Cancer is bad. Being diagnosed with cancer is a frightening experience. That, of course, makes cancer patients a very attractive target for people peddling quackery and woo packed in false hope – you don’t even need to promise anything: Given what’s at stake, the faintest hope that a proposed treatment may, conceivably, work is often enough (inconceivably often works, too). There is, in other words, plenty of opportunities for places like the Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI) in Florida and its director, Brian Clement. And the HHI offers virtually every kind of quackery there is, from the unproven to the disproven to the incoherent and therefore not testable. As an example, the HHI “Life Transformation Program” offers, in addition to exercise and massage, “superior nutrition through a diet of organically-grown, enzyme-rich, raw, life-giving foods; detoxification; wheatgrass therapies, green juice, juice fasting; colonics, enemas, implants; far infrared saunas, steam room; ozone pools, including: dead sea salt, swimming, jacuzzi and cold plunge; and bio-energy treatments." Oh, yes – it’s trendy, glitzy, and none of it has even remotely any health benefits, in particular not for cancer.
By the way, you may wonder what “implants” are. Well, wheatgrass “implants” are, in reality, wheatgrass juice enemas: “When used as a rectal implant, reverses damage from inside the lower bowel. An implant is a small amount of juice held in the lower bowel for about 20 minutes. In the case of illness, wheatgrass implants stimulate a rapid cleansing of the lower bowel and draw out accumulations of debris.” No. Sorry. If you believe that this works you are an absolute freaking moron. Take a step back, and get some perspective on what the f*** you are doing. And yes, it is allowed to laugh at people who fall for this (though we will see below that Brian Clement is not the funny kind of clown). According to the HHI, however, wheatgrass can increase red blood cell count, decrease blood pressure, cleanse the blood, organs and GI tract of “debris,” stimulate the thyroid gland, “restore alkalinity” to the blood, fight tumors and neutralize toxins, and many other things. None of the claims are even backed up by anything resembling evidence – or any remotely plausible mechanism. But of course, that’s not how criteria roll at Brian Clement’s HHI. By the way, if you’re not into wheatgrass, the HHI offers the wheatgrass enemas also “in ‘Original’ and ‘Coffee’ varieties."
If that’s not for you either, the HH1 can also offer you intravenous vitamin therapy, cranial electrotherapy stimulation, combinations of infrared waves plus oxygen, acupuncture, colon hydrotherapy and lymphatic drainage. Or what about colorpuncture? And there is quantum woo, inspired by The Secret, and which has to do with how negative energy is producing illness in an incoherent vitalistic mess of a metaphysics. Clement is doing “quantum biology”, which concerns how vitamins, protein, water, minerals, essential fatty acids, and oxygen, and “electromagnetic frequencies” with “their varied frequencies are attracted to the magnetic energy of the cell.” According to Clement:
“There is a continual and perfect communication from cell to cell and from gathering of cells […] to gathering of cells. This communication also reaches beyond your body to all other life outside. This rhythmic and energetic process is strong, yet fragile. It can be thrown off by a weakening of the anatomical integrity of the cells or their central electrical frequencies. This weakening can occur via poor nutrition, dehydration and/or polluted hydration, lack of oxygen, intake of heavy metals or chemicals or renegade electromagnetic fields such as cell phones, Wi-Fi, etc. All abnormalities [note!] that have been labeled as diseases stem from the negative energies that are endured from the poor lifestyle choices and unsustainable environment that we have created on planet earth today. Our core vulnerability stems from the reduction of bio-frequency that occurs in the cell, which heightens its fragility to make it ineffective in communication and contribution. When these disturbances are critical, they can even cause a cell to mutate. When you ingest ionized, rich, raw plant-based foods, it provides foundational energy. You then have to consider avoiding negative energy fields or at least protecting yourself from them with electromagnetic field interrupting devices or tools. What is more difficult to avoid and personally restrain from is the negative energy that we absorb or spew from discontented emotional states. Most of you have seen this and experienced it. Certain people, places or environments can make you feel uncomfortable, on edge and literally drained.”
It’s choprawoo on speed, no less. And for the grand finale, a browse through their materials will reveal that the HHI even offers … the infamous “detox” footbath:
“The Aqua Chi is a revolutionary hydro-therapy detoxification treatment that combines the life-giving properties of water with a high-frequency, bio-electric charge. This process enhances and amplifies the body’s own ability to heal itself. Your meridians are permeated and re-aligned back to their original strength and placement. This occurs through the electrical fields emanating from the Aqua Chi’s negative ion generator. Since our bodies are 90% water, the Aqua Chi drains polluting toxins and chemicals through the natural channels of the feet into the water. In combination with oxygen, you will maximize the riddance of the many destructive poisons contracted through improper diet, environmental pollution, and stress.”
That, readers, is one of the most delectable examples of a technobabble word salad you’ll ever encounter. The device in question is this one.
In fact, Clement is sufficiently detached from all reality that he has been embraced by none other than Joe Mercola, and has told Mercola things like:
“Photons come down in the secondary stage, they hit the earth. They transmute into different frequencies. Those frequencies are what create the physical body or the energetic body we really are. When you and I are talking and thinking and people are listening, that’s the energetic body. The physical body that you’re sitting watching us here now, that’s created by the microbial effect in the soil, which are still the protons but recycled or re-cached protons. It’s great stuff.”
Not one of those claims even rise to the level of meaning anything, but apparently his target audience are those who are unable to distinguish babble from profundity. The sad thing is that Clement uses this kind of nonsense to lure money from people in desperate situations. And despite how it looks it really isn’t funny.
Recently, Clement made the news again after an Ontario court ruled that a first-nation couple could not be forced to give conventional treatments to their daughter, who has leukemia. Apparently, they would be allowed to act in accordance with the values of their culture and use Clement’s therapies instead, which reflect first nation culture as much as beach volleyball. Apparently, Clement would be using “cold laser therapy, Vitamin C injections, and a strict raw food diet.” It belongs to the story that another first-nation girl he’d been treating for leukemia relapsed (of course) and died, and that prior to the whole debacle and its tragedies Clement had been giving lectures in and around both girls’ communities, emphasizing how his institute teaches people to “heal themselves” from cancer by eating raw, organic vegetables and having a positive attitude. “We’ve had more people reverse cancer than any institute in the history of health care,” says Clement. Of course, the “world’s foremost health institute that specializes in healing people with cancer” is licensed as a “massage establishment” since none of these people at HHI are legally licensed to treat cancer. Clement is not a physician. He can, however, legitimately adorn his CV with the line “has been the direct cause of the deaths of children.” Not very many people can.
He did face some negative publicity after that one – the second first nations girl he was supposed to treat may have been saved from Clement’s well-intentioned death sentence – and the State of Florida did order him to stop practicing medicine. Unfortunately, the state eventually backed down, dropped the case, and failed to act.
Diagnosis: An absolutely abominable character. He might mean well, but so did the organizers of the children’s crusade. Good intentions are simply not enough.