The purpose of this blog is purely educational. It does not advise any reader to forgo medical treatment for any condition. It describes methods that have not yet been proven effective through widespread scientific testing. Readers who are concerned about their health are advised to contact their physician.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A first-hand account of Bennett Mayrick

I very recently heard from a reader named Barbara who said that she had known Bennett Mayrick in the 1970s as his patient and student, and wrote that she was glad that he was finally getting some recognition for his work. I asked her if she could tell me more, and this is what she wrote:
I remember that when he placed his hand on my left side, which was where I had pain, it felt warm and he would hold it there for several minutes for sure. He also placed his thoughts and hands on my son who has autism. The goal was to increase verbal communication and this did occur, but one is never sure of what intervention was ultimately responsible for the success.

I know that we stayed very goal oriented with singleminded purpose for these healings and he did them in his apartment over a period of a session a week over several months. It seemed clear to me that you did not have to believe in it for it to work.

Regarding the classes, he wanted people to become aware of the potential of this kind of healing. Therefore he wanted us to begin to see that there was a force of a sort that was not what we were used to. So, we began by holding various items and trying to tell something about the owner of each. Of course only one person in the group knew the facts of each item and usually it turned out to come pretty close to the truth. We sent healings to a few people who we knew needed it even though they were not present. We sat in a circle and it was all very cordial.

Ben said that this just came to him. One day he saw an image of himself with some kind of medical equipment on his head and he knew he was to heal. His hands got hot and maybe, or maybe not, reddish. We did these healings to each other for minor things like toothaches etc.

I do know that at the time I knew him at least one person came to see him with a serious cancer. I have no idea how it worked out.

Ben was not a wealthy man and had been working installing carpeting or floors. He lived in a middle income apt. and had a very nice wife and two children.

He wanted to be tested at Duke University or someplace that was researching the paranormal as it was called in those days.

He showed some intuitive abilities I think and was eager to share.
Bill Bengston's book, The Energy Cure, has an amusing account of what happened when Bennett Mayrick was finally tested by researchers of the paranormal: a lot of their equipment appeared to malfunction in very odd ways and they were quite distressed and apologetic that he could not be tested properly.

For an article on Bennett Mayrick, see my earlier entry, Bill's teacher speaks.

Sat Dharam Kaur interview with Shinzen Young on Meditation for Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients

Sat Dharam Kaur, N.D., discusses the benefits of meditation techniques for those newly diagnosed with breast cancer in three short videos.

There is useful information here presented in a very low key, conversational fashion: the videos needs to be watched several times to get everything fully. Shinzen Young points out that the information is not just pertinent for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, but all cancer patients, and in fact anyone facing any kind of health challenge that produces anxiety.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What is needed, from someone who has been there

I just ran across a blog entry entitled "Energy healing, the connection" written by someone who experienced a cure from an incurable cancer. This is the place of the heart, the deep lasting healing, that we are all looking for. Read it, feel it. I've seen it expressed in many ways, but never like this. This is someone who truly knows.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dr. Issam Nemeh in context?

Observe Dr. Issam Nemeh doing a healing over Skype, and listen to the sound that accompanies the healing. Listen to Dr. Nemeh say "everything is vibration". Is this in fact the new "energy healing" placed in a Catholic context, with God as "the Field" and "the Source" and the Holy Spirit as life energy?

Read more here.

Postscript August 18, 2013: I have now also done some Skype treatments and encountered similar sound effects.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dr. Oz and the new bioenergy therapies

On January 6, 2010, Dr. Oz endorsed Reiki on his show as something all Americans should try in the coming year as part of their health care regimen. And now he is endorsing Dr. Issam Nemeh, a former anasthesiologist turned acupuncturist who helps people heal by praying over them.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the show on Reiki caused a fellow doctor to write that Dr. Oz has "gone over to the dark side", abandoning sound medical principles in favour of promoting woo-woo. But has he really?

Reiki and its cousin Therapeutic Touch have been gaining increasing acceptance in hospitals as "adjunctive therapies", or as therapies that can help patients navigate their hospital experience with greater ease and comfort. Reiki and TT have been shown to reduce pain and anxiety and to speed recovery from surgery and other hospital procedures. In current practice Reiki and Therapeutic Touch complement orthodox medicine as nurses complement doctors.

Healers such as Dr. Issam Nemeh who pray over patients also complement medical practice by adding a spiritual element and offering comfort. And if it so happens that in a number of these cases a miracle, or a spontaneous remission, occurs, in what way can that be construed as harmful, either to the patient or to the medical profession? You could say that Dr. Nemeh complements the work of other physicians as a chaplain would, although he seems to be rather more successful at healing than your average chaplain.

In a radio interview on WDOK radio Dr. Oz spoke of being impressed with Dr. Nemeh's sincerity, and of considering that sincerity as being more important than results. Dr. Oz is eminently practical: from this practical perspective if something can help a patient along a healing journey, as for instance Reiki in the operating room, then that something should be made available and not be discounted because it's not part of the orthodox or accepted medical route. At the same time, his position is that he would not send a patient with lung cancer to Dr. Nemeh to be cured solely by prayer. Prayer, like Reiki, is adjunctive.

But now there are energy therapies coming up on the horizon that go beyond being merely adjunctive to orthodox medicine and its standardized toolkit of drugs, surgery and radiation.

Dr. Larry Dossey, author of numerous books on alternative medicine, speaks of there being three "Eras" in medicine. Era I is "mechanical medicine", or the traditional medical practices that treat the body as a biochemical machine. Era II is "mind-body medicine" that recognizes the importance of psychology and practices such as meditation in creating well-being. Era III medicine is "non-local" or "consciousness based", which would be where Reiki and Dr. Nemeh fit in.

In describing Era III medicine Dr. Dossey proposes that
consciousness is not confined to one's individual body. Nonlocal mind -- mind that is boundless and unlimited -- is the hallmark of Era III. An individual's mind may affect not just his or her body, but the body of another person at a distance, even when that distant individual is unaware of the effort. You can think of Era II as illustrating the personal effects of consciousness and Era III as illustrating the transpersonal effects of the mind.
In Era III medicine the mind or consciousness of one person can heal the body of another.

In Dr. Dossey's view these three "medicines" will coexist peacefully for the benefit of patients and humankind. But it is my opinion that in this future of peaceful coexistence doctors may have stop relegating energy medicine into an adjunctive role to drugs and surgery. The new energy therapies are on their way to being powerful enough entirely on their own. Dr. Bengston, for instance, insists on patients being under a doctor's care while receiving energy treatment, but sees his therapy as a stand-alone proposition and speaks of chemotherapy and radiation as being hindrances to its effectiveness. The Domancic Method also works with physicians, and views them as being essential for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients, but sees their chief role as providing diagnosis, not treatment. In Era III medicine doctor and energy healer work as equal partners.

I wonder how the doctors critical of Dr. Oz's endorsement of Reiki would feel about that proposition. Here is my message to some of them: An Open Letter to Oncologists.

Postscript: Here is a video on the Domancic Method:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Study shows homeopathy may be effective against breast cancer

Huge news. Four homeopathic remedies were tested in vitro on human breast cancer cell lines. The remedies caused delayed growth and cell death ("apoptosis") in the cancer cells. According to the authors the study demonstrates "biological activity of these natural products when presented at ultra-diluted doses", i.e., that the homeopathic principle works.

Click here for the full abstract.

Because of the rate of dilution in homeopathic remedies, which sometimes means that not a single molecule of the active ingredient remains in the solution, homeopathy can almost be considered an energy therapy: what ostensibly makes it work is the energy signature of the active ingredient which is retained in the medium in which it was "succussed" (= energetically shaken, the means of potentiating homeopathic remedies).

Critics may scoff, but there is now other evidence of strange effects at play in our brave new world. For instance, a recent study has shown that placebos work even when people know they are taking a placebo. And Dr. Bernie Siegel tells a strange tale of a radiologist colleague who found that the radioactive isotope had been removed from his radiation machine during repairs and not replaced: for a full month this man radiated cancer patients with a machine that in effect had no "active ingredient". And yet his patients' tumours shrank and they had the same side effects as if they had received real radiation. What was at work here? The placebo effect, i.e., that his patients believed they were being radiated? Or the "homeopathy effect," i.e., that the machine retained the memory of its purpose?

Cue the Twilight Zone music.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dr. Oz to feature "faith healer" on his show on January 11th

January 11th update: This episode has been pre-empted because Dr. Oz will have a special show on tonight with guests discussing the injuries sustained by Congresswoman Gifford and her condition. The show featuring Dr. Nemeh will air at a later date. Scroll down for a link to a radio interview featuring Dr. Oz speaking about Dr. Nemeh.

January 12th update: According to the latest information I received, the episode has been rescheduled for Feb. 1. In the meantime, I invite readers to give me their opinion on whether faith healing and energy healing are the same, similar, or different.

Read more.
This is my original January 8th post:

According to buzz on the web, Dr. Oz will have a "faith healer" on his show on January 11th. The title of the show will be Is This Man a Faith Healer or Not? According to another site, called Path of Faith, the healer in question is Dr. Issam Nemeh, "a Cleveland-based physician and devout Catholic who has prayed over tens of thousands of people from all faiths and all walks of life in the past two decades."

Dr. Oz is here joining something of a trend, as both CNN and Oprah have recently featured shows on John of God, a faith healer from Brazil. Oprah has certainly come in for her share of criticism for doing this, and I look forward to seeing how Dr. Oz handles the issue on live television.

Here is is a radio preview.

From the critics' perspective the problem in featuring selected "faith healers" would be the implied endorsement of all faith healers, not to mention of the concept of faith healing in general, horrifying Western scientific rationalist thinkers who would prefer not to have such a thing exist.

And from the practical point of view while John of God and Dr. Issam Nemeh may be able to perform miracles, your self-proclaimed faith healer down the block might not be. But generally speaking faith healers attract their clientele through word-of-mouth endorsements, so by the time they have been in business long enough to be well known, one has to assume a certain amount of proficiency.

The issue from my perspective is what faith healing is, and through what mechanism it works. Is it simply "anomalous" healing, done through belief in an outside agency? Is this belief even necessary, or does it simply create trust in the healing, and along with it the brainwave patterns that are known to produce such healing? It is known that healers can induce these brainwave patterns in those they treat through a process called entrainment. What is less clear is who or what the entities are that some psychic healers, such as John of God and the late Lew Smith, claim to work with. Are they indeed real entities, or are they projections of the healer's own abilities?

Dr. Bill Bengston, who calls himself a "faithless healer" and claims that belief is not necessary for healing, provides a bridge between the skeptics who say this kind of healing cannot exist and the believers who say it most certainly does. I wonder what the critics would say to Dr. Bengston's experiments, in which dozens of mice were cured of deadly cancers through energy healing. The idea that this kind of healing is possible even without faith, and that there is scientific proof to show it, ought to reassure them. But maybe it will only make them more nervous.

Friday, January 7, 2011

"Rethinking Cancer" Movie Trailer

This movie and the organization that created it, Foundation for Advancement in Cancer Therapy (F.A.C.T.), "an international nonprofit organization providing information and referrals to [cancer] patients ... seeking a different direction from standard toxic protocols, such as chemotherapy and radiation," just came to my attention through Dr. Bernie Siegel's ECaP ("Exceptional Cancer Patient") discussion forum:

In my view the best holistic approaches to cancer would need to include nutrition, energy healing, meditation, as well as psychological support both for the patient and his or her loved ones. We are all physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual creatures, and our diseases have their root causes in imbalances in all these areas, as well as in imbalances in our physical and social environments. "Rethinking Cancer" tells us about setting right at least some of these imbalances.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dr. Bernie Siegel interviews on Mind Health Matters

Dr. Bernie Siegel is a physician and the author of the best-selling Love, Medicine and Miracles. His radio show Mind Health Matters on radio network airs at 9 am PT (12 am ET) on the first Tuesday of every month and an archive of his most recent interviews is available online. Each of these is well worth listening to:

Jan. 4/11 - Bill Bengston, author of The Energy Cure

Dec. 7/10 - Laurie Nadel, co-author of Happiness Genes

Sept. 7/10 - Ivan Rados, author of The Role of Consciousness in Healing

Ivan Rados cured himself of kidneys stones using meditation, Laurie Nadel experienced a miraculous healing from ovarian cancer through Reiki and prayer, and Bill Bengston has cured hundreds of mice of fatal cancers in laboratory experiments using energy healing.