How Universal Medicine bullied me
By Jane Hansen
The Sunday Telegraph
September 28, 2015
IT'S a quasi-religion which preaches love, light, positive energy and integrity, but dare question Universal Medicine and you'll find yourself on exactly the opposite path.
It might seem like just another spiritual movement preaching ‘natural’ remedies, but Universal Medicine is different. It has the endorsement of one of Sydney’s leading paediatricians, Howard Chilton, and promotes itself as a complementary health provider presenting wellness workshops, presentations and one-on-one sessions.
Dr Chilton told the Sunday Telegraph he did not want to discuss Universal Medicine
Universal Medicine states it offers services it describes as beneficial to some people, including those with autism and cancer.
The group, based in the northern NSW town of Goonellabah, closely guards its reputation, employing an internet reputation manager to have some critical blogs and media stories wiped from the internet and mount personal attacks on others who report on or complain about the group.
In the beginning, Serge Benhayon was a tennis coach, and a bankrupt, when he had what he calls ‘an energetic impress’ while sitting on the toilet in 1999.
Universal Medicine was born: its creator made up treatments like esoteric breast massage, ovarian massage and chakra puncture.
Mr Benhayon has no medical qualifications.
Lacking certification, Mr Benhayon set up the Esoteric Practitioners Association so his own students, who pay to learn the techniques from the College of Universal Medicine, can graduate with certification from his EPA.
Mr Benhayon said in a television interview that he made about $2 million a year from his courses and retreats.
In the same interview, he claimed to be the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci.
In his self-published book called The Way It Is, he writes that Leonardo da Vinci is a “Claimed Son of God”.
In another chapter he claims that skin colour evolution was a conscious choice and that Asians chose yellow skin ‘yellow signifies the intellect and “The pursuit of a lighter complexion arose when Black (sic) became erroneously identified with the Darkness (sic).”
In another book, Mr Benhayon claims that autism and Down syndrome are karma for past life sins.
One high profile follower is Sydney’s most famous paediatrician Dr Howard Chilton. Dr Chilton, the author of four best-selling baby books under his ‘Baby Doc’ moniker, spent 20 years as Director of Newborn Services at Sydney’s Royal Hospital for Women and now works as a neonatologist at the Royal, Prince of Wales Private Hospital and Sydney Children’s Hospital.
An angry Dr Chilton accused me of being a biased journalist and ‘not a fair critic’ when I called this week to ask about his support for UM, which extends to giving talks at UM-lead women’s health forums. He has also defended UM in a letter to the Medical Observer where he wrote: “Benhayon is a kind, honest and caring teacher of enormous integrity.”
Dr Chilton told the Sunday Telegraph he did not want to discuss Universal Medicine because it was a private matter that had nothing to do with his evidence-based profession.
“I don’t want to address this, I don’t want to be quoted by you,” he said before adding the beliefs of UM had “no bearing on conventional medicine.” Dr Chilton’s daughter Isabella is married to Benhayon’s son Curtis.
Byron Bay woman Esther Rockett has blogged about Universal Medicine since she had early dealings with group, including treatments by Benhayon where she felt uncomfortable.
teachings are mixed with reincarnation and occult practices
With a degree in theology, she alleges the clean living, lifestyle-based teachings are mixed with reincarnation and occult practices.
Followers are told to avoid foods with bad energy and even music is off the menu except for Benhayon-approved music by either Chris James, described as a collaborator in music ventures, or Serge’s son Michael.
When Ms Rockett — an acupuncturist — moved to Byron Bay late last year, an unnamed registrant bought the domain name acupuncturebyronbay.com.
When you Google for an acupuncturist in Byron, up comes the site, which warns people to avoid Esther Rockett.
“Byron Bay Locals Be Warned” the site says above a big picture of Rockett, whom it describes as ‘a cyber-bully’.
The signed names at the bottom of the site include several Universal Medicine members, but this is not disclosed.
“It’s an attack on my livelihood, I’m an individual with legitimate complaints and they are (part of) a multi-million dollar corporation,” Ms Rockett said, adding she could not afford to take defamation action.
The group has managed to have her Facebook shut down and Ms Rockett believes they may also have been responsible for her Twitter account being suspended.
She has received 150 notifications from Twitter that her account “may be suspended” for “abusive behaviour”.
She alleges UM members are bombarding twitter with complaints. Ms Rockett says she has only ever defended herself against tweets directed at her from UM.
critical blogs and posts about Universal Medicine removed from the net
Serge Benhayon and UM have also hired Internet Reputation Australia, associated with private investigator group Phoenix Global, to have critical blogs and posts about Universal Medicine removed from the net.
A total of 36 blogs have been removed. It also managed to have links to television stories, ABC radio reports and newspaper articles critical of UM, including stories by this journalist, removed from the internet.
“I have hired an Internet Reputation Group to assist in the removal of the lies and the offending material on the Internet,” Mr Benhayon said in response to our questions.
“My guess is that most would do likewise given the extent of the lies and the incessant need to have them believed by the beleaguered disparagers,” he said.
The Parliamentary Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) conducted an Inquiry into “The Promotion of False And Misleading Health-Related Information and Practices” last year.
practitioners say they have the power to talk to a woman’s ovaries
Universal Medicine was given a stinging critique by Professor John Dwyer from the Friends of Science in Medicine.
“The practitioners say they have the power to talk to a woman’s ovaries and learn about that; and they explain that all illnesses are due to past misdeeds in previous incarnations of your life,” he said.
Universal Medicine has been lobbying the local member Don Page to have this page from the report removed.
Lance Martin, a Bangalow-based businessman, has also been labelled a cyber-bully for airing his story where he alleged his marriage failed as a result of the group’s interference.
He has since been accused of being an abusive partner, which he vehemently denies, and his former business, an online hotel booking site, suffered after online publications repeating the allegation became associated with the name of the business.
“By keyword loading on the business name they attached these blogs about me and they do a lot of link sharing on Twitter and Facebook, whoever they are attacking and then Google starts ranking them higher and higher until it’s the first thing that came up when you googled my business.
“The blogs intimated I was an abusive husband, which is contrary to the facts.”
He had to close down the business.
Last June, I wrote a piece about Universal Medicine in The Sunday Telegraph.
The Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing had received an official complaint regarding $500,000 Universal Medicine had raised using a charity licence to build the College of Universal Medicine on Serge Benhayon’s land.
LGA found it wasn’t their area of responsibility and dismissed the complaint.
Mr Benhayon was offered an interview but chose to not answer the questions in favour of berating me for posing them.
“If you are going to pillory me, as have the other scurrilous journalists before you, lies they chose to tell the public, why do you need me to comment?” he wrote.
After the article went to print, “The Facts” team turned their attention to me.
Google “Jane Hansen journalist” now and the first thing that comes up is a hate blog
Google “Jane Hansen journalist” now and the first thing that comes up is a hate blog from UM berating my ability as a journalist, lack of integrity complete with claims I have a “murky past”.
They even used the death of my eight-month-old son in 2004 as ammunition against me.
“But would this life-changing moment signify fundamental change in how she works? Would it mean that she would take action to arrest harm if it would get in the way of a good story?”
Serge Benhayon tweeted this particular blog on the morning of the 10th anniversary of my son’s death – an incredibly painful day despite the years.
Another member, Neil Gamble, former CEO of Star City Casino even chimed in” the complete absence of professionalism on the part of Jane Hansen is obvious” he wrote.
Ironically, Gamble was embroiled in the cash for comment scandal in 1999, pinged for paying $250,000 to John Laws to make positive comments about the gambling business.
They accuse everyone one else of cyber bullying
They accuse everyone one else of cyber bullying while embarking on a systematic, online pack hunt says Ira McClure who went public last year with her dealing with UM.
She has been vilified since with numerous comments from members.
“Ira McClure, absolute shame and disgust on you too to have enjoined this hunt of evil and wickedness against Truth and Love,” one member writes.
Ms McClure has seen her medical conditions discussed openly in the blogs by members she has never met.
“These vicious comments sicken and disgust me as they are from people who are ignorant of the facts. This journey has been riddled with many distressing events and these people with their twisted and bullying comments are just the icing on the cake,” she said.
Mr Benhayon said to his knowledge Ira McClure had never received any Universal Medicine treatments, yet The Sunday Telegraph has viewed her receipts from the practitioner she saw. She has taken her complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission.
Mr Benhayon also denied any involvement in the blogs
Mr Benhayon also denied any involvement in the blogs written by The Facts team saying “they are not ‘written on direction’ by me” he said, before defending the group’s right to do so.
“Exposing credibility is the right of every human being when lies are being written about one’s business, about them as a person along with many others who are targeted and, in this particular case, when the journalist who is supporting these lies refuses to correct them even when provided with the fact that the complaint YOU based your story on was baseless,” Mr Benhayon said.
Although Serge Benhayon denies he directs his ‘Facts Team’ on what to write, the Sunday Telegraph’s email sent directly to his address on Thursday March 5 was posted on “The Facts” site shortly after with six more blogs including “Jane Hansen Revenge Trail” and “Jane Hansen and Junk Food Journalism” complete with over 600 comments on my lack of integrity and professionalism.
The editor of this paper also received dozens of emails accusing us of being liars.
Originally published as Bullied by 'religion' of esoteric healers
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