Psychic Surgery in South Africa

Psychic surgery or a psychic surgeon may be a new term to many South Africans but in time to come, psychic surgery will undoubtedly become a hot topic here as well. Recent media attention around Gary Mannion, a well known UK psychic surgeon, has brought the field of psychic surgery to the South African public’s attention. So what is psychic surgery and who are psychic surgeons?

Psychic surgery is NOT a branch of any legitimate conventional or alternative health/medical practice as outlined by the relevant health acts within South Africa. Psychic surgeons claim to treat medical conditions through their system of healing by employing bioenergetic healing practices, natural remedies and lifestyle changes. It is important to note that South Africa has very strict guidelines governing any person practicing a medical therapy and psychic surgery is not a recognised therapy (according to the relevant health acts) here in S.A.

The attention around psychic surgery brings an important issue to light which has become a problem throughout South Africa. Many ‘natural health practitioners’ attempt to practice their form of ‘therapy’ claiming medical benefits and ‘cures’ to the unsuspecting public. Any legitimate practitioner from your general practitioner to homeopath and even traditional African healers are now governed by relevant professional bodies that monitor and certify these practitioners after proper training. The onus lies on the public and patient to verify the practitioner’s legitimacy by asking for a registration and/or practice number.

A health practitioner, allopathic or complementary, has to be registered with the relevant council to practice any form of health or medical therapy. This includes alternative health practices such as homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, osteopathy, phytotherapy, therapeutic reflexology, therapeutic aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine and more recently, traditional African medicine. Most psychic and energy healers do not fall within the realm of medicine as defined by the relevant health acts unless the practitioner has a legitimate health or medical qualification. Unqualified practitioners are not allowed to diagnose, prescribe or supervise any form of medical therapy.

A recent South African broadcast about psychic surgery will undoubtedly prompt many South African psychics, clairvoyants and other ‘energy’ healers to label themselves as ‘psychic surgeons’. While these therapies may be helpful to many clients, it should not be mistaken for actual medical practices as outlined in the South African National Health Act, Health Professions Act or the Allied Health Professions Act.

It must be remembered that this is not a recognized or regulated form of medical practice and you as a ‘patient’ may be at risk of any detrimental effects resulting from this therapy. More importantly, the lack of suitable professional monitoring means that you may have little recourse for action against the practitioner should their ‘therapy’ harm you or aggravate your medical condition.

Many faith-based and energy healing practices may be beneficial in terms of spiritual and a general sense of well being but this should not be confused for medical practices and/or therapies as indicated by the abovementioned health acts.

For more information, please read our article on  complementary medicine in South Africa.

Link to the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Link to the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Please note that we do not attempt to discredit psychic surgeons or the practice of psychic surgery but we are informing readers that the term ‘surgery’ and ‘surgeon’ in this context does not indicate any form of medical therapy. Furthermore South African health acts clearly monitors and regulates any form of therapy claiming medical benefits.

One thought on “Psychic Surgery in South Africa

  • May 11, 2009 at 1:55 am

    It is a good idea to educate the public to the differences between Traditional Medicine and holistic or alternative methods. However, after having done so, it is also important that governments do not legislate a peronal choice in the area of health care. Before the advent of pharmaceuticals and the practices of licensed physicians, populations used natural substances with very good results in many areas. I myself combine both Western Medicine and holistic treatments and would be very unhappy if I was told by my government that I could not continue with both.
    Governments need also to make a real effort to understand alternative treatments before they decide how they are to be regulated. Too many times, the people passing the laws know little or nothing of the treatments they are regulating.

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