My Experience with "Bio-energetics"

Michael J. Conrad

As a person who has always been interested in the effectiveness of alternative medicine, I have searched for natural compounds and herbs that might more effectively treat life's ailments such as colds and flu. A friend of mine referred me to a practitioner of"bio-energetics" and suggested that this person might be able to help prevent my frequent bouts of colds and flu.

Jeff Sheman turned out to be cordial man who said he is a "Certified Bio-energetics Technician" and an "herbal and nutritional counselor." His office wall had a framed diploma from a "School of Natural Healing." He wore a white lab or doctor's coat, but I know he is not a doctor. Nor do I think he is a chemist. He offered to do an "evaluation" by hooking me up to a machine connected to a computer that he said could give him information on my physical state, such as problems with my organs like kidneys or liver, etc, and also test for deficiencies of vitamins and nutrients. He also wanted me to fill out forms with many questions about diet habits, lifestyle, etc.

His fee of $150 plus my skepticism of this electronic testing device caused me to decline the evaluation. He did manage to sell me a bottle of herbs called "Immutol" for $50 that would supposedly help to strengthen my immune system for the prevention of colds and flu. I decided to do some research online to find out about Immutol and his device, and to see if any scientific, studies had examined the effectiveness of herbs and vitamins for preventing upper respiratory infections and for treating diseases in general. I could find no evidence any of it. Nor could I find any studies on the effectiveness of "Immutol" or any reports from anyone who had taken it.


Mr. Conrad resides in Thousand Oaks, California.

Comments from Dr. Barrett

The device Mr. Conrad encountered is identified on Mr. Sherman's Web site as "The Discovery System." It is one of several dozen unapproved devices that purport to measure the flow of nonmaterial "energy" throughout the body. His Web states:

A few basic scientific concepts will help you understand how Bio-Energetics can assist you in your quest for optimal health. Every part of the body has a unique electrical energy "signature." In other Words the heart, the pancreas, the eyes, the bones, etc. have their own specific electro-magnetic energy.

Many years of research analysis have identified these energy "signatures" for the entire body and all of the organ systems. Just as each body organ or part has its own energy signatures, viruses, bacterium, molds, fungi, chemicals, medicines, etc. also have unique energy "fingerprint." These too, have been analyzed, categorized, and encoded into the program.

Illness and disease often begin with subtle imbalances in the body's electrical energy fields. Genetic pre-dispositions, chemical toxins, viruses, allergens, etc. are all possible causes of energy imbalances that result in health problems. Using a very sensitive sensor along the acupuncture meridian points of the hand, readings are taken of the overall anatomy. You can evaluate the energy signatures throughout the body to determine imbalances that lead to disease.

The next step of the process is to determine the cause(s) of the energy imbalance(s) or disease. With this compilation of what and where energy imbalances exist and why they are being caused, a comprehensive "status report" of your body has been generated. At this time, specific herbal formulas, homeopathies and supplements would be recommended to assist in balancing your energetic imbalances

I believe that every one of the above statements is false and that "The Discovery System" has no diagnostic value. For additional information about such devices, click here.

—Stephen Barrett, M.D.

This page was posted on July 25, 2006.