David Root, M.D., M.P.H.


Dr. David Root is recognized as the leading expert in sauna-based human detoxification by challenging the status quo, despite the early disregard of his peers, in repurposing L. Ron Hubbard’s Purification Rundown for the treatment of workplace chemical exposure injuries.  Dr. Root is a Christian elder in the Presbyterian Church and has no ties or affiliations with Scientology.  He has been unfairly classified as a Scientologist on Wikipedia, and his Bio of a Living Person has been severely maligned.

“If you look my name up on the Internet, you would think I was a scientology buff. I am an elder in the Presbyterian Church. I am not a scientologist.”  —  Sacramento News & Review, “Scientology Does Detox, David E. Root, M.D”, Luke Gianni, 22 February 2007

—Excerpted from an earlier revision on Wikipedia where reference sources may be found.

David Emerson Root (born March, 1936) is a retired American USAF Pilot-Physician honored by Queen Elizabeth II for air combat life support research and known for promoting L. Ron Hubbard’s unconventional Purification Rundown to treat occupational toxic injury.

Professional Life (Click here for Curriculum Vitae)

Root received his medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Bowman Gray Campus, Winston-Salem, NC, in 1962. He served 20 years in the United States Air Force before retiring in 1980 with the rank of Colonel as Chief Flight Surgeon and Senior Pilot.

He was one of 16 physicians selected for pilot training in the Pilot-Physician astronaut candidate selection process for the top secret, parallel space program called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL).

Root was the Chief of Occupational Medicine and Flight Surgeon at Beale AFB where he was attached to the SR-71 Blackbird squadron.

In 1975, Root was the first American assigned to the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine at RAF Farnborough, Hants, England under a new Exchange Officer program testing nuclear, biological, and chemical defense systems and oxygen requirements during high-G air combat maneuvers in a modified Hawker Hunter.

Col. Root was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service In The Air from Air Marshall Sir Roy Austen-Smith at the British Embassy, Washington, in 1979.

He is the only American Doctor-Pilot elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Before retiring from active duty in 1980, Root was the Chief Advisor to the Life Support Systems Program Office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

In 1982 Root began implementing the medically unorthodox sauna detoxification method, developed in 1978 by American author and Church of Scientology* founder, L. Ron Hubbard, from his Sacramento, California, practice in a joint venture with the HealthMed Clinic, run by Scientologists and backed by the Los Angeles-based Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Education, (FASE). Root is listed as the Medical Director of HealthMed and the Senior Medical Advisor of FASE.

He is the Senior Medical Advisor to the “International Academy of Detoxification Specialists”.

In a 2014 article by Dr. Joseph Mercola titled “Niacin, Exercise, and Sauna—A Simple and Effective Detox Program That Can Significantly Improve Your Health” Mercola states, “Dr. David Root has the most experience detoxifying the veterans with Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. He used niacin (vitamin B3) as a way to mobilize fat and free up toxic chemicals locked in all lipophilic fatty tissues, i.e. the fat and in your brain.”

Referencing a research paper co-authored by Root titled Xenobiotic Reduction And Clinical Improvements In Capacitor Workers: A Feasible Method Mercola writes in that same article, “In 1990…he collected fat samples from Yugoslavian capacitor workers exposed to toxic chemicals. Their fat contained 140 to 150 times higher levels of toxins than their blood. After the use of the detoxification program, the toxic chemicals decreased by 30 percent from the fat so there was residual toxic chemicals still in fat even though these workers felt better.”

In her book, The Holistic Handbook of Sauna Therapy, Nenah Sylver, PhD, quotes Root from his statement before The Presidential Special Oversight Board For Department of Defense Investigations of Gulf War Chemical & Biological Incidents,

“Since 1982, I have been using a detoxification program to treat patients who have been exposed to fat-soluble chemicals, either at work or from environmental sources. This program, developed by L. Ron Hubbard in 1978, has over the last 15 years been evaluated and used by a growing number of professionals throughout the world who have examined its use in relieving the after effects of chemical exposure and found it to be very effective. To my knowledge, there is no other peer-reviewed method for reducing the body burden of fat-soluble toxic chemicals. Papers documenting the efficacy of the Hubbard program have been published by such organizations as the World Health Organization, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, the Society for Occupational and Environmental Health and others….The Hubbard detoxification program has long been upheld as compensable under state and national workman’s compensation laws.”

In a precedential 1987 California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board award, Root’s testimony helped annul a 1986 denial of insurance on a claimed injury to the petitioner’s skin, gastrointestinal tract and other organs from cumulative exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) in the course of his employment. The petitioner recovered his detoxification costs, and this ruling paved the way for other workers’ compensation cases involving Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, a controversial diagnosis which is not generally accepted by medical science.

With key members of FASE, Root has lectured and consulted with physicians and government officials from Russia, Slovenia, England, Sweden, Israel, and France to facilitate the detoxification of victims of the Chernobyl disaster and other toxic chemical exposure accidents. In the United States, Root assisted FASE and the Heroes Health Fund with the startup in 2003 of two New York clinics which provided free detoxification services to 9/11 First Responders and volunteers at Ground Zero who were exposed to “…toxic dust, fume and vapor that arose from the collapsing WTC and subsequent fire [which] contained hundreds of different toxic chemicals, including dioxins, PCBs, asbestos, silica, benzene, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, manganese, chromium, lead, mercury, nickel, oxides of nitrogen and sulfur,” according to Dr. James G. Dahlgren, M.D., assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Claimed positive subjective results from the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project convinced Utah State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to fund the Utah Meth Cops Project with over $440,000 in taxpayer dollars to treat police who complain of health effects from exposure to meth lab toxins.

Published Works Cited

David Root published 14 papers on various aeromedical topics including chemical defense and life support topics. Four have been cited in multiple works:

Excretion of a Lipophilic Toxicant Through the Sebaceous Glands: A Case Report, Root, D., Lionelli, G., Journal of Toxicology: Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, 6(1), 13-17, 1987. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis on 27th September 2008, available online: https://doi.org/10.3109/15569528709052160 .”

Xenobiotic Reduction And Clinical Improvements In Capacitor Workers: A Feasible Method, Z. Tretjak, D.E. Root, A. Tretjak, R. Slivnik, E. Edmondson, R. Graves, and S.L. Beckmann, International Association of Detoxification Specialists, 2001.

Reducing Toxic Body Burdens Advancing an Innovative Technique, Root, D., Anderson, J., Occupational Health and Safety, Vol. 11, No. 4, 1986.

“Diagnosis and Treatment of Patients Presenting Subclinical Signs and Symptoms of Exposure to Chemicals with Bioaccumulate in Human Tissue”, David E. Root, David B. Katzin , Ph. D, David W. Schnare, Ph. D, presented – National Conference on Hazardous Wastes and Environmental Emergencies and sponsored by Hazardous Materials Control Research Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 1985. Cincinnati, OH.

Research Studies Funded

Gulf War Syndrome

In an effort to validate their subjective detoxification results while providing relief to the American vets suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, FASE set out to secure funding for a comprehensive research study through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). Root’s testimony in 1998 to the Presidential Special Oversight Board For Department of Defense Investigations of Gulf War Chemical & Biological Incidents, and to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), led to an official recommendation by CDC that detoxification be studied as a treatment option for Gulf War veterans. The $633,677.00 grant, titled “Gulf War Illness: Evaluation of an Innovative Detoxification Program” was awarded in September, 2010.

Utah Meth Cops project

In 2012, a peer-reviewed report of the findings from the Utah Meth Cops Project study was published on PubMed.Gov of the US National Library of Medicine for the National Institute of Health (NIH).

The report concludes, “This investigation strongly suggests that utilizing sauna and nutritional therapy may alleviate chronic symptoms appearing after chemical exposures associated with methamphetamine-related law enforcement activities. This report also has relevance to addressing the apparent ill effects of other complex chemical exposures. In view of the positive clinical outcomes in this group, broader investigation of this sauna-based treatment regimen appears warranted.”

*We have no ties to the Church of Scientology. We acknowledge that the origins of our own, proprietary, Detoxination® Protocols have basis in research by the late L. Ron Hubbard and Dr. Root’s experiences and improvements working with their Purification Rundown.