Can Nxivm Cure Tourette’s Syndrome? Should We Find Out?

I know two people who say they have been cured of Tourette’s Syndrome thanks to the teachings of Keith Raniere.
One is Marc Elliot, who I have come to know a little, having spent some time with him in Brooklyn in connection with the sentencing of Raniere.
While I don’t agree with Marc on his view of Raniere, I have to come to believe he is an honest person. And I believe him when he says he was cured of Tourette’s Syndrome. He says his cure came thanks to techniques or tools he learned in Nxivm.  I also saw some old videos of him when he had the affliction and he certainly doesn’t have it now.
From a video of Marc Elliot when he had Tourette’s.

 

Marc Elliot [r[ with the other four members of the Nxivm-5 on the eve of the sentencing of Keith Raniere.
Tourette’s Syndrome starts in childhood and involves uncontrollable, repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics), such as repeatedly blinking the eyes, shrugging shoulders, or blurting out offensive words.
Marc had it once and now he does not.
I also interviewed, Isabella, a woman in her 20s, who also told me that Nxivm tools cured her of Tourette’s. One of my correspondents met her and spent considerable time with her during an in-person interview – and is convinced she had Tourette’s once and she is cured now.
If this is true, if there is something in the so-called tools or the teachings that can be used to cure people of Tourette’s, then that should be investigated. It does not make Raniere innocent of any charges.
If there was something that the man, even in his evil, uncovered that could be good, it would be silly and stupid to ignore it.
Keith Alan Raniere AKA Vanguard

Even supposing that everything Raniere intended Nxivm to be was meant to destroy people or control them and Raniere is, as Mark Vicente said, “a malicious, petty, evil and dangerously vengeful sociopath who thrills at our pain,” if he found a method that could cure Tourette’s, that method should be used.

One could argue perhaps that there was no better way for Raniere to control people than to have some very good things sprinkled in with the real evil of his design to keep people hooked.

Is it possible that, while Raniere was looking for ways to mess with people’s minds, he stumbled on this – something big and good? While trying to do evil and searching for a façade of good, he came up with something marvelous.  It was perhaps the very opposite of his intention.
It could be argued that he did not really want to cure any diseases, he wanted to be given credit for curing a disease – all the better perhaps to give them some worse disease, some mental disease or hypnotic induction, in order to trap people, make them dependent, grateful, adoring – all the better to destroy them.
Who knows? Perhaps there was a tiny granule of knowledge in the guy that understood – after using the mind to trick people – that helped him realize that maybe much of Tourette’s is just the mind tricking people.
I don’t know. I’m no expert.  But Raniere is gone. He has been sentenced to 120-years in federal prison.  So what is the harm of looking into this just a little in case there is something genuinely good to be had?
There are an estimated 138,000 young people with Tourette’s Syndrome in America. Their lives are dominated by their affliction. Suppose something Nxivm offered could actually cure Tourette’s for many of them – or any of them?
Maybe it is just plain imagination. According to the CDC, “the tics and other symptoms usually improve after several years and sometimes go away completely. There’s no cure for Tourette’s syndrome, but treatment can help manage symptoms.”
Maybe these people who claim they were cured were going to be cured anyway. But in the two cases I spoke to, the symptoms vanished fast.  There were some others as well.

Much was made by the lawyers for Raniere that he was the inspiration [Clare Bronfman funded it] for a documentary about curing Tourette’s Syndrome called “My Tourette’s”. In addition to Isabella and Marc, three others claim similar cures.

The film was released in 2018, the year Raniere was arrested. It was ignored by the media and the prosecution because of the odious nature of Raniere’s crimes.

The description for the film on IMDb reads: “Five young Americans with severe Tourette’s Syndrome take part in an experimental case study that transforms their lives and raises questions about our perception of the neurological disorder.”

The film won some awards and mentions at various film festivals where it was shown.

Harlem International Film Festival 2018

Winner
Best Documentary
Best Documentary

Milano International Film Festival Awards (MIFF Awards) 2018

Winner
Special Mention
Best Documentary
Nominee
Best Documentary
Alessandro Molatore
Nominee
Best Editing
Alessandro Molatore
Nominee
Best Movie
Alessandro Molatore

WorldFest Houston 2018

Winner
Silver Remi
Best Documentary
Alessandro Molatore

Yosemite International Film Festival 2018

Winner
Honorable Mention
Best Documentary

Which brings us now to a letter of support for Keith Raniere written to Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, by someone whose name is redacted. The name is known to the judge and the lawyers on both sides. And Raniere, of course.

The writer claims that Tourette Syndrome was cured in a single day thanks to what she learned at Nxivm.

Here is the letter:

Honorable Nicholas G. Garaufis

United States District Judge

Eastern District of New York

225 Cadman Plaza East Brooklyn, New York 11201

Re: United States v. Keith Raniere, 18 Cr. 204 (NGG)

Dear your honor,

Before I get into my story, here is a little background about me. I am currently twenty-two years old. I have just recently graduated from CU Boulder as part of the class of COVID. I graduated with a degree in business (entrepreneurship). I grew up in Southern California and have spent my life focusing on my academics, hobbies, relationships, and self-development.

I learned about Keith from a friend who was able to overcome his challenge of Tourette’s Syndrome with Executive Success Programs. I had severe Tourette’s starting in first grade and all the way through high school. I had an opportunity to go work with NXIVM the summer of my freshman year in college to see if I could overcome my personal issues with Tourette’s.

I was very skeptical of Keith and his organization’s ability to help me at first. The best medical professionals I ever received treatment from had felt like medical rookies on the topic of Tourette’s.

Treatment had helped me to deal/cope with my Tourette’s but never could help me conquer it. I decided that I would be willing to take a risk and commit to going to NY if it meant a chance at no Tourette’s.

Since NXIVM was doing a study on Tourette’s Syndrome, the whole experience was free of charge for me. I was able to spend a few weeks, attachment free, getting to know NXIVM, the customers, and many of the members.

Many people had heard about NXIVM’s courses and the high premiums that people would pay to enroll. Now, most people know about NXIVM as the sex cult created by the Vanguard Keith Raniere.

I know that based on my experiences, I have a unique perspective on NXIVM. This is why I want to share my experience with Executive Success Programs (ESP) from my time in NY.

During my three weeks in Albany, I witnessed an organization where reasonable and sane individuals went.

ESP paved a path for extreme personal growth. A place where everyone could discuss and strengthen their beliefs and those around them. I believe that at the core, this was a design to help people.

While in Albany, I witnessed many individuals from all walks of life come together and make huge improvements in their happiness through the Executive Success Programs’ curriculum. The tools Keith created and shared have the power to help individuals re-analyze and be greater than their own personal limitations and fears.

The power of Keith’s tools and community were so strong that my Tourette’s was fully cured within one day of using them. Literally, in a single moment of realization, my Tourette’s crumbled in my head.

A card tower of misleading beliefs I had built up in my mind collapsed. When I had Tourette’s, I used to violently shake my head in multiple directions and also jerk my neck, blink obsessively, make squeaking sounds until I hit the right pitch, kick my own butt with my heels, squeeze together my butt cheeks super tight, and bang my elbows on a desk. These were just a few main tics of the many that I dealt with during my life with Tourette’s.

During a conversation with Nancy Salzman and Lauren Salzman as part of the study, I was able to remember an experience that I had on the first day of first grade. The memory was of a time that I had broken my arm on the playground right before class started. I was playing on the monkey bars when I fell to the ground and broke my arm.

Right after this, the bell rang for class to start, I hobbled off to find my teacher. After telling her my arm hurt (not knowing at the time I broke my arm), she challenged me to sit down and not speak. My teacher hadn’t understood the situation at hand and misjudged my intention of telling her my arm was hurt.

After sharing this memory with Nancy, Nancy asked me, “What was the worst part of your teacher not believing you that your arm was hurting.”

I replied, “It meant that I was not credible!”

It was at this moment where that card tower of beliefs I mentioned crumbled. Me realizing that I created a belief that I was not credible back in first grade helped me realize this was not true. And just like that, in a single moment, the majority of my tics were cured.

Looking back on that memory of first grade, I do remember that later that day I had my first tic which was shaking my head back and forth (so wild!).

Having such a profound realization was only possible with empathy, love, and guidance from the people in NXIVM and the method Keith created. Because of NXIVM, I was able to understand my Tourette’s and to have the courage to face the root of my condition in order to be healed.

Today, I walk around with my same body and not a sign of Tourette’s. Every once in a while, when I’m telling people my story, I may feel the urge to tic once or twice but that’s all that’s left.

I didn’t spend a ton of time working directly with Keith. The only time I did spend with Keith was at a pick-up volleyball game within the organization. I thought he was quite quirky and weird, but seemed passionate and friendly. One of the things I noticed while playing pick-up was the guy had a sense of humor that sometimes revolved around sex jokes.

While his humor was sometimes dirty it didn’t seem to be a problem or take away from the vibe. I was surprised at the time that he was comfortable making these jokes out loud in front of so many people. To me, it seemed like he wasn’t worried about being judged and was open.

During the time playing volleyball, he was very attentive to those around him and cared that everyone was involved and having fun. For the game itself, he had created a system of rules that were unlike any I had experienced in my years of playing volleyball prior. While some of the rules seemed strange and unnecessary, such as (if the ball spins at all when set, it is an invalid set), it didn’t seem to take away from the overall fun of the game.

Based on my impression of Keith at the time, he didn’t seem like someone I would choose to be close friends with. I did, however, maintain a sense of respect for the guy and his work. Personally, I felt that he treated me with respect in all of the few interactions we had.

He seemed to appreciate anything that I had to say. I observed that he acted this way with other people as well. His character was warm and inviting. In all honesty, I didn’t feel threatened by the guy but still couldn’t help but laugh inside my head about the person he was. His character was just one of a kind.

Sometimes, I even would make fun of him to the new friends that I made during the courses. This is not something I am proud about, but it was my honest reaction to meeting Keith. Overall, he was entertaining to be around and I enjoyed the company.

I never worked one-on-one with Keith during the actual process of overcoming my Tourette’s. Keith did, however, invent a conversational method that did greatly impact my life in a positive way. I overcame a few of my greatest personal challenges in a matter of hours. It is hard to put into words the feeling of this type of healing. It is no shock to me that he was able to influence so many people so strongly.

I understand the severity of the actions that took place by Keith under NXIVM’s roof and in no way condone or excuse his actions. All I have shared about Keith for this letter is based on what I have personally experienced through my lens. It is so sad hearing the stories of the many people whose lives were so greatly affected by Keith.

It hurts my heart to learn what has become of NXIVM and the organization that had helped me so much. I believe that Keith deserves justice. I hope it helps to share my story as well as some of my experiences of Keith and NXIVM.

Thanks,

[Name redacted].

***

END OF LETTER

My comments

Of course, none of this means that the cure of this person or any of the others was anything more than a fluke.

Maybe it is nothing more than the placebo effect – thinking Nxivm and Keith and Nancy are so great that they can cure anything and the believer is cured. Maybe it can’t be replicated ever again.

On the other hand, perhaps this is something that should be studied, seriously, by competent medical experts, experts in the mind and body – to see if there is something that could be replicated.

If Keith is a devil and we ignore this possibility only for that reason – because it might make him look good, when there is a possible chance that afflicted people could be helped, then we are also devils ourselves.

The methods used to cure, or make people think they were cured of Tourette’s Syndrome need to be studied.

Affirmed or debunked. Without regard of who came up with the technique or tools.

It either works or it doesn’t.  It is fair and rational for us to find out.

Check out the trailer to the film:

Screenshots from the trailer

 

 

 


About the author

Frank Parlato

21 Comments

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  • Miracle cures? One visit with Keith, and my Tourette’s was cured? Sure. Believe BS like that and you’re the kind of person ripe to join a cult.

    Testimonials to miracle cures are an old scam. Laying on of hands, revival tent preachers casting out demons, and behold! The boy is cured! Watch as he casts away his crutches, see it with your very own eyes! Praise Jesus!

    As you point out, per the CDC, Tourettes symptoms fade over time and can go away completely. So what’s more likely, that happened, or fraud artist racketeer and career liar Raniere invented a miraculous instant cure?

    Seriously. These two testimonials come from Raniere loyalists. One of them was making money on the lecture circuit testifying to how he was miraculously cured. The other is anonymous- we have no reason to believe she ever had Tourette’s.

    It’s good to keep an open mind. It’s also good to know a scam when you see one. To preserve a healthy skepticism. To understand that people sometimes have an ulterior motive and lie. To not waste your time with crazy “theories”. That people who give credence to absurd claims are the kind of people who get suckered into cults.

  • Some Tourette’s information. all of which is researched, peer-reviewed, published in the public domain. I’m glad for Mr. Elliot, but certain Nxivm is not at the forefront of any med. or tech. breakthroughs. If anything, it seems to me, that I’ve probably been able to learn more in a concerted half an hour of research than Nxivm achieved in its existence. I say that, because their terribly important cure does not exist on any public research board that I, as a nurse, have access to.

    Dr. Sims Tourette’s
    https://www.youtube.com/user/ddsassistant/videos

    Single Case of Tourette’s Cured With Chinese Medicine
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28254105/

    Or how about 156 cases of Tourettes Cured With Acupuncture?
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9389122/

    The Effective Drug Cure: Haloperidol
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/350368/

  • A good letter as she is objective – only met KR once, has no comment about him other than he made some rude jokes but that she did lose her Tourette’s.

    If hypnosis or remembering a first past event helps, then no reason others cannot try it and probably have already tried it. I am not sure they have found some very special way to make people think that will cure it in everyone, however.

  • I agree. If they found a cure, it’s worth looking into for sure. But how many people were cured? 5? And how many people participated in the study total?

    Also, did Raniere have any part of it? Sounds like it was just Nancy.

  • Wonder how this was related to the horror studies this monster put people through. Also – if experiencing brainwashing is the cure for Tourette’s I’m not sure that’s much better than the condition itself. Mark is so far gone that he cannot think independently anymore. He gives his entire life to the cult that he thinks “cured” him. That’s a life of slavery and that doesn’t sound like a cure for anything.

  • So, two guys who adore Raniere say they were cured by Raniere, and Raniere said he is the most ethical man on the planet…

    Bunch of liars.

  • It’s just NLP and hypnosis.

    http://theexcelpractice.com/tourette-syndrome-and-tics/

    While we’re on this topic, if anyone knows somebody who stutters, there is zero reason it can’t be cured/corrected in one session. It’s all based on interrupting patterns.

    Keith using this Tourette’s cure to make him seem superhuman follows his pattern of figuring out tricky puzzles and then using it to prove how smart he is. For example, studying the Rubix cube cheat sheet, learning the Pac Man patterns so he can get to 2 million, figuring out how to cheat on the IQ test, looking for the secret formula to win in commodities, memorizing a piano song, learning hypnosis, etc. I’d guess learning tricks in the bedroom, learning every sales trick in the book, etc etc etc

    • It can not be cured or treated in one session. I work with patients who have touretttes/tics. Even after several HRT or CBIT sessions, people still need treatment to control the tics.

      I am very interested in knowing what type of skills or tools they were taught. It could be so many children and adults that suffer.

  • Letting go of beliefs is standard in most self-help modalities.

    Limiting beliefs are called engrams in Scientology and samskaras in Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism.
    https://exploringyourmind.com/engrams-traces-experience-brain/
    https://www.scientology.org/what-is-dianetics/basic-principles-of-scientology/engrams.html
    https://www.scientology.org/what-is-dianetics/basic-principles-of-scientology/awakening-the-engram.html
    https://www.scientology.org/what-is-dianetics/basic-principles-of-scientology/the-clear.html
    https://righttojoy.com/yoga-actions/samskaras-9-predictable-life-obstacles-to-overcome/

    L. Ron Hubbard likely got his engram ideas from Buddhism:
    https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Library/Shelf/kent/eastern.html

    This stuff is centuries old. Trying to make it into an MLM marketing program isn’t even a new idea. EST, and a million others were doing it 50 years ago and longer. Perhaps the unique thing about NXIVM was the world’s smartest man idea. That was kind of unique.

  • All of our problems stem from our beliefs.

    I guess if there is anything amazing, it is how few people get that.

    This is not some kind of new discovery by Keith Raniere.

  • If this was a real cure, not just one person’s recovery, why hasn’t it been reproducible? Why isn’t this insight-oriented, CBT-based treatment leading to a reduction in Tourettes worldwide?

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, which Vangaurd or Nancy ripped off and claimed as part of NXIVM “tech” is a known tool to reduce the effects of Tourette’s. In some rare cases, it helps cure the problem. As well the tics go away or relax in early adulthood. If anything, this shows that despite being unlicensed, Nancy was a an effective therapist, which is why she was popular with companies before getting involved with Vanguard’s bullshit.

    • As a C-B therapist, I treated Tourette’s 40 years ago. One of my mentors, Nate Azrin Ph.D., wrote a short primer “Habit Control in a Day” that outlines treatment as it existed back then. The course of treatment requires much patience from the therapist but also can lead to a strong reduction of the symptoms.

      Nxivm’s claim that “they” discovered a cure is false. They simply took from multiple methodologies and claimed them as their own. Anyone sophisticated in psychology and various personal growth systems would have quickly realized this and exposed it. It’s not surprising they prevented mental health professionals from enrolling in their programs.

      Still, if Nxivm added something to the mix of treatment that is useful, and it should be further researched and adopted.

  • A good deed could really be for Keith and his team right now. Why are they sitting on the secret? If they can cure Tourette’s syndrome, they should expose that technique and make it available to the public. I understand it’s about money and possessing/retaining power. It shows that even after a life sentence, not one of them really thinks he can help others. Besides the Leader’s admiration and lobbying for him, there is no good deed.

    • What I like about this letter is that this person is thankful to the tech and it’s successes in their case but still remains rational about the situation and acknowledges that there was a seedy underbelly to NXIVM and wrong was done. They are just telling the judge of their experience plain and simple but still understand justice has to be served. It’s intelligent and level headed and the stragglers of NXIVM could learn a lot from this but they won’t.

  • I can believe a combination of PNL, psychology and hypnosis (for people susceptible to it, not everybody is) can possibly help in this kind of diseases. But It would also be good to hear from people who came to Nxivm to cure their Tourette’s Syndrome and left without any improvement.

      • “It would also be good to hear FROM PEOPLE who came to Nxivm to cure their Tourette’s syndrome and left without any improvement”.

        Tell me in that sentence where you read I expected NXIVM to talk about it? LOL LOL LOL

  • Sounds like Salzman should get any credit that is due, as Raniere was using his magnificent IQ to keep an eye on whether a set volleyball was spinning. LOL

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato Investigates

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many, many others in all five continents.

His work helping take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg; “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson; “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La secta que sedujo al poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been featured prominently on HBO’s documentary “The Vow” and acted as lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.”

Parlato will be featured in an upcoming episode of American Greed.

If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?

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