Saturday, June 22, 2024

Zihuatanejo now home to controversial alternative medicine practitioner

Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo has become the home base for the Braveheart Nation, a group of alternative medicine practitioners and patients from the United States, Canada and beyond led by controversial U.S.- Canadian natural medicine practitioner Darrell Wolfe.

Wolfe, who refers to himself as the Doc of Detox, founded the Ixtapa World Training and Healing Center inside the Ixtapa Palace Hotel in the Guerrero resort destination in late 2021.

Since then, an estimated 20–30 people, mostly from Canada and the United States, have reportedly followed Wolfe to the Ixtapa Palace, where he has created a headquarters and a teaching and treatment center.

Wolfe’s online websites and YouTube channels have been advertising seminars and training sessions designed to teach patients and potential new practitioners certification in his self-developed treatments and protocols since at least October. In these online venues, Wolfe claims to be expecting between 300 and 400 people to come from outside Mexico to attend.

Wolfe’s various websites state that his methods — which can include nutritional and diet advice; emotional counseling; his own alternative bodywork treatments, many of which bear his name; or the use of “advanced energy medicine” devices — can treat or eliminate a wide variety of health issues. His International Training Institute of Health’s website says, “There is nothing we cannot treat. Your body is amazing. Let us help you heal.”

Darrell Wolfe
Darrell Wolfe, as he appears on his Doc of Detox and International Training Institute of Health websites.

Wolfe previously lived in Kelowna, Canada, where, according to his LinkedIn bio, he founded the International Training Institute of Health in 1989. His bio there also lists him as the former president of the North American Institute for The Advancement of Colon Therapy in Toronto from 1984 to 2001 and says that he headed “one of North America’s leading natural cancer treatment and preventative care centers,” although he does not specify which one. He lists his credentials as a Doctor of Natural Medicine and a Doctor of Humanitarian Services.

The International Training Institute of Health is a website dedicated to promoting Wolfe’s treatments and training sessions for potential patients as well as for people interested in becoming “New World Practitioners” — people certified as trained in Wolfe’s techniques by the Institute, whose courses are in turn advertised as certified by the Board of Integrative Medicine (BOIM), which according to its website is based in Ontario.

BOIM appears on a 2021 list of “questionable” organizations that are “non-recognized accrediting/credentialing/licensing agencies” on the medical fraud watchdog site Quackwatch.

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which in 2020 investigated a complaint by the United States Better Business Bureau about Wolfe’s specious claims regarding a product called “Black Gold,” Doc of Detox is a Canadian entity that goes by several names, including the aforementioned International Institute of Health, the International Health Initiative and the International Training Institute of Health. Wolfe refers to believers in his treatment methods as members of the “Braveheart Nation”

The FTC’s investigation into Wolfe and the Black Gold product found that Wolfe was claiming the product “treats, cures, or prevents a variety of diseases and serious conditions.” According to an email between the FTC and the BBB, the case was resolved in October 2020 by Wolfe agreeing to discontinue his claims about the product.

Since late 2021, Wolfe has been uploading videos recorded in Mexico in which he gives extemporaneous talks in English to groups of people. His topics range from the body’s ability to heal itself to the value of changing one’s eating patterns to personal development-styled emotional advice. These talks are often filled with remarks showing skepticism and hostility toward medical science, the pharmaceutical industry and doctors.

In some of his videos and on his web pages for, he has been encouraging viewers to travel to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo to stay at the hotel or in the area to be “part of our community.”

Wolfe’s online content also indicates a strong anti-COVID-19 vaccination stance. In videos, he repeatedly denies that COVID-19 exists and expresses unhappiness with government attempts to encourage widespread vaccination through mandates and restrictions. He refers to U.S. President Joe Biden and his chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, as murderers and uses the phrase “liar, liar, pants on fire” to refer to government officials in general.

“Everything you hear from the media is a lie,” he said in one video. “People in the government are morons and they are ass-kissers because they are selling their brothers and sisters.”

“Here’s the truth about flying,” Wolfe said in an online video posted on October 31, speaking about Canada’s decision at the time to extend a vaccination mandate deadline for passengers on Canadian buses, trains or airlines.

“Guess what? Now they say you can’t fly without a vaccination until November 28,” Wolfe said. “Understand this: this is not about [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau being nice. Understand this: he got slapped by the Justice Department because this is a crime against humankind.  So you can fly — they can’t stop you; they can’t vaccinate you, and they can’t make you get a vaccine passport, and they can’t lock you up. All they’ve done is corrupt your mind. Don’t let them do that.”

His treatment protocols, according to his website, start with what he calls a “Perfect Day” one-hour consultation, which allows him and his practitioners an opportunity to assess the needs of the client before compiling a treatment plan Wolfe says will be suited to their specific needs.

Ixtapa Palace hotel, Guerrero
The Ixtapa Palace hotel in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, where Wolfe has opened a treatment and training center attracting foreigners.

This is accompanied by a thick, illustrated book sold by Wolfe, which serves as a roadmap of everything Wolfe advises to maximize health, including a nutritional guide and advice on exercise and lifestyle. It also is a shopping cart of all his treatment protocols needed for healing, including services, supplements bearing the Doc of Detox label and courses from the Ixtapa World Training and Healing Center on how to become a master practitioner of Wolfe’s treatment methods in six weeks. Courses can easily start at US $8,000. Treatment protocolscost upward of US $150.

“One month with me is like a six-month to one-year course,” Wolfe says in one of his online videos, “and you can hold me to the fire on that.”

Once the initial consult is completed, appropriate treatments can include a combination of any of the following:

One of Wolfe’s treatment techniques, deep tissue massage — also known as deep tissue restoration or Wolfe nonsurgical bodywork — involves the practitioner using his elbow to apply intense pressure in a circular motion to an afflicted area of the body, a technique that seems to be a repackaging of the intensive massage technique known as Rolfing.

Wolfe maintains that deep tissue massage “will facilitate the proper blood flow, lymph and energy flow returning to the area of concern.” He also says that this technique can replace any surgery or drugs and can in fact heal anything in mere minutes, including cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint issues and a host of other problems.

One former patient, who asked to remain anonymous and who experienced this treatment on his knee, called the treatment “archaic, barbaric and useless.” He said it left him sore for a week with no improvement. However, he did say that others he spoke to had felt they had benefited from the treatment.

But no one he talked to had reported being cured of their ailment, he said.

Other treatments include detoxification methods — teas, fasting, supplements and colon flushes among them. Wolfe also uses something called CellSonic therapy, which uses a machine to deliver high-intensity pulses of energy on the skin on an afflicted area of the body.

Andrew Hague, the CellSonic machine’s inventor, has no accredited medical training, according to his LinkedIn bio. But he states on his website that his machine “can cure cancer tumors within minutes,” and in 2021 promoted it online as a cure for COVID-19 infection in the U.K.

Another patient, who also wished to remain anonymous because treatment with Wolfe is ongoing, says he is willing to try anything to cure his cancer. His treatment includes Wolfe’s deep tissue massage on his cancer tumor, supplements costing US $458 and CellSonic treatment.

Although proof of success will only be evaluated once he returns to his own country for assessment, this patient said that it will all be worth it if he becomes cancer-free. He also said that Wolfe offers no money-back guarantees.

In a review on Yelp, a person who identified themselves only as “Danny J.R.” who claimed to have sought treatment with Wolfe, said, “When his son, who is a master trainer, performed three sessions of the so-called incisionless scar removal on me, not only I did not get results, I got worse and suffered internal bruising.

Darrell Wolfe in Mexico
Wolfe photographed last month in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

“When you do a consultation with him, he will recommend so many products and comes up with treatment regimens that make no sense. If you challenge Dr. Wolfe on the phone, he shuts you up. His tissue sessions are supposed to be refundable if you don’t see results, and not to my surprise that turned out to be bogus as well. I feel bad for all the people that will sustain pain and damage by falling into his trap. He’s dangerous and selfish for doing this.”

The reviewer also added, “When you’re desperate, you’re willing to try anything, and this is exactly what fuels this business. [The] problem is, by getting distracted [by] thinking that his methodology works, one can fall behind [on] getting sensible treatments and/or getting properly diagnosed.”

Wolfe also sells a polarized light therapy machine, made by Bioptron, owned by the Swiss company Zepter, which makes consumer goods and medical devices for direct sales and through stores. The Bioptron website claims its machine improves cell metabolism in minutes a day and that it can be used for sports injuries, skin repair and immunity correction as well as help fight COVID-19 by boosting one’s immune system, especially important for people who are frail and immunocompromised.

It also features testimonials on its use for a wide variety of ailments — including chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis and respiratory diseases — from both medical professionals and individual customers, mainly from Russia, Eastern Europe and Africa.

According to CBC Marketplace, a Canadian investigative program renowned for sussing out fraudulent claims and business practices, Wolfe practiced alternative medicine in the 1990s in Toronto at The Wolfe Clinic, where he specialized in naturopathic treatments and sold ozone machines, primarily to AIDS patients, for around US $3,000 each.

Tests in Europe have shown that ozone can kill the HIV virus in blood in a test tube. The United States Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada, however, state that there is no scientific evidence yet that it works on people.

Dr. Gary Garber, an infectious diseases physician at Ottawa Hospital, a past president of the Ontario Medical Association section for Infectious Diseases and one of Canada’s foremost experts on AIDS at the time, has said that ozone therapy is not based on fact or scientific evidence and called it a “sales pitch.”

Jeff Mowat, an AIDS patient in Toronto, bought one of the ozone machines sometime between 1993 and 1994 in a last-ditch effort to save his life. One of the ways practitioners recommend using it is by drawing the blood of AIDS patients, treating it with ozone and then reintroducing it into the bloodstream.

The other way the machine can be used, which was employed by Mowat, according to a Marketplace interview with his friends, is to insert a tube into the rectum, thereby introducing ozone into the body.

According to his friends, Mowat found the treatment an ordeal and did not believe it was doing anything for him. In fact, they told Marketplace that he felt it did more harm than good. He died three weeks later.

After his passing, his sister Sandra attempted to contact The Wolfe Clinic to find out what staff there had been telling her brother, but no one replied to her repeated requests for a meeting or returned her calls. She then reached out to Marketplace, which resulted in the investigative piece, which aired in 1994.

In that piece, AIDS patient Joe Sheffield called The Wolfe Clinic to find out about the ozone machine. In a secretly taped phone interview, Wolfe stated that the machine would cure AIDS.

A video of one of Wolfe’s lectures with an audience of foreigners in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.


“OZONE Is curing HIV and AIDS more than any other therapy on the planet,” he told Sheffield.

When Sheffield asked for examples of results the clinic was seeing, Wolfe replied, “Well people are going HIV-negative.”

Marketplace then sent an undercover reporter who posed as an HIV patient. Wolfe reiterated his claims of curing AIDS and cited several people who had been cured.

“And, guess what?” Wolfe added during the videotaped conversation. “If you do it in the ear, it will also shrink brain tumors.”

In the recorded conversation, Wolfe dropped names of well-known supposed fans of the procedure, including the deputy surgeon general of the Canadian armed forces, Commodore Michael Shannon. When contacted by Marketplace, however, Shannon said he had never met Wolfe, nor did he endorse his claims.

A Marketplace reporter also called Wolfe, asking if he had made the above-mentioned claims, to which Wolfe replied, “That is absurd; there are no guarantees,” denying he made any such statement of cures.

The tape was then played back to him on air, after which he hung up. He also refused to answer questions by a Marketplace crew when they confronted him on a Toronto street.

Wolfe closed his clinic in Toronto shortly thereafter.

The YCancer Foundation — a U.S. organization of scientists, doctors and others focused on unearthing cures for cancer that are tried, true or otherwise — gathers data from hospitals and leading health organizations worldwide and disproves incorrect information and debunks myths about cancer. Their database includes information on medicines and their correlation to causing cancer.

In an article about fraudulent alternative healers, William M. Landon talks about the various ploys that such healers use to defraud patients, singling out two people, one of whom is Wolfe, as some of the worst offenders. He also questions Wolfe’s credentials as a doctor.

“At first, I thought the Ac.Ph.D. following his name onscreen … might be a typographical error and that he might be an L.Ac. [licensed acupuncturist] who happens to also have a Ph.D. in some field. So I checked his site, which indicates that he’s a resident of Kelowna, British Columbia.

“I found that he refers to himself there as Dr. Darrell Wolfe without indicating what kind of doctor he is. But on one page at, he presents himself as “Dr. Darrell Wolfe Ac.PhD,” though without any mention of the institution that conferred the degree.”

Dr. Caesar A Maciel Vargas, director of the Mediciel Hospital in Zihuatanejo, expressed concern about the alternative practices of the Wolfe organization as it was explained to him by Mexico News Daily.

“Alternative healing is not recognized by doctors who believe and follow the science when looking for treatment plans and cures,” he said. “The vaccine is still the only viable alternative to getting us through the pandemic.”

When asked if he felt that the healing methods of using one’s elbow to dissipate cancerous tumors, combined with electronic pulses and supplements could be effective, he said, “absolutely not.”

Mexico News Daily

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