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Radiation Hormesis: Magic Stones and Cancer, Part Two

By Jacob Schor, ND

Editor's note: Click here to read part 1 of Dr. Schor's article.

The concept of radiation hormesis followed that of chemical hormesis, obviously having to wait until after the discovery of X-rays, radium and uranium in the 1890s. The first decades of the 1900s saw numerous papers published on the positive stimulatory effects of low-dose radiation on plants, fungi, mice and insects.

My fellow naturopathic doctors will recall Schulz's name from the Arndt-Schulz Law, often mentioned in homeopathic courses. This is pretty much the same idea as hormesis, a term that did not come into use until 1943, when Southam and Erhlich proposed its use.

Association of the Arndt-Schulz Law with homeopathy put the fledgling science of hormesis into trouble. Even though distinguished researchers were publishing outstanding research in the early 20th century:

"The area of low-dose chemical stimulation was to become the object of intense criticism. ... This criticism was to have its origin in the fact that this area of research was too closely allied to the controversial medical practice of homeopathy. The area of chemical hormesis had become used as an explanatory factor by advocates of the medical practice of homeopathy. ... The concept of hormesis, especially chemical hormesis, became a cultural victim of guilt by association with homeopathy. This marginalization was encouraged by traditional medical philosophy because of the long standing antipathy with homeopathy. ... It was only natural to ... lump hormesis with homeopathy and the marginalization was complete."1

Reading through these and other papers, I found myself coming around to the idea that Mr. Nighthawk might not be all that crazy. Taken together, the past research, the current number of recent papers and my own empathy generated by the historic persecution of hormesis proponents, along with homeopaths, make these ideas both acceptable and actually somewhat appealing to me.

Therefore, I have begun to explore what Mr. Nighthawk is doing with his cancer patients, meeting with him on several occasions. Aside from Mr. Nighthawk, I know of no one else actually using low-dose radiation to treat cancer. He has two basic methods of treatment. He cuts slices of his "magic" turquoise into ½-inch thick slices, varying from cookie-sized to larger pieces that almost cover my hand. These rocks are placed directly on the skin, in close proximity to existing tumors. They contain a fair quantity of quartz and exhibit a piezoelectric effect, in addition to giving off radiation. When heated, the stones give off a mild electric current. He saves the mud, the results of cutting the stones with a water-cooled diamond-bladed saw. He heat-seals this mud mixture into plastic food-storage bags. Patients who no longer have discernable tumors are told to sleep on these radioactive mudpacks. Both stones and mudpacks emit in the range of 0.4 to 0.6 millirems of radiation. Mudpacks are used alone for nonlocalized tumors such as leukemia and lymphomas. For localized tumors, he may use both stone and mudpack. The stones are kept in contact with the skin for six to eight hours a day; the packs are slipped under the bed sheets and slept on overnight. It is all very simple.

In describing his use of the stones, Mr. Nighthawk describes a "healing response" when people first begin using them. Symptoms such as headache, nausea, even a worsening of symptoms, might occur in the first days of use. He considers these good signs, indicating that the body is mounting a response. He expects the stones will eliminate solids tumors in four months. He considers colon, breast and brain cancers to be a "piece of cake to treat." He admits pancreatic cancer is a little tricky.

Sakai, in the October 2006 issue of Yakugaku Zasshi, groups radiation hormesis together with other biological stressors, writing:

"A good example of such responses is the so-called radiation adaptive response, a process in which acquired radioresistance is induced by low-dose radiation given in advance. The stimulation of certain bioprotective functions, including antioxidative capacity, DNA repair functions, apoptosis, and immune functions are thought to underly adaptive response."2

Thinking in terms of biological stressors inducing a generalized "adaptive response" gives us a new way to view naturopathy and the multitude of therapies that fit under our umbrella. Might we now think of natural cure and naturopathy as utilizing natural elements to stimulate this adaptive response? Heat, cold, fasting, hydrotherapy, exercise and all the other sublethal semi-traumatic therapies we employ may, each in their own way, trigger this same adaptive response. It seems logical that an adaptive response triggered by low-dose radiation might be effective at repairing and restoring the damage created by radiation, which is genetic damage and if unsuccessful at causing apoptosis. In other words, this response would conceivably be ideal for treating cancer. This is all intellectually intriguing but really just a distraction from thinking about Mr. Nighthawk's claims.

As far as his claim to cure cancer, I do not have enough information to know what to think. I would love to discover these magic stones work as promised. But to paraphrase Eric Feigel, MD, a professor of physiology and cardiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, whom I asked about these ideas, "Jacob, the history of medicine is full of stories like this, which in the end, prove to be fruitless."

Yet, if we choose to ignore any new thing that threatens to shake our worldview, we doom ourselves. Rather than cast aside something that at first impression sounds ridiculous, my plan is to explore this territory cautiously. I have begun to collect case histories, anecdotal though they are, from Mr. Nighthawk and see if the details support his story. A few of my patients, who have little to lose, are using the magic stones. It is too soon for me to come to any conclusion. At some point in the future, watch for part two of this article.

Note: Here in Colorado, the Cancer Treatment Act outlaws the diagnosis or treatment of cancer by anyone except a specific list of health care practitioners, specifically MDs and DOs. I pointed this out to Mr. Nighthawk, thinking I should conceal his identity.

"I'm an ex-Marine and so are all my buddies," he said. "Let them try and come after me." Stones can be ordered directly from him online at:


  1. Calabrese EJ, Baldwin LA. Tales of two similar hypotheses: the rise and fall of chemical and radiation hormesis. Human Exp Toxicol, Jan 2000;19(1):85-97.
  2. Sakai K. [Biological responses to low dose radiation – hormesis and adaptive responses]. [Article in Japanese] Yakugaku Zasshi, Oct 2006;126(10):827-31.

About the Author: Dr. Jacob Schor graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University and received his naturopathic training at National College of Naturopathic Medicine. He currently practices at the Denver Naturopathic Clinic. E-mail Dr. Schor at

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