PA Chiropractor Promoted “Galvanic Skin Measurement” Device to Amish & Mennonites

Can a “galvanic skin measurement” device really discern over 7,000 potential health issues? That’s what one chiropractor was selling to Plain communities. His license is now suspended.


A Commonwealth Court panel has refused to void a state licensing suspension and $10,000 fine imposed on an Ephrata-based chiropractor accused of placing a misleading advertisement in a newspaper aimed at the Mennonite community.

The ad that got chiropractor Lawrence Charles Bennett in a bind dealt with health benefits he claimed to have been achieving by using Asyra, a “galvanic skin measurement device” that faces considerable skepticism in the mainstream medical community.

Bennett placed his ad in a monthly newspaper popular among Amish and Mennoites:

Bennett placed the contested ad for Asyra, an alternative medical device that is not approved by the state chiropractic board, in The Plain Communities Business Exchange in 2012. The ad was titled “Improve Your Life!” The Plain Communities Business Exchange is a nationwide monthly paper with around 18,000 subscribers among the Amish, Mennonites and other Anabaptist groups.

The claims made about the device:

Bennett identified himself as a chiropractor in the ad and touted the benefits of Asyra, which requires patients to hold two brass handles for a few minutes while connected to a computer that supposedly registers “resonances” involving bodily functions. Asyra can test for “over 7,000 issues present in the body,” the ad stated.

Bennett’s ad stated the Asyra testing cost $170 per patient beyond his standard fee, but would provide patients with readings on “you’re overall state of health” along with “the number of toxins in your body” and which organs those toxins were affecting. It added that Bennett would use Asyra to evaluate the patient’s spine, hips and joints.

Asyra and related devices have come under criticism for their claims by doctors and industry monitors. The machine was not approved by the FDA to be marketed for diagnosis or treatment of patients.

Bennett knew his target

Bennett got in trouble for this, but I am not sure why he was singled out. In Plain publications, these types of ads promoting unproven or unorthodox treatments are common.

Amish skepticism about scientifically unproven treatments is lower than that of the average American. What counts more is what your family member or neighbor testifies about the treatment. The scientific basis of whether something or other actually does what it says, backed by clinical testing, is of less importance.

That is not going to hold across the board of course; there are Amish people who would find the idea of a $150 galvanic skin measurement procedure being able to identify 7,000+ medical issues ridiculous.

But in a close-knit community which places more weight in the experience of loved and known ones, treatments like this can gain a foothold and become popular.

That is not always to the detriment of those treated, however. Untested or scientifically unverified treatments are not necessarily bad for the health.

Some are neutral. Some may be beneficial (including in a placebo effect manner). But if the treatment itself is not harmful, real damage can be done when effective and proven treatments are foregone in place of the unorthodox.

Though in the end, many such products are likely more detrimental to Plain wallets than anything else.

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    1. Lisa Mieth, D. C.

      Not something I would have used

      As a chiropractor for over 25 years this does not seem to be something I would use especially for the claims it makes. Seems more like a Scientology e-meter. Is the chiropractor a Scientologist? I have used thermal spinal readings to help determine where to adjust a patient but nothing that would make these claims. Normal chiropractic adjustments are overall helpful to the body, and overall health but it seems like this guy was just scamming this group of people.

    2. Lydia Good

      This is a travesty

      This is reminiscent of the hucksters and shysters of by gone years. Did you know you can buy snake oil on Amazon to reverse hair loss? People actually buy it. There’s a sucker born every minute. Shame on these dishonest people.

    3. Cheryl Johnson

      Fancy Gadgetry

      I thought computers were considered too modern and they run on electricity, which is supposed to be shunned.
      How can they hook themselves up to a computer and still be considered plain?
      I don’t understand why Amish and Mennonites are more susceptible to this sort of thing than the general public. I never would have guessed. They usually have more discernment than that.


      Plain People and Alternative Treatments

      Sometimes regular medical treatment can be quite expensive for people who do not have any medical insurance. Sometimes “natural” products are seen as being “better” than drugs or other invasive treatments. Some of the plain people have a long history of using alternative or “natural” methods. And some old fashioned remedies have been proven to work.

      There will be an Amish Conference held at the Young Center at Elizabethtown College, Pa. which seeks to help healthcare providers understand Amish interaction with healthcare. Hopefully it also serves to alert more Amish and Mennonites to the dangers of some of these”questionable” treatments.

      The conference is titled “HEALTH AND WELLBEING IN AMISH SOCIETY.”

      Who should attend? Health care providers, hospital administrators, social workers and mental health professionals, medical researchers, and others who study or serve members of the Amish or other Plain communities. The conference will provide a forum for exploring the intersection of medical and cultural factors in understanding and promoting health, healing, and well-being; enhancing service to Plain communities in culturally sensitive ways; learning about new developments in Amish-related medical research; and considering questions of health care policy and access for a distinctive minority population.

      I am in no way connected with this conference so am not advertising for it. If I had time I would love to attend but probably won’t be able to. I expect Erik will be there.

    5. Diane Hill

      Similar chiropractic TX seemed odd to me for my Amish friend.....

      My Friend, who is Amish went from NY to Pennsylvania for a tx th cost her $20,000!! She had to put this ‘Ozone’ machine near her wounded leg for a certain time each day.He lent her the machine. Isn’t this an astronomical amount of money?? Sounded fishy to me??