“Dr. John Bentham achieved fame in the early nineties for his work on “the machine to mend all maladies,” whose scientific, and later popular, moniker was the RIFE machine, an acronym whose original official meaning has been lost. The machine worked, said Dr. Bentham, by emitting pulses of light or vibration in time with the resonant frequencies of malignant cells in the human body. Every cell emits a frequency, he claimed, and once the RIFE machine matched the frequency, the resonance of the cell could be cancelled out, and the ailment obliterated.” – From “The Magnificent 7 – Medicines that Could’ve Ended Death” in Uncensored M.D. magazine, published June 21, 2000.
Calvin parked the car just on the edge of the pavement, and as soon as he opened his door I could feel the air change. It was windy here, salty, and cold.
“The sun wants to set soon,” he said, squinting back at me with the six o’clock light blaring on his features. Tiny golden hairs bristled brightly on the skin of his upper lip. “We’ll have to move quick if you’re gonna see it.”
He took my hand and led me across the sand, cooled by now in shades of gold and blue.
It was only our third month together, but I’d already told him about my eyesight, and how I’d probably be blind by thirty-five. He had all these ideas about how I’d be cured. He kept telling me things about positive energy and this machine he’d heard about and resonant frequencies. I didn’t care about a cure. I just wanted to settle down and have babies with someone before I couldn’t see them. I liked the way his hair swept around his ears in angelic little pieces when he wore a hat. I was almost twenty-eight.
Dear Dr. Stemmler,
My brother, Dallas Sinclair, was recently informed by his primary physician that he has three months left to live. He is only thirty-one. He has severe myeloma in his right femur, which the doctor says has metastasized to his lungs, pancreas, and prostate. I was informed of my right to seek a second opinion. Dallas has never much trusted doctors, but he always spoke highly of you, so I hope you’ll consider taking his case.
As I told your receptionist, Cindy, repeatedly during each of my telephone conversations with her this morning, I am aware that you are a pediatric doctor who, she emphasized, never treats adults, and I know you did not specialize in oncology. All of this notwithstanding, my brother is entitled to a second opinion from a doctor he knows and trusts, and we would like it to come from you.
We look forward to hearing from you soon,
When people talk about placebos on the radio or TV they refer to sugar pills and tinted water-based solutions: carefully engineered things meant to trick the ill. In practice a placebo can be anything. A little bit of sugar, a dropper of water, a prick with a pin, a gentle caress. Administered in the absence of illness, a placebo could be delightful, or harmful, or benign.
Administered medically, a placebo can be a cure.
The placebo effect occurs when a nonmedical substance or action produces a curative response in a patient. All drugs are tested against placebos before they can be marketed. Half of cancer patients in a test study receive chemotherapy, the others get daily injections of sugar water. The patients don’t know the difference, but those in the medicated group should have significantly smaller tumors than those receiving the sham if the drug is to be proven effective.
“Magnificent” RIFE Machine banned by FDA
NEW YORK (AP) — Adopted widely by alternative medical practitioners since its November 1995 debut, the RIFE Machine, invented by Dr. John Bentham of Phoenix, Arizona, was officially banned by the FDA this Wednesday for use or sale in the United States. Use of the product has been banned in the European Union and Canada since January of this year. Though the FDA is banning use of the RIFE Machine immediately, the manufacturing ban will not go into effect until January of 1997.
Copyright © 1996 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
The beach spilled out of caves and tunnels that rose from the sand in segments of red and orange-hued rock. We walked beneath an arch of sandstone and Calvin grabbed for my hand, knowing how I lost the shape of things in shadow. He gestured ahead, where the beach curved around and caught the light.
“See those red rocks up there?” he asked. “That’s where we’re headed.”
The hematite beads he wore on his wrist slumped down against my hand, like cold little fingertips, pressing.
A study involving several thousand Christian ICU patients revealed that prayer speeds the healing process dramatically – in one case restoring the eyesight of a blind man, in another case resolving a chronic coronary issue that had persisted for six years. The vegetative, comatose, and atheist patients remained in their beds, however, as the study concluded that prayer only cures patients who know they’re being prayed for, and who believe in God.
To: Dr. Salvatore Browne, Head of Oncology.
My name is Beth Sinclair, and we met last Tuesday in the cancer ward at Valley West General. I am writing to follow up on the complaint I lodged with you regarding the conduct of your oncology specialists, nurses, and volunteers, and their behavior toward my brother, Dallas Sinclair, who has been receiving treatment at your facility for several years. He has severe myeloma in his right femur, which the doctor says has metastasized to his lungs, pancreas, and prostate. The day you and I met was the day his primary informed us that his cancer would definitely be terminal, a prognosis your staff seemed to immediately take to heart. All anyone was willing to discuss with us from that point forward were our options for making Dallas more comfortable, a term I find both morbid and unprofessional. My brother deserves a medical team that is energized to fight on his behalf, and if nothing can be done to change the demeanor of your nurses – one of whom had the audacity to suggest we begin taking him off of the chemo – then we may have to seek alternative avenues for his care.
Angry and disappointed,
It could be concluded that a placebo is only as effective as a patient’s belief in it, but the patient may not be the only variable. Placebo studies with similar designs get inconsistent results. When pharmacists and doctors test drugs, the results tend to indicate that placebos have no medical benefit, and that chemical therapies are more effective. When naturopaths and homeopaths do similar tests, the placebos produce impossible cures, sometimes rivaling or even exceeding the results of allopathic medications. It has been suggested that the good faith of a physician who administers a placebo has as much of an impact on its medical efficacy as that of the patient. Since the physical implications of positive thinking are not much entertained by the mainstream pharmaceutical community, very little research has been conducted on the topic.
FDA NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: March 19, 1996
Media Inquiries: Sam Huey: 301-796-4763
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
URGENT Nationwide Recall
Medical use of the RIFE Machine has been deemed ineffective and potentially harmful.
- All RIFE Machines in medical, physical therapy, and licensed alternative medical practices must be returned to the manufacturer for a full refund or destroyed.
- All patients treated with the RIFE Machine should be evaluated by a medical doctor and report any adverse effects to the FDA.
- RIFE units purchased for at-home therapy may be returned for a manufacturer refund. Selling a RIFE machine is a criminal offense.
- Private citizens who wish to retain their in-home RIFE units must apply for a license.
- The full ban on the manufacture of RIFE machines will take effect in January of next year.
“This is it,” he said.
The wall was cracked in an elaborate circular pattern that resembled an eye. The more I stared at it, the more it seemed able to stare back at me.
“It looks like an eye,” I observed aloud.
“Yeah, yeah, I get that. But, think; just think for a moment. Can you imagine the heat, the pressure exerted to form this thing? Sustained over maybe millions of years? It’s an unimaginable amount of power, and it’s the only thing like it I’ve ever seen. I’ve always thought it must’ve been a portal of some kind, between worlds or times or places. A bona fide portal that formed, and existed, and then dried up and turned to stone.”
As he spoke, the crystals he wore around his neck on fraying hemp cords glistened blindingly in the lowering sunlight.
He turned to stare intensely at me, but I couldn’t think of a thing to say. I stared at the eye-wall and tried to make it be a portal, but it was still an eye, big, sightless, and cold, and it crossed my mind that maybe I was making a mistake.
Thank you again for the card you sent last week. It is so comforting to know we’re in your thoughts and prayers. Dallas loves getting mail because the ICU nurse he has a crush on always delivers it personally. I have been busy lately, obviously, but I was hoping we could get together for a cup of coffee soon to discuss those homeopathic flower remedies you used to talk about. Do you still use them? I remember they did wonders for your thyroid issue, and though I was skeptical then, I confess I’m at the point where I’ll try anything to keep Dallas around. He has severe myeloma in his right femur, which the doctor says has metastasized to his lungs, pancreas, and prostate. As soon as the doctor said he was terminal the insurance company started putting real pressure on us to cut back or even stop his medication. He’s on a much lower dose now than he was and he sleeps more and more.
So, do send me a note when there’s an opening in your schedule for a little coffee date. And thank you, again, for the card.
Placebos don’t always heal. A harmful placebo, known as a nocebo, is a real or imagined nonmedical substance that causes an adverse reaction in a patient. Sometimes, in drug trials, patients will complain of violent side effects that result from their medications, only to discover that they were in the control group from day one.
New “NRAs” under fire
DETROIT — Since the complete ban of the popular alternative healthcare device, known as the RIFE machine, that went into effect last year, small clubs have sprung up in places where licensed owners continue to maintain and operate the machines.
Says Michigan resident Samantha Farnon, “The RIFE did wonders for my back pain, so when the ban came in I knew I had to get licensed so I could keep using it. There are a lot of people who didn’t learn about the RIFE until recently, and I don’t see anything wrong with letting them use it if it works for them.”
Licensed RIFE owners, like Farnon, can face fines for allowing unlicensed people to access the machines. If anyone using a licensed RIFE suffers adverse effects, the license holder is liable. Many states are fighting the growing trend by outlawing all RIFE use, citing the FDA ban on the machines as a reasonable reason to stifle even licensed, in-home use. What would Farnon do if they outlawed RIFE in her locality?
“Well, I guess I’d have to move.”
Copyright © 1997 The New York Times. All rights reserved.
Calvin took a step closer to me. “I’m saying I have faith in this kind of thing. I believe that there are things in this world that science can’t explain. Yes, it could be a random arrangement of cracks in a giant wall of stone that looks a bit like an eye, but it could also be a reason for believing in the incredible and maybe untapped potential of the natural world.” He ran a blurry hand through his hair. The sun had dipped behind the rocks. “I guess what I’m saying is, I really like you, and I don’t want you to go blind, and I know you’re a skeptic, but there’s a guy in Phoenix I’ve been reading about who has a machine they say can cure anything.”
I looked at him, and smiled. “I like you too,” I said.
I’m afraid I won’t be able to come to work today. I know I’m out of sick leave and vacation days, but my little brother is dying in the hospital. He has severe myeloma in his right femur, which the doctor says has metastasized to his lungs, pancreas, and prostate. He probably won’t be awake, but I need to go sit in a chair by his bed so I can be there if he needs me.
The nocebo effect has a powerful history, and is thought to be the explanation for hexes and curses and other magical phenomena. In the mid 1800s, when spiritualism was popular in the United States, a well-respected medium named Georgette was reportedly possessed and forced to rise from her seat during a séance. For weeks later she reported feeling poorly, and finally revealed that she believed the sprit who possessed her that night had cursed her. She claimed to have done various fortune card readings, and had concluded that she would die unless she could see a voodoo practitioner in New Orleans for a cure. She suffered a heart attack on the train south, and the newspapers that week declared that the spirit’s curse had killed her.
Corruption Killed the Magnificent RIFE Machine
Remember the Rife machine? It was the perfect medical cure – it could destroy any type of cell, relieve pain anywhere in the body, and literally target and cure almost any ailment with enough treatment sessions. To the medical layperson, a product like this seems like a dream! We imagine physicians foaming at the mouth for the chance to heal more patients, and pharmaceutical companies falling all over themselves for the machine to end all drugs.
Ah, my friends, but we are naïve.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you KNOW that the pharmaceutical companies in this country do NOT have patients’ best interests in mind. They are CORRUPT, they are run by OVERPAID, UNDERWORKED, wealthy bigwigs, who are put in such a stable position of power by OUR OWN GOVERNMENT that they are able to influence whether therapies like RIFE get banned or not.
Face it, people: if RIFE ever caught on beyond the granola-munching homeopathic crowd, if it really started getting studied and used in conventional hospitals, the business plan of big pharma as we know it would cease to exist overnight.
Our government makes vital decisions about our collective health and welfare (financial and physical, people!) based upon the currents of cash flowing through Washington D.C. We may have the power to elect our sitting officials, but their opinions are being bought and sold on a regular basis to manipulate the market and limit the availability of completely excellent therapies like RIFE.
LibertarianTangerine223 @ 3:42pm on Thursday, February 6, 2001
Dallas’s condition continues to deteriorate. Thank you for being a good friend to me during this difficult time. The flower remedies you gave me had no effect on the tumors, but they did wonders for his mood, and mine. I looked into the RIFE machine, as you suggested, but Dallas has expressed a desire not to pursue any more treatments, and I respect that. I lost my job recently, so I have a decent amount of free time now, if you ever want to get together again. I had fun on our little coffee outing. It had been a long time since I’d been out with a friend. Dallas will be gone soon, and I’ll cherish your company more than ever.
P.S. I would appreciate the address you mentioned, of the store where you buy the flower remedies. They have helped me a great deal, and I’d like to keep taking them.
R. D. Kuensting is from Oregon and is currently working toward her MFA in fiction at Pennsylvania State University.