Oh How the Gentle Wind Blows

Philadelphia Weekly/November 19, 2004
By Frank Rubino

If you're anxious or depressed, you might want to trek to the airport Sheraton this weekend to size up the handheld "healing instruments" proffered by the Gentle Wind Project, a self-described nonprofit alternative health organization headquartered in Maine.

Then again, if you heed the advice of those who regard Gentle Wind's brain trust as charlatans, you'll find something-- anything--better to do. Gentle Wind co-founder Mary "Mo" Miller, a former social worker, says her group has "21 years of documented evidence that shows our healing instruments relieve mental and emotional distress in some people."

Miller adds that Gentle Wind's "healing pucks," "trauma cards" and other devices contain herbs and minerals, and can be borrowed for free from the approximately 7,000 Gentle Wind practitioners worldwide. But on Gentle Wind's website (www.gentlewindproject.org) the group touts seven instruments' therapeutic powers under "requested donations" ranging from $250 to $7,700.

"In our opinion, they're exploiting people who are vulnerable by selling these things for huge donations," says Kevin LaChappelle, director of the Special Investigations Agency, a San Diego-based nonprofit that probes suspected scam artists. "They tell people this 'super puck' will fix everything that's wrong with you. The whole thing is ludicrous. They're bilking people."

Miller responds that SIA is trumpeting the claims of several Gentle Wind critics whom her outfit has sued for defamation of character, and insinuates that SIA may be receiving payments from those defendants.

"That's absolutely untrue," LaChappelle says, adding that "unlike theirs, our books are wide open." The Gentle Wind show kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m.

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