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Eric Pearl “Reconnects” with Hands-Off Healing

I first became aware of chiropractor Eric Pearl through the reprehensible movie The Living Matrix. Several months ago I reviewed that movie and described its segment featuring Pearl as follows:

A 5 year old with cerebral palsy was allegedly healed by “reconnective healing” by a chiropractor who is shown waving his hands a few inches away from the child’s body. Problem: There was no medical evaluation before and after to determine whether anything had objectively changed, and video of the child after treatment shows that his gait is not normal.

I have since learned that Pearl is far more than an eccentric oddball. He is a whole industry. He is teaching his “reconnective healing” methods to others worldwide through seminars in several languages, he engages in aggressive marketing, he offers practice-building advice to his many disciples, and he even foists his beliefs on groups of impressionable young children. I use the word disciples intentionally because there are strong religious overtones to this healing method. 

What is Reconnective Healing? 

“The Reconnection” is similar to therapeutic touch, but goes much farther. He does not need to physically touch patients because they can feel his touch without any contact. They close their eyes and he moves his hands around their bodies but several inches away. They feel a presence, see colors unknown on Earth, and often see angels (one particular angel is George, a multicolored parrot). Afterwards, they report miraculous healings of “cancers, AIDS-related diseases, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, birth disfigurements, cerebral palsy and other serious afflictions.”

How Did He Learn to Do This?

He discovered this new ability after a “Jewish gypsy” (!?) read his cards at Venice Beach and “Almost as an afterthought she said to me, ? [sic]There’s a very special work that I do through the use of axiatonal lines.   It reconnects your body’s meridian lines to the grid lines on the planet that connect us to the stars and other planets.” She told him he could read about it in the Book of Enoch.   (I couldn’t stand to read that book, but I skimmed it and didn’t notice anything that seemed pertinent to healing; if readers can find the pertinent sections, I’d appreciate it if they would point them out to me.) He returned for a couple of healing sessions; her fee was $333. Later, at home, a light by his bedside turned on by itself and he thought there were people in his home, that he was not alone and was being watched. He began to have other unusual experiences such as strange sensations and vibrations in his skull and legs, and he started hearing music and sounds. (In psychiatric parlance, the word for this is “hallucinations.”) Then his chiropractic patients started reporting similar unusual experiences, seeing angels and experiencing miraculous healings. 

He learned that “God is the healer.”

Not only did the energy know where to go and what to do without the slightest instruction from me; the more I got my attention out of the picture the more powerful the response. Some of the greatest healings occurred when I was thinking about my grocery list.

Then he discovered he could transmit these abilities to others.

He teaches you how to activate and utilize this new, all-inclusive spectrum of healing frequencies that allow us to completely transcend “energy healing” and its myriad “techniques” to access a level of healing beyond anything anyone has been able to access prior to now!

So what is it? Something he does, or something that a mysterious energy spontaneously does when his attention is elsewhere? A spectrum of healing frequencies, or God, or angels, or axiatonal lines connecting us to the stars, or what? It doesn’t appear that he has even tried to think this through or form any coherent hypothesis.

What About Evidence?

His website is full of miraculous testimonials. These amount to what the courts call hearsay. For all we know, he or his patients could have made these stories up. He offers no medical documentation. The only attempt at any objective evidence is a ridiculous, meaningless pair of Kirlian photos of his hands during and prior to healing mode. He has never even tried to do a properly blinded, controlled test to see if patients really can sense his hands without contact. He’s not about evidence, he’s about belief.

Conclusion

According to the philosopher David Hume’s guidelines for determining whether reported miracles have really occurred,  it seems more probable that Pearl’s testimony is misguided than that the phenomena he reports are real. It is far more likely that his claims are explainable through a number of well-documented human foibles: delusion, illusion, hallucination, imagination, fantasy, suggestion, misperception, misinterpretation, and inaccurate reporting. If he wants us to believe there is anything more substantial going on, the burden is on him to test his abilities and offer meaningful evidence. He’s not likely to do that: he has no motivation to test the reality of something he believes in, and he’s garnering far more fame and fortune than he ever could have as a chiropractor. It’s ironic that the etymology of chiropractic implies “hands-on” and that he is now practicing “hands-off.” I’m guessing he’s not a deliberate fraud, but merely self-deluded and lacking in critical thinking skills. His intellectual level is revealed by his own statement that

Books and I never got along. By this point in my life I had maybe read two books, and one of them I was still coloring.

He offers his patients false hope: he is probably harming at least some of them by keeping them from getting real help with their medical problems. Buyer beware!

Posted in: Energy Medicine

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16 thoughts on “Eric Pearl “Reconnects” with Hands-Off Healing

  1. MKirschMD says:

    Yes, yet anothe false messiah who promises salvation and healing to the vulnerable. This is all part of the rising culture of ‘wellness’ in our society. Religion, faith and quackery all masquerading as medicine. It’s always been here, and it always will be. It’s no longer the snake oil peddler hawking jars in the town square. It’s an alternative ‘medical’ industrial complex that is separating billions of dollars from a believing public.

  2. Anarres says:

    “(…)His intellectual level is revealed by his own statement that

    ‘Books and I never got along. By this point in my life I had maybe read two books, and one of them I was still coloring.’ ”

    ROFL !!

    Proud to be an atheist, my two cents: all the excerpts about healing from “THE BOOKS OF ENOCH ARAMAIC FRAGMENTS OF QUMRAN CAVE 4″

    page 129

    *In the name of the holy heavens and in the name of Metatron the great prince of the whole world and in the name of Raphael the prince of all healings.’

    pag 130
    . . . *by the talisman of Metatron the great prince, who is called the great healer of mercies, sweeping away evil things, who vanquishes devils and demons and black-arts and mighty spells’.^

    Metatron appears, in text I, in his role as the chief of the seven archangels who preside over heaven and earth; as a great healer he is linked with Raphael who, by his name {rafa* ‘to heal’), is the prince of all heaUngs (IV). These archangels participate in an outstanding degree in the essential power of God who is ‘the master of healings’. This aspect of the activity of God and the
    angels, rather neglected in Jewish medieval theories, is linked with the great fashion for healing gods during the period of the Later Roman Empire, followed by the popularity of healing saints in the Byzantine period.

    page 316 (note)

    L . 12. Th e archangel Raphael was charged by Go d to bind ‘A^a’el hand and foot, and to heal the earth which the angels had corrupted. En. 10: 4-8. Not e the word-play on the double
    meaning of the verb rafa\ ‘to tie’ and ‘to heal’; it appears already in the Ugaritic poems on the subject of Repha’im.

    Metatron is a Transformer I guess…

  3. BigHeathenMike says:

    “…one particular angel is George, a multicolored parrot…”

    That is one of the most ri-goddamn-diculous things I’ve ever heard. So he’s an energy-healing, cross-dimensional, religious, non-existant pet psychic/communicator? I don’t want to say that people deserve what they get, but jezuz. If someone tells me that they can fix the rainbow-wigged Gelflings who make my car run, maybe I should break down on the side of the road.

    This guy doesn’t need a clinic, he needs psychotherapy.

  4. Anarres says:

    There’s nothing about hand-healing as we can see.

  5. qetzal says:

    Later, at home, a light by his bedside turned on by itself….

    Like that’s unusual? That’s happened to me literally dozens of times, and I bet it’s happened to almost every one of your readers as well. How lame do you have to be to use a loose bulb or a weak filament as evidence for your “powers?”

    I, on the other hand, have the true gift. Not only do lights sometimes come on spontaneously in my house. I’ve also seen quite a few streetlights turn off as I drove past them! So there: proof positive that I’m filled with energy that can go and do things without the slightest instruction from me! Send $$$.

  6. windriven says:

    “in the name of Metatron the great prince”

    You’ve got to be f-ing kidding me. Seriously. Was this a plot line for X-Men? A lost chapter from the Book of Mormon?

    @ Dr. Gorski-
    We, your faithful acolytes, need, nay demand, a posting on the psychology of beliefs held in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence. There is more here than a lack of understanding of basic science. This cannot fall in the range of normal behavior.

  7. qetzal says:

    @windriven -

    Sadly, the data clearly shows that holding beliefs in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence is very much a normal human behavior. Irrational, but normal.

    Of course, you are free to believe otherwise, despite the overwhelming contrary evidence….

    ;-)

  8. windriven says:

    Brilliant, qetzal! I read this with a mouthful of coffee and nearly choked to death.

    On a serious note, this doesn’t seem directly related to intelligence. I know a few true believers in outrageous woo who are literate, educated and apparently of better than average intelligence. But it is as if their critical thinking skills strayed too close to the event horizon and got sucked into the black hole of ignorance.

    Without understanding the mechanism that leads people down this path I can’t imagine how it will ever be defeated.

  9. # windriven comments on the quote “in the name of Metatron the great prince”

    “You’ve got to be f-ing kidding me. Seriously. Was this a plot line for X-Men? A lost chapter from the Book of Mormon?”

    Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, is from the Transformers. According to Wikipedia (archangel of collective knowledge) Metatron is from the Talmud and Jewish mystical text.

    Dude, you must keep up on your cartoon villains AND religions. ;)

  10. Calli Arcale says:

    windriven — no, it’s quite a bit older than the Book of Mormon, dating back to the Roman period at least. (It’s hard to definitively date a lot of ancient Jewish texts, because they don’t have convenient publication dates or other references in them, and the extant manuscripts are known to be copies. Worst is books like Genesis, which doubtless spent a great deal of time as an oral tradition, which really muddies the waters.) Not the late Roman period, though; it may predate the caesars, and almost certainly predates the Roman occupation of Judea. It is believed to predate Maccabees, anyway. Note however that, again like many ancient scriptures, it may not all be the same age. Some bits of it were found at Qumran (among the famed Dead Sea Scrolls).

    Most Jewish and Christian sects do not consider it canonical. It’s usually not even included in any apocrypha. (Make of that what you will; canonicity can be as much political as theological.) A few do; it’s big in Ethiopia.

    Interestingly, however, despite the book generally not being accepted by modern religious authorities, it does contain some of the earliest attestations of ideas which would later become central in Christianity, including the idea of a heavenly afterlife and an end-times apocalypse, and a much more developed notion of demonic forces (fallen angels) corrupting mankind. It’s also quoted in the New Testament, and certainly influenced the rise of Christianity. Which makes it all the stranger that it is not considered canonical now, so clearly it’s had a twisted history.

  11. Calli Arcale says:

    BTW, I suspect the reason it’s not considered canonical is a bit like Douglas Adams’ famous quip about humans and their apelike ancestors.

    “Humand are not proud of their ancestors and never invite them ’round to dinner.” (picture of chimp at a fancy dinner party, with the caption THIS NEVER HAPPENS)

  12. Metatron, also the voice of god, according to Neil Gamain and Terry Pratchett in Good Omen, an excellent read if you like popular fiction.

    Regarding the psychology of beliefs. Maybe this is kinda obvious to others, but it occurred to me the other day that adherence to a belief (likely or unlikely) probably has as much to do with the field of sociology or social anthropology as it does individual psychology.

    A person self-identifies as a type, then finds a group of peers to fit that type. The group ideology, social structure, hierarchy within that group then become very important in the individuals development of a belief system. But, of course, the psychology of the individual will also effect how they interact with that group.

    So, when attempting to change a belief system it may be necessary to look at the peer group and how leaders within that peer group may hinder that change or if some leader may be willing to help.

    Like I said, I’m sure this isn’t a new idea, just something I was mulling over.

  13. Maz says:

    I’ve suspected that evolution has favored humans with a propensity to believe whatever and do whatever they are told. When you think about it, skeptics are not well suited for the fast-paced and dangerous life of an early humans.

    “Tribesmen, watch out! There is a tiger in those bushes!”

    “But bossman, how can you be sure? Perhaps it is just a bird, or maybe even a delicious herd animal. We cannot assume that, just because previous tigers have attacked us from a rustling bush, this bush also contains a tiger. The only way to be sure is to poke at the bush with great vigor.”

    ***CHOMP***

    “Ah, poor guy. If only he hadn’t been so worried about false-positives”

  14. Mark P says:

    So, when attempting to change a belief system it may be necessary to look at the peer group and how leaders within that peer group may hinder that change or if some leader may be willing to help.

    These days many believers in woo seem to do it to show, sub-consciously perhaps, how “spiritual” and other worldly they are. That they are beyond the mundane mob. They are able to appreciate the mysteries that we sceptics cannot even see.

    They cannot be reached directly by reason. That would destroy their little spiritual world.

    The only way to win is to show consequences. That belief in therapeutic touch (or non-touch in this case) leads to increased sickness, not healing.

    Just as the best way to wean people off tele-evangelists is to show them that tele-evangelists are just as corrupt and crooked as the next guy. Sow doubt, rather than head-on confrontation.

  15. outotdoubt says:

    Just another example of how people will always believe what they want to believe. Ironically enough even Jesus said, “It’s because I speak the truth that you don’t believe me.” Then he goes on about how lies are what people believe. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  16. skeptiverse says:

    #Maz

    HA HA, But as a sceptic the tribesman would understand that while there is a large chance that the moving bush does not contain a tiger, the possibility remains that the bush does contain a tiger and that poking it with a stick would quite probably not be the smartest thing to do either way.

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