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The Silva Method is the name given to a self-help program developed by José Silva. The Silva Method teaches students specialized guided imagery techniques intended to "rewire" their subconscious and negative programming, tap into their true potential and achieve their goals using a meditation technique and mental training program that is offered in seminars in over 129 countries around the world.
It claims to increase an individual's abilities and sense of personal well-being through relaxation and development of their higher brain functions. Proponents believe that it can improve a person's self-image, allow them to think in a clearer manner, and assist people in overcoming conditions such as nicotine addiction.
The website says that the Silva Method research was investigated by Dr. J. Wilfrid Hahn of the Mind Science Foundation in California, who went on to endorse it, and that various research institutions, universities and scientists have studied and verified their research, including: Duke University, Trinity University, University of Texas, Wayland Baptist University, C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University and New York Canisius College.
Former magician James Randi, an opponent of the methods, wrote that the Silva Method "claims to develop improved memory, learning ability, and paranormal powers like telepathy. Much of the course consists of 'visiting' absent persons imagined by students and performing diagnoses on them. No tests of the validity of this practice have been done; such tests are discouraged by the teachers of the system." . However, his encyclopedia cites no reference and his descriptions of the courses do not appear anywhere on the Silva Method website.
The Silva Method website describes its curriculum as '...a unique combination of Alpha and Theta level exercises, creative visualizations, habit control and positive programming methods, has been endorsed by various thought leaders and scientists. This includes personal growth icons like Jack Canfield, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Shakti Gawain, bestselling author Richard Bach, award-winning neuroscientist Mark Robert Waldman and oncology research pioneer Dr. O. Carl Simonton.'
The Silva Method is one of a number of therapeutic techniques sometimes grouped under the name Meditation.
José Silva was an electrical repairman who developed a great interest for religion, psychology, and parapsychology. He spent much time learning about hypnosis, attempting to increase his children's IQ. After experimenting and being convinced of his daughter's sudden clairvoyance, José decided to learn more about the development of psychic abilities.
In 1944, José began developing his method, formerly known as Silva Mind Control, using it on his family members and friends, before launching it commercially in the 1960s. Silva has done a large amount of research on the brain, based on Robert Sperry's split-brain theory, to improve his method. However, because scientists have been modifying the subject since Sperry, modern studies have proven most of Silva's beliefs about the brain to be incorrect.
Nonetheless, even though José Silva's beliefs about the brain were proven incorrect, somehow his method has still been useful to many. In that case, it is concluded that José Silva probably connected on Sperry' s split-brain theory after the Silva Method had been developed.
The simplified explanation to why Silva's method produced effective results is that he was training left-brain minds to think with their right brain as well. 
Early Childhood in Laredo
José Silva was born in 1914 from poor Mexican immigrant parents either in today's Nuevo Laredo, in the Mexican State of Tamaulipas, or in Laredo, Texas, on the American side of the Rio Grande. He was orphaned in early childhood; his parents were murdered during an attack of bandits during the turbulent years of the Mexican revolutionary war.
José Silva began at age six to support his family. Although he couldn't receive a formal education, he learned to read and write on his own - in both English and Spanish.
Instead of going to school, Silva earned money for his family by selling newspapers on the streets of Laredo, shining shoes, and doing odd jobs.
José Silva quickly developed entrepreneur skills. By the time he became a teenager, he hired youngsters to work with him, going door to door selling merchandise he had purchased in San Antonio. The youngsters were earning as much money after school as their parents earned working full-time, and young José was earning as much every day as the typical adult in Laredo earned in a week.
Electronics Technical distant self education
Although Mr. José Silva received no formal education, he received basic education indirectly from his own younger siblings who attended public schools in Laredo with his financial support. He started to study electronics by reading technical books of correspondence courses in his free time. This distant self-education allowed him to become the owner of one of the first radio repair companies in the border. It is likely that he received a graduate certificate as an electronics technician as fruit of those studies.
With this knowledge, he built the largest electronics repair company in southern Texas in the 1940s. There is no evidence that he has ever pursued or achieved subsequent higher education in electronics or any other branch of science.
José Silva's career in electronics started to focus on the maintenance of communication equipment; after a long period of time it switched to the maintenance of biomedical appliances. In this context, he developed vital research skills.
Electronics and clinical hypnosis were the fields that allowed him to gradually enter into autodidactic research on the potentials of the human mind. Among original contributions that he is considered to have made is the development of a "scientific" method of mind training through meditation and visualization inducing alpha frequency brain waves.
The Silva method was for the first time offered to the public in the second half of the 1960s. Initially it was only known by the people of Laredo and its surroundings. In 1966 word of his activities soon spread beyond Laredo where he was teaching his method to more than 100 people every week. Soon after, he was asked to teach groups who were willing to pay him for his knowledge.
Thus at the age of 52 Silva began the work that would make him famous throughout the world. In fact, he has been called the most famous Laredo resident of all time. After a couple of years of teaching the method throughout Texas, Silva began to train other instructors to do the same throughout the world.
In 1975, José Silva began his worldwide career as lecturer to export his method internationally traveling to Mexico city. He taught his first instructors in that country in seminars at the prestigious Association of Jesuit Alumni in the traditional neighborhood of St Maria La Rivera, home of many important figures of the intellectual life of the Mexican Capital. One of his first Mexican graduates was the physician Dr Ignacio Becerra, President of the Center.
In 1980, Silva met Burt Goldman, and in 1989, they co-wrote the book The Silva Mind Control Method of Mental Dynamics.
Silva Method Publication Statistics
José served as Chairman of the Board of The Silva Method until his death in 1999. His legacy remains in the teaching activities of five different corporations that he founded and are now managed by two of his daughters.
According to statistics published on the official website of the Silva organization, the program was first offered to the public in 1966. Currently, there are more than 1,000 licensed Silva Method Lecturers in the U.S. and in more than 110 foreign countries. According to the most recent count, over 6 million people graduated and benefited from the program. The Silva Method is offered in 29 different languages in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Borneo, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Czech Republic Cyprus, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Dubai, Eritrea, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Mayotte, L’Reunion, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua N. Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Lesotho, Republic of Mauritius, Russia, Santa Lucia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, & Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Al Ain, Falaj-Al-Moalia, Fujairah, Ras-Al-Kahaimah, Sharjah, Umm-Al-Quwain), United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia Zimbabwe.
The technique aims to reach and sustain a state of mental functioning, called alpha state, where brainwave frequency is seven to fourteen Hz.:p19-20 Daydreaming and the transition to sleeping are alpha states.:p19-20
José Silva, founder of the Silva Method, claimed to have developed a program that trained people to enter certain brain states of enhanced awareness. He also claimed to have developed several systematic mental processes to use while in these states allowing a person to mentally project with a specific intent. According to Silva, once the mind is projected, a person can allegedly view distant objects or locations and connect with higher intelligence for guidance. The information received by the projected mind is then said to be perceived as thoughts, images, feelings, smells, taste and sound by the mind. The information obtained in this manner can be acted upon to solve problems.
The Silva Method teaches people to listen to and control parts of the mind-body that many Westerners have not yet learned to access. In this way, it is similar to a few advanced yogas. Silva also uses touch patterns to anchor mind states, in a manner similar to NLP, Anthony Robbins's teachings, and Japanese ninjitsu. Skills Silva teaches include:
- Skills that have not been scientifically verified
- Deep relaxation, including both body and mind
- Meditating immediately, with eyes closed or open
- Cure for insomnia--voluntary going-to-sleep in one minute
- Pain control--Silva practitioners are able to not mind intermediate pain, and can get cavities filled or receive colonoscopies without any anaesthetics
- Blood flow control, leading to primitive temperature control--"send heat" to hands or places in the body. At advanced levels, this can also be used to lessen blood flow to moderate cuts.
- Self-diagnosis of mental and emotional challenges
- Memory replay of past events (useful for finding dropped keys, etc.)
- Intuitive understanding of subconscious sides of self (useful for overcoming blockages)
- Intuitive understanding of subconscious sides of others
- Brainstorming and idea formation
- Energy level control
- Self-diagnosis of physical challenges
- Increasing healing rates in self, through visualization and laying-on of hands
- Increasing healing rates in others
- Increasing healing rates in others remotely
- Remote viewing
- Empathic Telepathy
- James Randi & Arthur C. Clarke. An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural. St. Martin's Griffin. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
- Alpha rhythm
- Theta rhythm
- Carroll, Robert Todd (2003) "The Skeptic's Dictionary", Wiley, ISBN 0-471-27242-6
- Randi, James (1995)"An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural", St. Martin's Griffin, ISBN 0-312-15119-5
- "Review of The Silva Mind Control Method of Mental Dynamics on Brian Johnson's Philosophers' Notes".[dead link]
- Silva, José (1977). the Silva Mind Control Method. New York, New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-73989-8.