explainer

Painful breast and ovary massages: A look inside Australia's most bizarre 'cult', Universal Medicine.

Serge Benhayon is a spiritual guide and healer who preaches love, light and positive energy.

But beneath the surface, Benhayon’s “socially harmful cult” Universal Medicine is incredibly different.

Before Universal Medicine was founded, Serge Benhayon was just a bankrupt tennis coach from New South Wales’ Maroubra.

But on an ordinary day in 1999, Benhayon, who believes he is the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci, was sitting on the toilet when he had what he claims was an “energetic impress”.

From there, the idea for Universal Medicine was born.

Despite having no medical qualifications or training, Benhayon reportedly invented a number of bizarre treatments, including esoteric breast massage, esoteric ovary massage and ovarian readings.

In particular, Benhayon claimed that his esoteric breast massage treatments could “cure or prevent breast cancer” – a claim which has been strongly denied and dismissed by NSW Cancer Council CEO Dr Andrew Penman.

A former breast massage patient who spoke to the Medical Observer back in 2012 claimed the treatment was “the most horrible thing I’ve ever had in my life”.

But although Universal Medicine’s treatments lack mainstream medical endorsement, according to a report in the Courier Mail, some clients have spent up to tens of thousands of dollars on the services provided by the group.

Boasting over 700 followers, the group has banned most forms of music, except for Universal Medicine’s recommended in-house music, as well as foods containing gluten and dairy, caffeine, alcohol and drugs.

Since the group’s creation, Benhayon has been subject to a number of legal issues.

In 2015, Benhayon was challenged in court after receiving $1.4 million inheritance from devotee Judith McIntyre, who passed away from breast cancer.

In the case, Judith’s children said that Benhayon had advised Judith on how to deal with her family and her will.

Just months before she died, according to private email exchanges shared by Judith’s children, Benhayon told Judith that her kids were “trying to destabilise you, trying to evoke your sympathy“, which was “an attack on the funds that will help The Hierarchy’s work on Earth”.

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Several years later, Benhayon sued his former client Esther Rockett for defamation after she accused him of performing a “sleazy ovarian reading” on her which involved inappropriate touching during a treatment session.

Within the case, the jury found Esther’s claims to be true as there were “reasonable grounds to believe”.

On tonight’s episode of Sunday Night, journalist Matt Doran will dive deeper into the bizarre world of Universal Medicine.

Sunday Night airs tonight at 8.30pm on Channel Seven.

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