Science

Pseudoscience, esotericism: strange references to Natasha Kalestreme, the star of well-being

His name may not mean anything to you, but you have probably already seen his smile on the shelves of bookstores. Unless your mother-in-law or a friend told you to read her books. Because Natasha Kalestreme is the new queen of the “personal development” departments. Released in 2020, The Key to Your Energy (by Albin Michel) was on the L’Express bestseller list for… eighty-eight weeks and sold over 340,000 copies (according to Editstat). Finding My Place, released last fall, was also a hit, with nearly 150,000 copies already sold. Each of his conferences draws crowds. The same goes for his autograph sessions. The point is that the promise is beautiful: with the help of 22 “protocols” collected by these energetic fifties, we could “free ourselves from painful emotions” and “reconnect with our inner strength.” To overcome our little difficulties and our big problems and finally “access to happiness”.

Beautiful, blond, pleasant, and now a real star, the former animal and later health journalist is wary of her former colleagues. At the request of L’Express, she first informed us through her press secretary that she prefers to focus on her writing projects. We’ll have to meet him at the book fair for an interview. It must be said that Natasha Kalestreme recently sparked controversy with surreal remarks on It Starts Today about endometriosis: a chronic condition caused, in her words, by the “guilt”, “sadness” caused by the miscarriages of our ancestors… The words she assures are “ taken out of context.” In any case, France 2 was forced to deprogram the show due to the outrage caused by these excerpts being broadcast on social media. If the excitement is justified by the lack of a scientific basis for such statements, then everything was already in his book. She herself is surprised by this today: “The media like L’Obs, Elle or Liberation praised it,” she explains to us from her webcam installed in the office, from where she broadcasts her weekly show on Monday evenings, hopefully on YouTube.

“Creatures of Light”

Several chapters of her bestseller are devoted to the “meaning of diseases”, for which she offers us a “reading grid” somewhere between Lacan and Molière. Thus, angina “will be associated with the fear of saying too much”, otitis – with “the desire to no longer hear discussions that upset or anger us.” Alzheimer’s disease ? “Approved by the weight of an unrevealed mystery, a repressed guilt that is hard to bear.” Even cancer is associated with “remorse” or “emotional trauma.” We pinch ourselves. Natasha Kalestreme prudently uses a conditional sentence and makes it clear that the first thing to do in case of illness is “to see a doctor.” But her speech, even if she denies it, is reminiscent of a “biological decoding”: the thesis that for a cure it would be enough to identify the triggering event of the disease, and whose main figures, Reik Gerd Hamer and Claude Sabbah, were severely punished. condemned by the courts. “With the exception of cardiovascular pathologies, the relationship between emotional state and the occurrence of a particular condition is based on unproven hypotheses,” confirms Professor Cedric Lemon, head of the psychiatric department of the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris (AP-HP).

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The most esoteric is yet to come. In the pages and protocols we learn how to heal our “emotional wounds” or turn to “beings of light.” Mysterious creatures designed to help us find out the name of our “guide” by accidentally opening a book in his library. Thanks to them, we will be freed from our “emotional heritage”, “breaking the shackles of suffering.” To do this, all you have to do is sit in the middle of your living room and repeat a few sentences (“I free myself as I free you”) between the Coué method and the “shamanic rituals” found “during reports in South America”. We even learn that it is we who “choose our parents”, our soul decides in which family environment we are born …

Foolish? On the contrary, a millimetric marketing object. Because, on closer inspection, Natasha Kalestreme applied all the recipes for personal development and relied on the publishing successes of recent years. She claims this: “I did not invent anything, I make new things from the old.” “Emotional wounds”? Inspired by the sector’s high priestess, Canadian Lisa Bourbeau and her five wounds that keep you from being yourself, which have sold over a million copies in France since 2013. Generational legacy? Taken from Oh, my ancestors! by psychologist Anna Anselin-Schützenberger, 400,000 sales since 2015. Soul restoration protocols? Borrowed from a healing medium. When it comes to self-healing, the concept is inevitably reminiscent of David Servan-Schreiber (Guérir, Anticancer).

Like any good writer on well-being, Natasha Kalestreme puts herself on the stage and talks about the hardships, unemployment, herniated disc, loss of loved ones that forced her to turn to “unconventional remedies.” Readers will recognize themselves in it and feel less alone. In a simple, friendly tone, she explains that her protocols worked for her, and then, to the “great surprise” for relatives, and that therefore she had to share her discoveries more widely. A few edifying reviews, a little magic, a lot of charisma and voila. There’s no reason why it doesn’t work for us, who necessarily have the “power to change.” Otherwise, of course, it will not be his fault, but ours: we “poorly formulated our request.”

“99.99% energy”…

We cannot avoid “energy”, a vague concept inherited from the New Age, this spiritual current flooding the field of well-being. Thus, Natasha Kalestreme points out that the atoms that make up our body are made up of “99.99% energy”, which essentially explains why her protocols work: they act on that energy. Unstoppable? Not really, for physicist Sebastian Point: “Atom is a nucleus, electrons and vacuum. There is no energy independent of matter,” he recalls. Other scientific references—also a fixture in personal development books—are of the same type: based on verified data, but different from their original meaning.

Epigenetics, for example, had to substantiate this idea of ​​a transgenerational burden that we will inherit. The reality is, of course, more complicated. “It has been shown that exposure to chemicals or stress during pregnancy or early childhood can alter epigenetic marks that regulate gene expression and thus affect adult life. Third generation exposure with epigenetic mechanisms remains under study,” explains Robert. Baruki, toxicologist and professor of biochemistry at the Descartes University of Paris. The same goes for the “mirror neurons” discovered by neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolatti, which Natasha Kalestrome refers to a lot to justify her self-healing protocol. “I am not familiar with the work of Natasha Kalestreme. But I can tell you that mirror neurons are based on a basic neurological mechanism that has nothing to do with parascientific theories,” this professor from the University of Parma tells us.

But what? The key is to tick all the boxes leading to success. Natasha Kalestreme defends herself against any calculated approach. During an interview provided by L’Express, she pretends to reveal herself, is touched, even cries at the memory of her past difficulties, which she spoke about so often. “Do you feel marketing in me? She ends up getting annoyed. “All the people who come to me, on the contrary, emphasize my authenticity.” Today, in any case, she is doing well. His fans, at least those who crossed paths with him at this book fair, have stars in their eyes at the mention of him. Initially, during the pandemic and self-isolation, his work was also sold only by word of mouth. Natasha Kalestreme then took advantage of the support and even complacency of many media outlets that portray her as a “prisoner shaman” or “happiness therapist”. In January, on France 5, when confronted by the all-hearing Anne-Elisabeth Lemoine, she could argue that problems with a leak or heating in the house have a hidden meaning, associated, for example, with the heart. Rarely, like disinfox site Fact & Furious, has dared to question its pseudo-scientific discourse or problematic references.

Practices in the sights of Mivilyudes

However, they are legion. For example, Philip Bobola, to whom she pays tribute in her book. Someone who presents himself as a “physicist, biologist, anthropologist and psychoanalyst” (sic) and boasts of a “great quantum awakening” is nevertheless regularly present next to figures from the conspiracy sphere, such as Jean-Jacques Crevecoeur or Ema Crusi. A mention that clearly embarrassed Natasha Kalestreme: “I interviewed him for a magazine. He told me that our body is full of information. rather quoted Einstein. Reducing my work to this reference to Philippe Bobol is a bit of a shame.” In her book, she also refers to Luc Bodin, a former doctor who was fired in 2014, followed by Miviludes, the Interministerial Mission to Vigilance and Combat Interfaith Abuse. Not forgetting the many practices that also appear in the field of view of Miviludes: family constellations, geobiology, applied kinesiology…

“Geobiology has existed since time immemorial. Cathedrals are built on telluric forces that cannot be explained. People perceive what makes a place unique. Geobiology is like magnetizers, healers, shamans. In the light of materialistic science, this, of course, seems strange. But I offer only that which helped me,” she says. Along with her sister, numerologist Lydie Castells and Lysiane Levy, she also published the 44-card Numerology in Action box set, presented as “a projection tool to help you position yourself when faced with questions, whatever they may be.” . 18,000 copies sold in less than a year).

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But most often her husband Stefan Allix is ​​mentioned. This former war reporter has turned into bestsellers with sensational afterlife headlines. His biggest success, The Test. Incredible experience: proof of an afterlife? (Sold 230,000 copies, also Albin Michel) is an adaptation of the “work” of the Americans Gary Schwartz or Julie Beishel, who claim to have proven through “scientific protocols” the ability of mediums to communicate with the dead. Natasha Kalestreme and Stefan Allix have a common gift anyway: to pass off vague theories as “rational” concepts, socially acceptable and very fruitful in bookstores. In short, true magical power…

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