Radionics is the use of blood, hair, a signature, or other substances unique to the person as a focus to supposedly heal a patient from afar. The concept behind radionics originated in the early 1900s with Albert Abrams (1864–1924), who became a millionaire by leasing radionic machines which he designed himself. Radionics is not based on any scientific evidence, and contradicts the principles of physics and biology and as a result it has been classed as pseudoscience and quackery by most physicians. No radionic device has been found effective in the diagnosis or treatment of any disease, and the United States Food and Drug Administration does not recognize any legitimate medical uses for such devices.

Description of Radionics

According to radionics practitioners, a healthy person will have certain energy frequencies moving through their body that define health, while an unhealthy person will exhibit other, different energy frequencies that define disorders. Radionic devices purport to diagnose and heal by applying appropriate frequencies to balance the discordant frequencies of sickness. Radionics uses “frequency” not in its standard meaning but to describe an imputed energy type, which does not correspond to any property of energy in the scientific sense.

In one form of radionics popularised by Abrams, some blood on a bit of filter paper is attached to a device Abrams called a dynamizer, which is attached by wires to a string of other devices and then to the forehead of a healthy volunteer, facing west in a dim light. By tapping on on his abdomen and searching for areas of “dullness”, disease in the donor of the blood is diagnosed by proxy. Handwriting analysis is also used to diagnose disease under this scheme.

Having done this, the practitioner may use a special device known as an oscilloclast or any of a range of other devices to broadcast vibrations at the patient in order to attempt to heal them.

Albert Abrams claimed to detect such frequencies and/or cure people by matching their frequencies, and claimed them sensitive enough that he could tell someone’s religion by looking at a drop of blood. He developed thirteen devices and became a millionaire leasing his devices, and the American Medical Association described him as the “dean of gadget quacks,” and his devices were definitively proven useless by an independent investigation commissioned by Scientific American in 1924.

Modern practitioners now conceptualize these devices merely as a focusing aid to the practitioner’s proclaimed dowsing abilities, and claim that there is no longer any need for the device to have any demonstrable function. Indeed, Abrams’ black boxes had no purpose of their own, being merely obfuscated collections of wires and electronic parts.

Scientific assessment of Radionics

Radionics devices contradict principles of biology and physics, and no scientifically plausible mechanism of function is posited. In this sense, they can be described as magical in operation. No plausible biophysical basis for the “putative energy fields” has been proposed, and neither the fields themselves nor their purported therapeutic effects have been convincingly demonstrated.

No radionic device has been found efficacious in the diagnosis or treatment of any disease, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recognize any legitimate medical uses of any such device. According to David Helwig in The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, “most physicians dismiss radionics as quackery.”

Internally, a radionic device is very simple, and may not even form a functional electrical circuit.The wiring in the analysis device is simply used as a mystical conduit. A radionic device does not use or need electric power, though a power cord may be provided, ostensibly to determine a “base rate” on which the device operates to attempt to heal a subject. Typically, little attempt is made to define or describe what, if anything, is flowing along the wires and being measured. Energy in the physical sense, i.e., energy that can be sensed and measured, is viewed as subordinate to intent and “creative action.”

Radionics, (last visited Feb. 13, 2011).

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