A Skeptical Look at Monte Kline
and Pacific Health Center

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Monte Kline, doing business as Pacific Health Center (PHC), operates clinics in Sisters and Clakamas, Oregon. He states he has been a clinical nutritionist for more than 30 years. He has described his practice as "a nonmedical health practice working with natural healing methods from a Christian perspective." He sometimes refers to himself as "Dr. Kline." The "Sick and Tired Webinar" video on the clinic Web site states that the clinic offers a natural way to deal with fatigue, allergies, arthritis, PMS, menopausal problems, prostate problems, depression, Candida yeast-related problems, fibromyalgia, headaches, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, diabetes, infertility, memory loss, and many other problems—a list that Kline says "could go on and on." [1]

This article takes a skeptical look at Kline's credentials, publications, theories, methodology, and regulatory history.

Kline's Credentials

The "Sick and Tied Webinar" video states that Kline holds a B.S. from Oregon State University, a Master of Bible Theology from International Bible Institute & Seminary and has completed graduate work in nutrition & wholistic health sciences [1]. The "graduate work" to which this refers is a Ph.D. obtained from nonaccredited Columbia Pacific University. In 2004 and 2005, during a deposition by a staff attorney from the Washington Attorney General's office, Kline provided these details:

Columbia Pacific University was authorized to grant degrees but was never accredited [4]. In 2005, Lester Carr, who for several years served as CPU's chief academic officer, informed the Washington Attorney General's Office that CPU "did not give out degrees that indicated competence in clinical practices and/or clinical specialties" and that training for clinical practice (advising patients) would require at least a year of clinical practice under professional supervision, which CPU did not offer [5].

The Seattle Times reported that Warner preferred to treat cancer with stress management, meditation and immune-system stimulants rather than chemotherapy and radiation and that his license was revoked in 1995 after Washington's Medical Quality Assurance Commission concluded that between 1984 and 1988 he had treated at least six patients negligently, including a 45-year-old woman who the commission said would likely have beaten her breast cancer if properly treated [6,7].

In a recent e-mail, Kline said to me that it is a basic error to assume that education is about how much time you spend in a government sanctioned school being indoctrinated rather than being taught to think. He also said that formal training related to the problems for which he offers help is largely irrelevant because he doesn't diagnose or treat medical diseases but deals with "energy imbalances." [8]

Kline's Publications

Kline's Sick & Tired video states that he had authored five books in the health and nutrition field. Searching online book suppliers, I found that three of them would be more accurately described as booklets.

  • Eat, Drink and Be Ready (1977), a 448-page paperback co-authored with William P. Strube, Jr., asserts that "the preliminary stages of the last days of world survival" (end time) are here and provides what the authors call a program of physical and spiritual preparedness that will triumph over any disaster. The recommended strategies include food preparedness and storage; an "intelligent program of nutrition"; dietary supplements; exercise; and bible study [9].
  • The Junk Food Withdrawal Manual (1978) contains 30 pages of text in which Kline recommends a 12-week plan to switch from foods that are "dead" (devitalized of nutrients), refined, or "adulterated" (not "pure") to what he considers nutritious counterparts. His suggests raw honey or blackstrap molasses instead of sugar; whole wheat flour instead of white flour, whole grains instead of refined grains and cereals; kelp powder or herb seasonings for salt; refined instead of unrefined oils; raw (unpasteurized) milk instead of pasteurized milk; fresh fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned or frozen; "natural" products instead of "additive laden foods"; and fresh juices, herb teas, and distilled water instead of coffee, tea, cocoa, and soft drinks. He also recommends taking supplements of vitamins, minerals, and possibly other substances and undergoing "body detoxification through fasting." [10]
 

Kline has produced another book, Face to Face: Meeting God in the Quiet Places (2010), a 205-page softcover that presents his views on the value of "personal retreats" that include prayer and contemplation [14].

The Pacific Health Center Web site contains about 80 blog articles that cover a wide range of topics. Most promote methods that lack scientific substantiation. Some inappropriately warn against such things as vaccination, fluoridation, pasteurization, amalgam fillings, root canal treatments, standard cancer treatment, and taking showers with chlorinated water.

Muscle-Testing

In the early 1980s, Kline attended an "Advanced Healing Techniques Seminar" given by Valerie Seeman that included how to determine nutrient needs through muscle-testing. Inspired by this, Kline held seminars of his own at local churches and, in 1983, opened his first clinic to use this methodology with clients. His Vitamin Manual for the Confused describes the procedure in detail. First the subject stands with his left arm outstretched and parallel to the floor and is told to resist when the practitioner grasps his wrist and tries to push the arm downward with about 7-10 pounds of force. In most cases the subject will be able to resist and the arm will be considered "strong." Then the practitioner tests the arm again while placing his left index finger (or the subject's own right index finger) on "deficiency points" shown in the picture to the right. Each point is said to represent one or more nutrients. If the arm "weakens," a deficiency supposedly exists. The booklet states, for example, that weakness of the arm while touching under the left armpit indicates a vitamin C deficiency, whereas weakness of the similar point under the right armpit indicates deficiency of vitamin E. The missing supplements would then be available for sale.  

This muscle-testing procedure, most commonly referred to as "applied kinesiology," has no anatomic or physiologic validity and provides no rational basis for determining deficiencies, allergies, or any other health problems. Differences from one test to another may be due to suggestibility, distraction, variations in the amount of force or leverage involved, and/or muscle fatigue [15].

Electrodermal Testing

In 1986, Kline began using electrodermal testing (EDT) to assess client needs. The devices he has used for this purpose have included the Vitel, Computron, Eclosion, and Omega Acubase. These devices emit a tiny direct electric current that flows through a wire from the device to a brass cylinder that the patient holds in one hand. A second wire goes from the device to a probe, which the operator touches to "acupuncture points" on the patient's other hand or a foot. This completes a low-voltage circuit, and the device registers the flow of current and displays information on a computer screen. In 2006, Kline began using a ZYTO device that transmits signals when the client's hand is placed in a hand cradle (pictured to the right). Testing can take place remotely as well as in Kline's clinics. Patients who wish to be tested from another location can connect a ZYTO hand cradle to any computer that can transmit the necessary signals to Kline through the Internet.

 

EDT devices are claimed to measure the flow of "electromagnetic energy" and to measure "vibrations," "resonance," "stresses," "excess," "deficiency," and/or "imbalances" said to be associated with body tissues and/or organs. The devices come with software that creates elaborate charts of body areas, symptoms, diseases, and/or product on their screen. However, the only thing they actually measure is galvanic skin resistance (how much the skin resists the passage of a low-voltage electric current) when touched by the probe [16}—or, with the ZYTO, the contact points on the hand cradle.

Kline has characterized EDT as a method of “conducting an electronic interview with the human body.” [17] He says that the ZYTO does two types of tests: (a) stress scans that look for food sensitivities, environmental sensitivities, nutrient deficiencies, toxins, and energetically weak organs or glands, and (b) balancing scans to identify "compatible remedies that include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, glandulars, and homeopathics." [1] He further claims that when problems are found, the ZYTO selects products by matching them to the body's reaction to "digital signatures" of the products so that the previously detected imbalances disappear. He calls the ZYTO testing process Limbic Stress Assessment. The Sick and Tired Webinar video offers a "Webinar special" that includes a ZYTO device and as many assessments and follow-up visits as needed for a year for $$995 if paid up-front or $1,095 if paid in three installments [1]. The program comes with a "results guaranteed" money-back offer. The cost of products recommended during the screenings is not included.

Regulatory Actions

No EDT device has been approved by the FDA as a diagnostic device. A few have been cleared for marketing as biofeedback or skin-resistance testing devices by manufacturers who did not tell the FDA that the devices would be bundled with software that did health assessments. More than than 30 regulatory actions have been taken against manufacturers or users of EDT devices, but no agency has made a systematic effort to drive them from the marketplace [18]. Two of these actions were taken against Kline.

In 2002, the Oregon Attorney General settled a lawsuit against Kline, Shirley Hancuff, and Pacific Health Center, under which the defendants agreed not to misrepresent that EDT can diagnose food allergies, "weak organs," certain viruses, lead levels in children, and various other health problems. The agreement enabled Kline to continue to do electrodermal testing provided that he informs patients that the device is not FDA-approved for diagnosis and that EDT has not been demonstrated effective for assessing for nutritional deficiencies, the presence of toxins, food allergies, Candida, Epstein Barr virus, and the strength or weakness of organs and glands. The stipulated judgment also barred Kline and Hancuff from practicing medicine without a license and required the defendants to pay $15,000 for costs and to offer refunds available to individuals whom they had tested during the previous three years [19]. Kline's attorney told me that only one person requested a refund [20].

The Oregon settlement also permanently enjoined Kline from representing that he possesses any academic degree unless it was from a school that was accredited or was approved by Oregon's educational authorities. This provision was nullified in 2005 by a law [21] that permits degrees from nonaccredited schools to be mentioned as long as the schools were operated legally at the time of issue and their mention is accompanied by a disclaimer that the school did not have accreditation recognized by the United States Department of Education and was not approved by Oregon's Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

The practice of medicine, as defined by Oregon's law, includes undertaking to "diagnose, cure or treat in any manner, or by any means, methods, devices or instrumentalities, any disease, illness, pain, wound, fracture, infirmity, deformity, defect or abnormal physical or mental condition of any person." [22] Kline states that he is in compliance with this law because he does not diagnose or treat diseases but detects and corrects "energy imbalances."

In 2003, authorities in Washington charged Kline and Pacific Health Center with (a) violating the state's consumer protection act by misrepresenting the significance of his credentials and the diagnostic capabilities of EDT and (b) practicing medicine, naturopathy, and acupuncture without a license. The courts ultimately ruled that Kline had violated the licensing laws but not the Consumer Protection Act [23]. Kline reported that he was awarded $230,000 for attorneys fees for winning the Consumer Protection Act part of the case [24]. However, he decided to stop practicing in Washington because the "unlicensed practice" ruling barred him from doing EDT in that state.

During the deposition in the Washington case [3], Kline displayed significant gaps in basic knowledge. For example, although he had advertised help for people with high cholesterol, he could not accurately define "high cholesterol" or specify the National Cholesterol Education Program's management guidelines. When asked how many vitamins exist, he guessed "40." (There are 13.)

My Opinion

Monte Kline represents himself as a highly educated, experienced, and qualified professional who can help people with a wide range of health problems. There are good reasons to doubt these representations:

Kline is very bright, has done a lot of reading, has attended seminars conducted by dietary supplement marketers and device makers, and evaluated many people at his clinic—all of which have enabled him to sound professional. (Dr. William Jarvis refers to this ability as "conversational medicine.") He is essentially self-taught. He promotes a huge number of ideas that clash with established medical knowledge. At best, he may help people by persuading them to eat more healthfully and to exercise more. But I do not believe he should identify himself as a doctor, give advice about health problems, or sell products that have not been proven effective for their intended purposes.

References

  1. Kline M. The Sick and Tired Webinar (video). Pacific Health Center Web site. Posted in 2009, downloaded June 13, 2014.
  2. Deposition of Monte Kline, Vol I., Nov 10, 2004. In: State of Washington v Pacific Health Center Inc et al. King County Superior Court Case No. 03-2-36726-5 SEA. (Focuses on Kline's educational credentials)
  3. Deposition of Monte Kline, Vol III, Jan 12, 3005. In: State of Washington v Pacific Health Center Inc et al. King County Superior Court Case No. 03-2-36726-5 SEA (Focuses on Kline's training)
  4. Barrett S. Court orders Columbia Pacific University to cease operating illegally in California. Quackwatch, Nov 5, 2013.
  5. Carr L. E-mail message to MaryBeth Haggerty-Shaw, Feb 7, 2005.
  6. Sanders E. Dr. Glenn Warner, unconventional oncologist. Seattle Times, Nov 14, 2000.
  7. Barrett S. Glenn A. Warner, M.D., charged with unprofessional conduct. Casewatch, July 8, 2014.
  8. Kline M. Email to Dr. Stephen Barrett. Aug 3, 1014.
  9. Kline M, Strube WP Jr. Eat, Drink and Be Ready. Harvest Press, Fort Worth, TX, 1977.
  10. Kline M. The Junk Food Withdrawal Manual. Total Life, Inc., 1978.
  11. Kline M. Vitamin Manual for the Confused. Total Life Ministries, 1983.
  12. Kline M. The Sick and Tired Escape Manual. Total Life Ministries, 1983.
  13. Kline M. Body, Mind & Health: A Biblical Approach to Wholeness. Total Living, Bellevue, WA. 1992.
  14. Face to Face: Meeting God in the Quiet Places. Intermedia Publishing Group, Peoria, AZ, 1992.
  15. Barrett S. Applied kinesiology: Phony muscle-testing for "allergies" and "nutrient deficiencies." Quackwatch, March 19, 2009.
  16. Barrett S. "Quack" electrodiagnostic tests. Quackwatch, July 7, 2012.
  17. PHC Web site, accessed Sept 5, 2007.
  18. Barrett S. Regulatory actions related to EAV devices. Quackwatch, Sept 8, 2013.
  19. Stipulation and judgment. State of Oregon v Shirley Hancuff, Monte Kline, and Pacific Health Center. Circuit Court of the State of Oregon, Case No. CCV0111396, Filed Jan 14, 2002.
  20. Oldham G. E-mail message to Dr. Stephen Barrett, June 12, 2007.
  21. Representation of possession of academic degree. 2011 Oregon Revised Statute §348.609(2)(a).
  22. What constitutes the practice of medicine. Oregon Revised Statutes 677.085, accessed 8/12/14.
  23. Barrett S. Appeals Court issues mixed ruling in Kline case. Casewatch, Sept 5, 2007.
  24. Kline M. Washington Legal Case Over!!! PHC information alert, Sept 10, 2007.
  25. Eanes R. EAV vs. random generator devices. EAV resource Web site, Oct 2013.
  26. Questions frequently asked about our technology. ZYTO Corp. Web site, accessed May 24, 2009.
  27. How does this technology work? ZYTO Corporation Web site, archived March 2009.

This article was revised on August 20, 2014.

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