SV writes: "I wonder if you might post my experience with the Rubenfeld Synergy Method. I found the work personally very helpful. I also had the opportunity to be in several of Ilana Rubenfelds classes. They were amazingly helpful not only to the observers but also the person on the table. . . "
" . . .Not every modality works for everyone. I think it important to hold both allopathic and naturopathic modalities as opportunities to learn about the amazing body. Don't be so quick to judge what may be of great help to some folks and for sure hurts no one. I suggest you try to live with a more open mind. Sincerely, One person who has been greatly helped by the Rubenfeld Synergy Method."
I am only too happy to oblige SV in posting this e-mail because it is the perfect example of the kind of messages we receive that are in support of untested alternative methods.
The method being referred to here is documented in this blog.
In a nutshell, the Rubenfeld Synergy Method (RSM) combines touch, talk and compassionate listening to "tap inner resources for improving health" in mind, body and spirit. It is based on the concept that all the stress, memories, and emotions acquired during our lifetimes are stored in our bodies. The Rubenfeld method helps people to get in touch with their "bodymind" by opening up pathways through touch and listening.
The inventor of this method is Ilana Rubenfeld, a music conductor and graduate of the Julliard School of Music who got the idea after suffering a back spasm. She claims to have studied with prominent psychotherapists who turned out to be New Age gurus upon further investigation.
Having said all that, the first thing I want to point out is something that is sadly missing in most e-mails of this nature. SV's defense of RSM contains no factual information that could be worth further study. Instead, it simply offers her own personal experience with RSM; in other words, a "user testimonial".
While I'm sure that SV is sincere in her evaluation of the experience, this really isn't sufficient reason to give one's body/mind/spirit over to a music school graduate who studied under New Agers such as Fritz Perls (see Gestalt).
SV also recommends that we should "keep an open mind" when it comes to exploring different modalities in order to explore "the amazing body".
It's one thing to "explore the amazing body" because we're looking to increase our knowledge about how wonderfully we are made; it's quite another to experiment with it by employing untested methods that could very well harm us.
Although SV claims that RSM "for sure hurts no one", this writer is not qualified to make such a statement. Any seriously ill person who is convinced that RSM can help them might choose to use it instead of a proven therapy that could save their life. This is the biggest danger in espousing an "open mind" toward alternative health treatments. The truth is, people are harmed every day - seriously and even fatally - by alternative health treatments. This includes everything from ingesting herbal concoctions that cause serious reactions to prescription drugs to relying on psychic intuitives to perform life-or-death surgery. And how many lives are saved by alternatives? Very few, if any.
Compare this to conventional medicine. While there are many deaths due to malpractice and other flaws in science-based medicine, these are far outweighed by the number of lives saved. For instance, we rarely see diseases such as polio and tuberculosis that once plagued the population. Infant mortality rates in most first- and second-world nations is at rock bottom while life expectancy rates are higher than ever. People are now able to live long and happy lives while suffering from serious illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Countless lives are also saved or improved by organ transplants and any of a variety of new adult stem cell procedures.
Last, I would like to point out that we are often accused of being "too quick to judge" when we label a particular method as being an untested alternative or "New Age". In order to be truly judgmental, we would have to base this conclusion upon personal feelings. But even a cursory reading of these blogs will prove that we do just the opposite. Our blogs are ALWAYS based on evidence-based scientific research and/or authentic Catholic teaching. For that matter, we HAVE to do this in order to protect ourselves from being accused of libel and our readers from being misled into believing some practice is good for them when it could actually harm them.
While I think it's great that SV found relief from RSM, her experience is just that - an experience - and has no bearing on whether RSM is good for the general public.