Serge Benhayon’s Evolve College & the death of the Esoteric Chakra-puncture scamPosted: October 14, 2020
In 2014 Universal Medicine’s influence invaded the nationwide Australian College of Massage which led me to suspect that Universal Medicine cult leader Serge Benhayon was attempting a takeover of the lucrative business as part of his expansion plans.
A telling exchange
At the defamation trial of Benhayon v Rockett, Benhayon brought a Sydney Esoteric practitioner, Michelle Crowe, as a witness to talk up her UM involvement. She’d taken the range of Esoteric healing courses and she still operates a healing practice in the northern suburbs where her website describes her as an EPA (Esoteric Practitioners Association) ‘accredited’ practitioner of Esoteric healing therapies.
When my lawyer asked her if the EPA was run by Benhayon, Michelle said she wasn’t sure, she only knew it as the Esoteric Practitioners Association. Under my lawyer’s questioning she acknowledged that the EPA accreditation was not officially recognized, but said that she had ‘other qualifications’: one in something called AcuEnergetics, and the other a Diploma in Chakra-puncture from Evolve College (formerly the Australian College of Massage).
My lawyer asked, ‘Evolve College is a business that Mr Benhayon has an interest in, isn’t it?’
‘No, not at all,’ said Michelle.
When counsel suggested to her that Serge has a 50% shareholding (via his company United Wisdom Pty Ltd in which he is sole shareholder) she said that she didn’t know about that.
He continued, ‘So you studied Chakra-puncture with Universal Medicine and then somehow Universal Medicine suggested to you to go onto Evolve, didn’t they?’
‘No, they didn’t suggest it,’ said Michelle. ‘I found out through another colleague of mine that it was being offered and it’s completely independent, as far as I’m concerned.’
‘Has anyone actually told you that it’s completely independent? Has anyone from Universal Medicine said, “Evolve is completely independent of us”?’
‘No, but from talking to people in the… and actually going to do it, that was my understanding.’
Maybe Michelle would have repeated the course anyway, even with the knowledge she’d be paying Benhayon twice for the same stuff. It has not stopped her from continuing to advertise her services in therapies proven in court to be a sham. The instructors and other College staff, of course, were long term UM promoters. Her evidence, however, reveals there was no disclosure to her as a paying client. Michelle is one of hundreds of customers on UM’s expenditure treadmill who are misled directly or by omission about the extent of Benhayon’s commerce and profits.
The Esoteric Practitioners Association, by the way, is a proprietary limited company with one shareholder, Serge Benhayon. It is only a ‘practitioner association’ in the sense that it gets away with using those words in its misleading trading name. It is not, and never has had the corporate structure of a genuine association; it’s never been an incorporated body. It’s a business owned by Serge that operates primarily to deceive customers into thinking Benhayon’s potted ‘therapies’ are legit. Its accreditation is another sham.
Benhayon confirmed in court that Evolve College has a turnover of several million dollars per annum, and that in the previous financial year he received a half share of almost $1m in profits — barely having to lift a finger.
The Australian College of Massage was a successful Melbourne based nationwide massage school in 2014 when it first came to my attention. Its owners were Robert and Deborah Wild, who are Benhayon enthusiasts and have bought property adjacent to his conference hall at Converys Lane Wollongbar. Students and staff began to notice odd changes at the College with longstanding staff leaving and being replaced by Universal Medicine acolytes. Serryn O’Regan, who was in court when Crowe gave evidence, was CEO for a while. UM literature found its way onto the College’s website, and Chris James music was played during massage classes.
Benhayon acquired his fifty percent share around 2017. We didn’t find out whether he bought in, or whether the Wilds offered his share as devotional gift.
A launchpad for scam Esoteric therapies
The original plan was that Evolve would run practitioner courses in scam Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy, as devised by Serge with UM physiotherapist Kate Greenaway, and scam Esoteric Chakra-puncture. The College was already a Registered Training Organization for remedial massage, which meant that it could offer legitimate accreditation in that modality. The idea was that Benhayon’s bogus therapies would eventually get official recognition as well.
Esoteric Chakra-puncture was another threat to public health that the Health Care Complaints Commission in NSW failed to do anything about. I don’t know if my blogging was a contributor but the Connective Tissue Therapy course was dropped before launch. The non-accreditation chakra-puncture course lumbered on for a couple of years with fees of between three and seven thousand dollars for the certificate and diploma courses, and was nearly exclusively taken up by UM customers like Michelle who’d already forked out god knows how much cash to SergeCorp. Last year, it too was canned.
Now Evolve only offers courses in remedial massage, and to the horror of some observers, counselling. The last I heard there was considerable input into that course from Benhayon’s emotionally challenged devotees. Hopefully the Wilds have engaged their brains and introduced an evidence base.
In 2014, I suggested that a merger with UM would likely run the Wilds’ business into a ditch. After all, everything Benhayon gets his hands on turns to crap. I don’t know the state of the College’s profits since Benhayon v Rockett, but I surmise that its mainstay of remedial massage training taught by properly qualified instructors has saved it from calamity. The attempt to expand the commercialization of UM’s rip-off modalities was another of Benhayon’s humungous fails.
By whatever means Benhayon got hold of that share of the business, he benefited from the cheap and unpaid labour of his minions. Around the time of acquisition UM’s management began manipulating followers to provide course content and other services to the College unpaid. The volunteers were expected to sign over copyright for their work to the sleazebag guru from Goonellabah.
If you hit play on the video below you catch Esoteric charm school graduate Alison Greig pushing the congregation to write course material for Evolve College and CoUM (the College of UM charity scam). Did she disclose to them that Benhayon and the Wilds would profit from their work?
Apart from receiving millions of dollars from his devotees in gifts and bequests, Benhayon has made too much money training Esoteric practitioners. I’ve said it before, practicing worthless therapies is for mugs — the money is in the training racket. Only a handful of Eso practitioners make a living from Eso therapies, and their clients are primarily UM devotees. That’s how the pyramid structure of the cult works. The majority of practitioners are unlikely to earn their outlay back. Benhayon profits even more when staff work for free.
What we saw in court was how the whole racket works. UM customers pay to repeatedly attend useless courses to sell worthless ‘healing’ to vulnerable people. As half owner of Evolve College Benhayon could sit back and rake the money, with many of his devotees not just paying for courses, but providing course content and marketing unpaid, and pressuring their colleagues to buy into the scam.