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Getting under the skin of Computerised Electro Dermal Screening A Practitioner's Point of View

by Anne Smithells(more info)

listed in allergy testing, originally published in issue 31 - August 1998

Anne Smithells uses the Life Information System Ten (LISTEN System), a Computerised Electro Dermal Screening (CEDS) device, as the diagnostic workhorse of her clinic. She has had considerable success in treating a wide range of health problems ranging from migraine, IBS and excess weight, to more complex problems such as toxic poisoning, parasites and ME.

Anne Smithells (right) using the LISTEN System to screen a patient for food intolerances.

Figure 1: Anne Smithells (right) using the LISTEN System to screen a patient for food intolerances.

M y personal philosophy is to treat the digestive system first. If that is healthy, very often the body will re-balance itself. If it does rebalance, whatever actions one takes next, will work much better.

During a patient’s initial visit, I look at food intolerances and vitamin and mineral levels.

Food intolerances

A food intolerance is often insidious and is thought to be the result of the failure of normal absorption. The ‘culprit’ food can aggravate the mast cells in the gut’s mucous membranes, causing the gut to leak. Particles of partially digested food then get into the blood stream, causing the immune system to react giving rise to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, arthritis, headaches, skin problems, IBS, asthma and many others. According to Dr James Braly, speaking at an ION conference in 1996; “Food intolerance is associated with 92 common diseases.”

The testing method is simple. The patient holds a small brass electrode in one hand, while the practitioner takes readings off the relevant acupressure point, using a probe linked to the System through a very sensitive galvanometer (see Figure 1). Using this technique, 105 foods can be tested for intolerance in about 15 minutes. As soon as testing is completed, a detailed print-out is produced, itemising each food tested and indicating its position inside or outside acceptable limits.

Patients often ask me to explain how the system works. I always feel that it is a bit like being asked to explain how a car can be run by turning a key – such a simple action to activate complex technology. The LISTEN System is much more complicated because it involves quantum physics and I am no physicist.

Nevertheless, the simple explanation is as follows:

As food is placed in the mouth, the body has to immediately rush the correct enzymes to it to break it down for digestion and to add the necessary antigens. This means that the body’s sensing devices have to be able to identify the food. They do this by interpreting the resonance signature, or frequency given off by the food as it reaches the mouth (this can be measured as a wave form, rather like a radio signal).

For example, if you measure an apple’s resonance wave form with an oscilloscope you get a read out like that in Figure 2 (not shown here). This is the signature the body interprets. The LISTEN System has been programmed to recognise the signatures of each of the foods, vitamins, or minerals it is testing, to convert them into a digitised form and then to feed the relevant data into its memory for analysis.

All the operator has to do is take a reading off the allergy acupuncture point. The results are measured on a scale of 100. Acceptable foods (those to which the patient is not intolerant) will score between 48 and 55. Foods which score higher, or lower, indicate an intolerance. The further the food is from the acceptable band, the more serious the intolerance.

Short term avoidance of the foods to which the patient is intolerant often means they can be re-introduced in the longer term.

The results I have seen from using this method with over 4,000 patients have been quite extraordinary. Significant improvements have been achieved with migraines, fatigue, IBS, arthritis, asthma and skin problems. I have even had cases in which poor sight and hearing have dramatically improved.

The principle is very simple. 200 years ago the family physician would have treated such complaints by prescribing bed rest for a month on a water only diet. Today, we can strengthen our immune system and detoxify simply by avoiding the foods to which we are intolerant.

Vitamin and mineral levels

When dealing with vitamin and mineral levels, it is more a case of; “we are what we absorb,” not what we eat.

Deficiencies in certain vitamins give a good clue to a patient’s health problems and can easily be cross referenced with other tests. For example, a patient with adrenal exhaustion will be low in pantothenic acid and vitamin C. Candida patients are often low in B vitamins, chromium, magnesium and acidophilus.

Poor absorption is often due to poor pancreatic function (low in digestive enzymes) or low stomach acid (HCL). Vitamin B6 is frequently required to produce HCL, so this too, will often be deficient. Patients with hypothyroidism will often be deficient in iodine, zinc and GLA/EFA.

In many cases, the apparent answer to one question, often poses another. Delving deeper into the causes is relatively easy with the LISTEN System.


Typical of the challenges we face in this area, was the patient who attended the clinic some months ago complaining of a badly swollen face and hands, but only during the winter and only after visiting the New Forest. I think I checked more than a thousand items with the LISTEN System, before I established the cause as epoxy resin and fibreglass. After that, it didn’t take long to establish that during winter he worked on his fibreglass boat at a boatyard on the edge of the Forest.


I see about ten hypothyroid cases a week. These patients invariably share clinical symptoms which have not reacted positively to blood tests. The most common symptoms are fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, insomnia, constipation, feeling cold and weight gain. The test takes only ten minutes and indicates other hormone imbalances such as adrenal exhaustion and hypoglycaemia. I have had considerable success in treating such problems with herbs and vitamins. In fact, hypoglycaemia and exhausted adrenals can often be corrected within four to six months.

Full body screening

Using the LISTEN System in this mode enables the practitioner to adopt a truly investigative approach to solving health problems. For example, if a patient presents with fatigue, finding the cause by means of standard questioning techniques can, on occasions, result in erratic or misleading answers.

If food intolerances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, environmentals and hormone imbalance have been ruled out by the techniques I have already described, yet the problems still persist, it is time to turn to full body screening. This involves taking readings from all the control points relating to the meridians for all the body’s major organs and systems – the lungs, lymph, large intestine, kidney and liver, for example, which are situated on the hands and feet.

Each point is measured as described previously, with normal readings for a healthy organ or system of between 48 and 55.

A healthy body, despite being bombarded by pollutants, disease and bacteria, will immediately re-balance itself. A sick body will have difficulty in putting itself right and will need assistance.

The LISTEN System can scan its product library of more than 22,00 remedies to identify how to re-balance each organ. For example, IBS can be caused by Candida, parasites, food poisoning, bacteria such as Salmonella and Giardia – even heavy metal toxins from the teeth or a water supply (ref. Dr John Roberts B.Ch. D.: Root Canal – Roots of Disease, Positive Health Magazine, Dec/Jan 1998). Once the culprit or culprits have been identified, the appropriate remedy, at the appropriate potency, can be selected by the system. Nothing is left to guesswork.

Extraordinarily complex cases, such as depression and fatigue, caused by pollution in dental gold, have been solved. A rare form of pallandromic rheumatism has been significantly alleviated by ridding the patient of high levels of parasites. Epilepsy has been helped by a low carbohydrate diet.

On of the biggest advantages of using the LISTEN System is when patients return for follow up screenings. The print-out from their second test gives them a clear picture of their progress or improvement. In some serious cases of ME I have treated, there have been stunning improvements after only one visit.

Technical background

The LISTEN System is one of a variety of devices spawned from the emerging science of Bioelectromagnetic Medicine (BEM).

BEM involves the interactions between electromagnetic fields and the electrical properties of biological tissues and cells. Electromagnetic fields can induce selective electrical changes in the micro environment around and within cells. BEM instruments can measure the electrical properties of organs and tissues through related points on the skin’s surface. (Ref. Barbara Brewitt Ph.D. Quantative analysis of Electrical Skin Conductance in diagnosis: Historical and current views of Bioelectric Medicine; Journal of Naturopathic Medicine; Volume 6, Number 1; 1996.)

Much of the early work in this area was done in the 1950s by Dr Reinhold Voll. He discovered the technique for measuring the energy level of bio points (the points used in acupuncture) and discovered that by doing so he could identify toxic substances, parasites, food intolerances, vitamin and mineral profiles etc, that could affect the smooth running of the body. As a result of Voll’s work, the technique was named Electro Acupuncture according to Voll (EAV) and more recently, Electro Dermal Screening (EDS).

More importantly, Voll also discovered that through these same points, the effects of toxic chemicals and the like could be minimised and remedies identified. But, the major obstacle to putting Voll’s work into practice was the method, which was too cumbersome and complicated to be put into practical use.

It wasn’t until 1979, when James Hoyt Clarke, an American bio-engineer and computer scientist, succeeded in computerising the technique, that the technology really became viable in a clinical environment. Clark developed a number of Computerised Electro Dermal Screening (CEDS) devices, culminating in the first version of the Life Information System Ten (LISTEN System) in the early 1990s.

The LISTEN System represents a significant advance in health screening technology. The system is fast, comprehensive and accurate. What is more, it is non-invasive and painless. There is no waiting before you get the results — a detailed computer printout is available immediately for both patient and practitioner, as soon as screening is completed.

The LISTEN system has the ability to screen rapidly for reactions to chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals (such as the mercury in dental amalgams), bacteria, viruses, radiation, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, phenolics, hormones, alcohols, moulds, fungi, pollens, yeast, animal danders, toxins and more. It can rapidly screen hundreds of items for sensitivities under many categories. For example, it takes only 15 minutes to test for intolerance to 100 foods. It can screen for vitamin and mineral status and establish the influence of dental fillings on the body .

Through full body screenings the system can also be used to conduct more comprehensive screening of the entire body and its main organs such as the heart, lungs, liver and spleen.

How the LISTEN System works

The natural balance of energy and temperature of a healthy human is constant. The body always attempts to regulate it back to the same point. Just as a thermometer is used to read temperature, in the LISTEN System, a highly sensitive galvanometer is used to monitor variations in the energy resistance of the human body.

The body’s bio system consists of acupuncture points on the hands and feet – with ‘control’ or primary points on each meridian. A balanced reading for normal (healthy) acupuncture points is 100,000 ohms.

On the LISTEN System the balanced reading has been set at 50 on a scale of 1 to 100. Readings above 55 indicate an acute situation while those below 48 indicate a chronic condition. The control points indicate the overall function of say, the heart, whereas other points along the same meridian will give detailed readings – for instance, of the valves, muscles, nerves, plexus and ganglia of the heart.

Although based on acupuncture, the LISTEN System measures the points by pressing as in acupressure, rather than the skin penetration of acupuncture. This is an important feature of the LISTEN System’s non-invasive design.

Using the system, the operator applies a probe to the skin surface at the acupuncture points on the client’s hands (and the feet in the case of full body screening). The machine sends a very small electronic signal (5 volts @ 30 micro amps) through the skin, via the system’s positive and negative contacts. The client feels only the sensation of the probe touching the skin. Readings indicating the individual’s reaction, are recorded by the computer as each point is measured.

A detailed report indicates the balanced, chronic and acute points relating to the various parts of the body, on both the left and right side. The practitioner can then access the wide range of remedies in the LISTEN System’s ‘products library’, to establish the most appropriate remedy needed to rebalance the points.

The products library is programmed into the system, using a process unique to the manufacturer, BioMeridian Inc. This means the practitioner no longer has to carry sample stocks (phials) of items to be tested for, (common to other EDS systems). The LISTEN System has the equivalent of more than 22,000 products (items) in its products library, which provides significantly greater range and flexibility than earlier EDS systems (see Figure 3 - not shown here).

The remedies are either homoeopathic or remedies evaluated using a homoeopathic approach (dilutions) from the thousands of items loaded in the LISTEN System’s memory. These items include the homoeopathic range (733 main items), bacteria, viruses, chemicals, pesticides, sensitivities, products and many more categories. This means that the exact remedy and potency can be determined, providing dramatically improved accuracy and removing the guesswork inherent in much contemporary practice.

The LISTEN System is unique among CEDS devices in being a signal generator. Signal generators are transmitters, or equipment capable of producing and outputting a measurable and reproducible Electro-Magnetic (EM) signal .

Every substance (food, vitamin, mineral, parasite or virus), emits its own EM signal (energy pattern or signature). Clark developed a technique that can isolate, record and reproduce these EM signatures. The technique can be compared to the isolation of the DNA of a substance, then using the DNA to identify or reproduce the substance.

The LISTEN System isolates the FM range of a substance’s EM energy pattern, encodes it into the software and uses it to challenge the body. A signal generating device is used to reproduce the respective signal in the client. These signals are similar to those reproduced in a tape recorder or CD player and are therefore reproducible.

Changes in the data, due to the influence of the EM signal, are recorded through an ohmmeter and confirmed, or qualified by other modalities – virtually eliminating any biases.

Further Information

There are now 20 LISTEN Systems available in the UK, each operated by highly qualified practitioners from a variety of health disciplines. For a list of practitioners and their locations contact: Tel: 01730 233414; Fax: 01730 267097;


  1. Mike said..

    Sheila, this was published in 1998 and we no longer have contact with the author. Your best bet is to try and Google it! Or, try this web address as they use Electro Dermal Screening.

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About Anne Smithells

Anne Smithells is the Director of the Biotech Health and Nutrition Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire.

  • June Sayer Homeopathy

    Training Academy Homeopathy Nutrition Reiki, Distant Learning. Diet, Health Screening, Detox, Stress

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