Why Bioresonance Hair Testing Is Preposterous

Stephen Barrett, M.D.
April 22, 2020

Several companies claim that bioresonance hair tests can detect nutritional deficiencies; overexposure to heavy metals; and food and environmental intolerances and that the test results will provide a roadmap to better health. Tests are available for pets as well as for humans. This report explains why I believe these claims are preposterous.

What Is Bioresonance Testing?

Bruce Copen Laboratories, headquartered in Munich, Germany, describes itself as “the world’s leading company in the field of Quantum Response Technology.” The company was founded by Bruce Copen (1923-1998), who is described on the company’s Web site as a “mastermind” and “radionics pioneer” who founded the British Radionics Association and edited the British Journal of Radiesthesia [1]. The site further states:

  • Copen developed a device that could determine which of 2600 homeopathic remedies could help the patient.
  • Following his death, the current management developed a series of computer-based devices that went beyond his original technology.
  • The latest of the devices—called the Multiple Analytical Resonance System (MARS III)—Is “based on “the science of Quantum Entanglement.” [1]

To perform a bioresonance hair analysis, a hair sample is placed into the input well pictured on the right. Then, according to the company: “an energetic facsimile . . .  is matched and then made into reports” that indicate “where the client’s energy field is blocked or distorted and on which energy level is going on this imbalance.” [2]

Radionics is a pseudoscience based on the notion that diseases can be diagnosed and treated by tuning in on radio-like frequencies allegedly emitted by disease-causing agents and diseased organs. The theory behind it originated with Albert Abrams, M.D. (1864-1924), who developed thirteen devices claimed to detect such frequencies and/or cure people by matching their frequencies. Abrams made millions leasing his devices and was considered by the American Medical Association to be the “dean of gadget quacks.” [3]

I do not believe that placing a hair sample in the input well will influence the output from the device because (a) hair does not emit “frequencies” and (b) the “energy fields” claimed by Abrams and his followers do not exist. It is also well established that the composition of body hair—when measured in a standard chemical laboratory—does not reflect the body’s nutritional status or reveal “intolerances.” [4]

In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration included the MARS III in an import alert that covered “all radionic instruments intended for use in diagnosis of internal diseases” coming from Bruce Copen Laboratories or the Sussex College of Technology. That ban is still in effect [5].

Copen’s Diploma Mill

I addition to marketing radionics devices, Copen sold bogus credentials from the “Sussex College of Technology.” I learned about this when I helped the FBI investigate an American cancer quack named Gregory Caplinger. Evidence in the case revealed that Copen, who operated from his home in East Sussex, issued degrees and transcripts in return for modest payments. When questioned by a Scotland Yard detective, Copen said that Caplinger had obtained a “doctor of science degree in biochemistry and immunology” in 1987 by taking a correspondence course and later sent $70 with a request for transcript that included eight courses plus a dissertation that garnered 58 credit hours. Copen stated that the correspondence course had cost about $400 but he had retained no record of its duration. He also mentioned that he himself had become “doctor of homeopathy” in 1952 by taking a correspondence course. The UK’s Education Reform Act of 1988 stopped Copen from issuing “degrees,” but he continued to issue diplomas [6]. Caplinger was convicted in 1990 of wire fraud and money laundering and was ultimately sentenced to 12 years in prison [7].

Bioresonance Hair Test Results

The MARS III Quantum Response System is used to provide reports to people who mail hair samples to companies that solicit through the Internet. One such company—Modern Allergy Management LLC, of Pensacola, Florida—calls its procedure “hair intolerance testing.” Its Web site states that its $95 “MAM 750 Gold Standard test” can show which of 750 items items can “cause you a reaction due to having an intolerance.” [8] The tests are said be to processed by Biostar Technology S.R.O. in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Sample reports posted to the company’s Web site include the following claims:

  • The nutritional deficiencies test indicates the extent to which vitamins and minerals are retained after consumption  It classifies retention as “high” (excess retention), “best” (ideal), “fair” (normal), or “need” (low retention, for which supplementation “may prove beneficial”).
  • The test for heavy metals, describes “levels of intolerance” to various items as high, medium, or low, but acknowledges that the test is “unable to determine the amount of any substance present in the body.”
  • The environmental and food intolerance test reports classify items as Level 3, Level 2, or Level 1.

Healthy Stuff Online, Ltd., of Indialantic, Florida, offers MARS III radionic testing of hair samples against 400, 600, or 800 food and nonfood items. Its Web site states that the device “captures and diagnoses electromagnetic signals coming from the body. The cost, which depends on the number of items, ranges from $70.00 to 104.99. The site acknowledges—in small print—that “Conventional medicine does not currently recognise Bioresonance as it has not been subject to significant scientific research.”

Affordable Allergy Test , LLC of Laurenceville, Georgia, claims that its 5Strands Affordable Testing “utilizes . . .  bioresonance technology to identify temporary imbalances causing symptoms such as upset stomach, headaches, bloating, joint pain, water retention, paw biting, excessive hair loss, hot spots, itching.” A sample report, which the company sent to someone who inquired, provided the following results:

  • The Level 3 lists of food and environmental intolerances include 87 that are “very likely to cause noticeable symptoms,”
  • The Level 2 lists of food and environmental intolerances include 96 that “may result in reactions such as itchy skin, runny nose, watery eyes, etc.,”
  • The Level 1 lists of food and environmental intolerances include 116, which, “while there may be no noticeable symptoms, may potentially cause issues with ingestion or exposure over time.”

In a YouTube video, one of the company’s co-founders says that the testing provides “a road map to conduct an elimination plan” by avoiding all of the Level 3 and Level 2 items for and choosing from among the hundreds of other items on the master list for 6-8 weeks [9]. However, the idea that more than 300 food items should be suspect is absurd, and the idea that an elimination diet should begin with hundreds of possible foods is even more absurd. Elimination diets, if medically indicated, should begin with only a few foods, with suspected foods added every few days to see whether they cause trouble. People considering an elimination diet would be better served by keeping a careful dietary history and consulting a dietitian or other appropriately trained professional [10].

The video also advises that (a) eating a food every single day should be avoided because that can lead to “intolerance due to overconsumption,” and (b) many people become deficient in oxygen because they don’t eat enough “fruits and vegetables that contain oxygen.”

Although 5Strands’ reports are similar to those of Modern Allergy Management, I do not know whether they use the same testing device. When asked what device they used, a 5Strands representative replied: “We are unable to share the specifics regarding the machines that we utilize or any other specifics regarding our testing as it involves sensitive intellectual property.”

Better Business Bureau Reports

Between November 8, 2018 and December 31, 2019, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) received 23 complaints about Modern Allergy Management. Most said that the test result took too long to arrive or did arrive at all. A few thought that the results could not possibly be correct—the most notable of these was from a mother who said that her six-year-old son’s test report recommended giving him a “male vigor sex-enhancement supplement.” [11] Based on the number of complaints, the BBB gave the company a “C” rating. Affordable Allergy Test, LLC and Healthy Stuff Online have no BBB ratings.

If you have undergone bioresonance hair testing and would like to share
your experience with me and/or discuss how to seek a refund, please
e-mail me a copy of your scan with a brief summary of what happened.

  1. From classic radionics to bioresonance. Bruce Copen Laboratories Web site, accessed April 21, 2020.
  2. MARS III. Bruce Copen Laboratories Web site, accessed April 21, 2020.
  3. Barrett S. Be wary of radionics devices. Quackwatch, Dec 27, 2011.
  4. Barrett S. Commercial hair analysis: A cardinal sign of quackery. Quackwatch, August 31, 2018.
  5. Detention without physical examination of fraudulent and deceptive medical devices. FDA import alert 80-06, Jan 7, 2020.
  6. Sussex Police report, Oct 18, 1990.
  7. Barrett S. Gregory Caplinger and his cancer scam. Quackwatch, Feb 7, 2019.
  8. MAM Exclusive Gold Standard 750 Intolerance Test. Modern Allergy Testing Web site, accessed April 21, 2020.
  9. Standard Package Test Report—5Strands—Food Environmental Nutrition—FAQ’s.  YouTube video, posted Oct 25, 2019.
  10. Gordon B. What is an elimination diet? Academy of Nutition anbd Dietetics Web site, Aug 13, 2019.
  11. BBB report on Modern Allergy Management LLC, accessed April 23, 2020.