ESOTERIC healing business-owner Serge Benhayon rejected claims that he is running a "cult" at his Universal Medicine clinic in Goonellabah.
Reports in The Sun Herald and The Sydney Morning Herald this week accused Mr Benhayon of having "up to 1000 devotees, mainly female" and being responsible for dozens of marriage break-ups. It was also reported that the business is the subject of an "urgent review" by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
But Mr Benhayon told The Echo "there is no cult" and that he had asked for the TGA review.
"We don't fall under the TGA since we don't make any claims (about the healing properties of the products they sell), but we asked the TGA to investigate that on our behalf," Mr Benhayon said.
Universal Medicine has been in business in Goonellabah for 13 years and rents out rooms to psychologists, physiotherapists and other practitioners. Some of the services they offer include 'esoteric breast massage' and something called 'chakra-puncture' offered by his sons Michael and Curtis for $70 an hour.
Asked what esoteric healing is, Mr Benhayon explained "it consists of creating a balance so you can heal yourself. We are not doing any healing on you, but are helping your body to heal itself."
He said the breast-massage technique is "only done by female practitioners and it really is just an expansion of a lymphatic massage... It has no sexual connotation."
Universal Medicine also sells a range of creams and supplements and a spokesperson for the TGA confirmed that they are "concerned that these goods are not included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods" and that "in order to protect the public, this matter is being urgently investigated... with the sponsor (Universal Medicine) being required to achieve compliance with the regulatory requirements."
Mr Benhayon said that most of the claims made against him come from four unnamed men from Bangalow, "a group of disgruntled people taking up a vendetta."
"Bringing us down isn't the answer to saving their relationships. They have to look at why their wives have asked them to be more loving," he said.