Theta healing (or ThetaHealing™) is woo for people in a hurry. It claims to facilitate instant changes in a client’s belief systems and, indeed, physical body.
It was developed by Vianna Stibal, a naturopath who claims to have healed herself of cancer instantly in 1995. Not that IT CURES CANCER!!! or anything, except her followers think it does.
Theta healing is applied quantum woo combined with the Law of Attraction and some science woo around theta brain waves. The practitioner uses some applied kinesiology then thinks the right thoughts toward the cosmic all (whatever that actually is) to fix the patient's limiting beliefs, including those in their DNA.
 How many strands of DNA do we activate?
“”We have 2 strands of DNA in 46 chromosomes, but when we activate DNA we activate the phantom strands, giving the appearance to the intuitive of 12 Strands, but really to the trained intuitive observer there is hundreds. Don’t worry about the little stuff, when you command an activation, everything is activated including mitochondria.
|—Theta healing FAQ|
The claims for the effectiveness of Theta Healing are a textbook exercise on using anecdotal evidence and cherry picking testimonies to support claim. The assertions of efficacy are based on documented claims of people who will state that their tumour or injury was healed through Theta Healing.
At first glance, what is lacking in these claims is any mention of the placebo effect. Medical studies consistently show that a sugar pill placebo can cause patients to experience a change in their symptoms. It is for this reason a medical treatment must demonstrate consistently higher success than a similarly administered placebo, and Theta Healing is absolutely no exception to this. From this, we can try to make some good guesses as to how effective Theta Healing actually is. Vianna Stibal claims, on her website, to have seen some 40,000 patients. Taking her at her word (caveat emptor!), even if Theta Healing could generate the same success as a controlled sugar pill, there should be thousands of documented healings or testimonials. This number of people undergoing dramatic healings of serious diseases, or even just extreme improvement in their symptoms and coping mechanisms, is not insignificant. If the treatment was effective, by definition, there should be far more than this.
The entire Theta Healing marketing program is based on the same small number of unverified and unverifiable testimonials. Even being generous there may be 100 unique healing testimonials published worldwide. This is somewhat short of the expected number even if the technique was a particularly impressive placebo.
So, by crunching a few numbers we can guess at the actual effectiveness of the technique. If Stibal claims to have seen 40,000 clients and her thousands of certified Theta Healing instructors and practitioners have seen another 20,000 at least (that's barely 10 clients each), this indicates to any rational observer that the success rate of Theta Healing is, generously, 600 successes in 60,000 clients. Or about 1%. In other words, using the data provided by the Theta Healing establishment on their own website, data that should make it look good, the most generous estimate of the effectiveness of Theta Healing is about 1%.
Unfortunately, given the lack of education and sophistication of the founders and most proponents of Theta Healing, these 1% are hailed as miracle cures and "proof" of the effectiveness of the "technique." Hence how the evidence provided is merely a textbook case of cherry picking. This leaves the process as nothing more than an expensive series of workshops and visits, that may make you feel better, but no more so than any similar, woo-free, activity that you can get for free.
Mentioning "cancer" in the ads is attracting the sort of attention it deserves.
Ms Stibal is also fond of throwing around lawsuits concerning people criticising her.
ABC-TV Australia had a few words about her followers' propensity for being sure that IT CURES CANCER!!! even if that isn't stated in that wording in official materials.
 See also
- ↑ http://www.thetahealing.com/about-thetahealing.html
- ↑ http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/placebo-effect
- ↑ http://scepticalletterwriter.blogspot.com/2010/08/vianna-stibal-and-her-cancer-cures.html
- ↑ http://www.thetahealing-unmasked.com/
- ↑ http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2259588.htm