Scientology does detox

David E. Root, M.D

SN&R Photo By Larry Dalton

David E. Root, M.D, has traveled the world on a mission to rid its inhabitants of fat-soluble toxins. From Chernobyl to Ground Zero in New York City, Root has promoted a detoxification program that he claims has helped thousands suffering ailments like radiation poisoning and asbestos exposure.

Many medical professionals have criticized the program he uses as ineffective and scientifically unsound, even dangerous. Critics point out that the program’s inventor, the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, rested his scientific authority on a mail-in diploma from the now defunct Sequoia University.

Root authored the forward in the latest edition of Hubbard’s book Clear Body Clear Mind, and sits on the advisory board of Narconon, an international drug-treatment franchise that is claimed by some to be a front for the Church of Scientology. Despite the critics, Root, a Presbyterian, stands by the method he has been administering for more than 20 years.

How did you get into this?

When I retired from the Air Force, I was board certified in aerospace medicine. … When I came to Sacramento I didn’t want to do just aerospace medicine, I wanted to do occupational medicine. … So, I came here in ‘81 and started seeing some chemical-exposure cases. One that comes to mind is two gentlemen that were painters working inside a 650,000 gallon water tank, painting the inside of the tank without any personal protective equipment. And, of course, they were inhaling all these fumes because they were inside this giant tank with no proper ventilation. And they both got very sick. … I saw them about a year after the exposure. They were still sick, still ataxic, that is staggering, walking down the hallways, bumping into both walls and so forth. …

About that time, just serendipitously, I came across a company that was just starting up downtown in Sacramento, which had this detoxification program. I referred the two guys in. They didn’t get as much improvement as I had hoped. But they were both improved to some degree.

But I started referring in patients who had been exposed to street drugs, some people exposed to prescription drugs. Both narcotics and some of the psychoactive drugs are fat soluble. They did extremely well. I ended up incorporating that program into my practice. We just co-located, put it all together in one package.

How does it work?

First thing they’ll do is they will take a dose of niacin. Now, niacin is a key ingredient because it does several things. It’s a very potent mobilizer of fat. We want to mobilize fat thereby releasing from fat stores the toxins that are stored therein. They’re released into the bloodstream. The other thing it does is causes this peripheral flushing, which also promotes sweat.

Then we exercise them. So they exercise up to tolerance. It could be 10, 20, 30 minutes, whatever. It gets the heart really pumping hard. That also mobilizes fat.

What do you mean when you say mobilize fat?

When you jog you are burning up glycogen and you’re burning up the carbohydrate. And at some point you exhaust that. And if you keep running your body says, “Whoa, what’s going on here? I gotta’ have some more energy.” Then it starts breaking down the fat, mobilizing fat, and you get the fatty acids into the bloodstream and they provide energy.

About the time the niacin flush hits, into the sauna they go. Now, their heart’s pumping from the exercise, they’re flushed from the niacin and they sweat. So they sit in a moderate-level sauna sweating very profusely. Now they stay in the sauna up to tolerance. We don’t say you have to stay in this long or that long. They come out, they shower and get this stuff off of their bodies. They replenish fluids and they replenish electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. They cool down.

As [sweat] comes out, with it will come some of this toxic material that has been floating around. We’re not sure but we think probably as much as 20 to 60 percent comes out through the skin.

How long does the process take?

We try to have them here five hours a day and seven days a week. … It averages about 30 to 34 days.

This method has been linked to Scientology and has been criticized by some as unproven and ineffective.

Here’s the problem. It sounds very simplistic. … The other problem that we see is ‘Oh it’s just scientologist stuff.’ If you look my name up on the Internet, you would think I was a scientology buff. I am an elder in the Presbyterian Church. I am not a scientologist. We have never tried to proselytize for the Church of Scientology. It’s just the fact that, by gosh, Hubbard put this thing together. He deserves recognition for that. … We have no ties to the Church of Scientology. We don’t send any money to them. We don’t try to sign up people to be scientologists. We’re very upfront about how L. Ron Hubbard developed this. Yeah, I got some scientologists on my staff. So what?