Rife Machine Therapy for Lyme Disease

by lmatthews on October 25, 2011

rife machine lyme diseaseA controversial therapy for Lyme disease, Rife machines have attracted considerable opprobrium from numerous scientists and even a number of lawsuits on behalf of customers defrauded of both money and, in some cases, their health or lives. Rife machines bear some resemblance to the Lyme disease zapper discussed elsewhere on LymeDiseaseGuide.org but date back a little further and have been touted as a cure for many more diseases and conditions than the zapper.

Rife machines are much more expensive than the zapper and use an alternating current (AC) rather than direct current (DC). Costing around $2000 in some cases, but with no credible evidence to show that they have any direct effect, positive or negative, Rife machines are now banned in some states, although sellers of the devices seem to rely on an imagined conspiracy to continue selling Rife machines to desperate patients.

The Origin of Rife Machines

Rife machines were first created and marketed in the 1930s as Royal Raymond Rife, an American inventor and micrography-buff, claimed to have used a specially designed optical microscope to see never-before observed microbes in action. The inventor then revealed that a ‘beam ray’ he had designed could kill or disable these microbes and provide relief from pathogenic disease conditions similar to Lyme disease (although Lyme was not officially recognized during Rife’s lifetime). The basis of this ‘cure’ was the frequency with which the ‘beam ray’ struck the pathogens, inducing destructive resonance and weakening their internal chemistry and structure.

The claims made by Rife were never independently validated and the scientist was ultimately discredited by the medical profession at large. Rife was however convinced that his work was being suppressed by the American Medical Association, along with the Department of Public Health and other organizations governing medicine in the US at the time. Rife died in 1971 but his legacy lives on as a book by Barry Lynes published in 1987 called The Cancer Cure that Worked, claimed that Rife’s machine had succeeded in curing cancer, thus prompting a revival of the conspiracy theory and a new wave of supporters of Rife machines.

rife machine newspaper evening tribune article

Targeting Desperate Patients

The publication of The Cancer Cure that Worked propelled an entire industry of Rife machine manufacturers and salesman, many claiming that the devices cured not only cancer but also AIDS and other diseases and conditions. Cases of health fraud have been brought against those selling and marketing these Rife machines and there have been incidences in both the US and Australia of patients using such devices in place of medical treatment and subsequently dying of their illness when survival was likely with proper therapy.

Although Rife himself died penniless and dispirited, remaining convinced of a conspiracy against him, those now targeting vulnerable patients, such as those with chronic Lyme disease symptoms but no orthodox diagnosis, have founded numerous pyramid schemes and become quite wealthy on the back of the conspiracy theory. It is worth noting that most of those selling the devices also market the conspiracy theory literature alongside what they claim is a medical instrument. In some cases the books simply arrive with the Rife machine as a ‘free gift’.

Court Cases Against Rife Machine Salesman

A case was brought in 1996 against the marketers of a Rife device who had claimed that the machine could cure cancer, AIDS, and other diseases, such as Lyme disease. The company was charged with felony health fraud and others have followed suit since. The manager of the Royal Rife Research Society, John Bryon Krueger was also charged in connection with Rife device sales in 2002, and received a thirty month sentence for their illegal sale, to be served concurrently with a twelve year sentence for his role in a murder. In recent years another American, James Folsom, was charged with the illegal sale of Rife devices, under the names of “NatureTronics,” “AstroPulse,” “BioSolutions,” “Energy Wellness,” and “Global Wellness”, with twenty-six counts in all for Folsom.

Charges against Rife machine marketers for unlawful deaths have also been brought, in one case against a woman who apparently convinced a cancer patient to stop her chemotherapy and instead use the unregulated and unapproved Rife machine. The patient subsequently died and the woman was found responsible for the death. Rife machines have been cited in similar cases in Australia, where Lyme disease denial persists, and there are significant numbers of attendees at Rife International Health Conferences where the devices are purportedly sold.

What is a Rife Machine?

Following convictions of Rife machine marketers for health fraud in Australia, a number of interested parties analyzed the devices’ components. The typical Rife machine appears to consist of a nine-volt battery with simple wiring, a switch, timer, and two short pieces of copper tubing. The current generated by the device is so nominal that it is barely detectable and unlikely to actually penetrate the skin, much less have any effect on pathogenic organisms within the body such as the Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.

The Rife machine frequency cited as combating the Lyme disease bacteria is a cycle of 484, 864, 790, 690, and 610. The frequencies used for individual pathogens are the ‘Mortal Oscillatory Rates’ as mentioned by Rife and are thought to shake the bacteria or microbe to the point of death. The analogy often used by supporters of the Rife machine is that of crystal shattering on an opera singer’s high note which can, of course, occur. However, the strength of the radio waves formed by Rife machines is insufficient to destroy bacteria and certainly have no bearing on the diagnosis of disease. Instead, those using such machines are more likely thought to be engaging in a form of ‘cold-reading’ of their patients in order to ‘diagnose’ the very illness which the patient already suspects or is likely to accept and receive treatment for.

More than 30,000 different organisms’ frequencies were listed in tables created by Rife and his associate, a chiropractor, James Bare. These organisms were held responsible, by Bare and Rife, for every imaginable condition, including AIDS, leprosy, and even dandruff. The therapy is said to be able to cure AIDS in just three three-minute sessions although no scientific study has ever validated this claim. In fact, it appears that no double-blind placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed clinical trials have ever taken place to investigate Rife machines or the claims made for their use.

rife machine frequency chart

Rife machine frequency charts do not usually list Lyme disease as it was unrecognized in Rife's lifetime.


Radionics is a branch of pseudomedicine claiming that diseases can be cured and diagnosed using radio-like frequencies emitted by the pathogens responsible for the illness or damaged tissue. The theory is traceable to a Dr. Albert Abrams, operating in the latter half of the 19th Century and the early 20th Century and who developed over a dozen devices that he claimed could detect and treat patients’ illnesses using these frequencies. Better at marketing himself than Rife ever was, Abrams made a substantial income from such devices although the FDA, investigating in the 1950s, found the machines to have considerable variability in magnetism, current, and radio-frequencies.

Wisconsin and Minnesota have both essentially outlawed Rife machines, taking tough action on anyone trying to market or sell the devices within their jurisdiction. The states’ Attorneys-General have issues public health warnings against the use of Rife machines and deemed them to be health quackery and of no value in diagnosing or treating disease. All in all, Rife machines are of no benefit in treating any disease, including Lyme disease, or helping with the symptoms of such illnesses. Whilst they may do no direct harm, due to their ineffectual nature, they may cause patients to delay treatments that could provide a cure or some relief from their condition. As such, patients should be on their guard if a health-care practitioner suggests therapy with a Rife machine for Lyme disease as it may demonstrate either poor medical training or an attempt at exploiting the therapeutic relationship.

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