We analyse the normal so that we may know the difference between it and the abnormal. — Dr Ruth Drown
Radionics was founded by Dr Albert Abrams (1863–1924), a native of San Francisco, under the original name of ERA—Electronic Reactions of Abrams. A highly qualified conventional practitioner with an illustrious career and also the advantage of a substantial private fortune, Abrams was able to pursue his researches without reliance on outside funding. Like Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy, he was a master of observation and a tireless experimenter and truth-seeker—attributes which eventually led him to make discoveries which brought considerable opprobrium from the medical establishment of the day. Like so many of these outstanding figures, he was also capable of making inspired leaps of judgement.
Abrams’s fundamental discovery was that under certain conditions the human nervous system will react to the energy field of external elements such as persons with disease conditions, samples of diseased tissue and so forth. This reaction would manifest by means of a muscle reflex which could be detected by percussing the abdominal wall. Alternatively, Abrams found that drawing a glass rod across the abdomen could also be used to localise the point of response. Different diseases produced reactions in different parts of the abdomen, and, as Abrams noted, “drugs in homoeopathic dilutions can be detected and identified by the stomach reflex”, which suggested a unique diagnostic method.
He then proceeded to develop a technique which placed a person (known as “the Subject”), with abdomen bared, in series with a patient, i.e., linked by a wire which terminated on the subject’s forehead. He could then diagnose by testing on the healthy subject for response to disease conditions in the patient. Abrams later discovered that certain diseases produced reactions in the same muscle groups, which neatly threw his method off the rails until he hit upon the idea of placing a variable potentiometer (i.e., a rotary control such as might be used to adjust the volume on a hi-fi) in the middle of the cable linking the subject to the patient. Settings of the potentiometer would be found which were unique to each disease, thus making it possible to diagnose a wide range of conditions.
Eventually Abrams discovered that he could diagnose just as accurately using a blood sample from the patient, and he later found out that he could work at a distance with the patient’s sample placed next to the telephone line; such tests were performed over distances of more than 500 miles. He finally discovered that he could work without any form of linking wire between himself and the sample, but not over a distance of more than a mile.
From these basic elements—the reflex muscle reaction to the stimulus of an external energy field, the substitution of a sample from the patient for the patient himself, the creation of a unique value representing a disease or other energy factor, and the possibility of working at a distance—is formed radionics as we know it today.3
Dr Ruth Drown (1892–1963), a chiropractor based in Hollywood, USA, had apparently worked in Abrams’s clinic as a young woman and decided to develop his methods. From the accounts I have read, she was clearly another remarkable figure. Probably as a consequence of her successes and unwillingness to toe the line, the establishment persecuted her to the point of trial and eventual brief imprisonment. In fact, as a result of the Drown trial in 1951, it remains basically illegal, I believe, to practise radionics in the USA.
Drown redesigned the diagnostic instrument into a compact system which gave greater flexibility and extended range. The patient’s blood sample was relocated into a small container in the instrument. She replaced the subject’s abdomen with a small rubber membrane (known as the “stick pad”); the index finger was stroked along the pad while the potentiometers were adjusted, and when the appropriate setting was found—i.e., the circuitry came into balance, indicating a resonance or response in the practitioner— the finger would “stick” on the memb r a n e .4 Her new designs, incorporating a number of potentiometers in series, also allowed longer sequences of numerical values to be created, which enabled her to assemble an atlas of rates covering most of the structures in the human body, many disease types, poisons and toxins, and a range of other factors including emotional states.
Drown sought to define perfect structures, to measure the degree of deviation from perfection and then to rectify any imbalances or deficiencies. Thus, very simply, her rate for the liver is 48; this would be set on the instrument and the deviation from zero tested.5 Any significant reading would indicate a problem either in the liver or elsewhere in the body which was affecting the liver. Her principal treatment method was to feed the “perfect” rate back to the respective diseased location in the patient, either by wires or remotely—the idea being that as new cells were created, they would be healthy and would replace the diseased structures. According to the information available, she claimed many successes. She also placed a priority on treating the endocrine system, and, as radionics emerges as a system of treatment on the dynamic plane, I will show how this ties in with the analysis of the subtle anatomy which has come to dominate present- day radionics, at least in the UK.
What is also of significance is Drown’s use of the technique of treating at a distance— any distance, anywhere in the world—in the process known as “radionic broadcasting”. It was no longer necessary for the patient to be present. Incidentally, the term “broadcasting” is descriptive but probably inaccurate, as no radio or television technology is involved. Whatever the mechanism, there is no doubt in my mind that treatment-at-a-distance works, whether one is broadcasting homoeopathic remedies, radionic (i.e., Drown-type) rates or any other energy factor or vibrational pattern which can be represented as a radionic signature and is appropriate to the patient. Substance itself cannot be broadcast— at least not yet, as far as I know; otherwise we would be in the realm of the matter transporters which form such an integral part of Star Trek technology.
It would seem from the present-day position that virtually anything can be represented by a radionic rate, and this of course includes the entire Materia Medica. It is even possible, in principle, to find rates for remedies which we do not yet have or which are too dangerous to handle, such as radioactive materials. Malcolm Rae’s ever-expanding system has around 24,000 rates which are presented in the form of ratio cards and include the whole acupuncture system of meridians and a vast range of chemicals, drugs, human organ functions, ayurvedic and I Ching concepts and so forth.
THE DEMATERIALISATION OF RADIONICS
Drown was also very involved in esoteric studies, notably of the Kabbala—which amongst other things attempts to explain the underlying structure of reality through the relationships between numbers—and she thus sought to find meaning in the radionic rates through kabbalistic interpretation. Whatever the result of this, she also thought that energy flowed from the universe into the human system via the brain, and that proper distribution of this energy was essential to healthy functioning; in other words, this was a move away from a purely physical conception of health and disease.
Just as Kent, influenced by Swedenborg, switched the focus of homoeopathic diagnosis to the mental and emotional planes and the realms of high-potency prescribing—and thus dematerialised homoeopathy—so Drown’s esoteric line of thought was taken a huge step further by the work of David Tansley and Malcolm Rae (both men regrettably dying quite young).6 Most of their work was done in the UK between approximately 1965 and 1985.
Tansley, a chiropractor, had spent many years studying the writings of Alice Bailey (1880–1949) and drew heavily on her concepts of esoteric anatomy and psychology in introducing a new diagnostic system which reoriented the focus of radionic analysis away from the material plane of organ functions and pathology and towards causation within the human energy (or subtle) body.
Bailey’s work,7 drawn from various Eastern traditions and integrated into a new form, is far too vast even to begin to attempt describing here, and I will simply create a thumbnail sketch of some of what has been appropriated into radionics. I might add that, as the years have gone by, various of these concepts have become commonplace, but during the period the books were written, 1919–1949, they must have seemed like the last word in arcane obscurity.
Bailey proposed a model of (ultimate) reality as being comprised of seven planes of energy, each with its concomitant forms of consciousness. Each plane is comprised of seven sub- planes of increasing quality and fineness, the whole blending into a continuum. Each of these planes also manifests in us as a corresponding energy body, e.g., the etheric body, astral body and so forth.