We have seen that the evolvement of the detection method of E.R.A. arose mainly through Dr. Abrams' endeavors to improve his techniques of physical diagnosis, with the direction of these endeavors influenced by Professor de Sauer's concepts. In contrast, the development of the Abrams treating equipment was from the start a project directed specifically toward the goal of neutralizing or eliminating disease radiations by electronic means.

Dr. Abrams was convinced that the most effective treating current would have to be low enough in amplitude to avoid heating the body tissues and also would avoid causing any pain or discomfort. A further feature of the equipment was that it should be capable of being tuned to the radiational frequency of the specific disease to be overcome. This was a major advance in therapy. The Abrams treating equipment operated in the short-wave band, but differed from short-wave diathermy in many ways, including the following:

  1. Short-wave diathermy uses heavy power which heats the body tissues. The Abrams treatment equipment purposely avoided heating up the tissues.

  2. Short-wave diathermy operates on one frequency only. The benefits or advantages of tuning or frequency selections are lost when enough power is applied to heat the body tissues. The Abrams equipment incorporated the beginning of the principle of tuning the treatment current to influence the disease radiation, by offering a choice of eleven different frequencies.

  3. Short-wave diathermy current is not interrupted. Interruption of such heavy treating current, which has for its goal the production of heat, would slow down the heating of the body, and require longer treatments. In contrast, the Abrams equipment used an interrupted or pulsed current, for better results in therapy.

  4. Another difference lay in the high degree of damping of the current from the Abrams equipment.

Several parts of the short-wave band were used by Abrams and his immediate successors at different times, but most of the work was done in the lower third of the 43-megacycle band. In the Oscilloclast, the final form of the Abrams treating instrument, the [21] eleven treatment frequencies (from which the operator selected one at a time by means of push-buttons) were in the range of 43.000 megacycles to 43.357 megacycles. (This is in the 10-meter band of very high radio frequencies and just below the television bands. Channel 2 starts at 54.000 megacycles. RHC) Some of these eleven frequencies were designated for the treatment of specific diseases or groups of diseases, as the result of correlations found between disease emanations and short-wave radio frequencies in the detection research. The other treatment frequencies were for the stimulation of function of major organs such as the liver and spleen. It was considered that an interrupted current was more effective than a continuous current, with the combination of high frequency and low power used.

For over twenty years the Abrams treating equipment used mechanical means of interruption of the current output, termed the "tic toc" apparatus, due to its similarity to the pendulum of a clock. The mechanical making and breaking of the circuit produces periodic sparks, The spark itself is known to have some therapeutic value, as witness the Lakhovsky multi-wave oscillators, and the S. S. Knight machines.

In 1958, quite a few years after Dr. Abrams' death, when radio circuitry with vacuum tubes had become well established, the mechanical means of interrupting the treatment current was abandoned by the Foundation carrying on Dr. Abrams' work. From then on, the current instead was chopped or pulsed electronically, by an oscillating circuit using vacuum tubes and a condenser. The condenser discharged periodically. There were some practitioners who felt the earlier Abrams treating units using the mechanical make and break were superior.

When the Abrams treatment equipment was in use, the output current, at low voltage and very low amperage, was conducted to the patient by connecting wires attached to metal electrodes placed dry on the patient's skin. Besides the pulsed, damped short-wave treatment output, variable in tuning to the extent already mentioned, the apparatus also delivered another type of treating current -- namely an alternating magnetic current, applied through a separate set of electrodes.

The Abrams treatment instruments, the Oscilloclast and the Oscillotron, are now of interest more for their historical than for their therapeutic value. While they undoubtedly produced some favorable results in many cases that had not yielded to orthodox methods, the length of time and number of treatments required to produce a given result were far greater than for modern radionic equipment. The differences between Abrams treatment equipment and radionic treating units will be outlined in a later instalment of this series.


From the time Dr. Abrams gave his first class to doctors in [22] the use of the E.R.A. diagnostic method in the middle of the second decade of this century, efforts started on the part of some of his followers to see if the use of the human "reagent" could be eliminated. There were three disadvantages to the use of the reagent (healthy subject on whose abdomen the responses were elicited); these disadvantages were of three types -- technical, human and financial. The technical problem lay in the difficulty of finding a person who was completely healthy, free of toxicity, with all organs, glands and types of tissue functioning at par. Any deficiency of function, disease radiation or toxicity in the reagent, would be combined with the reactions of the patient, so that the responses would be a mixture of the factors from the two individuals, instead of solely from the patient.

The human problem lay in the fact that very few individuals were willing to stand for long periods of time with abdomen bared, while submitting to the percussion procedure or the stroking of the abdominal skin repeatedly with glass or plastic rods for the purpose of compiling the patient's electronic analysis data. The economic or financial factor was the necessity for paying for two individuals' time for each analysis -- that of the doctor or other person who operated the equipment, and that of the reagent on whose abdomen the reflex indications were detected.

Dr. Earl Smith, one of those who took Dr. Abrams' first class in E.R.A. method, reasoned "What is the difference between rubbing a glass-rod on the skin, or rubbing the skin over a piece of glass?" From this question, experimentation began on a set-up in which the operator used his own skin for the purpose of detecting the radiations involved, specifically, the skin of the underside of the operator's fingers, particularly the balls of the finger-tips and the areas just back of the balls. These skin areas were used for the purpose of stroking the glass plates or slides. The patient's radiations were conducted to the glass by means of a connecting wire or wires from the tuner, leading to a metal coin or disc placed underneath the glass plate. It was found that glass had to be covered with a certain type of coating, in order that the "stick" could be obtained in accordance with appropriate settings of the tuning and volume-measurement controls in relation to the patient's radiations.

Various substances for the coating were tried, including india ink, photographer's re-touching fluid, photographic emulsions, etc. Later it was found that other substances could be used instead of a glass plate; these tried included rubber, leather, wood, and plastic. Rubber was difficult to learn to use, though once mastered, some operators liked it. Leather gave a strong "stick" but required a heavy stroke. Some plastics were very sensitive and gave a stick easily, but also had the fault of giving false sticks -- that is, signals when none should have been given. Certain fine-grained hardwoods were preferable, at least for many of the operators. For this purpose, mahogany and manzanita were fairly good. Brazilian rosewood or macumba were among the best. (Rosewood fingerboards are common on stringed musical instruments. RHC.)


While the stroking of the reagent's abdomen with a rod was not quite as difficult as the original Abrams method of diagnosis by percussion, it still was quite far up in the scale of difficulty, and very few could be found who could be successfully trained in the method. A good rubbing plate assembly was noticeably less difficult to learn to use, hence it became possible to enlarge the field of practise to include more substantial numbers of practitioners. The rubbing plate became an integral feature of radionic equipment, while E.R.A. retained the use of the reagent. The E.R.A. method has died out since the Electronic Medical Foundation went out of existence some years ago (the organization to which Dr. Abrams willed his fortune, for carrying on his work). Radionics continues to be used openly and freely in England, to a lesser extent in some other European countries, and on a reduced scale in the United States due to pressures brought to bear against it in recent years by the forces of orthodoxy.

(To be continued.)

* * *

San Francisco "Chronicle", Feb. 21, 1969 -- "Washington. About 1200 hospital patients are accidentally electrocuted annually while receiving 'routine medical treatment' or treatment because of faulty equipment, safety investigators have been told. The source of the information was Dr. Carl W. Walter, clinical professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and a surgeon at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston. The disclosures were made by consumer advocate Ralph Nader in testimony before the National Commission on Product Safety.

"Dr. Walter said in a telephone interview that many of the electrocutions occur during diagnostic procedures in which the patient is hooked up to the electronic systems. Almost invariably, he said, the deaths are listed as cardiac arrests -- 'and who's to prove electricity caused the heart stoppages?' For that reason, he said, there have been few law suits over the deaths, and the hazards have been little publicized. The Boston doctor said that most hospital electrocutions occur when untrained hospital employees link incompatible units. But other such deaths are caused by surges of high voltage, leaking from equipment, poor circuit design and connecting patients to electronic equipment for long periods of time -- as in intensive care units.

"Dr. Walter said he obtained the figure on electrocutions from an actuary for a national insurance company whom he would not name. The number, he said, is close to his own estimates."

* * *

"The young will continue turning on no matter how many of them are turned off into prisons. Such legal restrictions only reflect the cultural revenge of a dying culture against its successors."

Marshall McLuhan in March "Playboy"

Continue with "The History and Development of Radionics" (Part VI)

Albert Abrams.

Further Reading

  1. Abrams, Albert. New Concepts in Diagnosis and Treatment: Physico-clinical Medicine, the Practical Application of the Electronic Theory in the Interpretation and Treatment of Disease: with an Appendix on New Scientific Facts. San Francisco, Calif: Philopolis Press, 1916. Print. [Digital: <http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/001588073>; reprints are available through BSRF in our classic xerographic format: <#B0210, "New Concepts in Diagnosis and Treatment">]
  2. Abrams, Albert. Human Energy. San Francisco: Philopolis Press, 1914. Print. [Digital: <http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008904901>; reprints are available through BSRF in our classic xerographic format: <#B0211, "Human Energy">]
  3. Abrams, Albert. Spondylotherapy: Physio and Pharmacotherapy and Diagnostic Methods Based on a Study of Clinical Physiology. San Francisco: Philopolis Press, 1914. Print. [Digital: <http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/002089090>; reprints are available through BSRF in our classic xerographic format: <#B0177, "Spondylotherapy">]

An introductory review of Abrams and his work can be found in
"ERA: Electronic Reactions of Abrams" (#B0025).