A Skeptical Look at Neural Depolarization

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
December 9, 2009

Neural Depolarization (NDP) is a form of “internal energy therapy” developed and trademarked by Kathy Oddenino, BS, RN, who does business as the Institute of Metaphysical Studies (IMS) in Pittsboro, North Carolina. The IMS Web site states that she was taught this technique as a child by her “spirit consciousness” and uses it to “treat all diseases, from all forms of cancer, eye diseases such as glaucoma, dyslexia, all forms of pain, including fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome, to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and many more.” [1] She further claims:

Many diseases are not true disease, but they are caused by energy blockages. “Diseases” such as glaucoma, dyslexia, autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and cancer are examples of diseases that are created from nerve and cellular chemical blockages. It is time for us to look at our diseases differently and to learn how to protect ourselves from food, water, and air that does not support us in health. The more intense a disease is, such as cancer and MS, the longer it takes the disease to respond to Neural Depolarization, but the body will respond if the individual is conscientious about their food, air, and water replacements [1].

The IMS Web site states that Oddenino founded the institute in 1996 and has “certified” 15 Spiritual Philosophy Practitioners (SPPs) who completed her “intensive five-year program of didactic study with 1628 hours and an energy practicum of 400 hours.” [2] The site identifies four of them. NDP is described as a component of SPP. CSPP stands for “Certified Spiritual Philosophy Practitioner.” CNDP stands for “Certified Neural Depolarization Practitioner.” I was unable to find any description of the training or “certification” requirements. As far as I can tell, the IMS is not accredited by any recognized accreditating agency and its courses provide no legal basis for any type of health practice.

Fanciful Claims

Oddenino’s most visible disciple is Carole Hoffman, CSPP, CNDP, who practiced for about a year in Maryland before moving to Moncure, North Carolina in 2005. Hoffman’s Linkedin page indicates that she obtained an A.B. degree in psychology in 1981, but between 1982 and 1999, she spent 14 years as marketing representative for insurance companies and two years as a sales manager for a company that sold health and nutrition products. Her psychology degree came from an accredited college, but as far as I can tell, she has not practiced psychology and is not licensed to do so in North Carolina [3]. Her Web site states:

  • “Neural Depolarization™ (NDP) is chosen by people seeking a natural pain management therapy for all forms of pain and disease, as well as those seeking to grow beyond depression, increase their level of energy, prevent disease and maintain their body in optimum health. It is also chosen as a means of deep relaxation and relief from stress.” [4]
  • Neural Depolarization™ “works directly with the nervous system to dissolve the nerve blockage and correct the impairment. The nerve regains its full function and the electromagnetic energy is able to flow freely, to feed the cells and allow us to regain our health.” NDP™ works from the “inside-out”, in the same way that natural healing occurs, rather then from the “outside-in,” like other treatment methods. This allows for more significant and long lasting results [5].
  • NDP sessions last 1-2 hours, during which the client typically lies on a massage table or sits in a chair. To perform the treatment, she generally works from head to foot, applying a very light fingertip to most parts of the body [4].

Hoffman claims that NDP “works effectively” with chronic pain; sciatica; gastrointestinal disorders; depression; motor dysfunction; arthritis pain; migraines/headaches; shoulder and arm pain; joint pain; numbness in arms and legs; ADD; neck and back pain; carpal tunnel; herniated disks; neuropathy; immune disorders; vertigo; sexual dysfunction; TMJ; foot pain, pre and post surgical healing; and fybromyalgia [sic]. However, her site also states: “To date no clinical studies have been completed on Neural Depolarization. No medical claims are intended to be made. This is offered for informational purposes only. NDP is most effective when supported by proper nutrition and a positive perspective on health.” [5]

Hoffman’s Linkedin biography identifies no formal nutrition training. Her nutritional advice is filled with warnings about “toxins” in the food supply [6]. Her Web site states:

Most people eat a diet that is practically void of nutrients. These foods are also usually full of harmful disease causing additives. And unless we drink enough water to flush these toxin out of our body, they accumulate in our cells. Then we develop pain and disease and don’t understand why. Understanding the cause of the problem can help heal the problem.

Three main causes of pain and disease are a lack of nutrition, dehydration and over-toxicity [7].

The Bottom Line

NDP is a minor variety of “energy medicine,” whose practitioners claim to heal by modifying the alleged flow of nonmaterial (non-measurable) “energy” throughout the body. NDP’s practitioners also offer what they describe as nutritional and spiritual advice. They claim to be effective against a wide range of diseases, including cancer, even though no scientific studies have substantiated or even investigated such claims. The attention they give to clients may produce symptomatic relief, but I see no reason to believe that NDP itself can influence the course of any disease or that its advocates are qualified to give health advice.


  1. Oddenino K. What is Neural Depolarization? IMS Web site, accessed Dec 7, 2009.
  2. Institute of Metaphysical Studies – FAQ’s. IMS Web site, accessed Dec 7, 2009
  3. Hoffman is not listed database of psychologists licensed in North Carolina.
  4. Hoffman C. Natural Pain Management FAQs. Carole Hoffman, CNDP Web site, accessed Dec 8, 2009.
  5. Hoffman C. What is Neural Depolarization™ ? Carole Hoffman, CNDP Web site, accessed Dec 8, 2009.
  6. Hoffman C. To your health: What every loving parent should know. (e-newsletter)
  7. Hoffman C. Nutritional healing – Natural pain management. Carole Hoffman, CNDP Web site, accessed Dec 8, 2009.

≠This article was posted on December 9, 2009.