Is 'John of God' a Healer or a Charlatan?

"I want to have the kind of music that gets him to meditate, the kind of biofeedback training and meditative training that will allow him to do what he needs to do to turn on his own body's healing mechanism," he said. "That may be the greatest lesson of all here."

About Sclippa's progress from her spinal cord injury, he says it's conceivable that she could have made the same progress with intensive physical therapy. But he added her experiences with John of God may have been valuable too.

While the doctor said he wouldn't send his patients to John of God, he still expressed curiosity about the clinic.

"I don't care what it is, if you really feel better with this kind of tragic injury, we need to research that," he said. "Crawfish regrow their nerves, right? Maybe there are things that we could harvest in our psyche that allows us to do it as well."

And questioned about the graphic visible surgery, Oz said it could be "an old magician's trick, but it's a pretty powerful one from a physician's perspective."

John of God could also be on to something, he said. If you go to the roof of the nose, you find the pituitary gland, he said. "I'm wondering if touching the pituitary gland may influence all those chemicals that go between the body and the brain.

"Either he's a healer who has found some talents that he has innately within him and can help people -- or he's crazy," Oz said.

This story originally aired on Feb. 10, 2005


David Ames has remained in Abandiana, except for a brief trip home. The former surfer swims every day and has started a support group for disabled visitors called "Heaven's Helpers."

Doctors warned he would not survive long, but he's happy he's already exceeded their expectations.

Annabel Sclippa recently made her fourth visit to John of God, but she's still not walking. However, when she first visited, she could barely stand. Oz acknowledged that she seemed to have more control now.

But he also noted that for both Ames and Sclippa, optimism could make all the difference.

More than two years after doctors diagnosed him with a brain tumor, Matthew Ireland is preparing to marry a woman he met in Abandiania this month.

But Lisa Melman's breast cancer has gotten worse. She says the tumor has grown so much she can feel it, and it's often painful. She said she's not ruling out surgery, but still has some alternative therapies to try.

To learn more about John of God and the people in this story, you may wish to visit the following Web sites:

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