“Discoverer” Ordered to Stop Using Body Restoration Technique

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
February 6, 2008

Eric Berg, D.C. has operated The Health and Wellness Center in Alexandria, Virginia for several years. In September 2007, Berg signed a consent agreement under which the state’s licensing board reprimanded him, fined him $1,500, and ordered him to stop using and advertising Body Restoration Technique (BRT), Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET), Contact Reflex Analysis (CRA), and the Acoustic CardioGraph (ACG) [1].

Three of these modalities involve bogus muscle tests that supposedly are related to body organs:

  • Berg describes BRT as “a unique . . . procedure that locates blockages and re-establishes the communication links between the glands and organs by stimulating acupressure-like points.” [2] It involves holding vials of homeopathic solutions over acupuncture points. If muscles weaken, the vial is held over the point so that the body can absorb “energy” from it. Berg has given BRT seminars for several years and says he has trained over 1,000 practitioners.
  • NAET is a system of diagnosis and treatment based on the notion that allergies to foods and environmental chemicals are caused by “energy blockage” that can be diagnosed with muscle-testing and permanently cured with acupressure and/or acupuncture treatments [3].
  • In CRA, the operator uses one hand to press down on the patient’s outstretched arm while the operator’s other hand touches one of 75 alleged “reflex points.” Proponents claim that over a thousand health problems can be diagnosed this way. If the patient’s arm can be pulled downward, a condition corresponding to the “reflex” is considered present, and dietary supplements (typically made from freeze-dried vegetables or animal organs) are prescribed [4].

The ACG is claimed to provide a “readable signature” of heart sounds” that is used to detect imbalances of body chemistry. The alleged problems are then corrected with dietary supplements [5].

BRT can be performed either seated or standing. The treatment begins with MRT to determine the energy blockage to be treated. We then stimulate the autonomic nervous system by “tapping” along the spine by hand. Corrections are determined by utilizing eight specific finger positions. These finger positions each represent a different level of correction within the body and are a mainstay of many holistic healing professions with roots in ancient Chinese medicine. These energy blockages may be present at the tissue level, the cellular level, the DNA level, the subatomic level or at the level of the twelve meridians. BRT will help find and correct the problem at whatever level it exists. Treatments are fast, non-invasive and pain-free. No needles are required to stimulate the various reflex points. If pain is your primary SYMPTOM, many clients experience a dramatic improvement immediately following the treatment. For deeper problems, the response will be quick, but perhaps not as quick as for those suffering from pain syndromes.

The consent agreement noted that Berg had made many therapeutic claims that were not supportable by reasonable scientfic or medical evidence. This included reprersentations that BRT and/or NAET could be used to prevent, alleviate, diagnose, assess, treat, or otherwise ameliorate a variety of conditions and symptoms, to include, but not be limited to the following: allergies, thyroid problems, infertility, depression, migraines, fibromyalgia, PMS, blood sugar problems, arthritis, sciatica, prostate problems, skin-related symptoms, heart beat problems, and stubborn metabolism. After reviewing the medical records for eight patients, the board also concluded that he had failed to perform adequate physical examinations and properly record what he did.

Surveys have found that over 40% of chiropractors have used muscle testing in similar ways, most notably as part of a system called applied kinesiology [6].

  1. Consent order. In re Eric Berg, D.C. Virginia Board of Medicine, Sept 13, 2007.
  2. Berg EE. Dr. Berg’s Body Restoration Technique training. Flyer, 2002.
  3. Barrett S. Contact Reflex Analysis is Nonsense. Quackwatch, May 18, 1998.
  4. Barrett S. Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET). Chirobase, Oct 26, 2002.
  5. Barrett S. A critical look at the Acoustic CardioGraph. Quackwatch Feb 5, 2008.
  6. Barrett S. Applied kinesiology: Muscle-testing for “allergies” and “nutrient deficiencies.” Quackwatch, Sept 26, 2004.

This page was posted on February 6, 2008.