Rationality and Irrationality in Ryke Geerd Hamer's System for Holistic Treatment of Metastatic Cancer
The aim of this paper is to examine if the “medical laws” found by the German physician Ryke Geerd Hamer are substantiated by contemporary holistic medical theory. He developed a psychosomatic theory after a personal emotional trauma that he believed resulted in his subsequent development of a testicular cancer. From our analysis, it is clear that the two most fundamental principles of Hamer's work, the psychosomatic “iron law of cancer” (Hamer's first “law”) and the principle of pathogenesis being reversed into salutogenesis (Hamer's second “law”), are well-established principles of holistic medicine today. Hamer's understanding of symbols in medicine, virus and bacteria, and the evolutionary process itself (Hamer's third, fourth, and fifth “law”) differs a great deal from both traditional and contemporary holistic medical theory and we did not find them substantiated. Hamer's understanding of cancer metastasis was built on these failing principles and therefore not substantiated either. Altogether, it seems that Hamer's thinking was basically sound as the most fundamental principles of his work were built on an understanding very similar to holistic medical thinkers of today. We found his postulate that metastatic cancer patients can be healed or their health improved by using his system of holistic medicine likely to be true, at least for some motivated patients. This must be tested scientifically, however, before being accepted. His presentation of his system and work has been idiosyncratic and highly provocative, which has alienated him from the whole medical community.