What Happened to Dr. Harvey Bigelsen?

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Question (originally asked in 1998)

One of my parents is considering cancer treatment at the Instituto de Medicina Biologica located in Tijuana, Mexico. The clinic is operated by Harvey Bigelsen, M.D. The doctor uses "dark field" microscopy and biological terrain assessment diagnostic techniques. He practices such treatments as "Enderlein Remedies", developed by Dr. Guenther Enderlein in Germany, Chelation Therapy, Cytokines, German Live Cell Transplants, and Homeopathy. We read a book called "Hidden Killers" written by Dr. Erik Enby, a Swedish physician who practices in Gothenberg Sweden. In it he explains the works and therapies of Enderlein. Dr Bigelsen says he studied under Enby in Europe and uses the Enderlein Therapies to treat cancers and chronically ill. He claims to have a high success rate. Do you have any information on him or his clinic? He is quite expensive, but when you are desperate for help that may not matter.


We discuss most of the above methods on Quackwatch and consider them highly questionable. Bigelsen is a former president of Arizona's homeopathic board. In 1990, after the homeopathic board had found no wrongdoing, the Arizona Board of Medical Examiners censured Bigelsen in connection with his treatment of two patients. However, this decision was vacated by a Superior Court judge who ruled that the medical board could not assume jurisdiction and overrule the homeopathic board.

In December 1992, a federal grand jury accused Bigelsen of one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States; sixty-three counts of false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims; forty-four counts of mail fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States; and eight counts of obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies and committees. The indictment stated that he attempted to collect $3,500 for colonic therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic services (including acupuncture)—which were not covered under Medicare—by submitting claim forms on which they were represented by procedure code numbers for services covered under "physical medicine." The indictment also charged that Bigelsen and two associates attempted to evade prosecution by changing data in the computer account histories of several patients and by submitting altered and falsified progress notes in response to a grand jury subpoena. The case was settled by a plea bargain in which he was forced to surrender all his licenses in the United States, including his Arizona homeopathic license [1]. He was sentenced to four years probation and ordered to pay $3,500 in restitution.

Subsequent Activity as a "Hemobiographic Consultant"

In 2007, Bigelsen's Web site stated that from 1994 through 2000 he had served as director of biological medicine at the Institute de Medicina Biologica in Tijuana, Mexico and then relocated to California, where he offered seminars and professional services as a "hemobiographic consultant" to other physicians. His advice was based on examination of blood specimens with a darkfield microscope, a procedure he refers to as live blood cell analysis. His Web site stated:

. . . From one drop of blood I can analyze the status of the patient's physical body and the reasons why it has arrived at this stage of life. I believe each individual disease has its own specific fingerprint or biogram. . . .

Edgar Cayce, America's most prolific psychic, said, 'The physician of the future, from one drop of blood, will tell everything.' Acupuncture has been using the hologram in the ear. Reflexologists have been using the foot and palm. Palmistry has been around for centuries. Why not the blood?

I have been looking at live blood for 20 plus years on thousands of patients. I have looked at my own blood during different times, states, moods, etc. I have found that the patterns of the blood will change instantaneously with each thought or emotion. For example, if my lawyer called, the change would be immediate. Joy, sorrow, worry, anger, etc. are all seen in the blood.

There is no medical school in the United States that teaches a physician to look at living blood. Normally the blood is stained, which is a poison, and the cells are chilled and fixed for immortality. You are never taught how to watch the blood die and what happens, for example. If something is not stainable it, therefore, is invisible and/or an artifact. There are many things in living blood that has no name in American literature. For example, we are never taught, while watching a person's blood, if the blood dies in one hour compared to the blood dying in five days, which person is healthier. It is obvious that the second person is healthier. The character of the cells, the plasma, the debris, the deterioration, and the snowflake patterns all have a purpose. By studying these biograms, I can analyze an amazing amount of detail about that person. This total concept I call hemobiographic analysis.

Bigelsen's 2011 book, Doctors are More Harmful Than Germs, claims that, "Medical doctors doing surgeries and prescribing drugs (poisons) are the number one cause of chronic disease today." It also asserts that all people with chronic health problems have "trapped inflammation" in their body that can be diagnosed by looking at their platelets under a microscope and relieved by treating scar tissue to remove "blockages."

Dark-field microscopy is a valid scientific tool in which special lighting is used to examine specimens of cells and tissues. The objects being viewed stand out against a dark background—the opposite of what occurs during regular microscopy. This allows the observer to see things that might not be visible with standard lighting. Connecting a television monitor to a microscope for diagnostic purposes is also a legitimate practice. However, live cell analysis is not [3].

Bigelsen Response (2007)

In 2007, Bigelsen complained to me that the actions taken against him were unfair and asked me to add his viewpoint to this page and to refer readers to his for additional information. This summarizes his perspective on what happened during the 1990s:

I believe I was a target of a conspiracy by the "Medical Establishment" because I wrote the first precedent-setting Law in US history (Arizona's homeopathic licensing law) that broke the Medical Establishment's monopoly. Normally, when a procedure is not covered by insurance, the company just asks for a rebate. In my case, an insurance company complained to both the medical board and the federal government.

What was the Government's motive and how much did it cost the United States taxpayers to go after me? As one criminal attorney said, 117 counts totaling $3,500 is "overkill" and is usually used only when they going after mobsters or big drug dealers.. I pled guilty to 4 counts totaling $145 worth of offenses. I did this because I was threatened with jail time and that would ruin my family. I was forced to give up all of my licenses as part of the plea bargain.

I do not think that what happened to me was fair. Compare my case with the largest health fraud case in U.S. history, in which a health care company settled fraud charges by agreeing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties. Yet nobody in the case went to jail.

Convicted Again, But Still Going Strong

From about 2010 through 2014, Bigelsen did business as the Biological Health Institute, which stated on its Web site:

Counter to conventional medicine and Big Pharma, which promote treatments that merely attack and kill germs, Dr. Bigelsen believes that germs are not harmful, and actually live in a symbiotic relationship with the entire body. He treats the patient's physical body in order to get it working at its highest performance, and has achieved high success rates through a combination of structural therapies, cranial-sacral adjustments, neural therapy, isopathic remedies, and European cell therapy.

In 2014, Bigelsen was arrested for practicing without a medical license at his clinic. Court records indicate that in March 2014, a Medical Board of California investigator posing as a patient was seen by Bigelsen, who identified himself as a medical doctor, had the investigator's blood drawn for diagnostic purposes, suggested that she stop using medically-prescribed Prozac, and sold her an injection to be used on herself. Two weeks later, agents from the board and the California Bureau of Food and Drug conducted a search, seized the microscopes Bigelsen used to make his "diagnoses," and shut down the clinic [2]. In June 2014, the State filed a misdemeanor complaint charging Bigelsen with four counts related to practicing without a license and five counts related to the drug products he provided to patients [4].

In 2015, Bigelsen settled the case by pleading no contest to a criminal charge of using the titles "Dr." and "M.D." in his letterheads, business cards, or ads despite the fact that he had no medical license. The plea agreement, which was negotiated with the Nevada County, California) District Attorney's office and approved by the court, calls for Bigelsen to serve probation for two years, during which time he may not use the titles "Dr." or "M.D." in connection with his business except when lecturing, teaching, or being an author. He is also required to pay $6,750 in costs for the government investigations. And when the probation period ends, if Bigelsen stays out of trouble, he may withdraw the plea and the charges will be dropped without any conviction [5].

Shortly after sentencing, Bigelson began selling memberships in the Bigelsen Academy, which he describes as a "private education and information association" that will enable club members to "share information with each other in a private setting." In a YouTube video, he describes plans to set up Webinars, remote consultations, training courses, a clinic that would "make people younger," and a dental clinic "lined up with acupuncture philosophies." He also promises to "clean you up, open you up, maximize you, and start to regenerate you." The screen shot to the right shows Bigelsen's live-cell analysis equipment.  


  1. Findings of fact, conclusions of law, and request for cancellation of license with cause. In the Matter of Harvey Bigelsen, M.D. before the Arizona Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners, No. 93-05, Dec 7, 1994.
  2. People's opposition to defendants' motion to suppress evidence. The People of the State of California vs Harvey Bigelsen. California Superior Court, Nevada County, Case No. M14-001029, filed Oct 28, 2014.
  3. Barrett S. Live blood cell analysis: Another gimmick to sell you something. Quackwatch, Sept 11, 2015.
  4. Misdemeanor complaint. The People of the State of California vs Harvey Bigelsen. California Superior Court, Nevada County, Case No. M14-001029, executed June 6, 2014.
  5. Brenner K. Plea deal cancels trial in Bigelsen case. The Union, Feb 14, 2015.

This article was revised on September 11, 2015.

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