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Rife machines and cancer

Read about what the Rife machine is and some of the claims related to cancer.

There are several websites claiming that the Rife machine can be used to treat a number of different conditions including cancer. Most of the claims on these websites are personal accounts. They don’t have any scientific research to back them up.

What the Rife machine is

The Rife machine was developed by Royal Raymond Rife in the 1920s. He was an American scientist. The machine is also called a Rife frequency generator.

Rife and his supporters say that each disease or condition has its own electromagnetic frequency. They also say that finding that frequency and producing an impulse of the same frequency will kill or disable diseased cells.

To use the Rife machine you put electrical pads on either your feet or hands. These pads are attached to the machine, which produces electrical impulses. You connect yourself to the machine for a few minutes a day, several times a week.

The Rife machine and other types of similar machines produce low energy waves. There is no evidence that the electrical energy the Rife machine produces can destroy cancer cells.

What a Rife machine costs

A search on the internet brings up different prices for the machine from a few hundred pounds to a couple of thousand pounds.

Lack of evidence for Rife machines

Before any new treatment or diagnostic tool can be used it goes through a long process of development. During this process the researchers test to check that it works, that it doesn’t do any harm, and that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

The Rife machine hasn't been through the usual process of scientific testing. There is no evidence to show that it does what its supporters say it does. There is also no evidence that it doesn’t cause harm.

Research into electromagnetic fields and cancer

Supporters of this treatment say there is reluctance within the medical community to support research into the Rife machine. And some people say there is a conspiracy to stop it being developed. But there have been some developments using electromagnetic energy to diagnose and treat a number of different diseases. And this research is ongoing.

Researchers have been interested in how electromagnetic energy can be used to diagnose and treat diseases for a long time. And there have been some developments that we know help diagnose and treat cancer. For example, x-rays, radiotherapy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. These all use high energy waves and are specialist machines which are proven to work.

Some researchers have been looking into the effects of low level electromagnetic energy on cancer cells. They have found that these low frequencies do seem to affect cancer cells but not normal cells. However, this research is still at an experimental stage, and it’s not clear exactly how it could work. And the electromagnetic frequencies used in this research are different from those produced by Rife machines.

The Rife machine has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America. And the American Cancer Society says that the FDA has warned companies who sell these machines not to make claims that have not been proven.

Possible side effects

Supporters of the Rife machine say there aren’t any side effects. But there have been some reports of electrical shocks and rashes.

Last reviewed: 
04 Feb 2013
  • Questionable methods of cancer management: electronic devices
    No author cited
    CA Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 1994 Mar-Apr;44(2): pages 115-27

  • Cancer cell proliferation is inhibited by specific modulation frequencies
    JW Zimmerman
    British Journal of Cancer, 2012, 106, pages 307–313

  • We looked at many websites when creating this information but they are advertising Rife machines or treatments and they make misleading claims. So we have not included these references or links on the site.

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