The Carroll Method: An Explanation

 In Gastrointestinal, Toxicology

Student Scholarship Honorable Mention

Jared C. Pistoia
Sussanna Czeranko, ND, BBE

The Carroll method is a technique performed to identify food intolerances. Traditionally oriented naturopathic doctors rely on the Carroll method in conjunction with other widely implemented dietary evaluation tests to identify foods that may be problematic for a patient. This method is especially important because there are very few available tests that can reliably identify food intolerances, also because clinical application of the results has anecdotally been a key step in preventing toxemia, ie, the buildup of toxic digestive byproducts, historically referred to as morbid matter by Henry Lindlahr.1 When used in conjunction with the other available dietary evaluation tests, the result is a highly personalized diet that helps minimize the creation of morbid matter and ingestion of inflammatory or metabolically inefficient foods – a necessary first step in the naturopathic therapeutic order of cure.

The Carroll Method

Morbid Matter

The primary aim of the Carroll method is to reduce the production of morbid matter. Food that is incompletely broken down is destined to be digested by bacteria in the large intestine. Bacterial metabolism of meat, eggs, and dairy products increases the level of morbid matter (such as trimethylamine N-oxide) and the risk of developing its associated diseases.2 Through simple urinalysis, a practitioner may detect levels of morbid matter in a patient’s body,3 thereby confirming that morbid matter is a veritable concern and not merely a concept. Toxemia is concerning because it increases the toxic load in the blood and taxes the organs of elimination. These disturbances can then manifest as inflammatory symptoms in the patient and disrupt normal bodily functions.

The ill effects of consuming intolerable foods is not unlike other forms of toxicity. For example, chronic lead exposure in children results in systemic symptoms in those children.4 In this way, lead can also be thought of as morbid matter. The same principle applies to the internal environment of the body when it is exposed to intolerable foods.

Vibratory Properties of Food

In the early 1900s, naturopaths wrote about the vibratory properties of food and theorized that disturbances in harmonious vibration were a chief cause of disease.5 The theoretical basis for such an idea is entirely plausible, considering that all material objects are composed of elementary particles that are neither stationary nor obey the known laws of physics6; light, sound, and all other detectable waves follow these same principles. Harmonious vibration refers to unimpeded cellular function and is therefore a governing concept of health. Of chief importance is understanding the precise cause of impeded cellular function. In clinical practice, a correlation between food intolerances, symptoms, and the disappearance of symptoms after removing the offending foods can be observed. In the same way that a lactose intolerance test implies a genetic lactase deficiency,7 results of the Carroll method may imply enzyme deficiencies.


The Carroll method uses an electrical device and glass rod to detect subtle electrical change at an acupuncture point (Stomach 25). The electrical device is used as a means of capturing and oscillating current sourced from the practitioner’s electric field.8,9 The field is honed by fastening a headband with a small conductive plate against the patient’s forehead and then plugging the headband directly into the machine. Once the circuit is established, dials on the device are adjusted to manipulate the frequency of the established circuit to match that of the large intestine’s frequency. Before the technique is performed, a sample of the patient’s blood is drawn onto a small piece of filter paper; this sample is allowed to dry, and then placed between 2 metallic surfaces on the electrical device. This modifies the circuit and personalizes the results for the patient rather than the practitioner. Finally, a sample of dehydrated food – typically dairy, egg, potato, meat, or fruit – contained within a glass jar is placed individually on top of the metallic surface to detect any change in current.

The glass rod is the primary instrument used to detect changes in current. Before being used, it is briefly and vigorously rubbed with a wool cloth to temporarily transfer electrons from the wool onto the glass rod, much in the same way that one might rub a balloon on a shirt, essentially “charging it.” The glass rod acts as a detector of current over the acupuncture point and will be met with a small level of resistance if the practitioner gently and skillfully drags it upward past the acupuncture point. If the patient is intolerant to dairy and a sample of dairy is introduced to the current, current can no longer be detected and the glass rod will thus slide over the acupuncture point. If the person is not intolerant to dairy, the glass rod will be met with resistance, resulting in a slight sticking phenomenon. Such a reaction establishes dairy as a compatible food.

Although the mechanism of the Carroll method has no unanimous explanation in the medical community, it is theorized to be a bioenergetic phenomenon and is perhaps best explained by the late Dr Albert Abrams in his work, The Electronic Reactions of Abrams. In the “Conceptual Plausibility” section below, I offer a basis for understanding the technique based on known principles of physiology and electromagnetism.

Method Reliability

Typically, if more than 1 trained practitioner performs the Carroll method on a patient, the results will be the same. Although the execution of the method is subjective, its ability to reproduce the same result across multiple practitioners demonstrates objectivity. However, the method’s objectivity can be undermined if the practitioner is incompetent in terms of skill or knowledge. There are several physical or energetic factors that can interfere with the practitioner’s performance, such as body temperature, moisture at the site of testing, or a negative mental state, which also has been shown to induce both tissue-specific and generalized cellular changes over time.10 The practitioner should regularly practice the fundamental tenets of health to achieve physical and mental competency.

Though empirical evidence is limited, studies support the Carroll method as a highly specific method for determining food intolerances. One double-blind study determined the Carroll method to have comparable specificity and positive predictive value as IgE/IgG/IgG4 testing for foods.11 Further studies with larger sample populations are needed to help to determine large-scale clinical efficacy, although the aforementioned study is consistent with anecdotal evidence from naturopathic doctors who utilize the Carroll method in conjunction with other traditional naturopathic modalities.

The specificity of the method is revealed clinically when the test results are applied to the patient. After the patient is directed to avoid their intolerable food(s), a series of treatments beginning with constitutional hydrotherapy are employed on a routine basis to facilitate the eliminative faculties of the body. According to the Therapeutic Order, the order of treatment to assist in toxin elimination begins with constitutional hydrotherapy and is followed by choice herbs and homeopathic remedies, etc, determined on a case-by-case basis. The protocol is considered successful if patients avoid their intolerable foods, resulting in restoration of tissue function and symptom dissipation. The use of diagnostics techniques such as iris examination or Chapman reflex points can also be performed to gauge the effectiveness of the healing protocol from an objective standpoint.

Conceptual Plausibility of the Carroll Method

The rationale behind the Carroll method is currently theoretical because the technology required to fully understand bioenergetics either does not yet exist or is ignored by the scientific community. Therefore, it’s helpful to consider known principles of electromagnetism and physiology to facilitate an understanding of the potential mechanism of the Carroll method.

The technique can be understood conceptually by likening the body to that of a simple electric circuit. Imagine a circuit consisting of 2 wires, 1 bulb, and 1 battery. The battery is the source of electrical current – the electromotive force. The bulb is the resistor of current, and the wires transport the current. Under normal circumstances, current flows from the battery through the wire until it meets the light bulb, which resists the current as it converts electrons into heat and light. In the body, the bulb’s conversion of energy is similar to mitochondrial conversion of electrons into heat and ATP. The large intestine and food sampled together can be likened to the bulb. Like bulbs of differing resistance, food likely also has a resistance value depending on the individual’s ability to assimilate that food. More resistance results in decreased ability to assimilate the food, which translates into decreased current flow. Since the large intestine is ultimately digesting food as a means of accessing electrons to be packed into ATP molecules, the liberation of these electrons theoretically creates a detectable flow of current.

In this way, intolerable foods can be thought of as strong insulators. Thus, when tested, the glass rod will slide over the acupuncture point, unable to detect a flow of current. This simple explanation is plausible by considering Ohm’s law, or I = V/R, where I is current flow, V is voltage, and R is resistance. Accordingly, more resistance decreases current output. A closer look at physiology helps one to understand the processes occurring at the cellular level.

Each cell in the body has a resting membrane potential. The cells are constantly exchanging ions, in different concentrations and rates of exchange. Different cells comprise different tissues with distinct functions, ultimately forming organs. The fact that different types of ions exist in the various tissues of the body allows for a reasonable assumption that each organ has a numerically dissimilar, summed electric field frequency. The value of organ frequencies has previously been produced by the late Bruce Tainio, whose original work is missing. Other work involving organ frequencies and diseases, discovered by the late Royal Raymond Rife, showed promise but was harshly criticized, rejected, and later tarnished by the AMA, and his Rife machine was confiscated by the Department of Public Health.12 Rife was the highly acclaimed inventor of the first universal microscope, which at the time was considered a modern marvel and earned him the title of “scientific genius.”12

Although these explanations offer an idea of the potential mechanism of the technique itself, 2 key questions yet remain: 1) What is the relationship between the blood sample, the device, and the practitioner? and 2) How does the technique provide information about an individual’s digestive capabilities if that individual is not currently digesting that food or is not physically present for the test? Clearly, there is another force or factor at play that is not well understood and requires further study.

Present-Day Bioelectric Techniques

The Carroll Method is but one means of obtaining information coded in electromagnetics. Presently, the study and application of harmonious vibration falls under the category of bioenergetics. There are several modern-day techniques that seek to restore normal, harmonious cellular vibrations to the various organs of the body. Savely Yurkovsky, MD, utilizes a technique called “Field Control Therapy,” proclaiming that it’s a form of targeted homeopathy.13 His method employs a machine that identifies disturbances in cellular frequency and then applies a homeopathic dose of electricity to draw out toxins from that organ.14 Similarly, Pierre Nicolas created a form of energy medicine called Biosyntonie, capable of normalizing biorhythms and neuroendocrine functions.15 Both methods of bioenergetic medicine are based on the concept that harmonious vibration is a function of unimpeded cellular function, and the varying forms of impedance include exposure to deleterious electric frequencies, ie, radiation, the internal effects of wrongful eating. Other techniques, such as music therapy, employ the use of sound waves to restore harmonious vibration.16

The concept of harmonious vibration, bioelectric fields, and bioenergetics all seems to point toward what could potentially be the cutting edge of medicine – a new wave of powerful healing methods. The ability of the Carroll method to identify a food intolerance, based presently on underdeveloped or unexplored principles of bioenergetics, is a phenomenon that cries out for attention in the scientific community. It is well worth exploring, considering the positive clinical outcomes of applying this technique. Dismissing such claims and devices as “pseudo-scientific,” and eagerly dismantling the theories, does little to explain the clinical success, turns a blind eye to the essence of scientific inquiry, and potentially limits advancements in medicine, our understanding of health, and our evolution as a species.


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Jared C. Pistoia is a 2nd-year medical student at the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM). He earned a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Stony Brook University and has a strong interest in vitalism and traditional naturopathic philosophy.



Sussanna Czeranko, ND, BBE, graduate of CCNM, is a licensed ND in Oregon and has developed an extensive armamentarium of traditional nature-cure tools for her patients. Especially interested in balneotherapy, botanical medicine, breathing, and nutrition, she is a frequent presenter. As Curator of the Rare Books Collection at NUNM, she has completed Hydrotherapy in Naturopathic Medicine, the tenth book of the 12-book series in the Hevert Collection. Her next large project is the completion of her new medical spa, located in Manitou Beach, Saskatchewan – a magical, saline lake. Come join her for the Inaugural “Finding Our Roots Again Retreat,” August 2019.

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