Dowsing, Healing & Radionics

Lessons from dowsing’s first cousin

Tony Scofield interviewed by Ced Jackson

The definitive history of dowsing is set out in ‘The Divining Hand’ by Christopher Bird.

Two other wonderful books by Bird - both written jointly with Peter Tomkins - are ‘The Secret Life of Plants’ and ‘Secrets of the Soil’.

In these books Bird and Tomkins provide us with a comprehensive overview of dowsing, and subtle interactions between people and the natural world.

The books point out that dowsing is not only used to detect and diagnose objects, problems, etc, but can also be used as a form of intervention, especially the improvement of people’s health.

Running parallel to the history of dowsing in the twentieth century is the practice of radionics. In its early days radionics could almost be described as ‘medical dowsing’ ~ tapping a patient’s stomach and listening carefully to the results.

In 2003 the Radionic Association1 celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, and to mark the occasion published ‘Horizons in Radionics : Energy Medicine for the 21st century’2. The book was edited by Tony Scofield, then chair of the Radionic Association and currently editor of its Journal. Tony is also a member of the BSD and its Professional Register.

The book provides a remarkable overview of the history and current practice of Radionics. It also includes an article by Tony which is the best and most comprehensive I have yet read on the subject of Geopathic Stress and Health. The article provides a host of references, sources, and hence suggestions for future reading. Tony is also the author of a very interesting article on ‘Shamanism, Healing and the Dowsing Tradition’ at

Tony is therefore probably the best person to provide a beginner’s guide to the subject of Radionics, and its links with dowsing.

Ced Jackson

The Abrams System, with a ‘witness’ 
in the circuit

CJ : Could you describe how radionics arose

TS : Radionics is generally considered to have evolved from the work of Albert Abrams, an American doctor. Around the time of the First World War he found that he could detect disease in a patient by tapping or percussing their stomach. In the presence of disease the sound changed. This discovery had already been made by George Starr White but Abrams took it further by introducing a series of variable resistances (of the kind used in electrical equipment) between the patient or witness e.g. a blood spot of the patient and the ‘subject’ whose abdomen was being percussed.

Albert Abrams

A healthy subject was used for percussion as many of the patients were too sick to stand and undergo this procedure. By altering these variable resistances he was able to more accurately identify specific diseases. Each disease was characterised by a specific resistance. Because electrical resistances were used his reactions were termed the ‘Electrical Reactions of Abrams’ (ERA). Later workers realised that the apparatus had no electrical credibility and so they replaced the concept of resistance with ‘rates’ which were the numbers on the dials of the variable resistances which are still used in many radionic instruments to this day.  


Abrams original method, from Transactions of the Ninth Quinquennial International Homeopathic Congress 1927.

From the paper ‘The Emanometer research and homeopathy’ by W.E.Boyd. Published by John Bale, Sons & Danielsson, London.

Percussion essentially gave a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer and as it was not an easy technique to use - and required a healthy subject - it is not surprising that it was soon replaced by dowsing techniques such as the stick pad or pendulum.

Many different types of instruments evolved from Abrams’ work even during his lifetime, and the term ‘radionics’ was coined by the operators of one of the most popular-~ the Calbro-Magnowave - towards the end of the 1920s, after Abrams’ death in 1924.

Abrams’ work inspired Ruth Drown to develop her own method and she was probably the most influential American practising what we would now see as radionics until the 1950s, but she refused to call it by that name as she felt her method was distinctly different. With time we have realised that it most probably wasn’t, having the same basis as all the other methods. Although Drown had the most significant early influence on radionics development, the term ‘radionics’ - rather than her own description - has prevailed as the name of the technique we use today.

Radionics has continued to evolve and is now much more sophisticated than it was some 80 years ago, having, for example, introduced concepts from eastern mysticism through the writings of Alice Bailey.


CJ : Would you like to describe the links between radionics and dowsing, and where you think the two go their separate ways


TS : Well, for a start radionic practitioners have to be able to dowse both to analyse their patients for problems and to select suitable treatments. Although the earliest practitioners used a stick pad, whereby their moving finger stuck on a rubber membrane when a ‘yes’ response was obtained, most practitioners these days will use a pendulum because, for most people, it is easier to become proficient in this technique. Many manufacturers, however, still build their instruments with a stick pad, but you don’t have to use it!

Many of us in the Radionic Association recognise that practitioners are essentially healers and the training our practitioners undergo is as much a discipline to develop their innate healing ability as it is to become proficient in the physical techniques of the therapy. For most people just being able to dowse and select remedies will probably not be the most effective way to help people, although there will always be exceptions of powerful natural healers who don’t need training and I am sure we can all help ourselves and others to some extent by these methods. …practitioners are essentially healers and the training our practitioners undergo is as much a discipline to develop their innate healing ability as it is to become proficient in the physical techniques of the therapy
I suppose the main difference between medical dowsers and radionic practitioners is that our practitioners conduct an incredibly penetrating analysis of the patient, including an analysis of the subtle bodies which are believed to have an important influence on the physical, and then they provide a series of specific treatments to bring the patient back to an optimum condition. The analysis and treatment has evolved over many years and has proved its effectiveness. By being trained in a standard technique means that practitioners sing to the same song sheet and can provide mutual support in what can sometimes be quite a lonely occupation. Perhaps the methods used by medical dowsers are not usually so comprehensive but, having said that, if they are good healers they will probably obtain good results with their patients.  




…being trained in a standard technique means that practitioners sing to the same song sheet and can provide mutual support in what can sometimes be quite a lonely occupation

CJ : There are many different kinds of dowsing tool, L Rods, Y Rods etc. Do you think that Radionics ‘boxes’ are just another form of dowsing, or does radionics differ in some more profound way ?

TS : No, we use the pendulum for dowsing just like many other dowsers. The role of the ‘box’ has been debated ever since radionics began. There are some who believe the box actually transmits a corrective vibration to the patient or to a remedy which the patient will take (this is called radionic potentisation). I don’t believe this at all but suggest the box is merely a tool to focus the consciousness of the practitioner while they do their work. I have discussed this at two conferences this year and will publish the paper in the Radionic Journal. I have to say this view is by no means accepted by all although it is essentially that proposed by David Tansley, a most influential practitioner, nearly 25 years ago.

I believe healing is done by the harnessing the power of the right brain, which acts at a subconscious level, but in order to be effective the logical left brain has to be kept occupied with something else! Perhaps using the instrument achieves this aim! Perhaps the instrument along with the rates we set up on it acts like a charm or talisman and, after the practitioner has set it up using the right brain energies, continues the work when the practitioner has finished. William Tiller has done a lot of work recently on Intention Imprinted devices and shown that an intention imprinted into an object can achieve its effect when transported to another laboratory. What the energies involved are is anybody’s guess! We do not know but we do know that something is happening and I believe it involves human consciousness. That’s all I can really say at the moment.


CJ : Though dowsing is usually thought of as a way of finding or detecting something, it can also be used as a form of intervention, either for example (a) as an adjunct to healing (e.g by identifying the best flower essence for a particular condition), or (b) as the primary intervention and/or showing that healing is in process. Could you describe the different diagnostic and intervention modes of radionics, if they can be separated in that way.

TS : I think the easiest way would be to describe what a practitioner does as all steps will involve dowsing. A witness, usually a lock of hair these days, would be obtained from the patient and this would be the link with the patient.

This would always be in the practitioner’s work space, indeed usually on an instrument or diagram. The first step would then be to decide whether radionics was the most appropriate therapy. If not they may dowse for the most appropriate therapy. If radionics was appropriate they would determine if they were the most appropriate practitioner and it was appropriate for them to treat at that time. If not then they would dowse for alternatives.

The next step in dowsing would be to determine what systems and organs were out of balance and what was causing this. This is all done from a comprehensive series of charts developed over many years. Once an analysis sheet has been completed the practitioner would decide which organs or systems needed optimising first and set up the corrective rates or patterns on the radionic instrument or perhaps prepare a potentised remedy using the instrument. The rates are obtained from the sheets or rate book. The period of treatment would be determined and, if lengthy, the practitioner would dowse regularly to check that all was proceeding well or if a new intervention was required.

Experienced practitioners have developed all sorts of ancillary techniques that are often unique to themselves to expedite the process but they would invariably involve dowsing for selecting the appropriate interventions.

CJ : Because one branch of radionics uses boxes which look like pieces of electronic equipment, is it fair to say that radionics is really ‘Dowsing with Dials’, or is there a better way of describing the links between dowsing and radionics ?

TS : As you intimate not all radionic instruments have dials; some, like the Pegotty board, set up patterns, and Malcolm Rae developed a system where the rates, set up on the dials, were replaced by patterns on cards which are inserted into a suitable instrument. I think it is important to remember that dowsing is used to ask questions to obtain a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, as it is in many other areas of dowsing, or to select a number or a factor from a fan chart, a colour for example, when the pendulum will swing towards the appropriate factor.

Dowsing with Dials ?

Malcolm Rae Base 44 instrument


A Pegotty Board, which uses patterns rather than dials

© Tony Scofield

CJ : What do you think radionics has to teach dowsing, and vice versa ?


TS : I think it would be fair to say that radionics is the natural step for dowsers who wish to improve their healing ability.

Radionics certainly illustrates the importance of discipline in forming unambiguous questions, which is often more difficult than most dowsers may think. It also illustrates the value of having a well-organised protocol for obtaining the information necessary to understand the problem of the patient and determining a suitable treatment. The analytical technique that radionics has evolved over the years provides a powerful tool in understanding what is at the root of a patient’s problems and I am sure many dowsers interested in medical aspects would find it extremely useful in their work.

The role of subtle bodies in health has been developed in radionics and may well be of interest to medical dowsers.

Dowsing has provided the opportunity for radionic practitioners to consider new possible stressors that may affect their patients. The best example would be geopathic stress which is related to dowsable reaction or energy lines. This invaluable concept came directly from the dowsers and is now included in the radionic practitioners’ analysis. Techniques such as determining the vitality of food by dowsing on a scale is also used by many practitioners in assessing suitability of diets for their patients. I think that, rather than dowsing techniques themselves, it is some of the uses that dowsers put their skills to that have been, and will be, taken up by radionic practitioners where they see that they could be of help. Radionics is always evolving and open to new ideas.


CJ : If a dowser wanted to explore radionics, what are the first steps ?

TS : Without doubt the best way is to attend the Radionic Association’s weekend Foundation Course which is held twice a year in April and October. In a series of talks and practical sessions you will be introduced to all aspects of radionics by a number of experienced practitioners. The weekends also have students attending at various stages of their training so there is a good opportunity to find out what the full three-year part-time training course involves. The Foundation Course is a necessary first step for those who wish to start professional training. Details of the courses can be obtained from the office and the web site (


CJ : On the last but one page of ‘Horizons in Radionics’, you quote someone as saying that radionics is a form of ‘instrumented prayer’, and someone else as describing the radionic transmitter as ‘a type of "instrumented prayer" system with an amplification mechanism embedded in it’. I was fascinated by this description as I use the ‘prayer/request’ system of Joey Korn, which has the benefit of being capable of being precisely targeted (instrumented?) on an issue by carefully choosing the words used. Could you say a little more on ‘instrumented prayer’


TS : In prayer we are appealing to a higher authority for help, essentially through a ritual. The use of the term ‘prayer’ in the context of radionics really highlights that ultimately we don’t know what we are dealing with. The more we look into healing the more mysterious it appears and I have always felt that if anyone claims they understand what is happening then they are almost certainly wrong! But something does happen and hence there must be some sort of energy exchange. But we have no idea of the mechanisms involved.

Those people who have used the term ‘instrumented prayer’ acknowledge the mysteriousness of radionics and that there is something behind it that we cannot comprehend. The procedure for analysis and treatment is certainly a well-organised ritual akin to those used throughout cultures in what might broadly be described as ‘prayer’. And as, for many radionic practitioners, an instrument is part of their ritual then the term ‘instrumented prayer’ would appear appropriate; it doesn’t have to have a religious context, just that something beyond our ken is involved, although many practitioners acknowledge that there is some higher authority at work in the universe, but most are quite laid back about what it is!

Rather like your prayer/request system the analysis does provide a very precise desired outcome which the practitioner then tries to achieve using the ritual of treatment. One thing you and other healers may like to consider is recent work that has shown that prayer tends to be more effective when the outcome is left to a higher authority rather than specifically described! This would certainly make the procedure simpler but the ritual would still be necessary, I think, in order to harness the relevant energy, whatever that may be.

Tony Scofield:





I think it would be fair to say that radionics is the natural step for dowsers who wish to improve their healing ability.


1. The Radionic Association : Tel./Fax. 01869 338852. Email:; Website:

2. ‘Horizons in Radionics’ is available from the BSD bookshop for £14.99 with £y postage (BSD contact details)






Go back to the Articles section