canada, canadian search engine, free email, canada news
It's tough to see merit of 'bubble wrap' remedy
Adrian Chamberlain
Times Colonist

Nineteen-year-old Adam, a self-described healer, is a mysterious fellow. He answers to one name alone; he doesn't allow his photo to be published -- at least in unaltered form.

Penguin Canada, a reputable publisher, has just released Adam's new book: The Path of the Dreamhealer. But just what kind of path he may be leading people down -- including sick folk who are vulnerable and even desperate -- is a trail that deserves closer scrutiny.

The teen dreamhealer, residing outside Vancouver in some secret location, is best known as the guy who supposedly cured Canadian rock icon Ronnie Hawkins of pancreatic cancer. (His surgeon, Dr. Bryce Taylor, has said it was either a small cancer or chronic pancreatitis. Biopsies found no cancer cells. However, this does not necessarily rule out cancer.)

What is known for sure is that Hawkins was found to have a hardened and growing lump on his pancreas in 2002. It couldn't be removed because the growth had intertwined with delicate veins and arteries.

Cancerous or not, it appeared the old rocker's days were numbered. He wasn't expected to make it past Christmas of 2002. Farewell parties were duly organized, including one attended by David Foster.

Adam read about Hawkins's illness in the newspaper. The dreamhealer, chatting with me recently by phone, said he was especially interested in trying to heal Ronnie because the supposed cancer was confined to one specific spot, as opposed to having spread through his body. He contacted Hawkins, willing by that time to try anything. And who can blame him?

At an agreed-upon time, Adam -- who was at home -- concentrated on a colour photo of Hawkins, who was thousands of kilometres away in Peterborough, Ont.

"Exactly at that time, the muscles in his stomach area started twitching. He said it felt like an alien was coming out of his stomach," said Adam. He did 60 treatments over six months. Long story short, the Hawk's growth disappeared.

I was keen to quiz Hawkins. However, his daughter-in-law Mary told me he's fed up with talking about Adam the dreamhealer. She did send me this e-mail written by him: "Please just let everyone know that my health is so good I need them to hire me and my band for some big-time gigs so we can start saving up a retirement nest-egg."

I'm glad Ronnie Hawkins is still with us. However, after reading Adam's new book, I've come to the conclusion the whole thing is a load of bunk. Don't waste your money, folks. People don't get healed because someone stares at their photo and thinks happy thoughts. This may seem painfully obvious. Nonetheless, Adam is getting plenty of support -- monetary and otherwise -- for being a "distant-energy healer."

He told me how his healing works. "I go into this trance, and I see these images in front of me, of the person. I'm just changing these images in front of me, and it influences the person's health."

Part of Adam's routine is something called "bubble-wrap visualization." There's a colour illustration of this in his book -- it looks like an assortment of dried-up grapes. With bubble-wrap visualization, every cell within a person's afflicted area is envisioned, and then healing light energy is somehow introduced. The bubbles burst, thus "popping away your problem."

I suspect for most people, the only thing that will be popped away is the $30 for The Path of the Dreamhealer.

The book's illustrations include a Photoshopped image of a gigantic black bird in the forest. This goofy-looking thing is supposed to represent a four-foot-high bird Adam once saw on Vancouver Island. The jumbo creature "telepathically delivered complex scientific information to me" once he locked eyes with it.

I'm sure there are plenty of healing methods of which conventional medicine is unaware. And I believe -- like many others -- that positive thinking has beneficial effects on ailments.

But come on, folks. What riles me is that many journalists have reported on Adam in an unquestioning way, which tends to confer credibility. Meanwhile, Adam continues to reap the rewards of not only book sales but fees from those attending his workshops. He has upcoming sold-out events in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. There was one at the University of Victoria's David Lam Auditorium last May. Admission was $99. The sponsoring body, the Association of Complementary and Integrative Physicians of B.C., said the 323-seat auditorium was sold out -- that's $32,000. Why on earth UVic would allow such a questionable event to take place on its premises is beyond me. After all, the fact a reputable university hosts such an event gives it credence in the eyes of many.

The Path of the Dreamhealer is replete with pseudo-scientific hocus pocus. There are references to the space-time continuum and DNA and neural pathways. Most of us (including me) know little about this stuff. But seeing such jargon somehow assures us Adam's routine is based on "science." Which it most certainly is not. Science is based on empiricism, that is, the principle of testing theories to see if they are true. Adam's feats of healing are based on anecdotal evidence and performed by a man who insists on anonymity.

Nonetheless, we want to believe. The world, always a complicated place, keeps getting more complex. We are in the middle of an unprecedented technological revolution. Inventions are introduced that boggle the mind: Cellphones containing cameras, music-playback devices the size of gum packets, computers that house the world's accumulated knowledge and a Pandora's box of the bizarre. Wouldn't it be great if the cure for Uncle Frank's herniated disc lay with a teenager who merely has to stare at his photo? So simple, so easy.

And so sad for the sick who, having exhausted the conventional medicine route, shell out cash to this guy.

Still have faith in Adam? OK. Here's the quickest cure. Turn to page 174 of The Path of the Dreamhealer. Adam writes that his cat will likely be reincarnated as a human being, because it hung out with people all its life. That, as Johnny Carson used to say, is truly "weird, wacky stuff."

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006

Copyright © 2006 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.