In Part 2, I talked about possible solutions to bridging the gap between mainstream and alternative medical practices. In part 3, I'll talk about my interview — and an interview Dr. Mehmet Oz (known to many from his his appearances on Oprah and more recently as the host of his own TV show) — with Dr. William Bengston.
There is a serious need for research studies by scientific organizations to test alternative healing processes, so that they can be confirmed effective and administered with oversight by conventional medical professionals. As noted by Navi Radjou, in an article published in Harvard Business Publishing titled "Health Care Reform Should Include Preventive Medicine," “Unfortunately, health care providers and insurers in Western societies do not make the best use of their available resources to support this process and are reluctant to incorporate preventive and personalized programs of treatment. Yet by improving the holistic health and wellness of all American workers and citizens, both governments and corporations could save hundreds billions of dollars currently wasted in untargeted, inefficient therapies.” To be fair to practicing medical professionals, before many of them incorporate alternative medical practices and remedies into their treatment regime there need to be hard scientific studies done to show that these treatment are safe and effective.
This is where Professor Bengston comes in. He is the man behind the “Laying on Hand” cancer research experiments. His breast cancer trials have trained healers with a successful cure rate of approximately 90 percent, while his personal cure rate is 100 percent.
As a precursor to writing this article, I met with Professor Bengston and listened to a radio show hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz, who in addition to his media activities is vice-chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University, and directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York–Presbyterian Hospital.
One of his radio show guests in 2009 was William Bengston, PhD, Professor at St. Joseph College in New York. Bengston’s professional specialization outside his work as a sociologist, statistician, and trainer of methodology and data analysis specialists, is working with human energy healing and cancer cells.
Dr. Oz believes that energy defines life, and that a human or animal cell is kept alive by its own energy force inside and outside of the cell membrane. When these cells become part of a living organ, the organ comes to life in part due to the field of energy in each cell. The idea of cellular energy, and how cancerous and non-cancerous cells exhibit different levels of energy, is being studied at the Karolinska Institutet (the institute is also known for awarding the Nobel Prize) in Sweden.
Some of the institute’s research studies involve measuring the energy of normal cells versus cancerous ones in lung cancer patients. The research is attempting to discover if cancerous cells release a different level of energy than normal cells in the lung.
Oz suggests that it would be interesting to explore whether the energy coming from cancerous cells can be modified through various human techniques, such as touch healing or Reiki (a Japanese technique that is administered by “Laying on Hand”), and if so, whether it could be prevented from doing damage to the body. Historically energy healing research has had a hard time gaining widespread acceptance in the medical community; one reason was that energy healers lacked quantitative evidence to support their claims. Bengston is hopeful that current misconceptions about energy healing will change, because he has provided us with quantitative evidence through his “mouse model” cancer research.
Professor Bengston has also published several papers outlining in detail his clinical trials with mice injected with cancer cells: "Resonance, Placebo Effects, and Type II Errors: Some Implications from Healing, Research for Experimental Methods" in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, "The Effect of 'Laying on Hand' in Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice" in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, and "Can Healing be Taught" in Explore Journal of Science and Healing.
What makes Professor Bengston’s 20 years of research so fascinating and hopeful? His research has been supported by a reproducible and scientific model; a model he believes has not been used to document a “Laying on Hand” cancer healing technique.
About 20 years ago, Professor Bengston began his research with energy healing after a chance meeting with a man named Ben Mayrick. At the time Bengston was a skeptic, and suggested that he and Ben work together using Bengston's data collection (statistics, methodology and data analysis) skills to design a study around Ben’s work. His research involved double-blind studies of patients with various medical conditions. A patient would place their signature on a card, and place the card into an envelope. Ben would then describe their medical condition, and Bengston would verify Ben’s results by reading the patients’ medical records. Bill discovered that Ben’s information was always accurate, no matter how difficult Bill made the testing process. Ben and Bengston eventually decided to see if Ben could alter an ill patient’s health by the “Laying on Hand” method.
Following the treatment of several hundred patients, Bengston discovered that certain medical conditions could not be affected. Warts would not dissolve, but cancerous tumors would show dramatic results; benign tumors would not change but malignant ones would shrink. Additionally noted was that more aggressive cancers such as a Retina Blastoma (cancer of the eye) would remit faster, and less aggressive prostate cancer would remit more slowly.
In Part 4, we will continue with the Bengston interviews, and learn why he decided it was time to use a more scientific approach through formal data collection analysis, to record healings that were successful, and ones that were not.