The science of energy medicine (Proceedings)


To understand the scientific basis for energy medicine, we have to take a brief lesson in Newtonian and quantum physics. Lets start with Newtonian physics, which describes the motion of hard, indestructible substances in space caused by their mutual attraction. Gravity, motion, and acceleration are all examples of constructs described by Isaac Newton.

To understand the scientific basis for energy medicine, we have to take a brief lesson in Newtonian and quantum physics. Lets start with Newtonian physics, which describes the motion of hard, indestructible substances in space caused by their mutual attraction. Gravity, motion, and acceleration are all examples of constructs described by Isaac Newton. In addition, Newtonian physics states that all causes give rise to an effect, and the future of a system can therefore be predicted. For example, heating water creates steam, chilling it creates ice.

Newtonian physics explains motion, acceleration, gravity, and the orbits of planets, but really doesn't elucidate what's occurring at the subatomic level. Subatomic properties can't be described by gravity or other Newtonian concepts. The calculations just don't agree.

Albert Einstein was one of the brilliant individuals who understood that Newtonian's theories didn't explain all of nature, and he wrote about concepts that didn't fit with the current understandings. His theory of relativity is one important example. This theory states that space and time are intimately connected in a four dimensional continuum (he called a fabric). Consequently, space and time are one, and events may be ordered differently depending on an observer's relative velocity. This theory is the basis for distance energy healing and prayer, and the modern physics of consciousness.

Despite these incredible achievements, Einstein couldn't rest. He spent the remainder of his life trying to solve the mystery of why Newtonian physics explains solar systems, but is completely off the mark when it comes to subatomic principles. He believed that the universe is one entity, and every aspect of it should play by the same rules. How could it be any other way? Einstein knew there had to be a set of rules that we hadn't discovered yet; rules that were really the same no matter what you are, planet or atom. He called this the Universal Theory, but he died before he could decipher it.

The next group of scientists contributing to the understanding of energy theory worked in the early to mid 1900's. Faraday was the first to create and electric current in a copper coil by putting a magnet near it. Maxwell continued the work, and wrote the theory of electromagnetism, which states that charges create a disturbance in the field around them, and another charge can feel that force. This was the first understanding of the energy field.

Niels Bohr and his colleagues did a series of experiments that took these concepts to the next level. They showed the duality of matter and light – light beams pointed at metal could knock off electrons. Up to this point, only other particles could displace a particle.

Then in the 1960's, a very important discovery occurred that broke the field of physics wide open, and it is still expanding today (no pun intended for those of you studying the universe....). Brian Josephson added to the understanding of the duality of matter and light. He later won a Nobel Prize in 1973 for this work. Josephson put electrons through a tunneler machine, which was used to study electromagnetic radiation. Only waves could go through the tunneler. The electrons went through, which showed that not only could a wave behave like a particle as was demonstrated by Bohr et al, but particles could behave as waves. What we now know is that there are no particles – every particle can be broken down to bursts of energy. All living and non-living substances are made of waves. How we "coalesce" into solid mass is determined by vibration. These bursts of energy have been termed "strings", hence the name String Theory. Many believe that String Theory is what Einstein was searching for – a universal theory that governs both atomic structures and galaxies in space.

While universal theory is captivating, it's not important that we understand it in order to grasp the concepts of energy medicine. What is extremely important, however, is the knowledge that we are strings of energy; we are made up of waves. We are constantly vibrating. Obviously we can't visually see this, but it is a fact that every bit of our essence vibrates. And as we vibrate, we create a vibration around us. We literally send off invisible waves in all directions, and these waves are made of electromagnetic energy, creating a magnetic field. So, when I use the word energy, I mean the magnetic field that is within and around all things. Everything has a unique vibration; therefore, everything has its own energy.

Energy medicine (also called vibrational medicine) is based in the sensing and manipulation of the energy within and around a person or animal. Energy therapists can sense a change in vibration with their hands or body or intuition. Energy fields can be manipulated in the same way. Manipulation of energy fields is based in wave theory. The most important wave characteristics in energy medicine are resonance and entrainment.

Resonance occurs when one vibrating substance causes another substance with a similar inherent frequency to vibrate. An easy example of resonance can be seen when two guitars are placed across the room from each other. If a string on one guitar is plucked, the sound wave will travel across the room and resonate with the corresponding string on the second guitar, causing it to vibrate. An audible sound is then produced.

Entrainment occurs when one waveform couples with a second waveform, causing its frequency to be modified. For example, two pendulums of equal weight and length swinging next to each other will eventually entrain, and swing in synchrony. The more closely the waves resonate, the more in synch they become. We see entrainment all the time in nature. The school of fish that changes direction in a moment happens because all of the individual fish are acting as one unit. Their fields are entrained, so they move together. We also see this with the dormitory effect. Women living in close proximity will have their menstrual cycles together – their biorhythms actually entrain with each other.

The energy practitioner produces a vibration that resonates with the patient, and entrains their energy field to produce a healthier vibratory state. Human beings are not the only entities or substances capable of entraining – light, lasers, music, magnets, homeopathic remedies, flower essences, and animals also entrain energy fields, thereby acting as energetic practitioners.

Common energy therapies include Reiki, Acupuncture, and Healing Touch. My two favorite energy therapies for animals are Healing Touch for Animals and Reconnective Healing (also very powerful for people). The founder of Healing Touch for Animals was a licensed veterinary technician who took her knowledge of animals and combined it with her expertise as a human energy and body worker. She advocates working very closely with veterinarians. You can learn more at

Reconnective Healing is based on connecting the animal or humans energy field to larger universal field. Studies by Gary Schwartz's lab have shown this work to be valid. You can look to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) for other research in the area of energy medicine.

Research in energy theory has been advanced with new technology. Energy fields can be measured in the laboratory by a machine called a SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device). (Reconnective Healing has been studied in this manner.) Magnetocardiography and magnetoencephalography are also available. The Institute for Neuroscience in San Diego routinely uses magnetoencephalography in its studies.

fMRI has also assisted in proving the existence of energy medicine. Roslyn Bruyere, a scientist and gifted energy practitioner, collaborated with Johns Hopkins on a study of children with Attention Deficit Disorder. The portion of the brain responsible for focusing on tasks was assessed with fMRI before and after energy therapy. It functioned at a higher level in those children receiving the therapy. (personal communication)

One of the most important concepts to understand is that the practitioner (and all of us) influence patients by virtue of being next to them, or even thinking about them. Conventionally trained researchers using a gifted energy practitioner for "sham" techniques will get an effect. It's imperative to understand this in order to truly have a control group. We can't advance in energy medicine until we understand all aspects of it.

Lastly, I recommend that you experience and energy session – experience can be a wonderful teacher.

Reference books

Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis by James Oschman (Churchill Livingstone, 2000)

The Living Energy Universe: a fundamental discovery that transforms science & medicine by Gary Schwartz and Linda Russek (Hampton Roads, 1999)

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