It is constantly claimed that the organization Recovery Norway was not started or is not managed by Lightning Process instructors and that the establishment was not related to the Norwegian Consumer Agency’s restrictions of the regulations for marketing of alternative treatments. Here are some facts.
This is a translation of the Norwegian article Recovery Norge er en Lightning Process-organisasjon.
In an opinion piece in the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen in January 2022, the head of Recovery Norway (RN) Henrik Vogt at the Center for Medical Ethics in Oslo, Norway claims that «It is also not true that RN was started by or is run by LP instructors.» Vogt admittedly acknowledges in the post that «At the founding meeting there was one LP instructor.». Henrik Vogt: «We do not engage in covert marketing«.
The fact is that Norway’s most famous Lightning Process instructor Live Landmark is one of the five who founded Recovery Norway.
Recovery Norway was formally founded as an organization on 15.01.2018. Present as founders were Henrik Vogt, Olav Dalseg, Eva Raastad, Svein Erik Høst and Live Landmark.
Eva Raastad is the mother of LP instructor Jan Even Raastad. He is a board member of the Norwegian Association of Lightning Process Instructors and registered sole proprietorship on 24th February 2017. The founder and deputy chairman of the board was Svein Erik Høst, former director of the Norwegian Research Council. He is married to Nina Høst who took the LP course in 2014.
Changes in regulations
Vogt further writes in Dagsavisen that RN was started several months before a change in the Consumer Agency’s guidelines for marketing of alternative treatment was published. «They became public knowledge only in September 2017. At that time, I had no knowledge or interest in the regulations of alternative treatment.».
The Consumer Agency’s notice of restrictions in the regulations and supervision of the alternative industry was published on 30th January 2017: The Norwegian Consumer Agency: Agenda for 2017.
«The market for alternative treatments is large in Norway, with over 200 different forms of treatment. All alternative treatments have in common that the effect of the treatment is not documented. The regulations for marketing alternative treatments are therefore strict. Among other things, it is illegal to use claims that the treatment has an effect on specific diseases and disorders. In 2017, we will carry out an audit of the marketing of alternative treatments. We will in particular look for claims that alternative treatment has an effect on serious diseases and disorders. We will also update the guidelines for marketing alternative treatments and actively disseminate these to industry organizations and individual actors. » (my translation).
The newspaper Nettavisen also had an article about this a few days later: Complaint record with the Consumer Agency.
From 2008 and until then, Landmark had published a large number of more or less verifiable stories both in the media and on social media about satisfied customers who had recovered with the help of LP.
Both Landmark and Ann Schifte Osmundsen, who is also an LP instructor, are on the Consumer Agency’s recipient list of alternative therapists who received the information letter.
The information letter dated 24th August 2017 states: «The guidelines have been updated with the latest management practices and contain several examples of which claims will not be allowed to be used in marketing. It has been clarified that the requirements also apply to marketing in social media, such as blogs and Facebook.».
The guidelines dated July 2017 state that «Statements from satisfied customers, user surveys and the like can also not be used in marketing. The ban also applies to references to articles in weekly magazines, daily press, etc.».
RN’s Facebook page was created on 11th September 2017. On 17th September 2017, RN launched itself as a new patient network in an opinion piece in the newspaper Aftenposten: «Listen to those who have recovered». Of the 46 members who signed the post, 14 are involved in, or are related to commercial LP / coaching activities:
1. Helene Ragnhild Andersen, nutritional physiologist with her own company with counseling / courses
2. Bente Denstad, LP instructor
3. Lise Eie, LP instructor
4. Berit Frivold, LP instructor
5. Geir Frivold, married to Berit Frivold / LP instructor
6. Mikkel Funnemark, LP instructor and married to Live Landmark
7. Kirsti Dahl Johansen, coach
8. Anne Stine Kraabøl, NLP coach
9. Live Landmark, LP instructor
10. Gyrid Listuen, LP instructor
11. Heddy Anne Torp Lund, coach
12. Jan Even Raastad, LP instructor
13. Møyfrid Tangen, coach
14. Bjørne (Bjørnson) Skarbøe, NLP coach
To become an LP instructor, you must first train as a coach. They have a financial interest in media attention and in RN’s the lobbying activities.
Shortly after RN was launched, the stories of the anonymous satisfied customers who had recovered with the help of LP appeared on RN’s Facebook page – and now the same stories are shared again on Live Landmark’s social media – via RN. This practice is unassailable when LP instructors have organized themselves along with their satisfied customers. This is how the regulations can be circumvented.
The Norwegian Consumer Agency informed Landmark that «New enforcement rules will enter into force on 1st January 2018». RN was formally founded on 15th January 2018.
Fact or error about Recovery Norway
When asked directly what role Landmark has played in the launch of RN, Vogt answers: «No special role other than she is a member. She was not among the first members.»
On 12th October 2018, RN states on its Facebook page that «It is not true that Recovery Norway was established by a group of Lightning process instructors» and «Among the first members there were no LP instructors». RN further writes that the first member of Recovery Norway was recruited by Vogt on 22 January 2017. An anonymous blogger «Kaneldryss» is used as a witness of the truth;
This is repeated on 10th January 2022. RN posts a link to the same anonymous blog.
The blog post claims that the first RN member was recruited on 22nd January, 2017 and that she/he knows who the first member was. It is also claimed that there is a letter that can prove that Vogt contacted the person on 23rd February 2017 – without the letter being presented [according to screenshots in January 2022]. Kaneldryss: “Today I read this article».
ME or LP organization?
It is a requirement of membership in RN that one has recovered by using LP or similar methods. Those who are ill or who have recovered from e.g. drug treatment are excluded. What most members of RN have in common is not the illness they had, but the method they used; 2/3 of RN’s stories are about LP. Several of the stories have been told multiple times, and some of them are anonymous and told multiple times. A review indicates that there are 34 – 37 unique stories about people who have had an ME diagnosis and who have recovered with the help of LP. According to Landmark, an estimated 15,000 Norwegians have taken the LP course. Rarely do we hear about all those who deteriorated due to the method. See the Facebook group Lightning Process – ME-patients with deterioration or no effect.
Read more here: Is the Lightning Process a sect?
Conflicts of interest
As far as I can see, RN did not disclose financial conflicts of interest when RN’s Facebook page was created, in the article in Aftenposten when RN was launched or in its inquiries to authorities and other organizations where they lobby.
In September 2018, RN sent a letter to the Ministry of Health and Care Services with 51 signatures without stating that 8 of them are LP instructors, ie 8 of the 10 who were members of the Norwegian Association of Lightning Process Instructors at the time. Among those who signed are:
- Charlotte Nagelgaard – LP instructor
- Inger Marie Moen Reiten – LP instructor
- Jan Even Raastad – LP instructor
- Ingvild Harila Feed – LP instructor
- Ann Schifte Osmundsen – LP instructor
- Live Landmark – LP instructor
- Kristin Blaker – LP instructor
- Lise Eie – LP instructor
- Eva Raastad – mother of LP instructor.
In an opinion piece in the Norwegian journal “Sciencezone” – Forskersonen.no on 20th January 2022, Bård Stranheim calls for accountability in the ME debate – without stating that he represents RN: «I am frustrated by the lack of accountability in the debate on ME and Lightning Process«.
On 29th January 2022, the newspaper Telemarksavisa had a large article about Bård Stranheim in which he says that he recovered from ME with the help of LP: «ME activists make it difficult to talk about». It is not stated that he represents RN. Stranheim did not have ME by the way, he was burnt out.
This is an email Stranheim sent to the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services on behalf of RN following a meeting about Long Covid. One of the participants was Paul Garner. Garner claims he recovered from Long Covid and ME after a phone call with Landmark. That he, at the time he claims he was ill, went for 5 km long walks every day and was diving in Grenada, is not as well known. Sissel Sunde writes: «What Dagbladet knew about Paul Garner» (Norwegian text).
The current deputy head of RN, psychiatrist Marte Jürgensen, also attended the meeting about Long Covid on 18th March 2021. She is now treating Long Covid patients in a project at the rehabilitation center «Helse in Hardanger». In an article in the Norwegian journal Dagens Medisin about the project, her role in RN is not mentioned: There is hope for patients with Long Covid.
Hilde Søndrol has been in the media countless times this winter telling her story about how she recovered with the help of LP. In the newspaper Dagbladet’s article about Søndrol on 2nd January 2022, RN is not mentioned. Dagbladet: I recovered from ME (Norwegian text). Søndrol is a board member of RN.
Interventions in the authorities
Already in 2018, I informed the Norwegian Directorate of Health about possible financial conflicts of interest in RN. RN conducts extensive lobbying activities towards the health authorities and lets their members share positive LP-experiences. Just over a year after the founding, RN had 127 members and sent an inquiry to the Danish health authorities where they claim that «Recovery Norway has had reasonably good interventions in the authorities and the health service…».
The goal is to get the LP method approved and included as part of public health services. Landmark stated to the newspaper Romerikes Blad on 23rd March 2011: «- Getting LP approved in the public system will make it possible to reach more people. Nav [The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration] should pay for the course, and already does so at some local offices.».
Although RN is not an ME organization, HelseNorge.no has a link to RN on its information pages about patient and user organizations for CFS / ME. The Directorate for e-Health has the professional and editorial responsibility and is subordinate to the Ministry of Health and Care Services. The Norwegian national competence unit for CFS / ME, which is also under the Ministry of Health and Care Services, also has a link to RN. RN is also on NAFKAM’s list of patient organizations.
RN has two representatives in the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s expert group for establishing a standard procedure for treating long-term fatigue and CFS / ME. This is because Recovery Norway has «reported that they take care of children and young people in their work.» The association “ME parents”, on the other hand, did not get a seat at that table. Read more in Fryvil: No place in expert group. (Norwegian text)
The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) is now recruiting participants for Live Landmark’s planned study where 100 ME patients will be treated with LP. RN will be contributing with user participation. the National Research Ethics Committees (NEM) processed a new appeal case regarding ethical approval of the study on 5th May. It is expected that the decision will be announced during the last two weeks of May 2022.
At the “Infection Control Conference” organized by the National Institute of Public Health on 13th October 2020, Vogt gave a lecture: «A fear-driven pandemic of lasting health problems» in which he compares Long Covid with health anxiety. Watch from 21 min. into the broadcast: https://vimeo.com/468872328 His role in RN is not mentioned.
RN was also an applicant organization in the DAM Foundation for Prof. Vegard B. B. Wyller’s study of Long Covid-sick adolescents and was awarded NOK 2.3 million – even though RN is not an organization for Long Covid patients either.
Nina E. Steinkopf
Formerly HSE and Quality Director
Now; ME-patient and writer
Updated 27th May 2022