Homeopathy 2006; 95(01): 49-50
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2005.11.014
Book Review
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2005

Biophysical Therapy of Allergies

Saul Berkovitz

Subject Editor:
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
16 December 2017 (online)

Peter Schumacher
Thieme: Stuttgart, Germany, 2005 Price: not stated,
ISBN: 3 13 1375116; 1 58890 2579

This little book introduces the principles and practice of bioresonance therapy in the treatment of allergic disease, focusing on paediatrics. Bioresonance therapy is defined as ‘the use of ‘ultra-weak electromagnetic fields’ emitted by people to diagnose and treat illness’. The author is an experienced German paediatrician with an orthodox background who is familiar with current immunological concepts of allergy as well as those based on established research. It is suitable for, and apparently aimed at, open-minded sceptics as well as enthusiasts: the author openly and frequently admits the contentious, at times ‘unbelievable’, nature of the subject and its claims of success. The many unfamiliar concepts are simplified by the use of summary boxes and ‘simple thought modalities’ to enable grasping of fundamental theoretical constructs, such as the relationship between the informational and material levels. Particularly helpful are the 10 ‘basic principles’. Illustrative case histories complete with photographs of eczema cases help sustain interest and give authority.

Opening with a discussion (familiar to modern homeopaths) of information theory, including a frank admission of its inadequacy as an explanatory model, the historical background is then summarised, in both physics and medicine. This includes Hahnemann, electro-acupuncture methods, Vega testing, and the work of Morell, the ‘father’ of bioresonance therapy and the author's most direct influence. The basic principles of the therapy are then discussed, in essence the measuring of electromagnetic oscillations from a patient, their modification (by inversion, amplification filtering, etc) and their return to the patient via an electronic device attached by cables.

A summary of conventional allergy theory and practice is followed by a chapter on classification of allergies. This is where things get complicated. The most important are ‘chronic (‘central’) allergies’, usually to cow's milk, wheat, or other commonly ingested foods, said to cause eczema, asthma and colitis in those with an atopic disposition. These allergies display the phenomenon of masking and appear to be equivalent to the term ‘intolerances’ as used in the UK. The authors discuss wheat and milk eczema in detail, confidently distinguishing their ‘unmistakably distinctive’ clinical appearance—wheat (ocular, periorbital perioral and back of the hands; dry and lichenified, onset after 2 years of age) and cow's milk (facial in babies, flexural in older children, onset in the first few months, initially wet with secondary lichenification due to scratching).

The author, whilst laudably emphasising the need for clarity of definitions, left me in some confusion over his distinctions between the terms ‘chronic allergies’, ‘pseudo-allergies’, ‘intolerances’. This is largely because he distinguishes them not on the basis of demonstrable immune system involvement (the currently accepted definition of ‘allergy’) but on the qualitative or quantitative nature of the reactions. Thus, his ‘chronic allergies’ (sensitisation to a staple food that is frequently ingested, or by a substance continuously present in the body [candida or mercury amalgam]), which display the phenomenon of masking, are not clearly delineated from ‘intolerances’ (the term in use in the UK) which are said to be ‘intolerance to foods and/or chemical substances that have gradually developed over the course of a life’, and referred to specifically in terms of enzyme deficiency. Other pathological factors are familiar from clinical ecology, including mercury amalgam, intestinal candidiasis, food additives, electromagnetic and environmental pollution, and novel ones such as allergy to goose down in bedding. One assumes the latter is more common in Germany than in the UK where it is something of a luxury.

Moving on from diagnostics, the author describes different modes of treatment, based on neutralisation of the electromagnetic ‘allergy imprint’ by ‘inverting’ it before applying it to the patient. These include the various ‘programs’ of the author's preferred BICOM device, and other methods incorporating special electrodes or acupuncture techniques. The claims regarding both the basis of the therapy and its effectiveness are nothing short of extraordinary, a fact acknowledged by the author. For instance, patients are said not only to react to ingested food allergens but also to the presence of that food in the same building or to the presence of persons having ingested or had contact with that food. ‘Allergen avoidance’ during therapy therefore takes on a draconian meaning, including total avoidance of restaurants or grocery shops.

It must be emphasised that the book functions as brief introduction, inevitably leaving many questions unanswered; as the author states, it ‘does not aim to explain in detail all the possibilities and facets of bioresonance therapy’. The technical aspects are not covered, such as how the various devices register, modify and transmit the electromagnetic waves, how ‘healthy’ frequencies are distinguished from ‘unhealthy’ ones and how these are separated, how ‘noise’ is filtered out, and so on.

Sadly, the referencing leaves much to be desired, alphabetically ordered and not following any accepted system within the text. However, perhaps the biggest stumbling block to acceptance of this therapy is the evidence produced to substantiate such extraordinary claims. Devotees of ‘evidence-based medicine’ will be unimpressed by statements such as ‘we do not state this as an allegation based upon hypotheses. Unequivocal evidence can be found in several hundred case studies of chronically ill patients’. The ‘statistical’ data briefly presented (in fact without any statistical analysis) is the author's case series, published in 1991, of unselected cases (mostly eczema and asthma) treated with bioresonance over a 6-month period. This indicated a high ‘allergy elimination rate’ according to a retrospective patient questionnaire. ‘Allergy’ elimination (largely involving foods, food additives or goose down, unrecognised as allergens by scientific medicine but avoided during therapy) was confirmed by allergy resonance testing (also unrecognised as a diagnostic method). The study methodology is unfortunately not discussed in detail but was obviously problematic and drew criticism from the scientific community. Perhaps this led to the author's overtly hostile attitude towards ‘scientific medicine’, which is unlikely to further his cause.

Current research methods may be inadequate to investigate such therapy, However, some indication that it is possible, or at least desirable, to research such complex phenomena with no currently understood mechanism to determine their clinical effectiveness (as is occurring with other complementary/alternative therapies such as homeopathy) would have been reassuring and welcome from a medical doctor. In fact, the author comes across as ambivalent towards any sort of controlled studies of the therapy, even to eliminate the possibility of natural history or dietary modification playing any part. For instance, one might begin with a recognised allergic disease such as hay fever, in which the author claims therapeutic success and which is relatively simple to evaluate. Clinical outcome measures would be acceptable and feasible, as would allergen provocation by conjunctival challenge. Prophylactic therapy might be compared with standard drug or desensitisation treatment. Should this prove encouraging, elements of blinding can also be envisaged, in which the machine is either connected to the patient or a hidden ‘circuit-breaker’ introduced. Ultimately, however, this introductory text leaves only a tantalising invitation to ‘try it, it works, there is no other way to be convinced’.