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The idea of an oscillator-based healing device was popularized by Georges Lakhovsky and is now associated with scientists like Tesla, Clark, and Beck. There are many YouTube videos dedicated to Lakhovsky's work and the healing effects of his coil, usually with added reference to a conspiracy to suppress his results.

What are the fundamental principles behind this technology, and how is it expected to work? Have results from these healing machines been tested for reproducibility? Has any independent organization attempted to confirm these results? Wikipedia says Lakhovsky's claims are considered quackery. What specific claims are considered quackery, and why?

Patients, by focusing certain frequencies on afflicted areas, or, in some cases, just sitting in the vicinity of vibrations from a device like the Lakhovsky Multi wave Oscillator, which produced a blend of specific frequencies, were said to have experienced relief from rheumatism and other painful conditions. It was even considered a cure for certain types of paralysis. Such radiation's increase the supply of blood to the area with a warming effect (diathermy). They enhance the oxygenation and nutritive value of the blood, increase various secretions, and accelerate the elimination of waste products in the blood. All this promotes healing. Electrotherapists even spoke of broadcasting vitamins to the body. Reversals of cancer tumor growths have been documented. Lakhovsky predicated science will discover, some day, not only the nature of microbes by the radiation they produce, but also a method of killing disease within the body by radiation.1

Altered state newsletter

This controversial device has been claimed to restore aging and diseased tissue by energizing cells at multiple wavelengths of electromagnetic emissions. The machine has also been claimed to neutralize certain types of cancer and other incurable ailments. . . . The system as described uses our BTC30 Tesla coil generator to energize the multi-wave antenna emitter. . . . Information Unlimited does not claim any health benefits from the use of this machine. It is offered assembled for research purposes only. . . . $895. 2

Health & Well-Being on Information Unlimited

Similar claims:

Articles about Georges Lakhovsky

Tesla Electrotherapy

Curing cancer with ultra radio frequencies

Tools for healing

The Lakhovsky Coil

  • Perhaps you could change the title to something more meaningful? Maybe you could kill bacteria, or arguably, viruses, but there is no meaning to killing rheumatism or paralysis. What dies? – Oddthinking Sep 2 '12 at 9:10
  • Was any effort made to account for the placebo effect when researching these claims? – GordonM Jan 17 at 13:15
  • What is the specific claim being made here??? – Daniel R Hicks Jan 18 at 21:32
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What specific claims are considered quackery, and why?

Pretty much all of it. The referenced page from "Altered state newsletter" is solid woo. The trouble with confronting woo is that it sounds meaningful but you can't actually pin down what it means. If you want to ask if these claims are true, you have to start by figuring out what, if anything, is actually being claimed.

Looking at the quoted paragraph, most of the statements are actually claims that someone in the past claimed something. E.g.

Patients [...] were said to have experienced relief from rheumatism and other painful conditions.

Said by whom? On what evidence? Is this page claiming that these statements were true, or is it merely reporting the fact that someone else claimed it? Even if some patients did experience relief, that could easily be due to the placebo effect. In short this fails to actually say anything.

The only statement in the quote that isn't hearsay is:

Such radiation's increase the supply of blood to the area with a warming effect (diathermy). They enhance the oxygenation and nutritive value of the blood, increase various secretions, and accelerate the elimination of waste products in the blood.

Yes, diathermy is a thing. It means heating some part of the body, either to low temperatures to increase blood flow in the area being treated, or to high temperatures to destroy tumors or for cauterisation during surgery. However this has to be done with great care or serious internal injury can result. DIY diathermy, other than directly on the skin (which has nerves specifically to register excessive heat as pain) is an incredibly dangerous idea.

Also diathermy is applied to a specific area, but this machine doesn't seem to be used like that: if it worked by heating the body then it would heat the whole body, which would cause heatstroke. So it looks like this isn't actually claiming to be a diathermy machine. Instead the reference to diathermy is there just to borrow some credibility.

The second sentence in this quote is just woo;

  • In what way is "oxygenation" enhanced? Does it make the lungs work more efficiently? You can do that by breathing more deeply, but that isn't a good idea. Does it make the blood take up more oxygen? Increase haemoglobin levels? We are not told. Enhancing oxygenation sounds like a good idea, but its impossible to pin down what is actually being claimed here. This is typical of woo.

  • In what way is "nutritive value" enhanced? This means even less than the oxygenation bit. How is the "nutritive value" of blood measured? Again, it sounds like a good idea, but doesn't actually mean anything.

  • What are the "various secretions" that are increased? Why would you want to increase them? (clue: too much secretion can be as bad as too little).

  • "[...] accelerate the elimination of waste products in the blood". So it makes the kidneys and liver work faster? Or what? How would we know if this is the case? Which specific waste products are being eliminated faster, and how was this measured?

If you can find some actual claims for us to check then we can look into it.

  • You need references to support the idea that it is woo. – Oddthinking Nov 7 '18 at 3:26
  • @Oddthinking possibly something for meta... but that's always the problem with particularly outlandish claims: say someone claims that squirrels produce magical healing waves, unsurprisingly nobody has done any specific research to prove that squirrels definitely don't. So it's impossible to cite a complete lack of any evidence for the existence of magical healing waves originating from squirrels and pointing out word-salad in the source also isn't a citable claim. Everything Paul says is pretty reasonable but doesn't meet the citation criteria here. – Murphy Jan 18 at 12:47
  • @Murphy We did discuss it on Meta. See here: skeptics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4266/… – Paul Johnson Jan 18 at 13:37
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Yes, high frequency radio waves can energise cells due to the spiral helix found in each cell that acts as a receiving antenna. Biological effects of Multiple Wave Oscillator device have been researched for decades by Georges Lakhovsky. Even today its effects are studied by some researchers. May I suggest you to read an eBook "Biological effects of exposure to Multiple Wave Oscillator Fields" by Tony Kerselaers. In that eBook you will find many clinical results to substantiate this.

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    I don't get it. It's been known for over 100 years that an alternating magnetic field can cause heating of a conductive object. This is not a mystery. This is how a microwave works. But note that the articles you link studiously avoid any actual specifications of the "multiple waves" produced (thought the articles are rich in "fog" about safety margins, etc). – Daniel R Hicks Oct 26 '18 at 1:40
  • Telling us that Lakhovsky has researched this doesn't help, because the question linked to his work, and we are looking for independent confirmation of what sounds like crackpot theories. – Oddthinking Oct 26 '18 at 3:11
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    It would be useful to pick two or three of the clinical results from the book, so we can check them without paying someone who appears to be promoting woo. – Oddthinking Oct 26 '18 at 3:12
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    The DNA double helix is nanometres in scale, while microwaves, for example, operate in a 15 cm band. There is no way a DNA molecule could "receive" a radio signal – GordonM Jan 18 at 11:29

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