Are you thinking about trying Gerson Therapy?
You may have heard about Gerson Therapy recently, particularly if you or a loved one is suffering from cancer – it is just one of many treatments suggested as an alternative cancer cure. Those who offer Gerson Therapy claim it is a natural treatment that allows the body to heal itself of disease, including the ability to rid oneself of cancer. A Gerson treatment regime typically consists of the hourly consumption of organic or raw juices, alongside extreme use of supplements and a daily schedule of up to five coffee enemas.
However, examining the ideas behind Gerson Therapy shows it to be an ineffective, costly and expensive distraction from the use of real medicine.
What is the Cost?
For many users, following a Gerson diet is an expensive affair. Alongside the cost of overseas travel to a Gerson-approved clinic, one user reported paying over £10,000 to begin their Gerson Therapy treatment, including:
- £7000 for a two week stay at the clinic;
- £1600 for a Gerson juicer;
- £400 for a hydraulic press;
- £650 of organic produce;
- £650 of supplements;
- £325 for a distiller; and
- £20 herbal teas.
Besides the initial setup cost, the same user was encouraged to spend almost £1300 each month to maintain their Gerson diet:
- £700 per month of organic food;
- £250 per month of organic produce for juicing;
- £200 per month of Gerson supplements;
- £20 per month of organic castor oil;
- £7 per month of enema pads;
- £100 per month of Gerson doctor consultation.
With some patients encouraged to follow a Gerson diet for up to two years, a Gerson follower could quickly see themselves paying more than £40,000 for a treatment which has no proven beneficial effect on their disease, and which could even be harmful.
What is the Risk?
There are a number of risks associated with Gerson Therapy. Coffee enemas have been known to cause infections, dehydration, fits, constipation, mineral imbalances, heart and lung problems, and in extreme cases even death. What’s more, a Gerson diet has been shown to cause dizziness, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, diarrhoea and sickness. These side effects would be hard to bear for someone in the best of health – for patients suffering from serious illnesses, those symptoms can pose a severe risk.
The risks of Gerson Therapy extend beyond direct side effects. Proponents of Gerson diets often claim to be able to treat and even cure cancer – such claims directly discourage patients from seeking real medical treatment at a crucial time.
What have you got to lose?
Patients undergoing treatment for cancer can be understandably scared, so it is tempting to invest in the seductive claims of those who offer alternative treatments and miracle cures. However, the success stories linked to Gerson Therapy do not stand up to scrutiny, and the best scientific evidence does not suggest there is any benefit in following a Gerson diet.
At their worst, the unproven claims of promoters of Gerson Therapy can discourage very sick people from following the advice of their doctor, leading to needless suffering and potentially even unnecessary deaths.
Besides an inability to offer any help, adhering to a Gerson regime requires a radical and deeply uncomfortable change in lifestyle, including a near-constant consumption of supplement pills and juices, and up to five highly-uncomfortable coffee enemas every day. For those who are already suffering from a serious – or perhaps even terminal – illness, this extreme lifestyle can result in months of frustration and misery. Sadly, some Gerson patients have been known to waste their last months following this extreme lifestyle, far from home and their loved ones.
If you are considering trying Gerson Therapy, we strongly urge you to take a look at some of the links below, and to speak to your GP. We firmly believe your time and money and hope are best kept for the treatments that have been proven to work.
For more information:
- Cancer Research UK
- Cancer and Alternative Treatments
- American Cancer Society
- Science-Based Medicine
The extracts below are taken from “Trick or Treatment?”, a book that explores the evidence for and against a range of alternative therapies. The authors of the book are Simon Singh (who founded the Good Thinking Society) and Edzard Ernst (who is the world’s first professor of complementary medicine):
“…adopting Gerson therapy often means that patients abandon their conventional treatment, thereby jeopardizing their main hope for recovery. Although the Gerson Institute has an office in California, it runs its main clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, where it claims it can cure cancer –this geographical dislocation is necessary because the US forbids doctors to practise Gerson therapy.
…the Gerson diet is promoted as a cancer cure, but the only positive evidence comes from an analysis which is now widely accepted to be fatally flawed and which should be ignored.”
Extracts from “Trick or Treatment?” by Singh and Ernst, published by Transworld (2008).