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Why Scientology can never submit its drug rehab quackery to scientific review

NarcononSaunaWe’ve been reporting in huge volumes about Scientology’s drug rehab system, Narconon, and the legal troubles it finds itself in for what is its essentially deceptive business model. Narconon promises individualized drug counseling by medical professionals in a safe, drug-free environment, and downplays its connections to the church. But none of that is true. Not only is Narconon a wing of the church under leader David Miscavige’s control, but instead of delivering drug counseling, it puts patients through the same exercises they’d get as beginning Scientologists. It also puts them through a risky and unscientific regimen of extended sauna use and outrageous amounts of niacin and other vitamins. But on what theory is that based? Our frequent contributor, Jeffrey Augustine, shows us that things are even worse than we imagined, as he looks into L. Ron Hubbard’s ideas behind his “detoxification” regimen.

Recently, you may have read about the federal government paying to investigate how Narconon’s sauna program affects Gulf War veterans. But as we pointed out, that study is not examining L. Ron Hubbard’s theories for what the process is doing to the human body, only whether the veterans feel better after weeks of exercise, sauna use, and vitamin intake. And now, Augustine explains to us why Hubbard’s ideas for what’s going on in that sauna will never be examined by science…

Today, we’re going to show you what L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology, and Narconon are withholding from prospective Narconon customers and the public at large.

Hubbard’s premise for his detoxification regimen, called the Purification Rundown in Scientology and the New Life Detoxification Program at Narconon, is this: Drug residues stored in the body “chronically restimulate” stored mental image pictures, and thus cause clouded thinking, mood swings, feelings of being drugged, lethargy, and many other adverse physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual forms of distress. By flushing out drug residues, Hubbard claims, a person attains a clear body and a clear mind.

Here is the essential description of the Purification Rundown as articulated by Hubbard in his book Clear Body Clear Mind:



Let’s illustrate this idea with an image I created:


According to Hubbard, if one flushes the drug residues from the body, then the mental image pictures become inert and cannot negatively affect a person.

This low-quality Church of Scientology illustration (circa 1990) shows the basic Purification Rundown concept: A deficiency of B complex and niacin are created by taking drugs. The solution to that problem is exercise and sweating for five hours a day in a sauna to flush the toxic drug residues lodged in body fat:


I have created another diagram below to show a drug residue as a molecular structure – which is how it would exist if the body were not able to metabolize it and break it down:



Given the diagram above, we ask some physiological questions:

1. How, exactly, can the molecular structures of drug residues stored in the body chronically restimulate mental image pictures?

2. Hubbard states that drug residues are stored in the fat tissues of the body. So, the problematic mental image pictures are also physical structures stored in fat tissues in proximity to the molecular drug residues? By what physical mechanism do the molecular structures of drug residues signal mental image pictures in order to chronically restimulate them?

3. How do molecular drug residues have sufficient stored chemical energy to signal, or otherwise bind to, mental image pictures in order to chronically restimulate them?

4. By what biochemical process is niacin able to selectively target molecular drug residues and purge them from the body via the sweat glands?

5. What is the physiological pathway and mechanism by which niacin bound to drug residues exits the body via the sweat glands?

For illustrative purposes, I created the image below to show a niacin molecule bound to a drug reside molecule exiting the body. I used a large red X to show how the mental image picture has become inert, or inactive, as a result of the niacin flushing the drug residue from the body. This is what Hubbard claims is happening in the Purification Rundown.


In truth, the physiological mechanisms of the Purification Rundown are left unexplained by Hubbard. But Hubbard did put on the record a non-physiological explanation for what was going on. When Hubbard came up with “the Purif” in 1977, it had been more than a decade since he’d developed his infamous history of life on Earth, including its use as an overpopulation dumping ground 75 million years ago by the galactic overlord Xenu. To this day, according to Hubbard, each of us is infested — in fact, we’re made up of — clusters of “body thetans” or “BTs,” which are the unseen incorporeal spirits left behind by Xenu’s genocidal apocalypse.

What Scientology and Narconon don’t talk about publicly is how L. Ron Hubbard explained in Scientology’s secret upper-level teachings the relationship between the Purification Rundown, mental image pictures, and body thetans.


We find Hubbard’s explanation in the materials for “Operating Thetan Level Four,” or OT 4. It can take many years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the level and then to have the opportunity for a Scientologist to read these words…


So, it turns out that the mechanism between drug use and restimulation of mental image pictures are the unseen body thetans which are being restimulated to remember their drug use on other planets in the distant past. You’re being restimulated because your parasitic body thetans are remembering epic drug binges they went through millions or billions of years ago.

Knowing that BTs and BT clusters are affected by drugs, we can finally approach the key purpose of the Purification Rundown and its megadoses of niacin. As Hubbard explains in OT 4:


This then is the secret of the Purification Rundown that only longtime, high-level Scientologists are allowed to learn: Niacin and vitamin B1 cause BTs to drop out of restimulation. According to Hubbard, “This too brings about an improvement in the case condition of the person.”

We can now see Hubbard’s emphasis on megadoses of niacin in the Purification Rundown. Hubbard said that niacin and B1 flush the drug residues from the body and thus allow BTs to drop out of the drug engrams and resultant chronic restimulation in which they are stuck. This causes the BTs to cease mocking up the drug engrams.

Hubbard’s claims about the Purif and how it handles BTs explains why the Church of Scientology is backed into a corner and has never funded any scientific peer-reviewed testing of the rundown’s underlying theory. The Church does not care to disclose to any scientific researchers Hubbard’s metaphysical basis for the Purification Rundown. However, we do so here at the Underground Bunker


[Narconon Tijuana]

Despite the Purif’s inextricable link to Scientology’s OT levels, Xenu, and BTs, none of this is disclosed to prospective Narconon patients. To participate in the Narconon program is to be surreptitiously pulled by Scientology into its core Xenu cosmology. The covert, hidden, and secret goal of Narconon is to handle a person’s BT’s and clusters of BT’s by getting them to blow by use of megadoses of niacin. This will make a person feel better according to Hubbard. More importantly, it just might make Narconon graduates amenable to becoming Scientologists or Narconon staff members.

In the dozens of lawsuits filed by Ryan Hamilton and other lawyers against Narconon just in the last couple of years, one image has been included with court filings as a sort of “smoking gun” proving that Narconon is used as a recruitment program for Scientology. It’s a plaque that was found hanging at a Narconon center in California…


The text highlighted by the red box is key: “There are thousands of beings who have taken their first steps on The Bridge, thanks to the compassion and efforts of this team.” In other words, one of Narconon’s key goals is to get new recruits moving on the “Bridge” — on Scientology’s rubric of courses — after finishing the rehab program.

Hamilton and other attorneys are also making use of a leaked internal memo written by Claudia Arcabascio, Narconon International’s Legal Affairs Director. In this memo, Ms. Arcabascio concedes that there is no scientific evidence for Narconon’s claimed success rates (spelling errors in the original e-mail):

From: Claudia Arcabascio
Subject: Re: Wolverton BBB complaint and suggested response

Cc: “PRODUCTION NNI” , “John Walser A/ED NN FC”
Date: Monday, January 12, 2009, 4:36 PM


Thanks for sent me this. I don’t have a copy of the letter received from the BBB which makes difficult for me to see if the answer is appropiate. However, I see the letter okay less than the comment of “hearsay”. It is a generality. I cannot reach Helena today to review this. Instead, I recommend the following:

1. Correct the letter (more ARC in the letter and change the expression of “hearsay” for specifics and do not say that we have 70% success (we do not have scientific evidence of it).

2. Send a copy of the letter received from BBB to Mike Toth along with the proposed answer (corrected by you).

3. Get okay from the attorney

4. Send the letter (preferably by certified mail return receipt request). Check out this point with Mike Toth first.

If you send to Mike Toth the complete data, it should not take for him more than 10 minutes of his time. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Despite Ms. Arcabascio’s internal memo, we’ve seen Narconon centers claim success rates from 70 to 90 percent in advertisements. (Legitimate drug rehab centers claim more realistic success rates of about 25 percent.)

But even with these astounding success claims, the actual contract Narconon clients must sign makes it clear that the program offers no guarantee:


The Narconon “No Guarantee” clause is cut from the same cloth as all the other Church of Scientology contracts which promise no results, and even admit that you can’t believe what you’re told by Scientology employees…


And just like the rest of the companies in the Scientology business empire, all Narconon contracts require customers to sign away their legal rights to sue Narconon and agree to arbitration:


In this article, I was not able to cover Hubbard’s claims that the Purification Rundown runs radiation out the body. But he did make that claim. So why don’t we all grab our towels, choke down our 5000mg of niacin, and meet in the sauna for the next five hours to run out some of that nasty radiation stored in our bodies? Just be sure to sign that fat stack of legal waivers on your way into the sauna:


— Jeffrey Augustine



We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

Sept 15: Phoenix, Barrett the Honors College, Arizona State University, ASU in Downtown Phoenix campus, Walter Cronkite Theater, 5:30 pm

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis, sponsored by Minnesota Atheists — venue TBD

Sept 27: Portland, Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Ave, 12:45 pm, sponsored by Humanists of Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 25: Melbourne, venue secured (announcement coming later)

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24)


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 2, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward

UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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