Just before large gatherings were banned due to coronavirus, but after it hit the news, I attended a Mind, Body, Spirit convention in Sydney. As expected, it was full of clairvoyants and generalist psychics. But there were also a lot of people describing themselves as "medical intuitives".
According to various sources, so-called medical intuition involves reading and gathering "energetic information" from the body, in order to heal it. One such practitioner and speaker at the convention was 60-year-old Julie Lewin (pictured above), who told the crowds she could “create the perfect DNA to protect you from coronavirus”. Julie would later explain to me that scientific evidence just isn't her thing: "It doesn’t matter to me whether it's scientifically proven to be true," she asserted. "It’s that I believe it to be true.” For the record, I’m no psychic groupie; I’m writing a book examining psychics' unchecked power. So this was research. But I was intrigued by Julie’s grand claim, and called her at home in Queensland to find out more.
“I feel and see inside people’s bodies," Julie told me, when asked how she operates as a medical intuitive. "A movie in my mind plays, so I can see what’s happening.”
Julie has been doing this work since she was 25, when a psychic told her she had a “gift.” Prior to that she was in corporate life, and among other things ran her own secretarial business. These days she makes a living by running retreats, where she teaches her methods for $997 AUD. She believes everyone has intuition and can learn the techniques to heal themselves.
"Medical intuitives genuinely believe they have a magical gift," says Richard Saunders, former President of Australian Skeptics. "It’s largely to do with the constant positive enforcement they get from clients, who are believers to begin with. They surround themselves in a bubble of people who believe the same things. In better times these people slip under the radar, but in times of national emergency they really should be scrutinised, named and shamed."
Trained doctors aren't having it, either. Dr Brad McKay, a Sydney GP (and former host of TV show Embarrassing Bodies) told VICE: “Hearing people talk about ‘medical intuition’ reminds us how important it is to get a formal education."
Julie has no formal medical qualifications. So how can she claim to create immunity from coronavirus? Well, she says, it’s to do with something called "codons"—"the inside spiral of DNA with small dashes coming out from inside the DNA."
“Look," she adds, "I don’t understand the science of it too much, but it’s like a light switch turning on and off. The one thing I don't do is really get into the science of stuff. I use my intuition and do the visualising, because then I get an outcome."
According to Julie, humans have 20 codons switched on and four that are switched off, and to create immunity from coronavirus we need to have all 24 switched on. How do we do that? “I don't feel comfortable giving you the technique, but it’s a visualisation process where basically you’re turning them on” she says. “But it’s better they listen to my voice guiding them through that process than seeing it written down.”
I checked, and codons form a unit of genetic code in DNA. Humans have 20 different amino acids, and 64 possible codons. Julie says she regularly turns on "all 24" of her own codons through visualisation techniques that help her recover faster from conditions like pneumonia. “It’s like when I was flying to Sydney for that event” she tells me. “I noticed two codons weren’t quite switched on, so I switched them on.”
I ask Dr Brad McKay’s for his thoughts. “A ‘visualisation process’ might earn you high points on a Scrabble board,” he says, “but isn’t going to switch your codons off or on.”
In addition to her claims that she can switch codons on and off for her clients, Julie also advises them to “keep out of polarity.” When I ask her what polarity is she says “it’s like Hitler. He polarised people. They loved him or hated him. Staying out of polarity is keeping your body’s charge zen—not too high or low.”
Could this all be the placebo effect, I ask her? “Absolutely” she responds. “ I think our mind is actually the root of many things.”
To find out if the techniques of medical intuitives differ on coronavirus, I also spoke to Catherine Carrigan from Atlanta, Georgia in the US. Catherine describes herself as a "Medical Intuitive Healer" and says she uses her “intuitive gifts to read what’s happening in your body, energy system, emotions, mind and soul.” Like Julie, Catherine claims to be able to help with immunity against Covid-19. “I can help you understand what’ll make you strong enough to survive,” she explains, listing 24 ways she boosts her clients’ immune systems naturally, which include “stop using the microwave,” “cultivate positive emotions through regular prayer,” and “consider liquid silver rather than antibiotics." Catherine's guides are her angels, who “tell me we are living through a very dangerous time".
So who exactly is going to the likes of Julie and Catherine for their unproven claims, and why? Julie put me in touch with a client, 53-year-old Louise Kelly. Louise is a physiotherapist from Victoria, Australia. When her husband, Al, fell from the house roof four years ago, he catapulted face-first onto concrete and had seven fractures in his spine, skull, nose and jaw. He also had whiplash of the spinal cord. From the ambulance, Louise called Julie.
“She said to channel green emerald light through him,” Louise tells me. With one hand holding the phone, the other cradled his head and “worked” on him, she says, while Julie claimed to be doing the same—by remote.
Al was in a neck brace for eight weeks and had to sleep in a chair till he was recovered, five months later. But Louise insists this green-light visualisation had an effect. “As an experienced therapist of 30 years, I’ve never seen anyone heal as quickly from such a severe accident," she says. "Ten days later, his facial skin was almost completely healed, and he was off his pain medication. He got out of bed on Sunday—it happened on Thursday.”
Does she tell this story to many people? “No. For lots of people it’s too weird, too way out there,” she says. “But honestly, it’s a resource we all have and don’t use. There’s so much we don’t know.”
This knowledge gap should be filled with research-backed knowledge, says Dr Brad McKay. Not intuition. That especially applies to our current situation. “Scientists are working hard to find a cure and vaccine to protect us all against coronavirus," he says. "Hearing someone claim to boost your immunity against this potentially lethal virus is insulting to the researchers working day and night to provide us with real solutions.”
My intuition tells me the experts aren't buying it.
Gary Nunn is a freelance journalist. Reach him on Twitter: @garynunn1