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Jul 22 2012

But will they come when you do call for them?

Oh, you just have to love a new quack and cult leader — they come up with the wackiest stuff, and people fall for it.

Serge Benhayon, a former tennis coach from Maroubra, has up to 1000, mainly female, devotees to his movement, Universal Medicine, based in the hills outside Lismore on the north coast of NSW.

Mr Benhayon told The Sun-Herald he had no medical qualifications but stood by the effectiveness of his treatments, including “esoteric breast massage” – administered only by women – and “chakra-puncture”. His daughter, Natalie, 22, claims to be able to talk to women’s ovaries – for $70 an hour.

I can talk to women’s ovaries, too! Also their kidneys and uvulas and hippocampi and elbows. I can also chat up a pair of breasts, if you’d like (they understand the language of motorboats). You should only get the big bucks if they answer, though.

Esoteric breast massage sounds fun, but chakra-puncture…no thanks, that sounds agonizing.

He’s drafted a whole lot of professional women with no understanding of medicine or science to buy into this nonsense, and make recommendations that funnel public health care money directly into Benhayon’s pocket. And of course there’s the New Age jargon everywhere, substituting for evidence.

Ms Greenaway offers “esoteric connective tissue therapy”, a technique created by Mr Benhayon. It promises to improve energy flow by “allowing the pulse of the lymphatic system to symbiotically correspond with the body’s own ensheathing web”.

You know, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pulse, and symbiotic doesn’t mean what she seems to think it means. They also claim to do “craniosacral massage” and to measure a “craniosacral pulse”, which just tells me they’re obsessed with heads up asses.

It’s disgraceful nonsense, but Benhayon has an answer to charges that he’s a charismatic con-artist.

“A handful of people say what we have here is a cult. What if I can bring 2000 people to say it’s not?”

<pictures 2000 people in robes standing glassy-eyed and chanting “we are not a cult”>

39 comments

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  1. 1
    sc_daf555bf3249c23d49bad8f71d730018

    Does Mr. Benhayon have an Australian accent? If he does, I’ll buy anything from him — car insurance, time shares, quantum fly swatters, you name it. Would a guy with such an adorable accent ever do you wrong?

  2. 2
    peterh

    Yet another float in the Parade of Stupid. And a cash cow to boot!

  3. 3
    'Tis Himself

    craniosacral

    Is that sacral or scrotal?

  4. 4
    TGAP Dad

    Seriously, MOTORBOAT???

  5. 5
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I wonder whether a full craniosacral inversion is required prior to the craniosacral massage? Or mayhap it is a tpyo, and they acually were trying to tell people just what they actually are through a ‘craniosacral message’?

  6. 6
    Pierce R. Butler

    TGAP Dad @ # 4: Seriously, MOTORBOAT???

    Vvvvrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooooommmm!

  7. 7
    Winterwind

    From a related article on SMH:

    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.”

    Well, I’m convinced. I’d be slightly more convinced if he were wearing a kurta in the accompanying picture, but it’s still pretty compelling.

  8. 8
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    I can also chat up a pair of breasts, if you’d like (they understand the language of motorboats).

    Ok, I think I’m done for the day. You can find me at the bar.

  9. 9
    ChasCPeterson

    “esoteric connective tissue therapy”…promises to improve energy flow by “allowing the pulse of the lymphatic system to symbiotically correspond with the body’s own ensheathing web”

    the body’s own what, now?
    This ensheathing web must be the collagen fibers in the skin dermis. (That at least has something to do with connective tissue.) I did not know that energy flowed through the lymphatic vessels though. I thought it was lymph. And yeah, no pulse.

  10. 10
    a3kr0n

    Oh ya? What if I can find 2001 people who says it IS a cult?

    PZ wrote: They understand the language of motorboats

    ISOBUS?

  11. 11
    ChasCPeterson

    Vvvvrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooooommmm!

    no, no.
    Bubububububububububububububub

  12. 12
    Dick the Damned

    “esoteric breast massage” – administered only by women.

    He’s drafted a whole lot of professional women…

    It’s just a front for a bunch of lesbians to enjoy themselves, funded by their healthcare. Nice one, eh.

    Well, that’s just as ridiculous as any other excuse for this kind of crap that i can think of. WTF goes through these people’s minds? (Answers on a postcard please.)

  13. 13
    Gregory Greenwood

    “A handful of people say what we have here is a cult. What if I can bring 2000 people to say it’s not?”

    “Me, run an organisation comprising of thousands of brainwashed followers who do whatever I say? Well, here are two thousand people who say I don’t run no stinkin’ cult. Ha – gotcha there, didn’t I?”

    I don’t think Benhayon has quite mastered the fine art of constructing an argument that doesn’t actually make the other side’s point for them just yet…

  14. 14
    anat

    Craniosacral massage? I suppose the next step is retrophrenology?

  15. 15
    Gregory in Seattle

    Only 2000 people? Pfth! I can find 10,000 who will say that the Unification Church is not a cult, and an even million who will say that the Mormons are not a cult.

  16. 16
    cry4turtles

    That bastard makes “massage” a dirty word. I love massages! If hubby massages my feet, then I let him massage my breasts. It’s the fun for all approach.

  17. 17
    raven

    Natalie, 22, claims to be able to talk to women’s ovaries – for $70 an hour.

    No big deal.

    I know someone who can talk to lawn sprinklers. The weird part is that they answer back.

  18. 18
    mildlymagnificent

    But… but… but… my ovaries haven’t got $70 for a conversation with nice Natalie.

  19. 19
    timgueguen

    Craniosacral therapy is long running woo, created before this joker was even born. Sucking up bits of previous woo as part of your new woo is very common.

  20. 20
    kantalope

    I am so opening a esoteric breast massage parlor!
    (if the wife says ok…I’ll have to ask just as she is falling asleep though)

    When the cops show up I’m gonna go with “It’s Australian for ‘SCIENCE’”.

    Think I’ll leave out the rectalphrenology exams though.

    k

  21. 21
    DLC

    Uh, right. I wonder if they have a woman there who’d like to chat up my testicles ? I’m sure they’d appreciate the company, the only other neighbor is such a dick, and the downstairs bloke is a complete asshole.

  22. 22
    Sastra

    Same old, same old … though this part of the article gave me pause:

    After women have received esoteric breast massage – and used Mr Benhayon’s protective cream to keep bad energy at bay – they are told not to allow their partners to touch them without permission.

    I would think that last part would go without saying — unless the guru means they must have explicit permission, and/or the directive applies to every sort of casual contact, too.

    “A handful of people say what we have here is a cult. What if I can bring 2000 people to say it’s not?”

    That’s funny; I think he wants us to say “in that case, it’s a religion.”

  23. 23
    Sastra

    Oh, wait — maybe the article means the husbands/partners must have Benhayon’s permission.

  24. 24
    TGAP Dad

    …”esoteric breast massage” – administered only by women…

    I’ll bet he could make a TON of money on the instructional videos…

  25. 25
    r3a50n

    I can also chat up a pair of breasts, if you’d like (they understand the language of motorboats).

    Nice, now there’s coffee all over my monitor.

  26. 26
    Ray, rude-ass yankee

    Brian (to crowd): You are all individuals!
    Crowd (all together): We are all individuals!
    One guy in the back: I’m not!

    What’s wrong with motorboats? I like motorboats.

  27. 27
    kreativekaos

    Oh, cult schmult! At 70 bucks an hour, it looks like a great post-retirement income supplement to me. Where can I get a brochure on how to cash in on the gig?

  28. 28
    julietdefarge

    Sigh… I’m such a piker when it comes to sucking money out of people’s pockets. My retirement supplement plan was to get a few pigmy goats and allow folks to hand-feed them out of $.25-a-twist chow dispensers.

  29. 29
    ajeffri

    @ChasCPeterson #9: My thoughts exactly. I’m the only atheist working* at a new-age retreat center/hippy commune (well, that’s what the RRR would call it) and that totally broke my Universal New Age Translator (TM).

    *I’m a network administrator.

  30. 30
    'Tis Himself

    What’s wrong with motorboats? I like motorboats.

    They’re not sailboats.

  31. 31
    garydargan

    Rich isn’t it. A wacko cult leader cons a government funded health care system into paying him to give phony cures to a bunch of gullible morons. I am an Australian citizen studying overseas for a PhD. Normally I would be eligible for health care benefits in Australia and I need them. I require surgery to have tumours removed from my thyroid and parathyroid glands. I have lived and worked in Australia all my life before being medically retired. Because I have chosen to uproot my life for three years to study overseas I am no longer considered an Australian resident. This means I have lost access to subsidised medical care and now face the real possibility of my national medical insurance being cancelled despite the fact that I am paying for it. Instead of providing me with government-speak excuses for denying me what should be a basic right the ministers in charge of this fiasco should direct their energies to dealing with this leech defrauding the system.

  32. 32
    sayke

    “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.”

    What’s the bet he looked at her as a newborn and thought, “She looks exactly like Winston Churchill!” Man mustn’t have seen many babies in his life… They all look like that.

  33. 33
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Many reality-based people aren’t aware that chakras actually do exist. They don’t have any mystical function, of course, but physically they’re just positions on the spine or skull relative to specific organs. For example, the heart chakra is the closest vertebra to the heart; crown chakra is the top of your head etc.

    This means that “chakrapuncture” is downright scary. PLEASE DO NOT STICK NEEDLES IN YOUR SPINE OR BRAIN!!elebenty!!!11!!

    BTW, this is exactly the region of Australia that you’d expect to find this sort of nonsense. It’s woo-city up there. Also home to outbreaks of disease due to unvaccinated kids.

  34. 34
    Crudely Wrott

    Can he penetrate the Sahasrara Chakra without causing brain death? Inquiring neurosurgeons want to know.

  35. 35
    Ysanne

    For that place, this is a totally tame and everyday business. (The “talking to breasts” idea is really creative one, I have to admit.)
    As #33 points out, the area around Byron Bay is teeming with all kinds of more or less benign woo, “alternative” therapists, yoga/tantra/esoteric/enlightenment festivals, a fair number of health-related scammers, and a sizeable population of anti-vaxxers.

  36. 36
    ThorGoLucky

    Alt Med in a nutshell: Fool yourself.

  37. 37
    crocswsocks

    Chakra puncture sounds like the Gentle Fist from Naruto. Only, you know, in that fictional universe, chakra is a real thing.

  38. 38
    dawnbyrnes

    *repeatedly facepalms which leads into a headdesk*

    I live near(ish) that part of the country… Northeastern New South Wales is full of woo-loving idjits…

    I wonder if there’s a way I could come up with some cranio-something BS which would help me rent my own apartment?

  39. 39
    bortedwards

    why would it not surprise me if one of the ‘chakras’ considered to be most in need of ‘puncturing’ turned out to be in the ladies groinal region…?

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