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Benhayon link to Lennox conference

A conference on men’s health at Lennox Head this weekend has links to controversial alternative therapy provider Universal Medicine.

On Tuesday, Echonetdaily ran an article by the event’s MC Adam Warburton on a local bricklayer who had managed to turn his life around after falling into a pattern of heavy drug use and alcohol abuse.

The story was offered to Echonetdaily by Mr Warburton, who submitted it on behalf of conference organisers Real Media Real Change (RMRC).

He subsequently admitted to Universal Medicine’s involvement in the establishment of RMRC.

Mr Warburton told Echonetdaily that both he and the story’s subject, Tony Steenson, are members of Universal Medicine, which he said was ‘like a religion’.

Last year Echonetdaily and a number of other news sources ran a series of articles on Universal Medicine, which has been described as a ‘cult’ by its critics, following publication of a story about one woman’s experiences with the group on Sydney-based medical website Medical Observer.

That story is still online and can be read in full here.

Group leader Serge Benhayon told local media at the time he was being targeted by a small group of detractors.

In a letter to Echonetdaily recently, Mr Benhayon has denied the group is a cult.

‘I run a business – there is no cult, no group and no members. As a client of Universal Medicine, the business, you choose to attend, you pay, you get the service and you leave, returning if you so choose to,’ he said.

A complaint to NSW Health Care Complaints Commission last year about five doctors connected Universal Medicine was subsequently dismissed.

The complaint was lodged by Queensland-based alternative therapist Esther Rockett, who also blogs about the group using the alias ‘Darkly Venus’.

She told Echonetdaily, ‘those were not acted upon because I was unable to name any patients harmed’.

Ms Rockett said that an event sponsored by Real Media Real Change marking International Women’s Day at Lennox Head in March this year was deregistered as an official International Women’s Day event after she lodged a complaint about the group.

She said the new conference suggested a change in tack for the group which previously ‘targeted women with its therapies… [and] has now turned its attention to men’.

Mr Warburton told Echonetdaily the conference organisers ‘find ourselves in a difficult position because of the detractors, who we have a legal case against’.

Ms Rockett says there is no ongoing litigation between herself and Universal Medicine.

‘We are the target of a troll campaign,’ Mr Warburton told Echonetdaily.

As a result, every time we do something publicly we have to justify who we are, as if we have some hidden agenda,’ he said.

‘It’s a difficult situation to be in. If I put Universal Medicine in [publicity] it looks like we’re actively recruiting. If not, it looks like we’re trying to recruit underhandedly.

‘That’s why we put the origins information in the Real Media Real Change website.

‘At that conference, you won’t hear about Universal Medicine once. It’s not about that,’ he said.

According to the RMRC website the ‘team met at the courses and workshops of a highly respected and sought after esoteric healing practitioner and presenter by the name of Serge Benhayon, founder of complementary healing clinic Universal Medicine’.

‘Over a period of 48 hours the RMRC team would witness how hate-bloggers would successfully co-opt the media to have highly-charged and defamatory lies about Benhayon and his family (including his young adult children), appear in print from the local paper to the New York Post.’

The website goes on to claim trial by media for the group and its programs.

Ms Rockett told Echonetdaily the recently added information page only appeared on the website after she posted about the connection on her blog.

The conference takes place this Sunday November 17 at the Lennox Head Community Centre.

This article has been amended following publication, taking into consideration feedback from both supporters and critics of Universal Medicine.


22 responses to “Benhayon link to Lennox conference”

  1. eddy says:

    I went to a couple of the talks a while back and Serge Benhayon has some ‘out there’ ideas but he basically borrows from Tantric, Taoist and Buddist concepts of Energetic Impress or what are the real reasons behind how we behave and treat ourselves and other people. I think he is very anti drugs and modern pharmaceuticals; alcohol, pot and even caffeine and sugar but not in a preaching way – he basically tells people that their ways of living are doing a lot of harm to themselves and their loved ones physically and energetically. The meetings are zealous as a lot of participants fully support him but they are also uplifting and full of positive energy. In our alcohol and drug fuelled culture I think the things he says are just a bit too close to the bone for some people. I am not a member of this group, this is just my personal opinion.

  2. It would be edifying if the this paper would actually do some factual reporting instead of rehashing old lies perpetrated by people who are disaffected. Serge Benhayon has never, ever stated that he can “cure cancer”. This is just one of the lies that your paper perpetuates, it really very sloppy editorial work on your part. I have attended many of Serge’s presentations over the years and never has he “targeted women” with his therapies or in any other way. The people who attend his presentations are intelligent and articulate people who are well able to make their own judgements about the content of lectures they choose to attend. It is certainly time your paper realised this and stopped listening to a few disgruntled people.
    Rowena Parkes

    • Sue says:

      Are you serious, Rowena?

      “I have attended many of Serge’s presentations over the years and never has he “targeted women” with his therapies or in any other way.”

      What do you call Esoteric Womens Health Pty Ltd? Esoteric Breast Massage, Esoteric Uterus Massage with Curtis Benhayon and Esoteric Ovary Massage?

    • Melissa says:

      Rowena, the story is about how Wharburton wrote a piece without saying he and the guy he was writing about were in the same group, and the group is the motivation for the meeting. Why is it necessary to hide the connection if it is all so great? I’ve been to a few treatments with Serge years back and a meeting and I had no doubt he does target women (most of his treatments are for women. Plus women development groups, etc) … After two meeting I didn’t go back. ….. I also know quite a lot of people who are affected negatively by Universal Medicine who probably don’t say anything at all. But how can it just be one or two disgruntled people if everything was honky dory. Where there’ s smoke there’s fire!

  3. Jane Hardy says:

    Thank you for providing a counterpoint to the … puff-piece written by Adam Warburton. Consumers have the right to know exactly what they are in for. I have to note, however that I find the claim that Universal Medicine will not be mentioned at this ‘Men’s Confetence’ slightly hard to believe. Unless I’m mistaken, Serge Benhayon will be one of the speakers at the event, and … the notion that Benhayon and his followers will not be attempting to steer people toward Universal Medicine is rather doubtful.

    • Henrietta Chang says:

      Yes you are mistaken Jane, I have just attended the conference at lennox head and I did not see Serge Benhayon – he was not a guest speaker. Instead I had the opportunity to listen to many inspiring talks from men from all walks sharing how they have made more loving choices in self care and how this has enormously changed their lives and relationships with their loved ones. There was no preaching, simply a sharing of their experience of the difficulties they faced in life that so many of us do face and battle with on a daily basis, and that we have the choice to take responsibility for ourselves and make the changes that allow for more love into our lives. They could even have inspired you, Jane…awesome work RMRC and all the presenters!

    • Kathleen says:

      Hi Jane, it is a great shame that you were not able to be inspired by the article written about the local bricklayer who managed to turn his life around. Some of us have/ or still do resort to drugs and alcohol in order to bury feelings that we dread to face while others resort to other means of avoidance,such as blame and contempt for any one who dares make different choices. I would also like to point out that what was on offer – the Men’s Conference – was a free community event, so no need to protect the consumer as there was nothing to buy. Also Serge Benhayon was not a guest speaker and did not attend. I know this because I was inspired to attend.

      • Witheld says:

        So if an event is free there is no need for consumer protection?
        If what you say is true I can have a free event where I give away free food I don’t have to disclose ingredients and if anyone gets sick tuff luck?

  4. Bill Cartright says:

    Why is everyone that does not agree with Universal Medicine a “detractor”? Are they really trying to promote a totalitarian world where everyone has to bow to every word that is uttered by Serge Benhayon? I know of many people who have been negatively effected by the influence of this group in the UK, and there is certainly no “legal case” against me or anyone I know. Having an opinion on this group that is less than positive would seem to invite all manner of accusations of “trolling” “bullying” etc etc. Perhaps people should be asking why there is so much controversy around the group and why they are seeking to silence those who speak out against them.

  5. Suzanne says:

    I attended the Brisbane Men’s Health Conference, and it was exactly that – a conference on the current state of the health of men. I learned of the issues pertaining to men today – among them being that suicide is the biggest killer of men between 25 and 44 years old, that prostate cancer kills more men than breast cancer does women, that 16% of men never ever visit a doctor. Among the presenters was a qualified naturopath, thoracic doctor, and qualified teachers, sharing their experiences with men and men’s health issues. Also presenting were men from varying walks of the community who had once been part of the statistics of mental illness, or users of drugs and alcohol, and all who had chosen to make significant changes to their lifestyle, because they knew they couldn’t keep living in that way and have any quality of future life. They were absolutely inspiring. The conference had nothing to do with Universal Medicine, and nor was Serge Benhayon a presenter.
    Real Media Real Change is asking the media to be responsible for their actions, to report honestly and with integrity. Free speech is not an issue. The issue is getting men to simply start to take some action towards their health and their choices in life, to start a conversation. Brilliant and caring for all men, and it is about time.

  6. Gretel says:


    The men’s health conference had men sharing their life experiences about choices they made to take responsibility for their health and reconnect with the world. Men talked about their experiences with family life, depression, health issues and drug use. Sharing how they have opened up to the world and reconnected with the people in their lives in a loving way, and overcoming the challenges that life presented.
    It was an educational day, supporting men and their health, an area which has been neglected by society and the mainstream media.
    Thank you to all the organisers and people involved.

  7. Nicole Ricketts says:

    Yesterday I attended the Men’s health conference at Lennox Head. There were around 200 people there, mainly men. I learnt so much about men’s health, the statistics on what were going on for men in Australia and world wide, and how some local men, who had conquered issues such as heart problems, depression and drugs, have turned their lives around and now are able to inspire other men young and old. Not once was Universal Medicine mentioned nor was Serge Benhayon or any of his family in attendance. The conference was organised by a group called Real Media Real Change. I was so inspired after the conference yesterday that when I arrived home, I had a chance to ‘Start a Conversation” (Which is what the conference was called) with 2 people that never have the chance to talk about some of these issues that not only effect men but also women and children. THAT is what these conferences were intended for and what it was all about. Getting people to just start to be more aware of what is truly going on around them and in the world. So, I was deeply saddened to find that AGAIN this article was published. If these presentations and conferences are not for you, then don’t go. It’s as simple as that. But don’t keep printing lies in the echo. I could see talking to some of the men yesterday that they might just start to view their health a little differently now, that they don’t have a be one of those statistics, as well as the man that I went home to had an awesome conversations with. How can something like that be bad?

  8. Cindy says:

    It is interesting to note here, that in spite of the original detractors focussing on claims that Universal Medicine somehow influences women to leave their husbands and families, here is story that exemplifies the complete opposite. Such a story is truly inspiring, as it is difficult for many to give up the addictive and destructive behaviours that come with alcohol and drug abuse, let alone even admit they have a problem. If Tony Steenson was inspired by his wife or in any part his or her connection with Universal Medicine, to turn is life around, then this can only be considered a great outcome. It is indeed positive testimonial for the Universal Medicine group and its positive potential on the lives of men, women and their families.

  9. Michelle Sheldrake says:

    To me it seems that the issue should not be the links between RealMediaRealChange and Universal Medicien for here again we see the distraction offered by the media away from the REAL issue – the very poor state of MENS HEALTH.
    I attended the Brisbane event with my son and my father and was somewhat astonished by the health facts presented as noted by Suzanne above.
    So where are the stories in the Echo and other news media about men’s health. I noted last night on the news that Alec Baldwins rant with paparazzi got more airtime than news on obersity related health problems in Australia.
    Do our men not deserve more than this? As far as I’m concerned anyone, including Universal Medicine, who is raising awareness of the health issues facing men deserves to be applauded.

  10. Rod Harvey says:

    I notice that Chris Dobney quotes from two anonymous websites to support what appears to be a biased article against Universal Medicine. Interestingly Mr Dobson is prepared to use chosen quotes from two websites, yet not attribute names to those quotes. [In my opinion this is] poor journalism and well below the standards of a newspaper with a history of being open to alternative ideas in society.

    Perhaps if Mr Dobson was to consider a balanced report he would have taken the time to read through some of 1,000 plus blog posts on the Universal Medicine website submitted by normal men and women who have made significant changes for the better in their lives (including myself and my wife).

    In the interests of balanced journalism, I trust that Mr Dobson attended the men’s conference on Sunday at Lennox Head, after all it was free, and I look forward to his report on the truth what was presented, rather than focus on what appears to be a pre-determined bias against a group of people who have made a decision to live their lives based on love and service for humanity.

    • Witheld says:

      You mean the 1000 plus moderated posts?
      Yeah that’s going to give a really balanced view isn’t it?
      All glowing testimonials, nothing negative in sight as it never sees the light of day ?

  11. Victoria Lister says:

    Whether or not Serge Benhayon was in the building, not in the building, behind the event, not behind the event is immaterial to the real conversation that took place on 17 November at the ‘Men’s Health – Starting the Conversation’ – conference in Brisbane. I’ve never heard so many men, so personally and publicly, speak about the difficulties of being boys and growing up ‘men’. I came away with a fresh understanding of the pressures society places on boys to be pretty much what they are not – unnaturally tough, strong and silent… with the high incidences of disease, premature death and depression in men summing up the effects of these pressures. I’m beginning to understood too how little difference there truly is between men and women: when we look at a baby of either sex, one gender is no less tender than the other – yet look at how hardened we have all become. It was inspiring to see so many examples of lovely men on the same stage in the one place, ‘out-tendering’ many of us women. This is a conversation that truly needs to continue, for everyone’s sake. I look forward to the next iteration of this conference.

  12. Lyndy Summerhaze says:

    I attended the Men’s Health Conference at Lennox Head yesterday. I am a health practitioner and I felt it would be a good chance to hear what a group of men had to say about themselves and their health. It was a really informative and balanced conference. A variety of men presented, coming from all walks of life – some speaking about their professional experience as doctors/health practitioners and other speaking about the way their lives were turned around when they began to see that the way they were living was leading to deep unhappiness and ill health. I was blown away by the intelligence, compassion, tenderness, real-ness, and humour of these guys – and I am 65, and have seen a lot in my life.

    There was some delicious food provided (free), and while we were eating, someone accidentally bumped into me and I dropped my plate. Straight away, someone standing near me picked up the plate, got paper towels and cleared up the mess, and then got me a clean plate and helped me get more food – it was a young man whom I did not know who did this. I was very touched by the tenderness and gentleness with which he did all these things – he felt like someone I had known forever. As a University academic, I have been to many ‘high-powered’ conferences all over the world, and I have never experienced anything quite as intelligent and caring as I did at that conference yesterday. Maybe these people are pioneering a new way of truly living – it feels like that to me.

  13. Bill Cartright says:

    Dear Mr Harvey,

    Firstly, a website cannot be anonymous. Both the sites in question have names, as does every other website on the internet, or no-one would be able to find them! A websites authors may choose to be, such is the rights of citizens in a democracy. Having read the blogs for some time and checked recent posts, it is clear the authors have made themselves available to Mr Dobson (and various other regulatory and media organisations) so they’re not really anonymous are they? I think you are aware of this too, if the truth be told.

    Secondly, the 1000+ blog posts you speak of exist on heavily censored blogs that are in essence a PR machine for Universal Medicine. And what proof do I have of this? Many attempts to post myself ordinary, non-offense questions about UM or their activities that have never been published. I know of many other people who have also tried to the same effect. So to suggest they are a glowing assessment of Universal Medicine would be the equivalent of me saying “Look how wonderful cigarettes are, go and check the Philip Morris website and all the cute pictures of people smoking cigarettes and the wonderful advances in nicotine delivery systems they have made. They are amazing!”

    You may continually deride the journalists that have investigated Universal Medicine, but when so many have done so, and all have come to the same conclusion, your voice begins to sound a little tired.

    Yours sincerely,

    Bill Cartright

  14. Gayle Cue says:

    This example of … journalism is exactly why a group of community minded citizens have voluntarily formed Real Media Real Change – because we need REAL MEDIA and this is going to require REAL CHANGE…. And what is the issue? That these citizens met at an unrelated event or place? Since when is there a moral obligation to state where community service volunteers have made previous association? Do we now have to declare that we met at the Writers Festival, or at a nude beach, or at the Presbyterian church? What is this article about, really????

    • Jane Hardy says:

      This article is about the … conduct that seems to be standard operating procedure when it comes to Universal Medicine, Real Media Real Change and their adherents.

  15. James C says:

    I went to the Lennox Head conference and found it to be useful for those that don’t or are not aware of the problems of health. All the information provided were things that are readily available to the public if you pick up any health magazine. They did say at the beginning that it was presented by Universal Medicine. One of the presenters was completely out of touch with how parents of the X and Y generation bring their children up speaking from his past examples as a 60yr old baby boomer. The majority of the people who attended were women in their late 50s or older that cheered about change in parenting from men. I don’t think they realise that this has already happened in my generation.

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