The University of Queensland (UQ) and two international medical journals are investigating alleged ethical violations in research around Universal Medicine (UM), an organisation based in Lismore in New South Wales, which touts the healing power of "esoteric breast massage" and other unproven treatments.
Founded by Serge Benhayon — a former bankrupt tennis coach with no medical qualifications who claims to be the reincarnation of Leonardo Da Vinci — UM is a multi-million-dollar enterprise with 700 mostly women followers in 15 countries.
UM practitioners are also taught by Mr Benhayon to carry out esoteric ovary massage to "help women connect back to their body".
An ABC investigation can reveal three members of UQ's faculty of medicine have publicly advocated for the controversial group.
Eminent medical educator John Dwyer, the former head of immunology at Yale University, said the researchers had "an unbelievable conflict of interest" as "apostles for Universal Medicine, heavily involved in the organisation and the teachings of the group".
UM is linked to Mr Benhayon's Way of the Livingness religion, with UM followers urged to follow his strict lifestyle instructions from diet and sleep to sex.
Mr Benhayon's acolytes include Christoph Schnelle, a UQ faculty of medicine researcher who was the lead author of three articles on UM health practices.
He and eight co-authors are now under scrutiny for an alleged failure to declare their roles in what has been described as "a dangerous cult" by Professor Dwyer, who is now based at the University of New South Wales.
The ABC has obtained video of four of the researchers publicly advocating UM practices, including two doctors.How very odd...