The Gerson Method ~ Health Guide

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The Gerson Method

Written by Mystic on Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Cancer Council South Australia recognises that people with cancer, their families and friends will seek out information about alternative and complementary therapies. These methods may also be referred to as “unproven”, “non-toxic”, “unorthodox” or “unconventional” therapies and represent methods which are not scientifically proven by random clinical trials. The following information is intended to help with making decisions about the use of such treatments.

We also recommend you read “Making an informed choice”.

Rationale / Background / Claims
Dr Max Gerson developed this treatment in the 1920’s. He believed cancer was a result of faulty metabolism, brought about by poor nutrition and long-term exposure to chemical and environmental pollutants. His theory was that cancer cannot occur unless the functions of the liver, pancreas, immune system and other body components have degenerated.

The aims of the Gerson therapy are to:

  • Boost the body’s natural immune system to heal the cancer.
  • Rid the body of poisons.
  • Stimulate enzyme production to improve digestion.
  • Correct the balance of vitamins and minerals in the body.
  • Promote a positive attitude towards the body and towards life.

The therapy claims to be a whole body approach to healing which can reactivate the body’s ability to heal itself and then reverse the conditions that support the growth of malignant cells.

What does the therapy involve?
Two main principles are applied:

  • A low-fat, low-protein, salt-free diet with additional supplements.
  • A detoxification program to help eliminate toxins and waste materials.

The diet is a core component of the therapy. Its main features are described in the following points:

  • The daily regime requires 13 eight-ounce glasses of fresh organic juice be consumed at hourly intervals. The 13 juices include one orange, four of green leaf and five apple/carrot all selected and prepared in a specific way.
  • Meals are restricted to salad, baked potatoes, oatmeal and raw and cooked fruit and vegetables. Two tablespoons of linseed/flaxseed oil are also included on a daily basis.
  • Meat is not allowed and other sources of animal protein are not permitted for the first six to twelve weeks, after which it is kept to a minimum.
  • Among the items forbidden indefinitely are salt, coffee, nuts, berries, drinking water, alcohol and all canned, preserved, refined, bottled or frozen foods. No aluminium utensils are to be used and a special grinder and press are required to make the juices.
  • Patients receive daily medications, including thyroid extract, pancreatic enzyme, potassium iodine, niacin and an intra-muscular injection of vitamin B12. Potassium iodine solution is added to each of the ten fruit and vegetable juices.

The key detoxification method is the coffee enema which patients are taught to self-administer five times throughout the day, four hours apart. This is said to stimulate the liver in the removal of toxins, and increase the production of bile. As a further aid in detoxification, some patients may receive an oral dose of castor oil on the first day. This is then alternated after the initial day.

Here are some cautions for a person with cancer regarding the Gerson Method
Within three to ten days, the patient can expect to experience what Gerson termed “an allergic inflammation reaction” or “healing reaction”. The timing of these reactions is hard to predict.

Nausea, vomiting, intestinal spasms, fever and headaches are among the symptoms reported.

Risks from enemas include perforation or rupture of the colon (large intestine), infections transmitted through use of the enema devices and serious fluid, electrolyte, and vitamin imbalances.

The level of supplementation can lead to toxicity or disrupt the metabolic balance.

here is no evidence in the peer-reviewed literature that enemas are useful in detoxifying the body.

The Gerson regime requires extensive commitment in order to undertake the therapy and a support person is absolutely mandatory.

The treatment methods have documented risks and there is no reliable scientific evidence to support the validity, safety and usefulness of the program.

Costs and Commitment
This therapy is available at the Gerson Institute in San Diego, California, USA at a cost of approximately US$4,900 per week, with an additional US$200 or more per week for laboratory testing. It is recommended a companion accompany the patient to the clinic, at an additional cost of US$330 per week. Supporters recommend a three to eight week stay. A three month supply of Gerson medications costs US$550, and a juicer costs a minimum of US$240.

Cancer cures are said to be achieved only by strict adherence to every aspect of the diet and techniques. It has been estimated 12 - 16 hours a day are required for shopping, preparing the food and cleaning the equipment as instructed. Juices cannot be prepared ahead of time.

In Summary . . .
The Gerson regimen requires an extensive commitment in order to undertake the therapy, and a support person is mandatory.

The treatment methods have documented risks, and there is no reliable scientific evidence to support the validity, safety, and usefulness of the program.

For further information contact the:

The Gerson website

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