Monterey Institute for The Study of Alternative Healing Arts
It has been dragging on for so long (see Newsletters 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10) that we have to remind you as to what it is all about.
Beginning in January 1993 Dr. I. Vartanian has conducted a study of two gifted Russian healers, the M-vs. The last stage of the study was a clinical trial on children with cerebral palsy at two specialized medical centers in St. Petersburg. The results supported by EEG, EchoEG, Reo EG, and other quantitative neurological measurements indicated that improvement in the children was dramatic and not otherwise achievable (see MISAHA Newsletter 9, p. 2). Dr. Vartanian's report was translated into English by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and discussed by its neurologists in view of a possible arrangement of a repeat trial in the United States under the auspices of the NIH. One official of the United Cerebral Palsy Association, said on the telephone that funding of the repeat trial will not be a problem provided medical specialists decide in favor of conducting such a trial. Additional materials (EEG and EchoEG images) were requested and delivered at the beginning of November, 95.
However, it is December now, a time when America slows down. The Beauty is asleep perhaps till the middle of January and we have nothing to report as of yet. (Newsletter 11, Dec...1995)
(Following insert is from issue 9, Apr. 1995) RUSSIAN HEALERS WILL HEAL AMERICAN CEREBRAL PALSY CHILDREN The following is part of the final report on the study of two Russian psi-healers, the M-vs, that we received from I.A. Vartanian, M.D., Ph.D., Saint Petersburg, Russia. "...Evaluation of the M-vs efficacy in treatment of children with various cerebral dysfunctions, particularly cerebral palsy and hemiparesis of various etiology, was conducted at two independent specialized medical facilities in St-Petersburg: 1) Children's City Hospital #4 of the Russian Ministry of Health Care - 9 patients, and 2) Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness of Children - 5 patients. Both of these studies were conducted by highly qualified specialists of these medical centers. Selected were children with various forms of cerebral pathology poorly responsive to conventional therapies whose parents agreed to the treatment by the M-vs while all other conventional therapies were discontinued. All 14 children treated by the M-vs show highly positive clinical changes as a result of the treatment which is described in the official evaluations1. The most thorough study has been conducted at the Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness of Children (both the Evaluation and individual medical records are included in the Report). It is important to emphasize that negative results or side effects were not observed in any of the fourteen cases. In all cases the intellect of the children improved visibly. All five children treated and observed at the Center changed psychologically: they became outgoing, joyful and motivated. Results of the conducted study lead to a general conclusion that the psi-healers, the M-vs, are undoubtedly capable of producing a highly significant clinical effect on children with cerebral palsy and other organic brain dysfunctions."
The classification of the entire field of Alternative Medicine based on a logical criterion is an important task that is yet to be solved.
I propose a classification of alternative medicine based on two criteria:
1) the presumed causative healing agent and 2) the associated methodology of the outcome evaluation. In development of the previously proposed classification (see MISAHA Newsletter #5, April-June, 1994, reproduced in The Choice, Vol.XX, # 2-3,1994:48-50 and Vol.XXI, # 1, 1995: 40) four basic fields are proposed in this classification (see chart in this newsletter) where the healing is presumed to be a result of:
1, the application of a material agent or a standardized therapeutic procedure (untested medicines, homeopathy, ozone, herbs, sound, aromas, chiropractic, chelation, etc.);
2, the work of the patient's mind through suggestion (psychotherapies, psychoneuroimmunology, hypnosis, placebo effect, self hypnosis, group therapies, etc.);
3, the intent of the healer - an individual possessing a special gift and a technique of influencing the physiology of a patient (prana healing, Qi-healing, polarity therapy, acupuncture, energy healing, laying-on-of hands, etc.);
4, the belief of a practitioner in the healing power of an agent, theory, procedure or god (belief of a physician in a particular medicine or a procedure, Speransky's Effect, Solvin's Effect, healing by prayer, etc.).
The methodology of clinical studies as well as the outcome evaluation and extrapolation of results are different and specific in each of these fields. The double-blind, placebo controlled randomized clinical trial is applicable only in the first field where all the other possible causative agents must be excluded. The major variables in field 2 are the suggestibility of a patient and the built-up credibility of a curative agent.
Clinical results of individual healers (field 3) cannot be extrapolated on the modality of a healing technique because the outcome depends on a special talent of an individual rather than a technique used. It is impossible to separate the effect of suggestion and psi-healing by measuring the clinical outcome alone and such separation is irrelevant for practical purposes. The identification of the psi effect can be achieved by comparing results in adults with those of small children and animals.
The methodology of studies in the fourth field seems to be extremely complex and has yet to be developed.
The above abstract was proposed for presentation at the First Alternative Medicine Symposium in San Diego, 18-22 January,. The essential difference of this new version as compared to the previous one is the identification of a separate field where the main presumed curative agent is the patient's mind (conscious and/or unconscious). The author hopes that the abstract along with the chart makes his concept perfectly clear. Continued on the next page.
A commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Cleve Backster then joined the CIA where he initiated their still active polygraph program. Since 1959, he has been training director for over 150 basic polygraph examiner training courses and scores of advanced polygraph work conferences and seminars. Ten times since 1976 he was reappointed chairman of the Research and Instrumentation Committee of the American Polygraph Association. The Backster Zone Comparison polygraph technique continues to be used as a world standard. He has testified before a Congressional Committee twice as an expert on these matters. He has served as a guest instructor at the U.S. Department of Defense Polygraph School, the Canadian Police College Polygraph School and the FBI Academy. For the past 25 years, he has pursued plant and cell monitoring research as head of the Backster Research Foundation.
Robert B. Stone, Ph.D.
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he is the author or co-author of 80 books published in 15 languages and with millions of copies in print. Elected to the New York Academy of Sciences, he is a member of Mensa and a lay researcher in mind/body communication.
When Cleve Backster was invited to speak about his research with plant and animal cells before the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1975, he was introduced as, "The father of primary cell perception." To this introduction he responded, "The way you people have been receiving my research, I feel more like its unwed mother."
The Backster research results must make some scientists lie awake at night. Plants that he monitors with polygraph elements react to such events as shrimp dying in boiling water, germs dying as they hit a urinal's antiseptic, or a person entering the laboratory who is destructive with plants.
Cells that he monitors, usually scraped from a human mouth, react to that person's emotions and actions even when miles away.
These are challenges to existing scientific thought.
Two drade books have been written about Backster's work. The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird covered largely the work with plants. The Secret Life of your Cells by the writer of this article covered largely his work done on animal cells. Both were published in several languages.
Here is a typical case of bio-communication, or as Backster prefers to call it, primary perception. A female donor of her oral blood white cells is asked to watch an episode of television's "Hill Street Blues." She is about a half-mile from where her oral cells are being monitored. Backster focuses one camera on the television show and another camera on the results (readout) of the monitoring so that the two can be seen simultaneously on split-screen television. An early scene depicts an undercover policewoman held in a car by a would-be rapist. An immediate reaction is recorded on the monitor's tracing. The subject later confirms her emotional arousal at the scene because at age 19 she herself had been trapped in an automobile by a would-be rapist (Fig. 1).
Backster's case studies vary from a navy veteran reacting to a televised war scene to a porter reacting to magazine pictures of scantily-dressed woman. The subjects can be a few feet from their cells being monitored or a few miles. Since 1980, Backster has used split-screen video techniques. A black and white camera is focused on the chart drive. A color video camera is focused on the donor. A date-time generator displays the session's time and the date on the same video tape. These video tapes and many other like them are now available for showing at the Backster Research Foundation in San Diego.
Back in 1988, the writer asked to have his cells monitored in order to have firsthand experience of primary perception. Backster had him rinse his mouth with a specially prepared, slightly salty solution. He expectorated into a beaker. Backster centrifuged the solution. Then Backster and his associate, Steve White, explained some of the technical steps which the writer later recorded in his book as follows;
"Two 60 mm length of pure gold wire, diameter of 1mm are standard. One ml culture tubes with outside dimensions of 6 x 50 mm were utilized to contain the collected white cells. ...Net electrical potential activity of in vitro white cells is monitored through the use of EEG-type instrumentation... . Passband frequency settings are for a range of 0.2 to 50 Hz."
Backster started the readout. The writer looked at the chart. It was basically a straight line only slightly wavering. The writer looked at the beaker about ten feet away that held up his leukocytes which just a few minutes before were performing their purpose in his mouth. He sent them his love. Instantly there was a spike on the readout chart (Fig. 2). Continued loving support yielded only squiggles. Next, the writer pulled out a breath-sweetener from his pocket. He decided to use it. Instantly, with that thought, there was a two-inch sweep of the pen that nearly went off the chart; apparently, this product is a powerful germ killer for which his mouth's white cells had a great deal of respect.
Here is another important finding. Backster monitors one of his plants as he leaves to take a walk. After walking a while, he decides to return and looks at his watch. Arriving home and checking the readout, it shows that the plant became excited the very moment he decided to return. If, on the other hand, he makes the decision to return at a certain time in advance, there is no such reaction by his plant. Demonstrations, in order to succeed, must be spontaneous.
Bio-communication at the cellular level may hold a key to understanding some fields of alternative and complementary medicine. Take immunology. The immune system does not seem to have a central headquarters no a clearly defined boundary. It appears to be run by an intelligent strategy that reaches to each white blood cell wherever in the body it happens to be. If a white cell from the mouth - even when removed yards away from its home base - can react to the brain's stress or excitement, is it not plausible to suggest that it has a primary perception and that the Backster Effect might be the elusive immune system/nervous system connection?
How does the placebo work? Profusely "prescribed" by doctors (even) for undiagnosed problems, the sugar pill is taken by the patient who believes it is a legitimate remedy. The confident brain contacts the immune or other pertinent system and a cure takes place. Is this contact actually the Backster Effect?
How does visualization work? First we had psychoneuroimmunology - successfully directing visualization at the immune system. Now we have cyberphysiology - successfully directing visualization at any malfunctioning organ in the body. Are visualization's effects accomplished through primary perception?
How does any aspect of mind/body communication work? The Backster Effect may not answer "how" but it reveals bio-communication "backstage" that is, in the act of working. As such, it should give new impetus to a number of alternative healing arts.
2. Backster, C. Evidence of a Primary Perception in Plant Life. Int.J. Parapsychology; Vol. 10 (4), 1968: 329-348.
3. Backster, C. Evidence of a Primary Perception at Cellular Level in Plant and Animal Life. in Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Psychotronics; Prague, Czechoslovakia, Vol. 1, 1973,: 69-71.
4. Backster, C. Lecture in Section: A New Medicine: Emerging Concepts and Research, in the Frontiers of Science and Medicine. R.J. Carlson - Ed., Wildwood House, London, 1975: 103-114 5. Science News, Vol. 107, Feb. 8, 1975: 87.
6. Robert B. Stone, Ph.D., The Secret Life of Your Cells. Whitford Press, Atglen, PA, 1989.
7. Peter Tomkins and Christopher Bird. The Secret Life of Plants. Harper & Row, 1974.
Our friend, Cleve Backster, is definitely a pioneer scientist. He can be blamed for being a poor promoter of his discoveries. His scarce publications might have gained additional weight had he presented a thorough analysis of natural fluctuations in the potential produced by the in-vitro blood white cell preparations. The test design also could have been improved by informing physiological reactions in a donor and establishing a better correlation between the latter and the cells' electrical activity. However, one must be judged by what he/she has done and not by what might have been done.
The question is why in the 10 years since Backster's results were first published nobody in the world undertook to repeat the experiment. Cost is clearly not the reason -- it is far less expensive than any biochemical experiment. Moreover, the experiment could have been conducted on laboratory animals.
If Backster's results were confirmed, it might have opened a totally new branch of scientific inquiry with a major impact on the biological sciences. Many of us know the answer: it lies in the domain of the social psychology and politics of science, and it involves our dignity as scientists and human beings.
The following is a letter we received from Dr. J.N. Hussein, Ph.D., Director of the Paramann Programme Laboratories, dated 28 August, 1995.
We are compiling the first ARABIC directory of societies and research centers and institutes from around the world which are interested in studying anomalies, paranormal and parapsychological phenomena, subtle energies, bioelectromagnetics, exceptional medical phenomena, complementary and alternative therapies, energy medicine, and relevant subjects. One main aim of this work is to support the growing interest in the scientific research of these non-mainstream nontraditional subjects in the Arab world and to encourage the young research centers in the Arab countries to maintain permanent communication with their older and more experienced counterparts in the West.
We are endeavoring to make this directory as extensive as possible, yet our success in achieving this depends very much on the cooperation we receive from you. We would therefore ask for your kind and most appreciated cooperation in providing us with information on your Institute/Society.
Please send the information to our address: P.O.Box 310087, Al-Mahatta, Amman-11131, Jordan. Fax 962-6-635950
A brief report on the study of the Deliberately Caused Bodily Damage phenomenon by Dr. Hussein is presented on later in this issue.
Jamal N. Hussein, Ph.D., Director Paramann Programme Laboratories P.O.Box 310087, Al-Mahatta, Amman 11131, Jordan
The Deliberately Caused Bodily Damage (DCBD) phenomena refer to extraordinary feats that are practiced by individuals from various parts of the world in which these talented persons insert sharp instruments in various parts of their bodies yet with impunity. Despite the important unusual abilities that these phenomena reveal there has been very little research to explore them. Believing in the crucial role that DCBD phenomena can take in advancing the current knowledge in several fields we, in Paramann Programme Labs, have been conducting extensive study of these phenomena. The subject of our experiments are dervishes of a Sufi School known as Tariqa Casnazaniyyah. These dervishes are reputed for their remarkable DCBD feats. They can demonstrate a variety of these anomalous phenomena. For instance, they insert sharp instruments, such as knives, spikes, and daggers, into various parts of their bodies, including vital organs. They also swallow sharp razor blades and pieces of glass. Despite the serious injuries that DCBD activities cause to the body the dervishes do not suffer any subsequent detrimental effects.
Close observation of DCBD phenomena reveals extraordinary responses of the dervishes bodies to the applied noxious stimuli. These unusual responses include immunity to pain and bleeding, as well as immunity to infection as the used instruments are not sterilized. The exceptional healing of the wounds after removing the sharp instruments from the body is another unusual aspect of these feats.
Needles to say, such abilities are well beyond the capacities of the human body in its normal condition. The implications for medicine of such impressive control of pain, bleeding, and infection, and exceptional healing of major wounds are invaluable. That's why these abilities are worth studying given their importance for advancing medical knowledge. It is worth noting here that there are many unanswered questions in wound healing medicine!
DCBD phenomena also bear on the ongoing and continuously growing debate on human consciousness and the nature of the mind-body interaction. An important experimental fact that should be pointed out here is that the person who performs DCBD feats need not be in a special state of mind. The dervishes that we experimented upon do not enter any altered state of consciousness before, during, or after their performances. This was confirmed by the normality of their EEG recordings. DCBD phenomena seem to suggest that mind-body interaction can take place on a much subtler level than sharp alteration in consciousness.
A very interesting aspect of DCBD abilities is that the dervishes' bodies exhibit them only when injured deliberately. If the dervish injures himself accidentally he suffers the pain, bleeding, and infection that the involved wound would normally cause. The wound would also take the normal time to heal. The fact that these abilities could be invoked only by deliberate injuring of the body, has great implications for the issue of mind-body interaction as the will's activity seems to play a great role in determining whether any transcendental abilities will be exhibited by the body. The will of the dervish is a major parameter in the success of these phenomena. This is, however a unique feature of DCBD feats because contrary to other healing phenomena, where any possible occurrence of healing effects is conditioned by the healer's intention to heal, the activation of healing effects in these phenomena seem to be conditioned by the dervish's intention to cause injury, not to heal.
Some of the questions that DCBD feats of the dervishes raise are: Why does the body invoke its extraordinary reactions only when deliberately injured? Why does it react extraordinarily only when the dervish intends to demonstrate his DCBD feats for a specific religious purpose? Why does the body seem to encourage the dervish to practice DCBD feats by responding on call with unusual immunities?
Another interesting aspect of DCBD feats is that they seem to be transferable by some talented individuals. Some of the dervishes can practice DCBD feats using other peoples' bodies. That is to say, they drive the sharp objects into others' bodies and force them to respond with the typical extraordinary immunity to pain, bleeding, and infection, as well as exceptional healing. The persons who participate in these demonstrations need not be dervishes themselves or have any unusual abilities. In these cases the dervish seem to be in total control of the body of the other person.
These are some of the extraordinary features of DCBD phenomena. They reveal the extent to which the investigation of these phenomena can help in deepening current knowledge in several fields.
DCBD phenomena do challenge the central dogmas of medical science. Standard medicine finds DCBD phenomena quite incomprehensible. They are completely incomprehensible from a conventional biochemical view, though they are beautifully testable by standard scientific methods. The dominant paradigm in orthodox science, the metaphysics of which is far from being the outcome of its very scientism, should be encouraged to face the challenge posed by DCBD phenomena by applying its rigorous means of experimentation to them. DCBD phenomena do face the conventional biomolecular view of the human being with such challenges that mainstream medicine would not easily overcome. DCBD phenomena do not fit the existing paradigm of physiology. We believe that all those who might explain these phenomena as a placebo effect, which works through suggestion or distraction, should first account for the success we have met in research on experimental animals or the field-found cases of children, far too young to be suggestible, and yet can perform the same DCBD practiced by their parent or other people.
We are very interested in pursuing the investigation of DCBD phenomena as we believe that these phenomena are potentially able to provide answers to questions that have long lived in man's mind, questions of a universal nature the domain of which surpasses by far those that DCBD phenomena seem directly to touch on.
We would be grateful for any comments or suggestions you might have as to the lines of research that are worth pursuing in studying these phenomena.
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