Christchurch Scientology massages concern some

News 3, New Zealand/March 13, 2011

It's a massage designed to relieve stress and help people recover from shock.

Volunteer ministers from scientology are performing a technique designed by their founder, L Ron Hubbard, to assist people in Christchurch after the earthquake.

They've performed 1500 massages across Christchurch, and apparently they've taught about 600 people how to pass them on to their community.

They also carry out a technique called "locational assist" where they get people to engage in the present moment.

The 20 scientology volunteers are just a small team from an international pool of more than 200, 000.

They visit disaster zones and help out with distributing food, door knocking and assisting with trauma.

But Cultwatch says these techniques specific to scientology could be a method of recruiting.

"I think it comes down to motivation, do they really care about people or is the motivation to try and get into their good books and then try and recruit them," says Cultwatch's Mark Vrankovich.

And mental health officials say people should be careful.

In a statement, Pegasus Mental Health says all aid workers, and especially health workers, should be able to provide very basic psychological first aid. They say they're cautious helpers who are not familiar with these guidelines could potentially do more harm than good inadvertently.

A group of scientology volunteers are now planning a mission to Japan to offer their services there.

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