By Michael E. Miller
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Many cops have side jobs. Some work security at nightclubs. Others are in the National Guard. Sgt. Nicholas Kealoha programs people's brains.
Kealoha is an 11-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department. He is also the self-appointed director of what he calls the International Institute for Brain Research. And on his website, Kealoha and his beautiful blond Russian assistant claim to "eliminate" serious health problems through "brain programming." "Dr. Nick Kealoha is a well-known neuroscientist," the website says. "Dr. Nick researches how the brain works and how the brain may affects [sic] diseases."
But Dr. Nick, in fact, is not a medical doctor but a psychologist, and he's not a member of the Society for Neuroscience. Kealoha refused to discuss his methods with New Times. "He's not interested in having his story told in your paper, to be frank," said his lawyer, criminal defense attorney Andre Rouviere. "This doesn't sound like it's going to be a positive piece."
His website, however, gives an idea of the cop's treatments. "Neuro-Brain Programming System® (NBPS) is a patented technology invented by Dr. Nick Kealoha," it says. "NBPS works by using a combination of special sounds and lights calibrated at a specific moment in the Delta brainwave frequencies. Dr. Nick Kealoha's research has shown that this unique pattern of synchronized sound and light can speed up the learning process four to eight hundred times and dramatically increase the receptivity of our unconscious brain."
The site continues: "For example, if you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may experience flashbacks, nightmares, poor concentration, and anxiety about something that happened in the past. We can use NBPS to eliminate these symptoms altogether in only a few 120- to 240-minute sessions."
Other serious maladies Kealoha claims to treat with brain programming include autism, cancer, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, and Lyme disease.
At least one leading neurologist has his doubts about Kealoha's treatments. "Let's just say I'm skeptical from looking at the website," says Dr. Daniel Clauw, director of the University of Michigan's Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center and an expert on fibromyalgia.
Kealoha himself is almost as much of a mystery as his techniques. The 49-year-old's police personnel file shows he served in the U.S. Navy and the Army Reserve before joining the Seminole County Sheriff's Office in 1999. In 2002, he made the move to MDPD.
For the most part, his career as a cop has been quiet but successful. During a stint in North Miami Beach, residents wrote letters thanking him for standing up to local gang members, solving a young woman's kidnapping, and returning a stolen diamond engagement ring.
In December 2009, however, the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General began investigating a group of cops for using paid administrative leave to work as private security consultants in Panama. The OIG did not accuse Kealoha of traveling to Panama. But Kealoha, who was posted to the Miami International Airport at the time, was caught on camera two months earlier soliciting first-class upgrades for the cop consultants and then escorting them to the door of the plane, all while in uniform and against MDPD rules. An internal affairs complaint against him over the incident was sustained.
During his decade as a cop, Kealoha also began taking training courses in "behavior pattern recognition" and "interviews and interrogations" and found time to receive a PhD in psychology, although neither he nor his attorney would say where.
On January 29 of this year, Kealoha requested a year's leave from MDPD "to attain a medical doctor degree and status in the field of clinical psychiatry" from the University of Science Arts & Technology on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. On the request form, he listed his outside employment as "Certified Master Life Coach/Certified Hypnotherapist & NLP Trainer." And under "detailed description of duties," he wrote: "Coach clients to discover their unlimited inner potential that focus [sic] on growth and happiness by re-shaping their bodies and minds into success."
Kealoha doesn't seem to be short of clients. His website includes a section called "real patient stories" featuring five videos of patients discussing their hypnotherapy. Or at least it did. When New Times began asking Kealoha questions, the videos were suddenly removed.
One of the videos showed a young woman supposedly suffering from a crippling case of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. She had severe pain all over her body and trouble walking. But after her first session with Kealoha, she strolled back to her hotel. "I have no more pain. I'm not depressed anymore," she said. "I feel like a light has just come to me and taken over."
Her story isn't even the strangest thing on Kealoha's website. He claims to have been featured on National Geographic, but New Times could find no such video (even before the video testimonials were removed). The website also advertises four-day courses in "Hypnosis/NLP Certification Training," which the site suggests can earn you up to $200,000 per year "without even breaking a sweat." The ad is located next to a photo of Kealoha's blond assistant posing with Dennis Rodman.