Jul 27, 2012

Online apology

Northern Star
July 27, 2012

On July 24, 2012, we published a story titled 'Breast Therapy Slammed'.

We incorrectly stated that Universal Medicine's Serge Benhayon had trained his two son's, Michael and Curtis, to perform esoteric breast massage on women and promoted it as a cure for breast cancer.

We accept that this therapeutic modality is only performed by women practitioners on women.

In addition, we acknowledge that Serge Benhayon has: denied Universal Medicine is a cult, does not claim esoteric breast massage or any other esoteric healing modality offered by Universal Medicine can cure or prevent cancer, and is not aware of any complaints before the HCCC about Universal Medicine or any of its practitioners.

We sincerely apologise to Serge Benhayon, Michael Benhayon and Curtis Benhayon and their families for any hurt and embarrassment this story may have caused.


Jul 26, 2012

Healer denies cult claims

Javier Encalada
Northern Rivers Echo
July 26, 2012

Esoteric healing business-owner Serge Benhayon rejected claims that he is running a "cult" at his Universal Medicine clinic in Goonellabah.

Reports in The Sun Herald and The Sydney Morning Herald this week accused Mr Benhayon of having "up to 1000 devotees, mainly female" and being responsible for dozens of marriage break-ups. It was also reported that the business is the subject of an "urgent review" by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

But Mr Benhayon told The Echo "there is no cult" and that he had asked for the TGA review.

"We don't fall under the TGA since we don't make any claims (about the healing properties of the products they sell), but we asked the TGA to investigate that on our behalf," Mr Benhayon said.

Universal Medicine has been in business in Goonellabah for 13 years and rents out rooms to psychologists, physiotherapists and other practitioners. Some of the services they offer include 'esoteric breast massage' and something called 'chakra-puncture' offered by his sons Michael and Curtis for $70 an hour.

Asked what esoteric healing is, Mr Benhayon explained "it consists of creating a balance so you can heal yourself. We are not doing any healing on you, but are helping your body to heal itself."

He said the breast-massage technique is "only done by female practitioners and it really is just an expansion of a lymphatic massage... It has no sexual connotation."

Universal Medicine also sells a range of creams and supplements and a spokesperson for the TGA confirmed that they are "concerned that these goods are not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods" and that "in order to protect the public, this matter is being urgently investigated... with the sponsor (Universal Medicine) being required to achieve compliance with the regulatory requirements."

Mr Benhayon said that most of the claims made against him come from four unnamed men from Bangalow, "a group of disgruntled people taking up a vendetta."

"Bringing us down isn't the answer to saving their relationships. They have to look at why their wives have asked them to be more loving," he said.



Jul 23, 2012

New age group's herbal supplements under investigation

Heath Aston
The Sydney Morning Herald
July 23, 2012

A New Age community branded a "cult" by its critics is under investigation by health authorities over a range of herbal supplements it sells online.

Universal Medicine, based in Lismore, on the NSW north coast, is the subject of an "urgent review" by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

The leader of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon, a former tennis coach who has claimed to be the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci and Pythagoras, sells three different "Eso-Herbs" - Harmony, Re-Balancing and Connection - for $40 a plastic tub.

A TGA spokeswoman said the products met the definition of therapeutic goods because they made general therapeutic claims and were sold in a dosage pack rather than being raw herbs.

"The TGA is concerned that these goods are not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods and have not been evaluated by the TGA as the law requires," she said.

"In order to protect the public, this matter is being urgently investigated by the TGA with the sponsor being required to achieve compliance with the regulatory requirements of Australia's therapeutic goods legislation."

Mr Benhayon said he would co-operate with the TGA.

"I wish they would have just said to me, 'Hey, you're doing the wrong thing'," he said.

The Sun-Herald revealed yesterday that Mr Benhayon, 48, has up to 1000 followers - mainly female - but he faces a backlash from a group of men who say they have lost their partners to Universal Medicine, which they claim is a cult based around him.

Most adherents radically alter their eating, exercise and lovemaking habits when they take up the esoteric lifestyle.

One Universal Medicine student, Tamara, objected to the claim that it was a cult, saying she had reclaimed her life from an abusive relationship rather than losing herself to a cult.

Mr Benhayon confirmed the group had held a book burning at the property of his lawyer, Cameron Bell, at Billinudgel, near Mullumbimby.

" ... Raphael Aron, questioned the validity of Mr Benhayon's treatments, which include ''esoteric breast massage'' to fight cancer in women and ''chakra-puncture'' offered by his sons Michael and Curtis for $70 an hour."

Records show Mr Benhayon owns six properties in the Lismore suburb of Goonellabah, where the healing centre is based. He is also the director of five companies associated with Universal Medicine, including Fiery Investments Pty Ltd and Fiery Impulses Pty Ltd.



Universal Medicine man denies cult claim

ABC News, Australia
July 23, 2012

The owner of a controversial health group based on the state's north coast denies it's a cult.

Universal Medicine has a treatment centre near Lismore, and its website offers esoteric healing involving energy cells which it says make up the human spirit.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is urgently investigating supplements being sold by the group which have not been properly evaluated.

But founder Serge Benhayon says he offers treatments which complement mainstream medicine.

"If everything that is mainstream is working, why is breast cancer, cancers and diabetes through the roof?" he said.

"We are in an age where science and medicine are at their highest, and I'm very pro-science and pro-medicine, but surely there is something missing.

"Einstein said or proved that everything is energy.

"All I've said was everything is because of energy... and every choice that we make brings an energy with it.

"We've been in touch with the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) and according to a spokesman there, there had been no investigation launched.

"But we launched our own investigation and asked them to have a look at our products and to advise us if we've made any mistakes.

"If we've made mistakes, I will correct them immediately.

"It looks like we're cashing in and doing this and there's blog sites that have said we've made 25 million and so forth, but that's totally untrue.

"But we are successful, we're saying things that people are ready to hear and it's their choice whether they come or not.

"It's not something I hold for free and it's not something (where) we keep people in a commune or a compound.

"They can come pay, or leave and have a refund if they're not happy.

"It's very, very unconventional.

"You're going to hear things that you know, don't make sense on one level, if it's based on the convention that you're trained to hear.

"But if you listen, and you put things together it starts to make sense, slowly and slowly," Mr Benhayon said.

Doctor Dan Ewald, from North Coast Medicare Local, says people facing desperate circumstances will often try any treatment available.

"Particularly if they've got a condition that isn't curable, like a chronic-pain syndrome or a cancer that's not responding to therapy, then they get very desperate to search for solutions and are prepared to have a go at everything and anything," he said.

"I'd strongly advise people to talk it over with a good generalist, such as their GP, who can help them try to sort out the wheat from the chaff."


Jul 22, 2012

Da Vinci reincarnated? 'I agree, it sounds absurd'

Heath Aston
Sydney Morning Tribune
July 22, 2012

In an email to a friend, a student of Universal Medicine reported: "Serge revealed he was the one sent from Shamballa to awaken us all and he alluded to the fact that [his daughter] Simone was Winston Churchill in a past life."

The email last year demonstrated not a skerrick of doubt that Serge Benhayon, healer-in-chief at Universal Medicine, was speaking the truth.

For some time, Benhayon had been telling his students - more than 80 per cent of whom are women - that "The One" would be sent to usher in the new era. He chose Shamballa, the mythical kingdom associated with the Buddha, as his origin on the path to healing.

The reality, as most people interpret it, is a bit different. Benhayon, according to publicly available records, was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, on March 26, 1964. He grew up in Maroubra where his first job was as a paperboy, going on to work as a tennis coach around Byron Bay and Brisbane. Advertisement

He has claimed to be Leonardo da Vinci and Pythagoras reincarnate but he backtracked during an interview with The Sun-Herald at his home on Friday. "I don't believe it. Not for one minute do I believe it," he said. "What I present is part of a whole and if you take one piece outside the whole it sounds absurd. I agree, it sounds ludicrous."

That will come as a shock to some. A patient at the healing centre said she believed Benhayon was da Vinci returned to earth. A student described Benhayon claiming to enter the "fifth dimension" on stage. "He closed his eyes for 10 seconds and said, 'OK, I'm there now, I can't see anything but I can feel.'"

Feeling is a recurrent theme in Benhayon's "esoteric" philosophy. The mind plays tricks, so we should use the body to think, he teaches.

Detractors say relationships become impossible when everything from music to sex must be "Serge-approved". Benhayon said he had never told a student to leave a relationship - or stay in one.

"Some of the people saying things about me are not very nice people in their own households. Having spoken to some of these women, I'm in a difficult position. Some women may hide behind 'Serge said' when they are trying to improve their relationships at home and fear expressing themselves."