.
- 7Nantes Université, CHU Nantes, Direction de la Recherche et l’Innovation, Coordination Générale des Soins, Nantes, F-44000, France.
- 8Methodology and Biostatistics Unit, DRCI CHU Nantes CHD Vendée, La Roche Sur Yon, F-85000, France.
- 9Nantes Université, CHU Nantes, Service Interdisciplinaire Douleur, Soins Palliatifs et de Support, Médecine intégrative, UIC 22, Nantes, F-44000, France. [email protected].
So, why do I feel that they must be amateurs?
- Because, if they were not amateurs, they would know that a clinical trial should not aim to show something, but to test something.
- Also, if they were not amateurs, they would know that perhaps the touch-massage itself had nothing to do with the outcome, but that the attention, sympathy and empathy of a therapist or a placebo effect can generate the observed effect.
- Lastly, if they were not amateurs, they would not speak of convincing evidence based on a single, small, and flawed study.
Jean-Maurice Latsague (85 years old) has a track record of sexual assaults. Recently, he stood trial before the Sarthe Assize Court from 13 to 15 December for rapes committed during healing sessions. He has worked as an energy healer for many years, and it was in this capacity that he came into conflict with the law nearly 30 years ago.
- In 1994, he was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for the rape and indecent assault of minors that he had committed in the Dordogne.
- In February 2023, he settled in Sarthe after his release from prison and was again convicted for sexual assaults.
- Now we’re talking about crimes again, with an accusation of rape against two women.
During the first few hours of the current trial, Jean-Maurice Latsague listened to the proceedings, bent over on his cane. He explained that he had asked his patients to strip naked because “healing energy doesn’t pass through tissue”.
The healing sessions seemed to always follow the same routine:
- They begin with discussions.
- This is followed by prayers.
- Subsequently, Jean-Maurice Latsague asks his victims to strip naked.
- Then he administeres massages with oil.
- Finally, he rapes his victim.
On the second day of the proceedings, one of the victims chose to bring a civil action. She is one of three other women attacked by Jean-Maurice Latsague (apart from a mother and daughter who gave evidence before), but who had not lodged a complaint at the time of the investigation.
New testimony sheds light on the healer’s practices, in a much more sordid and perverse way. “He would masturbate in front of me to stimulate ovulation,” said a victim who took the witness stand and was undergoing treatment for infertility.
At the end of a three-day trial, the Sarthe Assize Court found Jean-Maurice Latsague guilty of repeated rape and sexual assault committed by a person abusing the authority conferred by his position.
He was sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment.
Bioenergy therapies are among the popular so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) treatments. They are used for many diseases, including cancer. Many studies deal with the advantages and disadvantages of bioenergy therapies as an addition to established treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation in the treatment of cancer. However, a systematic overview of this evidence is thus far lacking. For this reason, the available evidence was reviewed and critically examined in this paper.
A systematic search was conducted searching five electronic databases (Embase, Cochrane, PsychInfo, CINAHL and Medline) to find randomized clinical trials concerning the use, effectiveness and potential harm of bioenergy therapies including Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch and Polarity Therapy on cancer patients.
From all 2477 search results, 21 publications with 1375 patients were included in this systematic review. The patients treated with bioenergy therapies were mainly diagnosed with breast cancer. The main outcomes measured were anxiety, depression, mood, fatigue, quality of life (QoL), comfort, well-being, neurotoxicity, pain, and nausea. The studies were predominantly of moderate quality and for the most part found no effect. In terms of QoL, pain and nausea, there were improved short-term effects of the interventions, but no long-term differences were detectable. The risk of side effects from bioenergy therapies appears to be relatively small. Most studies only had a passive control group. Accordingly, in contrast to the active bioenergy therapies groups, attention effects may strongly affect the results. In the comparisons with an active control group, for example a sham group, no effects were detectable.
The authors concluded that, considering the methodical limitations of the included studies, studies with high study quality could not find any difference between bioenergy therapies and active (placebo, massage, RRT, yoga, meditation, relaxation training, companionship, friendly visit) and passive control groups (usual care, resting, education). Only studies with a low study quality were able to show significant effects.
This conclusion will not surprise anyone who is capable of rational thinking. Energy healing methods are implausible; further research into this area is a pure wast of money and arguably unethical.
Joe Dispenza is not all that well known in Europe but, in the US, he is all the rage as a health guru. Despite pretending to be a top (neuro)scientist and expert of quantum physics, Dispenza has, as far as I can see, just three Medline-listed papers to his credit. Here are their abstracts:
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Management of the pandemic has relied mainly on SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, while alternative approaches such as meditation, shown to improve immunity, have been largely unexplored. Here, we probe the relationship between meditation and COVID-19 disease and directly test the impact of meditation on the induction of a blood environment that modulates viral infection. We found a significant inverse correlation between length of meditation practice and SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as accelerated resolution of symptomology of those infected. A meditation “dosing” effect was also observed. In cultured human lung cells, blood from experienced meditators induced factors that prevented entry of pseudotyped viruses for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein of both the wild-type Wuhan-1 virus and the Delta variant. We identified and validated SERPINA5, a serine protease inhibitor, as one possible protein factor in the blood of meditators that is necessary and sufficient for limiting pseudovirus entry into cells. In summary, we conclude that meditation can enhance resiliency to viral infection and may serve as a possible adjuvant therapy in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aim of the study is to evaluate the complexity matching between the HRVs of the group of Healers and the Healee during the various stages of the meditation protocol by employing a novel mathematical approach based on the H-rank algorithm. The complexity matching of heart rate variability is assessed before and during a heart-focused meditation in a close non-contact healing exercise. The experiment was conducted on a group of individuals (eight Healers and one Healee) throughout the various phases of the protocol over a ~75-minute period. The HRV signal for the cohort of individuals was recorded using high resolution HRV recorders with internal clocks for time synchronization. The Hankel transform (H-rank) approach was employed to reconstruct the real-world complex time series in order to measure the algebraic complexity of the heart rate variability and to assess the complexity matching between the reconstructed H-rank of the Healers and Healee during the different phases of the protocol. The integration of the embedding attractor technique was used to aid in the visualization of reconstructed H-rank in state space across the various phases. The findings demonstrate the changes in the degree of reconstructed H-rank (between the Healers and the Healee) during the heart-focused meditation healing phase by employing mathematically anticipated and validated algorithms. It is natural and thought-provoking to contemplate the mechanisms causing the complexity of the reconstructed H-rank to come closer; it can be explicitly stated that the purpose of the study is to communicate a clear idea that the H-rank algorithm is capable of registering subtle changes in the healing process, and that there was no intention of delving deep to uncover the mechanisms involved in the HRV matching. Therefore, the latter might be a distinct goal of future research.
This study investigated the impact of a brief meditation workshop on a sample of 223 novice meditators. Participants attended a three-day workshop comprising daily guided seated meditation sessions using music without vocals that focused on various emotional states and intentions (open focus). Based on the theory of integrative consciousness, it was hypothesized that altered states of consciousness would be experienced by participants during the meditation intervention as assessed using electroencephalogram (EEG). Brainwave power bands patterns were measured throughout the meditation training workshop, producing a total of 5616 EEG scans. Changes in conscious states were analysed using pre-meditation and post-meditation session measures of delta through to gamma oscillations. Results suggested the meditation intervention had large varying effects on EEG spectra (up to 50 % increase and 24 % decrease), and the speed of change from pre-meditation to post-meditation state of the EEG co-spectra was significant (with 0.76 probability of entering end-meditation state within the first minute). There was a main 5 % decrease in delta power (95 % HDI = [-0.07, -0.03]); a global increase in theta power of 29 % (95 % HDI = [0.27, 0.33]); a global increase of 16 % (95 % HDI = [0.13, 0.19]) in alpha power; a main effect of condition, with global beta power increasing by 17 % (95 % HDI = [0.15, 0.19]); and an 11 % increase (95 % HDI = [0.08, 0.14]) in gamma power from pre-meditation to end-meditation. Findings provided preliminary support for brief meditation in altering states of consciousness in novice meditators. Future clinical examination of meditation was recommended as an intervention for mental health conditions particularly associated with hippocampal impairments.
It seems noteworthy that none of these articles support any of the many outlandish therapeutic claims Dispenza makes. In these papers, Dispenza give his affiliation as “Encephalon, LLC, Rainier, WA”. My seraches for this institution led me to the website of Dispenza’s company that tries to sell you all sorts of strange stuff and bombards you with irritating platitudes about spirituality and related subjects. Here you will also find several of Dispenza’s books. Naturally, they were big successes. The latest volume is called ‘Becoming Supernatural‘. Its topics include:
- Demystifying the body’s seven energy centers and how you can balance them to heal
- How to free yourself from the past by reconditioning your body to a new mind
- How you can create reality in the generous present moment by changing your energy
- The difference between third-dimension creation and fifth-dimension creation
- The secret science of the pineal gland and its role in accessing mystical realms of reality
- The distinction between space-time vs. time-space realities
By now, I am beginning to suspect that “Dr. Joe”, as he likes to wrongly depict himself, is an 18 carrat bullshitter, and I feel like learning more about him and his incredible popularity.
So, who is Joe Dispenza?
Dispenza trained as a chiropractor and, in 1986, he had a cycling accident that left him with six compressed vertebrae – at least that is what he likes to tell journalists. Allegedly, doctors told him he might never walk again and recommended spine surgery. But he knew better, checked himself out of the hospital, and reconstructed his vertebrae with his mind. Within 10 weeks he was walking again. “I made a deal with myself that if I was ever able to walk again I would spend the rest of my life studying the mind-body connection,” he claimed in a 2018 interview. If you don’t know about vertebral compression fractures, this sounds like an unusal recovery. If you, however, know about such injuries, the course of events is not abnormal.
Ever since, Dispenza uses his mind to heal others. His website contains ~40 testimonials of people claiming he cured their cancer or their multiple sclerosis or their infertility. Under the heading of “coherence healing,” the site boasts Dispenza and his disciples have “produced profound biological changes in multitudes of individuals around the world” and “observed hundreds of healings from a wide variety of health conditions.” In a 2020 interview Dispenza bragged about bringing children onstage at his retreats to cure them of “really serious health conditions.” He claimed to have cured a 76-year-old woman of Parkinson’s. He said his treatments cured illness faster than chemotherapy and that “profound and prestigious universities” in the United States wanted to study his methods. “[We’ve seen] tumors disappearing, people stepping out of wheelchairs, blind people seeing, deaf people hearing—crazy stuff,” he stated. “This is biblical proportions stuff.”
Dispenza likes to present himself as a scientist. “Learning” becomes “forging new synaptic connections” and changing one’s behavior becomes “reorganizing circuits.” He claims that meditating in the presence of others—combining “coherent fields,” as he calls this—opens up “interference patterns of fractal geometry that are doors to dimensions.” During performances, he occasionally brings followers on stage to share the “miracles” they experienced at the workshops that day, such as a woman who claimed she regained her depth perception after decades of encephalitis. “She got a biological upgrade … and all she did was make up her mind to do it,” he told the audience.
Back in 2012, I published a post entitled “How to become a charlatan” where I provide several practical instructions for all who intend to persue this career:
1. Find an attractive therapy and give it a fantastic name
Did I just say “straight forward”? Well, the first step isn’t that easy, after all. Most of the really loony ideas turn out to be taken: ear candles, homeopathy, aura massage, energy healing, urine-therapy, chiropractic etc. As a true charlatan, you want your very own quackery. So you will have to think of a new concept.
Something truly ‘far out’ would be ideal, like claiming the ear is a map of the human body which allows you to treat all diseases by doing something odd on specific areas of the ear – oops, this territory is already occupied by the ear acupuncture brigade. How about postulating that you have super-natural powers which enable you to send ‘healing energy’ into patients’ bodies so that they can repair themselves? No good either: Reiki-healers might accuse you of plagiarism.
But you get the gist, I am sure, and will be able to invent something. When you do, give it a memorable name, the name can make or break your new venture.
2. Invent a fascinating history
Having identified your treatment and a fantastic name for it, you now need a good story to explain how it all came about. This task is not all that tough and might even turn out to be fun; you could think of something touching like you cured your moribund little sister at the age of 6 with your intervention, or you received the inspiration in your dreams from an old aunt who had just died, or perhaps you want to create some religious connection [have you ever visited Lourdes?]. There are no limits to your imagination; just make sure the story is gripping – one day, they might make a movie of it.
3. Add a dash of pseudo-science
Like it or not, but we live in an age where we cannot entirely exclude science from our considerations. At the very minimum, I recommend a little smattering of sciency terminology. As you don’t want to be found out, select something that only few experts understand; quantum physics, entanglement, chaos-theory and Nano-technology are all excellent options.
It might also look more convincing to hint at the notion that top scientists adore your concepts, or that whole teams from universities in distant places are working on the underlying mechanisms, or that the Nobel committee has recently been alerted etc. If at all possible, add a bit of high tech to your new invention; some shiny new apparatus with flashing lights and digital displays might be just the ticket. The apparatus can be otherwise empty – as long as it looks impressive, all is fine.
4. Do not forget a dose of ancient wisdom
With all this science – sorry, pseudo-science – you must not forget to remain firmly grounded in tradition. Your treatment ought to be based on ancient wisdom which you have rediscovered, modified and perfected. I recommend mentioning that some of the oldest cultures of the planet have already been aware of the main pillars on which your invention today proudly stands. Anything that is that old has stood the test of time which is to say, your treatment is both effective and safe.
5. Claim to have a panacea
To maximise your income, you want to have as many customers as possible. It would therefore be unwise to focus your endeavours on just one or two conditions. Commercially, it is much better to affirm in no uncertain terms that your treatment is a cure for everything, a panacea. Do not worry about the implausibility of such a claim. In the realm of quackery, it is perfectly acceptable, even common behaviour to be outlandish.
6. Deal with the ‘evidence-problem’ and the nasty sceptics
It is depressing, I know, but even the most exceptionally gifted charlatan is bound to attract doubters. Sceptics will sooner or later ask you for evidence; in fact, they are obsessed by it. But do not panic – this is by no means as threatening as it appears. The obvious solution is to provide testimonial after testimonial.
You need a website where satisfied customers report impressive stories how your treatment saved their lives. In case you do not know such customers, invent them; in the realm of quackery, there is a time-honoured tradition of writing your own testimonials. Nobody will be able to tell!
7. Demonstrate that you master the fine art of cheating with statistics
Some of the sceptics might not be impressed, and when they start criticising your ‘evidence’, you might need to go the extra mile. Providing statistics is a very good way of keeping them at bay, at least for a while. The general consensus amongst charlatans is that about 70% of their patients experience remarkable benefit from whatever placebo they throw at them. So, my advice is to do a little better and cite a case series of at least 5000 patients of whom 76.5 % showed significant improvements.
What? You don’t have such case series? Don’t be daft, be inventive!
8. Score points with Big Pharma
You must be aware who your (future) customers are (will be): they are affluent, had a decent education (evidently without much success), and are middle-aged, gullible and deeply alternative. Think of Prince Charles! Once you have empathised with this mind-set, it is obvious that you can profitably plug into the persecution complex which haunts these people.
An easy way of achieving this is to claim that Big Pharma has got wind of your innovation, is positively frightened of losing millions, and is thus doing all they can to supress it. Not only will this give you street cred with the lunatic fringe of society, it also provides a perfect explanation why your ground-breaking discovery has not been published it the top journals of medicine: the editors are all in the pocket of Big Pharma, of course.
9. Ask for money, much money
I have left the most important bit for the end; remember: your aim is to get rich! So, charge high fees, even extravagantly high ones. If your treatment is a product that you can sell (e.g. via the internet, to escape the regulators), sell it dearly; if it is a hands-on therapy, charge heavy consultation fees and claim exclusivity; if it is a teachable technique, start training other therapists at high fees and ask a franchise-cut of their future earnings.
Over-charging is your best chance of getting famous – or have you ever heard of a charlatan famous for being reasonably priced? It will also get rid of the riff-raff you don’t want to see in your surgery. Poor people might be even ill! No, you don’t want them; you want the ‘worried rich and well’ who can afford to see a real doctor when things should go wrong. But most importantly, high fees will do a lot of good to your bank account.
Could it be that Joe Dispenza is the most successful pupil of my crash-course in charlatanism?
I have been asked by the NY Post to answer a few questions about Dispenza. Allow me to present them to you here:
What makes Dispenza so dangerous (his advice, obsession with manifesting, etc.)?
Dispenza is at his most dangerous firstly when he implies that he can cure serious illness. In this way, he can cause the premature death of many patients. Secondly, he systematically undermines rational thinking which inevitably will cause significant harm to the already badly damaged US society. As Voltaire once pointed out: those who make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
Why, in your opinion, has he amassed a cult-like following?
In 2012 I published a satirical piece entitled ‘How to become a charlatan’ (How to become a charlatan (edzardernst.com)). It seems to me that Dispenza followed my instructions to the letter providing a masterclass on fooling the public. He is a textbook example of a charismatic pseudoscientist (e.g.: I am a “researcher of epigenetics, quantum physics & neuroscience“) touting pure bullshit (e.g.: “new science is emerging that empowers all human beings to create the reality they choose”). He may be a charlatan but he is very good at it, runs a highly sophisticated campaign, and is laughing all the way to the bank.
For readers who find themselves enamored by Dispenza, what advice would you give them?
My advise is to take a step back and do a reality check: ‘Dr.Joe’ is not a medical doctor or neuroscientist but a chiropractor. He does not understand quantum physics. He has not published any meaningful scientific studies. His proclamations are nothing but platitudes or empty phrases. My advice also is to ask yourself: are you sure you are not the victim of your own gullibility?
This article by a Postgraduate Trainee (Dept. of Case Taking and Repertory, National Institute of Homoeopathy, Govt. of India) an Assistant Professor (Dept. of Surgery, National Institute of Homoeopathy Govt. of India) and another Assistant Professor (Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Midnapore Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Govt. of West Bengal) might not be available online (Clinical Medicine and Health Research Journal, Volume 03, Issue 03, May – June 2023 Page No. 444-446) but it is I think worth discussing. Here is its abstract:
Warts are one of the common dermatological disorders caused by human papilloma viruses encountered in our day to day life. These are cutaneous or mucosal infection needs proper care and treatment to prevent its transmission and complete healing. Although mostly warts are dealt with the therapeutic approach, i.e. on the basis of its peculiar type and location but it can even be successfully treated by constitutional approach. This article is regarding a case of warts treated successfully with Rhus Tox followed by Ferrum Met selected as the simillimum and proved its effectiveness in a short period of time.
As the abstract is not very informative, let me show you also some sections from the paper itself:
The patient presented with warts on right wrist for 1 year. There were plane warts at back of wrist, which was smooth, slightly elevated and skin coloured. There was no history of warts or other benign skin disease in the family. This case treated with individualized homoeopathic medicine showed complete resolution of the warts. There is no cure for wart in conventional medicine except removal of them with various methods. Although it does not rule out the chance of recurrence, later on may deep organic disease. That is why a substantial number of warts patients resort to Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), especially homoeopathy.
In this case, Ferrum Metallicum 0/1 was selected as a ‘similimum’ based on totality of symptoms, repertorial analysis and consultation with Homoeopathic Materia Medica, which was given more priority in this case. After seeing improvement, succeeding potency was prescribed. After Ferrum Met 0/4 all her complaints including warts disappeared. Thus, the outcome of this case of Plane Warts of the lady shows the success of individualized homoeopathic medicine in treatment of wart.
This case report suggests homoeopathic treatment as a promising complementary or alternative therapy and emphasizes the need of repertorisation in individualized homoeopathic prescription. This case shows a positive role of homoeopathic in treating Warts. However, this is a single case study and requires well designed studies which may be taken up for future scientific validation.
This case report reminded me of an exciting and quite lovely story: at Exeter, we once conducted a wart study. It was a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial where the verum group received distant healing and the controls nothing at all. After planning the study, I was no longer involved in its running. As I happened to have a wart at the time, I offered myself to my team as a patient. They checked me out and admitted me into the study. For the next weeks, I either received the distant healing energy or nothing; neither I nor my team knew which. My wart was photographed and measured regularly.
And then it happened: shortly after the treatment period was over, my wart had gone. Everyone was excited, especially the UK healing scene. But we had to wait until the trial was finished, the results were calculated, and the random code was opened. The result: no difference between verum and placebo! We concluded that distant healing from experienced healers had no effect on the number or size of patients’ warts.
And my own, very personal wart?
It had disappeared spontaneously – I had been in the control group!
I know Indian homeopaths have a thing about healing warts (we discussed this before) but I am afraid the conclusions of this new paper ought to be re-written:
This case report does not suggest that homeopathic treatment is a promising complementary or alternative therapy. It shows the natural history of the condition in the disappearance of warts.
Last September, THE GUARDIAN published an article about the HEAD OF THE ROYAL MEDICAL HOUSEHOLD. I did not know much about this position, so I informed myself:
The royal household has its own team of medics, who are on call 24 hours a day. They are led by Prof Sir Huw Thomas (a consultant at King Edward VII’s hospital [the private hospital in Marylebone often used by members of the royal family, including the late Prince Philip] and St Mary’s hospital in Paddington, and professor of gastrointestinal genetics at Imperial College London), head of the medical household and physician to the Queen – a title dating back to 1557. Thomas has been part of the team of royal physicians for 16 years and became the Queen’s personal physician in 2014. The role is not full-time and does not have fixed hours or sessions but Thomas is available whenever he is needed. Thomas received a knighthood in the 2021 new year honours, and was made Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) – a personal gift of the monarch. At the time of the honour, in an interview with Imperial College London, he said it had been a “busy couple of years in this role,” adding that he felt “very grateful to have been recognised for my service to date”. Thomas added that being the Queen’s personal physician was a “great honour” and “a very enjoyable and rewarding role”. He said: “The nature of the work is interesting because you see how a whole different organisation, the royal household, operates. You very much become part of that organisation and become the personal doctor to the principal people in it, who are patients just like other patients.” …
In previous generations the royal doctor has caused controversy. When the Queen’s grandfather King George V was in his final hours, Lord Dawson, the royal doctor with personal responsibility for the 70-year-old monarch issued a bulletin, declaring: “The King’s life is moving peacefully towards its close.”
In 1986, four decades after Lord Dawson’s death, his diaries were made public – revealing that he had administered a lethal dose of morphine and cocaine to relieve the King’s pain, but also to ensure that the death could be announced in the morning edition of the Times, rather than “less appropriate evening journals”.
During the last few days, it was difficult to escape all the hoo-hah related to the coronation, and I wondered whether Charles has replaced Prof Thomas in his role as HEAD OF THE ROYAL MEDICAL HOUSEHOLD. It did not take long to find out. There even is a Wiki page on the subject! It provides a list of the recent heads:
List of Heads of the Medical Household
The Head of the Medical Household was first appointed in 1973.
- 1973–1981: Sir Richard Bayliss, KCVO MD FRCP MRCS
- 1981–1989: Sir John Batten, KCVO MD FRCP
- 1989–1993: Sir Anthony Dawson, KCVO MD FRCP
- 1993–2005: Sir Richard Thompson, KCVO DM PRCP
- 2005–2014: Professor Sir John Cunningham, KCVO BM BCh MA DM FRCP
- 2014–2022: Professor Sir Huw Thomas, KCVO MBBS MA PhD
- 2022 – to present: Dr Michael Dixon, LVO, OBE, MA, FRCGP, FRCP
Yes, Michael Dixon! I am sure this will be of interest. Michael Dixon used to be a friend and an occasional collaborator of mine. He has featured prominently in my memoir as well as in my biography of Charles. In addition, he has been the subject of numerous blog posts, e.g.:
- Today, integrative medicine is about to make history, says Dr. Michael Dixon
- My (most forgettable) paper with Dr Michael Dixon
- Boosting immunity against coronavirus? Dr Michael Dixon’s infinite wisdom on the pandemic
- Dr Michael Dixon seems to support homeopathy as a treatment for cancer
- Should homeopathy be blacklisted in general practice? Dr Michael Dixon’s profoundly misleading comments
- Johrei healing and the amazing Dr Dixon (presidential candidate for the RCGP)
- Dr Dixon’s safe herbal medicine
- Remember the ‘Foundation for Integrated Health’? Here is a good summary of its infamous history
- Prince Charles becomes patron of the ‘College of Medicine and Integrated Health’
- Uncharitable charities? The example of ‘YES TO LIFE’
- A treasure trove of fallacies, falsehoods and deceptions
I am sure that many of my readers would like to join me in wishing both Michael and Charles all the best in their new roles.
Reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing used predominantly for stress reduction and relaxation. It is based on the notion that a mystical “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive.
This study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Elderly Care, Vocational School of Health Services, Mardin Artuklu University, Mardin, Turkey, and the Internal Medicine Nursing Department, Mersin University Faculty of Nursing, Mersin, Turkey. Its aim was to determine the effect of Reiki when applied before upper gastrointestinal endoscopy on levels of anxiety, stress, and comfort. It was designed as a single-blind, randomized, sham-controlled study and conducted between February and July 2021.
- sham Reiki,
- control (no intervention).
A total of 159 patients participated in the study. In groups 1 and 2, Reiki and sham Reiki was applied once for approximately 20 to 25 minutes before gastrointestinal endoscopy.
When the Reiki group was compared to the sham Reiki and control groups following the intervention, the decrease in the levels of patient stress (P < .001) and anxiety (P < .001) and the increase in patient comfort (P < .001) were found to be statistically significant.
The authors concluded that Reiki applied to patients before upper gastrointestinal endoscopy was effective in reducing stress and anxiety and in increasing comfort.
As this paper is behind a paywall, I wrote to the authors and asked for a reprint. Unfortunately, I received no reply at all. Thus, I find it difficult to comment. Yet, the study might be important, particularly because there are not many sham-controlled trials of Reiki.
The abstract merely informs us that Reiki was better than sham Reiki. It does not tell us what constituted the sham intervention. Crucially, we also cannot know whether the patients were adequately blinded or whether they were able to tell the sham from the verum.
In the absence of this information, I am merely able to state that Reiki lacks plausibility and is most unlikely, in my view, to have any specific therapeutic effects. This means that the most likely explanation for the extraordinary results of this study is the de-blinding of some of the patients in group 2 or some other source of bias that cannot be identified from just studying the abstract.
If someone can send me the full paper, I’d be more than happy to clarify the apparent mystery.
‘Bio’ – from biology
‘kin’ – from kinetics
‘ergy’ – not from energy as in physics but vital force as in chi and TCM
Together, these three terms give BIOKINERGY
Biokinergy is hardly well-known in most countries. Yet, in France, it’s all the rage. It is a manual therapy that allegedly restores the mobility of the patient’s body and increases the elasticity of its tissues while supporting the circulatory and nervous systems as well as our biological and psycho-emotional balance. It is said to incorporate concepts from osteopathy, fascia techniques, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Am I the only one who finds this more than a bit vague and full of platitudes?
So, what is biokinergy really?
Apparently, it is based on 4 main principles:
Biokinergy takes into account the release of blockages and the rebalancing of the mobility of the different structures and tissue layers (bones, viscera, muscles, subcutaneous tissues, skin), through innovative neuro-informational processes
Richly innervated, the fascias envelop, partition, and connect all our structures without discontinuity from head to toe and, as Dr. Guimberteau’s work has shown, from the skin to the depths of the bone. Their tensions are at the origin of pain, visceral dysfunctions, and disturbances of vascular and nervous exchanges which alter the functional balance of the organism. The fascia techniques developed at CERB aim, through specific treatment of the different strata of fascia, to cure all these disturbances
The energetic action aims to regulate the metabolic and biochemical activity and the exchange of information that is constantly taking place between the different tissues of the body by circulatory, nervous, and electromagnetic means and by means of the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
As a place of affects, representations, emotions, and a tool for relationships, the body expresses our emotional damage through its tissue tensions and dysfunctions. By using the body as a mediation, Biokinergie develops a psycho-corporal approach with a therapeutic, prophylactic, and preventive aim. By going back to the origin of the stress, inscribed in the tissues, it allows patients to free themselves from their conscious and unconscious blockages in order to find a physical, emotional, and mental balance.
Biokinergy was developed by Michel LIDOREAU, a physiotherapist and osteopath, who studied shiatsu and Chinese massage. At the beginning of the 1980s, he claims to have discovered specific tissue tensions in our body, associated with both joint blockages and energetic imbalances. This led to the invention of biokinergy.
Personally, I am still puzzled and unclear about what all this is supposed to mean. Perhaps we get a bit further if we ask what the therapy is used for.
The aim of biokinergy, I learn from this seemingly competent source, is not to treat only the symptoms but to takle their causes. The body is a whole, and its imbalances can be expressed symptomatologically very far from their origin. It is important to understand that pathology is not a coincidence, but results from the accumulation of a multitude of imbalances that must be treated together if we want to be effective quickly and in the long term.
The body has an amazing memory capacity. It keeps track of all our traumas (falls, repetitive gestures, false movements, emotional shocks, fatigue, stress) in the form of tensions, blockages, and energetic [biological, metabolic] imbalances. Initially, the body compensates and adapts, but gradually these disorders add up. They then end up hampering the functioning of the joints, disturbing the activity of the organs and compressing the blood vessels and nerves. The conduction of blood and nerve impulses is no longer done correctly, which favors the installation of biological disorders, the inflammation of tissues, and the appearance of pain (tendonitis, arthritis, gastritis, colitis, etc.). This can gradually lead to tissue degeneration.
The aim of a Biokinergy treatment is therefore to restore the body’s optimal functioning by restoring the function of all systems (locomotor, visceral, vascular, nervous, hormonal, etc.); this is done by releasing areas of tension and blockages, to restore flexibility to the tissues and free up, among others, the vascular and nervous axes.
Blast! I am getting more and more lost here. This just does not make much sense. Perhaps it is best to ask what actually happens during a therapy session. Again, the seemingly competent source offers some information:
A Biokinergy session lasts about 1 hour. After a precise interrogation, it consists in “reading” the body to find the tissue windings in order to reharmonize them. Bearing in mind that the human organism forms a whole, the biokinergist applies, from coil to coil, the corrections adapted to the disorders encountered. The techniques are gentle.
Well, this isn’t all that clear either.
Let’s take another approach: is there any evidence that biokinergy works? My Medline search gives a very clear answer: “Your search for biokinergy retrieved no results.”
So, now we know!
Biokinergy serves only one proven purpose: it improves the bank balance of the therapist.
About a century ago, Royal Raymond Rife developed special microscopes and claimed he could visualize living microorganisms, including viruses too small to be seen with any other existing technology, via the color of auras emitted as they vibrated. In 1961, he explained this as follows: “A special risley prism which works on a counter rotation principle selects a portion of the light frequency which illuminates these viruses in their own characteristic chemical colors by emission of coordinative light frequency and the viruses become readily identifiable by the colors revealed on observation.”. The principles and alleged function of these microscopes have never been validated, and they have never been adopted for use.
Rife went on to postulate that the microorganisms he was seeing were involved in human diseases, including cancer . He also invented a machine that he claimed could transmit radio frequency energy into a person and vibrate these microorganisms at a “mortal oscillatory rate”, thereby killing them and improving the disease they were causing. The concept that diseases can be cured by radio frequency energy, originally proposed by Albert Abrams and referred to as ‘radionics’, was later investigated and disproven. Nonetheless, there remain enthusiasts who believe in Rife’s work, claim it was suppressed as part of an elaborate conspiracy. and continue to sell energy-transmitting devices and cures.
Rife machines (also called a Rife frequency generator.) produce low electromagnetic energy waves. These waves are similar to radio waves. Supporters of the treatment claim that the Rife machine can treat different conditions including cancer. There is no reliable evidence that the Rife machine works as a cure for cancer.
The Rife machine produces low-energy waves, also called radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. They have low energy compared to x-rays or radiotherapy.
… Although no official health claims are made for Rife therapy, testimonials from many countries point to its efficacy in the support of the body in maintaining or regaining good, natural health. A good Rife machine normally contains all of the original Royal Rife frequencies plus others that have been researched and utilised over the years.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE?
In most Rife sessions the client is seated. They have their feet on footplate electrodes and in their lap they hold in their hands plasma tubes. Thus they get the frequencies in normal form through the feet and in radio wave form through their hands. There are variations on this but this is the basic set up.
Some practitioners will occasionally employ something called a Beam Ray Tube. This is essentially a large plasma tube on a stand that plugs into the machine. The client just sits in front of it, about 3 feet away, while the frequencies are generated. In this instance the client does not have to hold anything or have their feet on footplates.
HOW LONG DO SESSIONS LAST?
The length of a session varies, depending on what is being addressed. Any session would be a minimum of 30 minutes but in serious or chronic conditions can last over 2 hours, occasionally more. However, clients can take breaks during the therapy.
HOW FREQUENT ARE TREATMENTS?
Once a week or once a fortnight is a common pattern of treatments. But in the case of more frequent sessions a minimum of 48 hours should be left between therapy. The duration of treatments varies on the condition being addressed. Sometimes it’s just a few visits…for conditions like Lyme Disease the treatments are ongoing for well over a year. The practitioner will answer your specific questions on this.
There are also frequencies to support regeneration and boost functions such as the immune system, the adrenals and several others.
ARE THERE ANY CONTRAINDICATIONS?
Rife therapy is not suitable for people with pacemakers or similar devices. It should not be given to children under 4 years of age. If a client is undergoing radiotherapy or frequency therapy for kidney stones etc there should should be no Rife sessions administered during these periods.
The day after some sessions a client may occasionally get a Herxheimer’s reaction. This is a feeling of tiredness, almost as if one is about to go down with flu. It was named after Dr Herxheimer who, along with one other doctor, discovered that when the liver and kidneys etc get overworked in disposing of waste products, this phenomena happens. The answer is just to drink lots of fluid to help the body dispose of the cells or toxins that have been eliminated by the Rife session. The day after that, the client is back to normal and usually feeling better than before the session.
I think that such promotional texts could and should be much shorter, more truthful, and hugely more informative, e.g.:
Rife therapy is not biologically plausible, has never been shown to be effective for any condition, might have adverse effects, and is not cheap. Therefore, we have a responsibility to warn consumers and patients not to use it.