Rife - a critique

Topics with information and discussion about unconventional diagnostic and treatment methods, and unconventional views.
Joe Ham
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri 27 Jul 2007 6:15
Location: New Mexico, USA

Rife - a critique

Post by Joe Ham » Fri 7 Dec 2007 6:43

The proponents of Rife claim that it kills bacteria with "electromagnetic frequencies" that resonate with at least 650 pathogens and kills them in a fashion similar to an opera singer shattering a crystal class.

Also, the claim that Rife can cure 650 diseases including cancer is so preposterous that any straight thinking person would laugh at that kind of propaganda. Unfortunately, "Lyme fog" can scramble one's critical faculties so badly that the preposterous becomes credible.

I had some experience with Lyme fog last year. It kept me seeing (and paying) a heart specialist long after the misdiagnosis should have been obvious. Fortunately I came out of the fog before I underwent a needless cath job.

The next duc that I saw was the only "LLMD" in the state,
a self proclaimed LLMD and Rife peddler, Daniel Kinderlehrer. When I questioned that Rife could work against Lyme his argument was that one can't prove a negative. That is, since Rife has never been proven to not work, therefore it might work, therefore buy one, from him, at a discount!
How's that for logic?

There are three technical reasons that prove why Rife can't work:

1) The RF (Radio Frequencies) that are used have resonate wavelengths measured in feet and yards. There is no way that frequencies that long can resonate with microscopic bacteria.

2) RF has a skin effect phenomenon. It penetrates even good conductors like copper only a few thousandths of an inch. That's not even deep enough to have any effect on infections of the skin or skin structures.

3) There is no RF radiated, or a vanishingly small amount measured in micro-watts. If there was any significant RF emitted the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) would shut them down for causing RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) and operating an unlicensed radio station.

Proof that there is no RF radiated can be made with a Field Strength meter. It is not an expensive instrument and most Ham Radio operators have one. But an easier proof can be made by noting that the RF is sent to a light bulb, coil, resistive pads or some other resistive load. These convert the RF to light and heat and are known in the RF industry as "dummy loads". The purpose and function of dummy loads is to prevent the radiation of stray signals that would arouse the ire of the FCC. It is used by radio stations, both commercial and amateur, to 'tune-up' the transmitter before going on-air.

Confirmation of all 3 points can be found by consulting any issue of the "Commercial Radio Operators Manual" or any issue of the "Radio Amateurs Handbook". These concepts are very basic and are covered in the first few chapters.

These books are rather technical in nature and some people without a technical background of some kind may find them difficult reading. So an easier way get a handle on these principles of the physics of RF is to consult with a local Ham radio operator. You can probably find one by just looking around your neighborhood for a Ham Radio "antenna farm".

Stop in, introduce yourself and ask questions. Most Hams are very friendly and love to talk radio. He will be able to answer your questions in less technical terms. Be prepared to spend some time; we are known as Hams for good reason.

Why then do Lymies and victims of other chronic diseases spend good money on such an improbable remedy? Perhaps it is due to a combination of factors such as a lack of technical background, sheer Desperation, a dose of "Lyme fog" and some naive credulity.

Lyme is still considered an 'emerging' infectious disease, identified for barely 30 years, the causative agent, Borrelia Burgdorferi, for only 20 years. The medical establishment has not come to grips with it yet, offers no sure cure, and often outright denial. Under those circumstances any 'alternative' that offers validation and hope starts to look pretty good.

This "failure to diagnose" and "refusal to treat" opens the door very wide to any "alternative" that offers validation and hope. Validation is important because it resolves the mystery, confirms that the symptoms are not 'all in your head' and offers the prospect of treatment. Hope can be very important also because it gives the patients some reason to keep on fighting and that can help get them through the tough spots. Most doctors are very reluctant to deliver a fatal prognosis just because that would take away hope. Sometimes hope may be all that the patient has.

Doctors know the therapeutic value of hope. Charlatans know the commercial value.

The failure of mainstream medicine to come to grips with Lyme disease causes many victims of the disease to become desperate. Desperate people will do desperate things. I know of several otherwise intelligent people who have suspended reason in order to believe that an electronic gizmo will cure Lyme disease and 649 other diseases and maladies including cancer. Somehow the nonexistent but magical "electromagnetic frequencies" are able to distinguish malignant human cells from healthy human cells.

And that this miracle cure for all diseases has been suppressed for 70 years by some evil conspiracy.

But what about all those glowing 'testimonials'?
No doubt some of them were written by the enterprise that makes and sells them. That's just merchandising.

But most of them seem to be from genuine customers and users who truly believe the device works.

An analysis of why so many people believe that it works probably has some explanation in the placebo effect. That is, during the depths of a relapse when the patient is feeling the worst then any hope of relief, no matter how thin, becomes cause for belief. When a natural remission cycle follows Rife treatments, whether by days or weeks, the device gets the credit not the person's own immune system or the Relapsing/Remitting nature of Lyme disease. And the next relapse is attributed to a Herxheimer reaction, and is interpreted as further proof that the device works. All the while the spirochetes just dig deeper into the brain.

That first impression is powerful and can persist even when, objectively, subsequent treatments yield no improvement. I have heard Lymies say that they are sure that their relapses would have been much worse without Rife even though their relapses were getting more severe over time. The rationalization is: "I'm feeling worse and worse, therefore I must be getting better and better."

This self deception can start even earlier. I know of one Lymie who objects strenuously to any criticism of Rife even though she has no experience with it because the newly purchased machine hasn't arrived yet!

And another who suggests that Rife might work on a principal different from resonance as the Rife promoters claim but he has no idea what that other principal might be.

Another part of the explanation leads to the soft science of psychology. I'm not comfortable with that psycho-babble so perhaps some illustration by way of examples will suffice.

A friend and fellow bird dog trainer recently brought over a Rife device and left it for me to "fix". He felt that it was broken because it seemed to no longer have any effect on his Lyme disease. I put it on the oscilloscope and found that it was generating the RF signal as noted in the manual and delivering it to the dummy load. In other words it was not broken. He was trying to salvage his ego by believing that it was no longer working. During our casual conversation it became obvious that he could not comprehend that a device that cost him $2500 could be a hoax.

The problem is how to handle the situation when he returns to pick it up.
If I tell him the truth it will probably damage the friendship. He truly believes that it is curative and would not take kindly to being shown that he had been deceived by hucksters. He has a large ego that would be bruised if I showed him how he had been duped and conned out of $2500.

Or I could tell a half-truth, hand it back to him saying: "It works now, as designed."
That's not something that a true friend should do because then he would probably continue Rifing and stop using the antibiotics that are proven to be effective for this disease.

Stopping antibiotics while using Rife is actually recommended by Bryan Rosner ('theskyking' on Lymenut). He says outright that Rife works better without antibiotics:

"Rife machines are not very effective while using antibiotics." Bryan 3 Jan 2005
"It is typical for antibiotics to greatly lessen rife effectiveness." Bryan 17 May 2005

However, it's obvious that he doesn't believe that because he subsequently posted to Lymenet begging for advice about which antibiotic should be used by a friend who had just been bitten by a tick. Help!

A third option would be another half-truth by suggesting that his bacteria is of a strain that is resistant to Rife. Not exactly a lie because all bacteria are "resistant" to Rife. I have until Sunday to decide which approach to take.

A fellow Lymie in the next town got hold of a Rife last January. She figured out that Rife wasn't doing any good in just three months. She says that she had help from her dog that also has Lyme. That is, because dogs seem to cycle relapsing diseases such as Lyme so much faster than humans do it was easier to see that Rife treatments on the dog were having no effect at all. Dogs do not appear to be susceptible to the placebo effect. Indeed, animal trials do not include a placebo arm for that reason.

Then she looked critically at how it was working on her and it was obvious that it was not. The disease was moving to its own timetable whether Rife was used or not. It might also have helped that she had borrowed the Rife machine and so she didn't have any money or ego invested in it. She is doing well enough now on antibiotics to be back at work. Hopefully her detour into Rife wasn't long enough to cause her Lyme disease to progress to the chronic stage.

The issue of the placebo effect has been kicked around quite a bit on this board and in the medical literature. The general consensus seems to be that the Relapsing/Remitting diseases such as Lyme are more prone to the placebo effect for the obvious reason of coincidence. That's why the statistical analysis of trials and large enough sample numbers is so important. Another confounding factor is that some antibiotics, particularly the b'statics, can take a while to kick-in. If another alternative therapy is started and improvement is noted then the last therapy added will get credit that it doesn't deserve. It pays to keep a long time frame in mind and to keep a log.

However, sometimes the placebo issue can yield some tongue-in-cheek humor. The most amusing article about it concluded that the placebos that were used were just too weak and that better results would have been found if they had used Double Strength Placebos.

So we should not be surprised that Rife users are now being offered add-on amplifiers to make their placebos a bit stronger. And recently a reduced strength placebo called the KMT 24.

The worst part about the Rife propaganda is that too many Lymies (afflicted by Lyme fog) will believe it and forego antibiotics while doing Rife. That just gives the spirochete time to burrow in deeper. The tragedy of this is especially profound in the case of early/acute Lyme which is fairly easily cured with adequate dose and duration of antibiotics but when left untreated then becomes disseminated or late/chronic Lyme and is much more difficult to treat. In some cases it seems that chronic really means chronic; treatable but not curable.

So if you are considering buying a Rife machine you might want to ask yourself:
Is there any objective evidence, any at all, that it works?

How desperate are you? Can you afford to delay effective treatment for your stage of Lyme disease?

How fragile is your ego? Will it allow you admit your mistake before it's too late?

Update: 5 July 2005
My friend picked up his Rife. I tried to weasel out of the dilemma by choosing option 3, and said that maybe his Lyme had developed a resistance to Rife. He said he suspected that and had already started on colloidal silver!

Aaagh! That caught me so flat-footed that I had no immediate response. I almost wished that I had encouraged his continued use of Rife: at least, unlike silver, it does no direct harm. Today I sent him this link to Tom Grier's research on colloidal silver.
See also the reports of seizures and kidney damage caused by colloidal silver at Sloan-Kettering.
And the experience of Rosemary Jacobs.

While you are at Tom's page you might find it valuable to read some of the "testimonial" replies. Notice the lack of evidence and logic. They are allowing themselves to be seduced by their own rhetoric and wishful thinking. There are sure to be similar testimonial replies about Rife on this thread, also without scientific evidence or logic.

My friend may not 'get it' because he is not a very technical person. However, even though he has a "need to believe" he doesn't have a lot of money invested in three bottles of silver solution so he might be a bit more objective now that some seeds of doubt have been planted. Maybe this will be enough to temper his contempt for allopathic medicine which is the source of his love affair with anything labeled 'alternative'.

Back on the topic of Rife: in order for it to work as claimed it must
Radiate some RF,
Penetrate the body,
Resonate with the bacteria.

It does none of those; never has, never will. At least not in this galaxy or until the laws of the physics of RF are repealed.

So, if you are new to Lyme there are some hard ugly facts about it that you need to get firmly in your head.
Lyme disease is a neuroborreliosis , a cousin to Syphilis but much harder to eradicate, especially in late stage. You have a narrow window of time in the acute stage to cure the disease. That window will close if you waste too much time messing around with ineffective alternatives. So please, find a legitimate LLMD and get on the antibiotics that are effective for your strain and stage of Lyme disease. You may not get a second chance.
Do it now before the bugs Burgdorferi eat your brain or the conduction pathways of your heart.

Update: The friend that I talked about above was Jack Gardetto. His final outcome is posted here.

Posts: 1001
Joined: Sat 3 Nov 2007 10:27

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by minitails2 » Fri 7 Dec 2007 8:52


Thanks so much for posting all of this information. I haven't had enough time and clarity to get through everything but you wrote a very clear explanation. I will have to do a little more research about a couple of things but I can get some help with that without leaving the bedroom! Science is very romantic... :mrgreen:

I never ran across any information in looking into rife, explaining just how limited the RF's ability to penetrate the human body, although I was aware they are not very successful.

I think you are absolutely right that the placebo effect is incredible powerful, it certainly is an expected and documented medical phenomenon. I have no doubt that it can be quite helpful, but not at the expense of necessary medical treatment. It seems it could be very helpful as an adjunct to lyme, our minds are amazing. Harmless supplements and so on which can also be helpful in their own right, might help faciliate getting the most from our minds.

I also agree that once there is an investment in ego, either through money, pride, or some other means, that it is very difficult to turn the boat around. In all fairness, that is true of all treatments, including ABX, choice of doctors, and involvement in a particular peer group which "supports" certain philosophies and treatments.

I'll keep reading this and I'm sure I'll have more questions. I've been engaged in a mess with the HOA where I live which got so stupid earlier this week, I resigned as pres. Of course it doesn't mean I'm clear but will hopefully encourage some to refocus. AGHHH...

I now understand your name, and all this time I just thought you were a big pork fan. :twisted:

Posts: 3182
Joined: Sun 12 Aug 2007 2:27

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by cave76 » Fri 7 Dec 2007 18:19


What's HOA? Just curious, as usual.

Stepping in here behind Joe the Ham about Kinderlehrer:

I think the jury might still be out about K. as an llmd or not. It harks back to MY way of 'managing' doctors. :)

I've talked to two people who have used him, still go to K. and they've reported that K. rx's abx with no problem at all to them.

I also wrote him a brief email when I knew I'd be moving to his state----asking if he would rx a patient with 'abx only' and his brief answer was 'I would have to see the patient first". Which was the correct answer, IMO.

So, as I said---- he may 'go the alternative route' to patients who don't go in with the firm resolve (backed-up by 'evidence' articles' and good suggestions.)

He may listen to the patient who (as I will, if I ever go to him) says right up front: I do not want Rife, alternative tx or ?? I want to be treated with abx.

Of course, I wouldn't say it that bluntly :)---- but I'll darn well make sure my intentions are firm.

I "think" he'll listen to me.

If not----- no loss, except for the trip. My ins. will pay for the visit.

And then, I'll know for sure. And I'll post my experience to all and sundry. :)

Commercial: The patient absolutely HAS to keep firmly in mind what they want. (This of course only applies to us chronic, experienced Lymies!)

The doctor is hired by you. You have to listen to him----- but he also has to listen to you.

He can always write in your chart----suggested thus and thus---- but patient declined.
Then if he's sensible, he might agree to YOUR suggestions and, if it's not harmful, you might get it.

It works. I use that all the time.

Don't be silly and ask for stupid thing. Always listen to his opinion. But...............

The problem is---- not many docs are sensible. I'm hoping K. will be one--- IF I ever see him.

Posts: 66
Joined: Sat 3 Nov 2007 19:59

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by Greatcod » Fri 7 Dec 2007 18:46

I'm thinking that there might be some sort of mass hysteria going on with Rife users, especially for people on Brian's group. People know it works for them because many other people are reporting positive results, and they don't want to go negative.
Borrowed the notion from an episode of "House" last night.

User avatar
Posts: 1512
Joined: Sun 28 Oct 2007 18:26
Location: The Nevada Desert, USA

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by LymeEnigma » Fri 7 Dec 2007 19:14

Joe, what a great piece!

Posts: 3182
Joined: Sun 12 Aug 2007 2:27

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by cave76 » Fri 7 Dec 2007 19:46


***I'm thinking that there might be some sort of mass hysteria going on with Rife users, especially for people on Brian's group. ***

Ya think? :D :D

Joe Ham
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri 27 Jul 2007 6:15
Location: New Mexico, USA

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by Joe Ham » Fri 7 Dec 2007 20:03

I also agree that once there is an investment in ego, either through money, pride, or some other means, that it is very difficult to turn the boat around. In all fairness, that is true of all treatments, including ABX, choice of doctors, and involvement in a particular peer group which "supports" certain philosophies and treatments.
Well said, mini, and an excellent synopsis of the crux of the problem.
And it engenders a bit of sympathy for the common duc who has to deal with "difficult" customers whose ideas on diagnosis and treatment may be quite different from what he wants to do. Sometimes the duc is right. Our problem is when he is wrong and wants to diagnose one of the imitator diseases. It's very difficult to get thru his pride (arrogance) especially if he knows nothing about Lyme and, because he is in a non-endemic area, doesn't see any reason to learn.

I am a big pork fan. Chili Verde when made with Hatch chili -- sour cream and cilantro please. With warm flour tortillas and cold beer.

Posts: 299
Joined: Wed 19 Sep 2007 19:10
Location: Zeeland, Netherlands

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by Nick » Fri 7 Dec 2007 21:31

just to stir things up a bit, read this (I probably mentioned the article some time ago already):

Selective inactivation of micro-organisms with near-infrared femtosecond laser pulses

Abstract. We demonstrate an unconventional and revolutionary method for selective inactivation of micro-organisms by using near-infrared femtosecond laser pulses. We show that if the wavelength and pulse width of the excitation femtosecond laser are appropriately selected, there exists a window in power density that enables us to achieve selective inactivation of target viruses and bacteria without causing cytotoxicity in mammalian cells. This strategy targets the mechanical (vibrational) properties of micro-organisms, and thus its antimicrobial efficacy is likely unaffected by genetic mutation in the micro-organisms. Such a method may be effective against a wide variety of drug resistant micro-organisms and has broad implications in disinfection as well as in the development of novel treatments for viral and bacterial pathogens.

just in case the science is a bit over your head, start reading this evaluation:
Follow the hype: laser discovery spun out of control: http://tinyurl.com/299y3h

Posts: 299
Joined: Wed 19 Sep 2007 19:10
Location: Zeeland, Netherlands

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by Nick » Fri 7 Dec 2007 22:02

Joe: good article (I think I read it long ago on Lymenut).

My only critical point is that I think you probably underestimate the power of the placebo effect, and the actual science behind it. This 'hope' for sure can influence the immune system! BBC made an excellent TV series about the subject (done by a medical university professor) and they had many VERY convincing examples. Some of these 'placebos' can work far better than conventional medicine (of course, they are not of much help for healing a broken bone or for directly killing a strong parasite).

In Europe we have a variation of Rifing called Bioresonance (do you have that in the US too? I don't think Rifing is very popular over here). It seems to be a more 'advanced' version of Rifing, originating from 20th century Germany I think, that does both diagnosis and healing. The explanation for how it works delves deeply into subjects like acupuncture and the meridians (the EM signal is said to enter the body at the acupuncture points) and bio-photons (yes, they actually exist and I didn't even know that - but they certainly are not what bioresonance proponents claim). Of course the docs use very expensive, impressive looking computers to control their device and analyse all the info that is returned from the patient. They can even spot a borrelia, inside a babesia, somewhere inside your right toe (actual diagnosis from someone).

I'm still curious how a big Bb can fit inside a tiny babesia, but who knows :roll:

Joe Ham
Posts: 489
Joined: Fri 27 Jul 2007 6:15
Location: New Mexico, USA

Re: Rife - a critique

Post by Joe Ham » Sat 8 Dec 2007 20:55

"Joe the Ham"? OK, no more Chili Verde for you!

So you think that you can "manage" Quacky Dan, eh?

Do you know enough about drug/drug, drug/herb, drug/food interactions to ask for the right antibiotics?

Does HE know enough about them?

Keep in mind that he attends and presents at fellow Quack Dietrich Klinghardt's seminars.
He recommends:
Rife machines which he sells. He says: " It can cause significant Herxheimer reactions."
Colloidal silver
Venus Fly Trap
Bee venom
Cat's claw
Bovine colostrum
Hydrogen peroxide
St. John’s Wort Does it hinder Lyme ABs like it does anti-cancer drugs?
Trans-rectal and trans-vaginal ozone
...asking if he would rx a patient with 'abx only' and his brief answer was 'I would have to see the patient first". Which was the correct answer, IMO.
Of course he would have to see the patient first; it's the law. See Dr.Jones' current troubles for prescribing Doxy before he examined the patient. I don't think that you recognized that statement for the evasion that it is. Will you recognize the next one? He's slick and he has a well practiced spiel. How many brain-fogged Lymies will see that for what it is?
So, as I said---- he may 'go the alternative route' to patients who don't go in with the firm resolve
Or who don't know any better.
Pity the newbie who is still in the acute stage with a good chance of cure but who hasn't had time to research Bb, figure out what would be the best strategy for his strain or stage and doesn't know that the window is closing.
Maybe Dan will write a book (for distribution among other integrative quacks only): How to Improve your Income by Turning Early Lyme Cases into Chronic Lyme.

My experience with Quacky Dan was somewhat along those lines. I presented to him, two years post bite, with a duc diagnosis of 'unstable angina' and evidence of coronary conduction block. Even IDSA recognizes coronary involvement as justification for ceftriaxone IV. He flat refused that and instead prescribed zithro, 500 mg tid. And sold me a box full of very expensive nutraceuticals and supplements from a 'special' company called Pure Encapsulations. A month later he started pitching Rife machines. I didn't see him again but he continued to send e-mails extolling the miracle cure of Rife which he could let me have 'at a discount' if I would make another appointment.

So he did indeed rx antibiotics, the wrong one at a dosage too low to be effective. At that time I didn't know how wrong he was. Maybe it had something to do with "How to Improve your Income...", a dangerous game when played on someone with coronary problems from Lyme disease.

The question now is; Do I have residual damage from the wrong treatment or was the damage already there?
I "think" he'll listen to me.
You "hope" he will listen to you and indeed he will. He will read you like a book looking for an opening to sell some quackery that you may have no defense against. Or rx an antibiotic that is wrong for your strain or stage.
Do you really want to hear medical advice from a quack who spends his "research time" learning how to pitch nutraceuticals and other alternatives?
And then, I'll know for sure. And I'll post my experience to all and sundry.
I wouldn't advise that you post it to LymeNUT. You have already been banned once. Remember what happened to MRB when she posted about the muscle testing quack that is 'treating' LouB's daughter.

I wonder if she is using Rife, maybe the same brand as Jenifer?
Did anyone notice that when cave76 and CaliLyme were reinstated that Jenifer was relieved of her moderating duties? Does that mean that LouB is trying to turn LymeNUT around. So far it doesn't look that way so this remains the only sensible Lyme board on the net. Let's hope it stays that way and that it remains a place where critical thinking is welcome.