Bowen Research Laboratory Develops New Reliable Test For Lyme

JoAnne Whitaker, MD, FAAP, is an internationally known speaker and researcher on Lyme disease and a healing method called the Bowen technique. Over a long and distinguished medical career, Dr. Whitaker has worked as a doctor in several different countries, notably in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam war. Recently she patented a test for Lyme disease that is highly sensitive, more reliable and yields quicker results than any previous tests for the disease. I spoke with her in August, 2006.

Hello, Dr. Whitaker, I want to thank you for taking my call. I've seen a website about the Bowen Research Laboratory. Is that your laboratory?

Yes, it is. But we have a new website, it's called We have nine thousand patients that have sent blood to us, but not one of them was diagnosed with a diagnosis of Lyme disease, and they all have it. I'm talking about diagnoses of ALS, MS, Parkinson's, Alzheimers, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia. All these people have Lyme disease and the doctors don't want to know about it. They can still get their money, by putting down all these different things, and that's all they care about.

I'm a pediatrician, hematologist, oncologist, I got my boards in nutrition, and I'm a psychiatrist. But I don't do that anymore, all I do is the Bowen technique and I do my research on Lyme disease.

You said you went to school here in North Carolina. When was that?

Who knows. [Laughter] I graduated in 1952.

What is the name of the test that you are talking about, the test that you devised?

It's the Q-RiBb. Quantitative Rapid Identification of Borrelia Burgdorferi, the cause and agent of Lyme disease.

How long have you been using this test?

I developed it maybe five years ago.

Is it more reliable than the other tests that are available, such as the Western Blot?

Yes, because we look for the bug itself. We don't test for antibodies, and that's the reason this test is so much better. When you first get Lyme disease, your body does not produce any antibodies, and so the antibody tests aren't any good, and if you're very on in the disease sometimes an antibody test isn't any good either. We look for the bug itself.

Will this test detect the bug at any stage of the disease?

Yes, it's more reliable because we test for the bug. The antigen, not the antibodies.

How do people find out about your test, and how do they get a hold of you to take the test?

It's done by word of mouth. We have fifteen other countries outside of the U.S. who order my tests because they know it's the best.

And you've just spread the word through your website?

That's the only thing we've had, yes. Plus, I give talks all over the world.

What I'm doing now, is I'm going through all these charts, and I will probably be writing ten different papers, from all these reports that we have on these patients who've tested positive for Lyme disease. I'm going to put them on my website.

I have published over 70 original papers, and I never had any trouble getting them published in any journal that I sent them to. But, up to the present time, I have yet to get one paper accepted to be published on Lyme disease.

Now, that should tell you something. It's a cover-up.

Why is there a cover-up, in your opinion?

If you read Lab 257 it will tell you. This bug was produced on Plum Island, right adjacent to Lyme Connecticut. In 1975, there were 80 – 100 children all of a sudden developed multiple arthritic symptoms. Somebody over there said it was rheumatoid arthritis, which is a joke. But anyway, the mothers were smarter than that doctor they sent over there, so they got Rocky Mountain Laboratory to draw blood on the children.

Rocky Mountain Laboratory found out that this an unknown organism. They'd never heard of it before. They said it was an unknown Borrelia organism. And the guy who found the bug was named Burgdorferi, So he actually named the bug Borrelia Burgdorferi, after him. And the disease that they saw was called Lyme disease because it happened in Lyme Connecticut.

When patients have tested positive for Lyme through another test, would you recommend that they re-test with your test?

I don't care how they diagnose it, just so it's diagnosed and treated as early as possible. I have probably had this disease since I was nine years old. And I'm seventy-nine now, and it went undiagnosed until I finally decided this is what I had, I don't know how many years ago, maybe fifteen years ago. And I developed that test because I knew it was very important.

I had been in infectious disease all my life, in fact I used to have Fellows in infectious disease, as well as hematology and oncology. I have been all over the world. I was nine years in Southeast Asia, six years in Thailand and three years in Vietnam during the war.

Working as a doctor?

Working as a doctor, and not by any government organization. Because I didn't believe what we were doing in Vietnam. I went to the Children's Hospital there to help the Vietnamese people.

I'd like to ask questions about protocol for Lyme disease and I'm not sure what you're going to be able to talk about. I know that some doctors are reluctant to talk.

They're reluctant to talk about how they treat Lyme disease because some people, when they treat patients with Lyme disease they've had their license taken away from them.

How would you recommend that media people handle it? Because I'd like to present all sides. I don't have a stake or any investment in any kind of protocol, except I've been diagnosed with Lyme myself, and I know what's been working for me. My main concern is that I want to get the information in front of people so that they can choose their own path to healing.

I appreciate what you're doing because it certainly is needed. I send my people, or I suggest that the people that have my test and that are positive, that they go all the way to Pennsylvania for a doctor there, because he has Lyme disease and he knows what he's doing and he cares.

Who's that?

Dr. Chandra Swami, from Hermitage, Pennsylvania. He's wonderful.

He's the only doctor that you recommend?


I'm just curious about your own case. You say you think you've had this disease since you were nine, but then also you say there is evidence that this bacteria was introduced in 1975.

Oh, it probably was before '75. That was the first outbreak involving a whole lot of children. That's the first time it was ever documented.

I see. So, it was something that was introduced into the environment long ago.

Right. And it isn't just a tick-borne infection.

How do people get Lyme disease?

I have found it in every single mosquito that I've examined, from blood all over California and all over Florida. It's in mosquitoes too. And I think it's in any blood-sucking organism that doesn't have too high a body temperature. I think this is the most prevalent disease there is. It's the new Great Imitator, because it affects every cell in the body.

Do you think that it can be cured?

I don't know if you can completely get rid of the bug. I have not gotten rid of my bug yet. When I test my blood with my test, the dilutions actually go from 1 - 2 up to 1 - 128. The lowest I have ever been is 1 – 2,  but I have not gotten rid of the bugs. But I certainly have felt better. But I'm still on antibiotics. I'm very careful about my nutrition, and I used to be on a very good exercise program. I used to be a champion golfer.

What do you recommend that Lyme disease patients do for exercise? How much exercise would you recommend?

I don't care what kind of exercise you do, just so you do it. As many times [per week] as you can. I think it's just important getting the blood going, and stimulating the muscles and everything.

I know I feel better when I do.

Well, of course. And you don't have to have Lyme disease to feel better with exercise, everybody should be doing it. Especially little kids.

Have you known of infants with Lyme disease?


How do you think they got it?

It's congenitally [transferred], mothers with Lyme disease, their babies will probably have it. The cord blood has to be tested.

You've been traveling around the world, speaking at international conferences. Do you feel that the US is on par with other countries, as far as treating Lyme? Do you feel that we're falling behind? Is there something the US could learn from them?

They need to recognize it the first place, you know. It's not even recognized. When I first started, they were telling me that we don't have any Lyme disease in the state of Florida. With my tests, just around Tallahassee alone we've found over four hundred people with Lyme disease.

Do you think that in other countries they also have a hard time getting their medical institutions to recognize Lyme?

The whole thing is, they say that you can cure this within a certain period of time, and that is crazy. They're just not doing the right test to find the bug. They know the answer to my test the same day we get the blood and work on it. That's the reason we call it Rapid Identification of Borrelia Burgdorfia.

And for people who want to take your test, they can find that information on you website?

Yes, I'm sure it's probably there.

What are your goals for the immediate future with your work? Aside from working on those ten papers.

We need to educate the public. The public is the one making the diagnosis. I had a lady who called me the other day, who thought she had Lyme disease. She had been to doctors, and not one of them would order a test for Lyme disease.

Why not?

They're scared. But they get their money anyway by putting down all these other diagnoses that aren't right. We had over 5,000 chronic cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia alone.

How do they treat these other diseases? Are they ever given antibiotics?

No, they don't even use antibiotics. Well, maybe some of them do. And that's a question I always ask of people. Have you been on an extended course of antibiotics and did it help you? It's a very important question.

And what are their answers?

Actually, I do not treat people. I just talk with them from all over the world on the telephone.

You have a number of distinguished titles. Would you call yourself mainly a researcher these days?

I'm an MD and I had my boards in pediatrics, psychiatry and nutrition, but I don't practice medicine anymore. I only do the Bowen technique. I've been doing research in it for many years. It treats everything from bunions to getting people off the heart transplant list. And it doesn't hurt you, it's very gentle. I went to Australia to learn it many years ago.

And it helps everything because it balances the autonomic nervous system. If you can get that balanced, it helps everything. And I've done cultures on people, and my test, before and after the Bowen technique, and actually there are more bugs in the blood after the Bowen technique because it chases them out of their hiding places. This bug loves the brain and the heart the most.

Why is that? I'm trying to understand how the immune system works.

So is everybody else.

[Laughter.] Okay. That's fair.

The immune system supposedly makes antibodies, and the antibodies get the bug.

You're talking about the harmonic balance. How is that technique administered, is it through sound therapy?

No, it's a simple little movement on different parts of the body. It's the easiest thing you could ever see or feel. Some people actually go to sleep because it relaxes them so.

And where is that being done?

I teach it here. I've been teaching it for many years, I taught people to use the Bowen technique.

Do you think that Lyme patients could be helped by that?

Definitely. Their antibodies and can it better, and also the immune system can get it better. It gets the bugs out of their hiding place. It's very hard to get them when they're in the brain and the heart.

I guess I have a million questions, but I'll end this interview for now. I may call you again in the future. Thank you, Dr. Whitaker, it's been a pleasure speaking with you today.

Suzanne Arthur copywrite 2006
Lyme Disease Research Database

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