The Scenar (Self-Controlled Energo-Neuro-Adaptive Regulation) device is the size of a TV remote, and runs on a single 9-V battery. Researchers and doctors in Russia claim that it can reverse most diseases without drugs or surgery. In the UK, it's licensed as a pain-relief device.
The problem-like so much of alternative medicine that doesn't enjoy the sizeable profits of the drugs industry-is the lack of 'good' scientific evidence from a double-blind placebo-controlled trial to support such ambitious claims.
There are, however, thousands of case studies gathered from the 10,000 therapists and doctors in Russia who routinely use Scenar in their practices. Dr Yuri Gorfinkel, who became a Scenar therapist after working in the Chernobyl clean-up operations, has collated 18,255 case studies of Scenar treatments for almost every conceivable disease-from gastritis, haemorrhoids and impotence to bronchitis, hypertension and acute heart failure. Of these patients, there was no recurrence in 88.5 per cent of cases, while 6 per cent reported "signif-icant improvement" in symptoms, with only 3 per cent reporting little or no change for the better (SCENAR Therapy, SCENAR-Medical Assessment and Expertise, 1998; 4).
In a later report compiled by Dr Irina Kossovski, who tracked hundreds more case reports involving a similarly wide range of diseases, Russian Scenar practitioners were said to have achieved a complete recovery rate of around 66 per cent, while the remaining third of patients reported some improvement in their condition (Kossovski I. 'An Overview of the Basic Results of a SI Medicine Treatment Complex.' Mediscen Inc., 2001).
The sole study published in a Western medical journal pitted Scenar against TENS (transcutaneous electric-al nerve stimulation). In this trial, 24 chronic neck-pain sufferers received six months of treatment with either Scenar or TENS, or no treatment (controls). The researchers reported that the Scenar group showed "significant reduction" of neck pain and disability compared with either the TENS or control group. They also pointed out that none of those in the Scenar group reported any adverse reactions (Chiropractic & Osteopathy, 2007; 15: 9; doi: 10.1186/1746-1340-15-9).
The device has also been used by athletes to speed recovery time after injury. French football star Djibril Cisse has prepared a YouTube testimonial, claiming the Scenar helped him to recover more quickly from an ankle injury. Also, SCENAR is currently being used by the Greek professional football team Panathinaikos, based in Athens.
How does it work?
Scenar has been described as 'electronic acupuncture' and 'space-age medicine', the latter in reference to its use in the late 1970s as a healing aid for cosmonauts training in zero gravity.
Although Dr Alexander Karasev invented the device in 1976, it was developed by two electronics engineers, who were awarded the Order of Lenin for their work. The technology was secret and 'classified' until Perestroika in the mid-1980s opened up the Soviet Union. It was then that SCENAR was made available to Russian doctors.
Scenar is a simple hand-held device controlled by four buttons. The practitioner brushes the device along the patient's skin, looking for any resistance or 'stickiness', as Scenar therapists call it. Such 'stickiness' indicates disease, in-flammation or injury, while different areas of the skin correlate with different internal organs and muscle groups, similar to the acupuncture model.
Once a problem area has been detected, the practitioner changes the Scenar frequency modulation and, using biofeedback, begins a 'dialogue' with the patient's central nervous system. Eventually, Scenar is said to stimulate neuropeptides in damaged cells to speed recovery by helping cells to 'remember' their healthy signature state. The healing process continues long after the session ends, although it may take many sessions to achieve full health, depending on how chronic the condition is.
However, if the problem is acute, such as a sports injury, Scenar practitioners say the device can heal the problem even before bruising appears.
SCENAR in the West
Scenar is becoming part of the accepted medical therapy in Russia, and is now being used in clinics and hospitals. It is also gaining a foothold in Germany, where there are around 3000 practitioners.
However, inroads into the UK market have been more torturous. There have been several attempts to introduce it into Great Britain, but infighting and squabbles between various competing groups have impeded its progress. Today, the Scenar licence for the UK and Ireland is held by 21st Century Energy Medicine, and its CEO is former IT consultant Richard Cumbers. Scenar is officially distributed in the UK by its sister company Pain Genie.
Nevertheless, Cumbers has been forced to fight a constant battle against black-market versions of the device, which are often sold on the Internet by workers at the Russian factory-and at a far lower price. However, the black-market versions don't come with any training or support.
Cumbers sells the Pain Genie Home SCENAR for lb469, which includes a training manual and DVD. Although some retailers believe that only properly trained practitioners should use it, Cumbers promotes its use among the public, although he emphasizes the importance of after-sales support.
In the three years that he has held the SCENAR licence, Cumbers has trained around 1200 practitioners in the UK. His efforts have interested a
few doctors in the UK, including Dr Jan Beute, from the Doncaster Royal Infirmary Accident & Emergency department. Beute, who uses his own Scenar on patients, has said: "The Pain Genie will save the NHS a tremendous amount of money because it's so easy, cheap and effective to use."
There are only a handful of practitioners in the US, where it has "light touch" Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as a relaxant and "muscle re-educator".
SCENAR and the future
In fact, there are more case studies of Scenar effectiveness than for any other 'alternative' device or technology. As the technology is now more than 30 years old, this is perhaps not so surprising. Nevertheless, its success rate is impressive-and far higher than that of any single drug or conventional therapy.
But such success arouses suspicion among doctors-it all seems too good to be true-especially as there have been little independent research and few clinical trials published in Western medical journals.
For SCENAR practitioners and advocates like Cumbers, this is frustrating, as they see the technology as an inexpensive and effective alternative within the mainstream of Western medicine, especially at a time when the National Health System and its counterparts around the world are virtually bankrupt.
However, the issue runs far deeper than just proving that the modality works through the 'gold-standard' clinical trials. Scenar attacks the very heart of medicine-its protocols and theories-which is avidly guarded directly by the pharmaceutical industry, and indirectly by medical schools and government-approved bodies, and even the mainstream media.
Undaunted, Cumbers and others nevertheless believe that the time is now right for making a serious pitch to governments, which are looking to cut costs wherever they can, and whose allegiances may lean more towards the public purse and less towards protecting the conventional medical paradigm. They also point to the Russian health system, where there is already wide acceptance of Scenar.
For Prime Minister Cameron, President Obama and other world leaders, it could be the start of the Russian problem all over again.
WDDTY VOL. 21 ISSUE 09