This groundbreaking study raises a number of intriguing and crucial questions within the auspices of alternative healing and cancer therapies. It, perhaps, will initiate a new paradigm in which people with cancer, and other diseases, are treated by the medical community. I hope the authors will continue their work until all these questions are satisfactorily answered.

M. Sue Benford, Ph.D., R.N.
President, Public Health Information Services, Inc.
     This provocative paper reports that five independent experiments on mice with adenocarcinoma, typically 100% fatal, treated with "laying on of hands" by trained individuals, demonstrated an overall remission rate of 87.9% (n=33).  Tumors among the experimental mice developed a "blackened area," ulcerated, imploded and closed leaving the mice to live a normal lifespan (Bengston and Krinsley, 2000;353).  Furthermore, reinjection of cancer into the mice in remission did not result in new carcinomas suggesting a lasting immunity to the disease. 
          These results are undeniably similar to numerous experiments utilizing the principles of "radiation hormesis" for treatment of cancerous tumors.  Large and small doses of ionizing radiation evoke opposite, or reverse, biologic effects; this has been defined as hormesis (Luckey, 1980). Excess radiation, >10 Gy/y (>1000 Rad/y), is harmful. Low dose irradiation, <1 Gy/y (<100 Rad/y), has been demonstrated to be beneficial.  This hormetic effect has been shown to exist for drugs, hormones, vitamins, essential minerals as well as for ionizing radiation (Heiby, 1988).  Numerous animal studies indicate a radiation-induced hormesis occurs in major physiologic functions (Luckey, 1980; Luckey, 1991) and at all levels ranging from biochemical to organismal (Macklis and Beresford, 1991).  Studies include the statistically significant, p<0.01, decreased cancer mortality rates in more than 30 experiments with rodents reported in peer-reviewed journals (Luckey, 1991). 
     In addition to Sakamoto's long-term non-Hodgkin's lymphoma research, others have also clearly demonstrated cancer suppression with low-dose total body irradiation.  Chaffy et al. reported that whole body doses less than 25cGy were effective for tumor control of lymphosarcoma (Chaffy et al., 1976) while Choi et al. demonstrated cancer remissions with low-dose TBI with advanced non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (Choi et al., 1979).  Others, like Holder et al. observed that multiple myeloma could be successfully treated by low doses of TBI (Holder et al., 1965).  Despite the difficulties inherent in demonstrating hormesis in carcinogenesis testing protocols, there is sound epidemiological support for its existence. Radiation hormesis researcher, Myron Pollycove, M.D. cites several examples, including reductions in lung cancer incidence with increasing radon exposure, and reductions in breast cancer rates in Canadian women exposed to low doses of radiation from lung fluoroscopy. Additionally, Pollycove concludes that a tenfold increase of annual background radiation stimulates overall biosystem activity by approximately 20%, producing a significant decrease in the metabolic rate of mutations and corresponding decreases of cancer mortality and mortality from all causes (Pollycove, 1998).
     But how is radiation hormesis linked to hand-mediated alternative healing modalities?
Preliminary studies by Benford et al. with "laying on of hands" bioenergy healing techniques, demonstrated statistically-significant decreases in external gamma radiation measurements during the course of actual therapy sessions.  These studies concluded that individuals, skilled in the art of bioenergy techniques, induce the fluctuation of high-energy light waves (photons) more dramatically than those who are not trained in bioenergy techniques regardless of purposeful intentions to heal.  During these initial preliminary tests involving bioenergy therapists and volunteer subjects, total counts were recorded in 100-second trials separately over the subject's crown, heart, abdomen and pelvic regions using a NaI(Tl) crystal scintillator which detected gamma radiation from approximately 100 KeV to 3 MeV.  Later tests involved 300-second counts over the heart and pelvic regions only.
          The results demonstrated that gamma radiation levels markedly decreased during therapy sessions of 100% of subjects and at every body site tested regardless of which therapist performed the treatment.  In many instances, the gamma counts fluctuated by thousands within the short time periods analyzed.  T-tests were used to determine statistical significance with p-values ranging from p = .035 to p <.0001, in the 100-second trials, and p < .00001 in the 300-second trials (Benford et al., 1999; Benford et al., IN PRESS).
  It has been theorized that this decrease in external gamma counts is due to: 1) an enhanced absorption from the readily available gamma radiation in the environment; 2) changes to the rate of emissions from naturally-produced internal gamma radiation in the body; or, 3) a combination of both mechanisms.  In any case, the crucial net effect is increased internal ionizing radiation leading to enhanced radiogenic metabolism (Benford, 2001).
          Also of note are the authors' anecdotal findings that "speed of remission is a function of size of the animal," (Bengston and Krinsley, 2000;364) or restated, mice responded much better than humans.  This would be logical if, in fact, part or all of the anti-cancer effect noted is due to modulation of ionizing radiation during the healing sessions. Why is this the case? The healers tested in the above referenced gamma radiation experiments, only influenced a proportionately small amount of gamma radiation; most likely not enough to single-handedly induce a full remission in a large animal like humans. However, given a smaller target, it is logical to posit that these subtle doses might be more effective; thus, produce the full remissions observed in this study.  In a video tape demonstrating a QiGong healing of a man with a bladder cancer, it took four healers to obliterate the large tumor (Chan, 1996). Have the QiGong Masters discovered the need for more than one healer during these "big jobs?" Is there a link between hand-mediated healing energy modalities and radiation hormesis in treating diseases? If so, what variables play a role in determining the healing energy "radiation absorbed dose," or rad, per person and per disease?
     This groundbreaking study raises a number of intriguing and crucial questions within the auspices of alternative healing and cancer therapies. It, perhaps, will initiate a new paradigm in which people with cancer, and other diseases, are treated by the medical community. I hope the authors will continue their work until all these questions are satisfactorily answered.

M. Sue Benford, Ph.D., R.N.
President, Public Health Information Services, Inc.

Benford, M.S., Talnagi, J., Burr-Doss, D., Boosey, S., Arnold, L.E. (1999). Gamma Radiation Fluctuations During Alternative Healing Therapy. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 5(4), 51-56.

Benford, M.S., Talnagi. J., Sivak-Sears, N., Mitchell, G.L. (IN PRESS). Contributions of Training and Intent on Fluctuation of Gamma Radiation During Alternative Healing Therapy. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.

Benford, M.S. (2001). Radiogenic Metabolism: An Alternative Cellular Energy Source. Medical Hypotheses, 56 (1), 33-39.

Chaffey, J.T., Rosenthal, D.S., Moloney, W.C. et al. (1976). Total body irradiation as treatment for lymphosarcoma. Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys., 1, 399-405.
Choi, N.C., Timothy A.R., Raufman S.D., et al. (1979). Low dose fractionated whole body irradiation in the treatment of advanced non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Cancer, 43, 1636-1642.

Heiby, W.A. (1988). The Reverse Effect,  Deerfield, MI: MedScience Publishers.

Holder, D.L. (1965). Total body irradiation in multiple myeloma. Radiology, 84, 83-86.

Keiichiro Ishii Komae Research Laboratory, (1996). Nuclear Energy Systems Department, Radiation Safety Group Principal Research Results in Fiscal 1995, source: Annual Research Report.

Luckey, T.D. (1980). Hormesis With Ionizing Radiation,  Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Luckey, T.D. (1991). Radiation Hormesis, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Macklis, R.M. & Beresford, B. (1991). Radiation Hormesis. The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 32(2), 350-359.

Pollycove, M.(1998). Molecular Biology, Epidemiology, and the Demise of the Linear No-Threshold (LNT) Hypothesis. Presented at International Symposium on Health Effects of Low Dose Ionizing Radiation International Centre for Low-Dose Radiation Research, University of Ottawa.
Sakamoto, K. (1997). Fundamental and Clinical Studies on Cancer Control with Total or Upper Half Body Irradiation. Jpn. J. Cancr Chemother, 9, 161-175.
Directions in Healing Research:  A Reply to Benford

The commentary by Benford is interesting and informative.  Let me state at the outset that I have no expertise or experience in the area of radiation hormesis, though I would like to take this opportunity to react to selected comments and to suggest some potentially fruitful lines of healing research.
    Benford writes that the cures of mammary adenocarcinoma that we produced in mice (Bengston & Krinsley, 2000) are similar to experiments which use radiation hormesis for treatment of cancerous tumors, including statistically significant decreases in cancer mortality rates in more than 30 experiments with rodents.  It is indeed suggestive that low dose radiation is reported to also produce a blackened area in tumors and to enhance immune activity.  I suspect, however, that the pattern we found of blackened area to ulceration to tumor implosion to full life-span is unique.
    The studies by Benford et al. (1999) which demonstrate statistically significant decreases in external gamma radiation during laying-on of hands are important and suggestive of an important and suggestive of an important line of research.  That is, what physical changes accompany successful healing through non-traditional means?  Since the publication of our article, many researchers have contacted me to inquire about what we know in this area, and they have suggested a variety of electromagnetic detection tests that they would like to perform in our future experiments.  To date I have responded simply that we have not yet tested any physical parameters in either the immediate environment of the animals or any changes in the volunteer subjects themselves.  I fully agree that these are important areas for inquiry.
     Once there are reliable physical healing effects, as Benford has apparently also obtained, innumerable research possibilities emerge.  Can, for example the healing effect be screened or filtered?  Does distance degrade effects?  Do multiple treatments or simultaneous treatments by healers produce additive effects?  Can the healing "energy" be stored in a physical medium?  Serious collaboration among researchers from the physical and biological sciences can help address these questions.
    There are a few points of clarification that need to be made in Benford's commentary.  Citing one of her publications (2001), Benford writes that "the crucial net effect [of healing] is the increased internal ionizing radiation leading to enhanced radiogenic metabolism."  While I have no basis to comment on the applicability of this hypothesis to our work, I can comment upon the inferences she draws to some anecdotal observations in our paper.  At the end of our paper, we noted anecdotally that in producing remissions in other mammals, the speed of remission is a function of the size of the animal.  Benford notes that the differential rate is explainable if we assume that the healer can influence only a small amount of radiation, and the anti-cancer effect is due to this modulation of ionizing radiation.  Simply put, the relatively small effects produced by healers will be more efficient on relatively small targets.  Or, in her words, "mice responded much better than humans."
    This may not be the case.  Our anecdotal comments were not intended to compare mice to humans but really were directed toward many different species of progressively simultaneously cure 50 mice, I suspect they would remiss at the same rate as if we had treated 10 mice.  In short, my guess is that it really is a function of internal metabolic rate.  In any event, the good news is that now that we have a reliable healing effect we can readily resolve this issue and hopefully will know the answer soon.
    Finally, I wold like to briefly comment on a new direction to healing research first alluded to in our paper.  While all of the aforementioned basic research questions are important, it is possible to simultaneously proceed on another front.  Among our observations with the mice was that once cured, no mouse ever had a recurrence of cancer (this is also true of other mammals).  Further, even upon reinjection, no mouse was able to contract the cancer again.  This phenomenon, I believe, may allow us to reproduce the healing effect using more conventional means.  Even if we don't yet understand the physical and biological mechanisms by which the mice were cured, it still may be possible to use cured animals to recreate the remissions without the laying-on of hands.  Could we take the blood of cured animals and develop a vaccine against breast cancer, even if we don't yet understand the underlying mechanisms by which the animals were cured?  I believe it is worth trying immediately, even as we design more basic research.  In addition, I welcome the thoughtful collaboration of researchers such as Sue Benford.


Benford, M. S. (2001) Radiogenic metabolism:  An alternative cellular energy source. Medical Hypotheses, 56, 33-39.

Benford, M.S., Talnagi, J., Burr-Doss, D., Boosey, S., & Arnold, L. E. (1999). Gamma radiation fluctuations during alternative healing therapy. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 5, 51-56.

Bengston, W. F., & Krinsley, D. (2000). The effect of the "laying-on of hands" on transplanted breast cancer in mice. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 14, 353-36.

William F. Bengston
St. Joseph's College

Benford, MS (2001). Comment on "The effect of the 'laying on of hands' on transplanted breast cancer in mice" by W.F. Bengston and D. Krinsley. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 15(1), 125-128.