NOW SERVING Psychedelic Culture

Scientific Support for Energy Medicine


The following is excerpted from Healing Touch: Essential Energy Medicine for
Yourself and Others
, available from Sounds True.


"Happiness is what we feel when our biochemicals of emotion,
the neuropeptides and their receptors, are open and flowing freely. . . . It is
a scientific fact that we can feel what others feel.The oneness of all life is
based on this simple reality. Our molecules of emotion are all vibrating
together." –research biologist Candace Pert, author of the bestselling book Molecules of Emotion


Because we human
beings are so interrelated from an energetic perspec­tive, there is a
refreshing optimism in energy-medicine approaches and in the practice of
Healing Touch. In essence, the presence of a focused, intentional practitioner
facilitates healing and movement toward well-being for someone who is in
distress. The work offers a beacon of hope in relieving physical and/or
emotional pain. It serves as a fine complement to conventional medical
interventions and is an essential component for preventive and integrative healing

Current science does not yet fully understand all the dynamics
involved in achieving the effects noted in energy medicine, but relief from
human suffering abounds in the clinical reports of HT practitioners. Even
though the exact mechanisms are not yet fully known, use of this
well-recognized practice is sought out and welcomed.

Take, for example, people who are very anxious about diagnostic tests
or specific medical procedures. It's common knowledge that anxiety and worry by themselves can increase pain symptoms and block the flow of
biochemicals essential for a procedure to be effective. Psychological concerns
and expec­tations, either positive or negative, decidedly help to shape
outcomes. The presence of a caring HT practitioner can help promote much-needed
relaxation as patients think of new ways to anticipate a procedure and focus on
positive outcomes.

In this chapter, we'll consider the growing scientific evidence
for seeing the human body as a series of vibrating electromagnetic fields that
can be positively influenced without the invasion of foreign substances such as
chemicals or drugs. We begin with the realities of current medical practices
that point to the vibrational nature of the body for diagnosis and treatment.
We'll continue with a brief discussion of modern physics with its views toward
unlimited, open-ended possibilities as opposed to ideas of direct cause and
effect. Emerging concepts in neurosciences such as neuroplasticity will be
explored with an eye to the vast capabilities of the human mind to influence
health and wholeness. And, perhaps most exciting of all, we'll look at the new
biology that demonstrates the direct effect of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors
on cellular messaging and expression of genetic material.

Scientists describe their understanding of the world through
theoretical models. The concept of human energies as a vibratory matrix of
nonmaterial structures, such as those described in the previous chapter, gives
a useful starting place. These vibratory structures seem to interact with
identified physical structures such as cells, fluids, and organs to facilitate
the flow of information throughout the body. We might think of this
informational system as a flowing river that can be impeded where there are
blocks to its flow pathways. Such impeded areas can cause disturbance,
congestion, and subsequent illness in our bodies. The concept of energy-flow
patterns is thus a useful model for understanding human illness and how we
might alleviate further suffering. For example, determining how energy flows in
a given part of the body is already a part of conventional medical diagnostics.
As we shall learn, medicine is becom­ing more and more energetic in practice,
even though the mechanisms for its effects are not yet fully explainable. Other
more effective models, theories, and inferences will undoubtedly emerge as
science evolves.


Vibrational Medicine

Practitoners of Western medicine are becoming more interested in
understanding how energy moves in the body as medical science considers the
electrical and magnetic qualities of the human organism. For diagnosis, a
variety of non­invasive scanners can now give feedback about molecular
exchanges within soft tissue. Sophisticated scans such as CT (computerized
tomography), PET (positron emission tomography), and MRI (magnetic resonance
imaging), show areas of constriction or obstruction that interfere with healthy
flow patterns within cells and organ tissue.

The EKG (electrocardiogram) and the EEG (electroencephalogram)
measure the electrical outputs of the heart and brain and then compare those
outputs to normal electrical outputs in healthy persons. Newer tools, such as
the EMC (electromagnetic cardiogram) and EMEG (electromagnetic encephalogram),
additionally measure the magnetic outputs of heart and brain, which give even
more accurate details of deviations from normal function in these vital organs.
Technology using SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device) allows
scientists to measure the human biofield and evaluate relative bodily

Medical treatments are also becoming less invasive as
comprehension of the electromagnetic nature of the body increases. Orthopedic
surgeon Robert O. Becker began to explore the electrical circuitry of the human
body to treat complex bone fractures that did not heal with known methods in
the late 1960s. He identified numerous direct currents of electricity that
flowed throughout the body and found they reversed their flow pattern or
direction at the site of an injury. When this "current of injury" was supported
with a small amount of electrical stimulation, bone healing occurred.

Over the next several decades, Dr. Becker mapped out the energetic
grids of the body and surmised that the energy system paralleled the nervous
system in providing the communication of information to all parts of the
organism.  Unlike the nervous system, however, this
system is nonmaterial and electro­magnetic in nature. Thus, humans and higher
life forms have dual information systems: 1) the nervous system with its many
physical components such as nerve cells, dendrites, axons, and the spinal cord,
and 2) the subtle energies that are electromagnetic in form, which I like to call the human
vibrational matrix. These dual systems seem to augment each other to ensure
optimal functioning. If a part of the body is diseased or surgically removed,
other cells learn to take over missing functions as much as possible through
our energetic information networks.

Almost every day, new concepts for stimulating electromagnetic
areas within the body are being developed to treat illness. Current
energy-related treatments include high-frequency sound waves to break up kidney
stones, electricity to relieve pain and shrink tumors, focused radiation to
pinpoint and destroy specific cancers, electromagnetic fields to accelerate
bone healing, laser surgeries to minimize tissue damage, and magnetic fields to
alleviate inflammation associated with arthritis. Further explorations in
modern medicine continue to study the presence of differing electromagnetic
frequencies within the body to find new and more effective treatments.

The energy resources of the body can also bring about balance
within body and mind to prevent illness or further disability. Working with HT
is known to bring about relaxation, relief from anxiety, a sense of well-being,
and enhanced wound healing and immune system function. (These effects are
confirmed by ongoing and extensive research cited in the next chapter.) Because
of these effects, many physicians are now encouraging their patients to explore
energy therapies as part of treatment planning.


Quantum Interrelationships

The presence of subtle energy was proposed in physics initially to
describe the minute, ongoing relationships evident between subatomic particles
even when separated over great distances. The presence of invisible,
nonmaterial energies is now confirmed by particle astrophysicists who observe
that at least 95 percent of the universe is made up of matter and energy that
cannot be seen or measured. Called "dark energy" and "dark matter" for lack of
better words, these subtle energies are also present in each one of us. Allied
to our vital life force, such subtle energies are part of the qi (life-force
energy) that can be noted in the many interactive functions within our bodies.

Einstein's famous equation for the interrelationship between
energy and mat­ter (E=mc2 ) also
predicted the existence of energy beyond the known constant of the speed of light. Such extremely rapid frequencies are not
yet measurable but exist in the theories of leading physicists, especially
those who consider mul­tidimensional models of the universe.

Matter, energy, and human consciousness are profoundly
interconnected. New concepts in quantum mechanics suggest the universe is made
up of a succession of vibrating particles, or "strings." In a similar fashion,
the human organism appears to consist of interactive vibrational patterns in
the differing frequencies of the vast electromagnetic spectrum. Light that is
visible to the human eye is but a very small frequency range within the huge
array of known wave frequencies. They range from very slow patterns such as
radio waves to very rapid ones such as gamma rays.

The remarkable world of interrelationships between subatomic
particles that influence one another beyond space and time was proposed by
physicist John S. Bell and later confirmed in particle experiments. Much of the presumed
interrelationship between linear events, the traditional cause and effect
brought forth by Newtonian physics, has been superseded in modern physics by an
understanding of the vast array of possible outcomes for any given event or
treatment. Nonlinear inconsistencies, such as the dual nature of light as both
wave and particle depending on circumstances and observer effects, are now seen
as part of a much larger picture that is not yet fully understood.

The possibility exists that a minute change in direction of a
single subatomic particle, such as an electron, can influence a whole series of
vibratory changes. This appears to be true within both the microcosm of
molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles and the macrocosm of stars and
galactic clouds. Global weather is an example of a large, well-known, but
unpredictable and nonlinear system that responds to minimal perturbations.
Minor temperature changes in one part of the ocean tend to produce massive
changes in outcome patterns across the planet.

As we think of the human mind and body, we know that a single
psychological insight or new "aha!" or idea can generate far-reaching emotional
shifts and many new options. The body and our world function as large holograms
in which change in one aspect or dimension can create wide-ranging effects
throughout the entire system

The biofield as a whole and the energy centers have been studied
extensively and their existence is steadily confirmed by science. Several
experiments additionally show that a positive thought held by a strong adherent
of meditation can cause a specific field of the body, such as one of the energy
centers, to increase its vibratory rate.

Other studies with functional MRI demonstrate that tapping or stimulating
specific acupoints can bring about activation of differing parts of the brain.
Combining this stimulation with a self-affirming statement can shift a
depressed person's limited brain patterns to a more effective utilization of
all parts of the brain. Activating other parts of the brain via such stimuli
can relieve depression and open pathways to more adaptive thinking. The
likelihood that subtle energy components of the body can influence cellular
structures and genetic material is also becoming more evident in the biological
sciences, as we'll learn shortly.

A medical device known as pulsed electromagnetic field therapy
(PEMF) is currently in use to "jump-start" and accelerate wound healing and
severe bone fractures. This device emits an extremely low electrical and
magnetic vibration ranging from 0.5 to 30 hertz. In a study of Therapeutic
Touch practitioners and related hands-on healers, Dr. John Zimmerman was able
to show that the emissions from the hands of the centered practitioners fell in
the same frequency range of 0.5 to 30 hertz. In the case of the practitioners,
the frequencies would vary according to the needs of the clients, while the
PEMF machine cycles through these frequencies in a more random fashion. The
human interchange between the fields of practitioners and clients thus
facilitated more specific out­comes than the machine could.

Since the advent of quantum mechanics, science is moving to a much
more fluid understanding of the delicate interrelationships in nature and in
human societies. Earth's environments constitute whole interactive ecosystems,
which, when permitted, always evolve toward increasing balance and stability.
Systems theory based on the interactive networks within any given system also
affirms these self-organizing, self-regulating potentials. Computer imagery and
model­ing further enhances and supports comprehension of global changes and can
offer information about desirable, possible outcomes for worldwide systems.

At a recent social function, a lively retired physician asked me
about my interests and career. When I mentioned my affection for energy
medicine, he shook his head and stated firmly, "If something is not measurable,
it does not exist." It appeared he was speaking from the model of physics that
has been outdated for more than a century, yet was likely taught in his medical

I could not resist jumping into the fray and replied, "My
understanding now is that if something is not measurable and it has known
effects, it probably does exist in the form of subtle energy we can't yet
measure." We went our separate ways in peace, but I wondered if he might also
think love does not exist because we can't yet measure it directly. The most
interesting aspects of human life seem to be full of intangibles.

In fact, we live in an open-ended, evolving world alive with
possibilities and vastly more complex than realized heretofore. Let's find out
what the neurosciences and the new biology of epigenetics can tell us about the
great potentials within human consciousness.


Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis

Both neuroplasticity and neurogenesis represent concepts that were
unheard of before the last decade. The neuroscientist studying the human
nervous system believed until recently that the mind did not have the power to
change itself and that mental belief patterns, once established, were set. The
newly discovered flexibility of brain cells that enables them to take on
different functions is called neuroplasticity.

The number of neurons, the nerve cells within the brain, were
believed to be static after one's birth and to degenerate and diminish in
number as one ages. The concept of neurogenesis describes the capacity for
neural cells to regenerate and increase their numbers under certain conditions.

Neuroplasticity has become the new buzzword in neurology, because
the human mind and its major organ, the brain, do indeed change constantly. For
example, the flexibility of the human mind allows brain cells to interpret electronic
signals understandable as human speech. This is evident when someone with total
loss of hearing is treated with a cochlear implant in which the entire auditory
nerve is removed and a small electronic chip is implanted in its place.

Sound is activated by a magnet outside the person's skull, and
over time, his brain learns to interpret the electronic pulses as communication
from another person. Many other examples abound as technological advances
facilitate recovery from incapacitating conditions such as strokes and

Consciousness is defined as the total impressions, thoughts, and
feelings of an individual. Everything in our lives is influenced by the nature
of the patterns of consciousness we choose. Willingness to learn and respect
our unique interests can profoundly influence and direct outcomes in our lives.
However, lack of willingness and lack of flexibility limit our potentials.

Fixation on repeated thinking patterns and compulsive activity is
the other, less desirable side of neuroplasticity. One can choose either
direction with apparent ease. Thus, we experience people who are highly
functioning in their advanced years and who engage in lifelong learning with
enthusiasm, while other people seem "burned out" and uninterested by midlife.

Focused intention to help oneself and others is a most powerful
force for change. In Healing Touch, students learn to direct consciousness in
creative directions as a central theme. When practitioners speak of the
dramatic changes in their lives after learning centering and self-care
practices, they are in fact engaging the flexible capacities of their
neurological wiring through willingness to learn and explore new dimensions of themselves.

Additionally, neurons have most recently been shown to multiply in
the presence of novel and creative thinking. Repetitive patterns of thought and
activity tend to inhibit or limit the generation of new nerve cells, or neurogenesis.
Repeated activities and ruminating thoughts are especially prevalent in those
who believe "it's all downhill after fifty" or those who believe aging is a
time of misery and ill health.

A study of 2,700 older men over a ten-year period showed that
those who engaged in regular volunteer activities had significantly lower death
rates and better quality of life than those who did not. The study suggests
that doing good is also good for the helper. Noted effects of altruism were
reduced stress; improved immune function; and a sense of joy, peace, and
well-being. The body is known to produce hundreds of feel-good chemicals called
endorphins, which relieve pain and mitigate stress responses. When endorphins
are activated, our minds come alive and brain cells tend to reproduce.

Research into the nature of consciousness and its influences is
ongoing. Although we appear to be individuals, we are also part of a larger
whole known as humanity. Directed intention to help each other is a special
form of consciousness. As we reach out to others with caring, we activate the
various resources of our subtle energies and connect to a wider consciousness
beyond that of the personal self.


The Genius in Your Genes

One of the most fascinating interrelationships between
consciousness, energy, and matter is found in the new science of epigenetics,
first identified in 2001. This new field within biology focuses on the study of
the many signals that activate or suppress gene expression within cells and in
an entire organism. Until the advent of knowledge about gene expression, it was
assumed that genetic material, stored in the double helix of the DNA molecule,
was received at conception and did not vary throughout one's lifetime.

Gene expression, as it is currently known, varies with the
electromagnetic energy flows shaped by each person's intention and
consciousness. To put it simply, genetic material can turn "on" or "off"
depending on circumstances and influences from outside the sheath that
surrounds and protects the DNA strands. Hence, the prefix epi refers to effects
from beyond the DNA genetic structures that can influence whether a given gene
will be activated or not.

Get this: these outside influences can be our emotions, which
produce identifiable chemicals such as the molecules of emotion that Candace
Pert, PhD, described in the quotation at the beginning of this chapter. Other
influences are our thoughts, beliefs, actions, attitudes toward life, and our
choices. What our parents gave us in the form of genetic material is simply the
stuff with which we start. We modify this material through our daily choices,
intentions, and consciousness. Seemingly major life events such as trauma, war,
and political influences also have some effect on our genetic material, but our
internal choices are the ultimate lens through which events external to the
body are perceived. In effect, our consciousness is the filter through which
the on/off switch of genetic material operates.

To give an example, consider what happens when you cut your
finger. The traumatized tissue sends a quick signal via the body's two
informational systems to the genes that are associated with wound healing, such as those
that generate fibrins to create a blood clot to stem bleeding. These signals
tell the proteins that are wrapped like protective sheaths around DNA strands
to unwrap so that each gene associated with wound healing can be released. If
there is a strong negative emotion such as anger present at the time the finger
is cut, the signals to the protein sheath flow less rapidly or effectively. The
messages may be garbled or altered because dealing with the emotion diverts
available energy in that moment. Consequently, wound healing becomes delayed or

In his popular book The Genie in Your Genes, author-publisher
Dawson Church, PhD, writes: "Epigenetic signals suggest a whole new avenue for
cata­lyzing wellness in our bodies." To this extent, the psychological and
biological factors involved in our daily stress reactions directly affect gene
expression hun­dreds of times a day. If positive thoughts prevail, or if we
have means to release blockages quickly, genes express their messages by
unwrapping the proteins and genetic material needed at each given time for
cellular healing. If negativity prevails in the form of a limiting belief or by
hanging onto resentments, the expression will either be missing, incomplete, or

Among the many current studies of genomics, the nature of gene
expression and its relationship to states of consciousness is one that actively
demonstrates the effects of Dr. Herbert Benson's well-recognized "relaxation
response." Systemic changes in the organism produced by relaxation and
meditation methods have been documented for more than thirty years. These
effects include release of muscle tension, increased oxygenation to tissues,
and empowerment of the immune system. The exact mechanism for these broad
changes at the cellular level was not understood until a recent study showed
that a large number of genes express when a subject is centered and relaxed.
The corresponding opening of the protein sheaths permits genetic material to
initiate wide-ranging changes such as activation of the body's immune response
teams, effective coping with inflammation, regulation of cellular life spans,
and absorption of free radicals. The new research provides the first compelling
evidence regarding what actually happens inside our cells when we engage in
focused breathing, meditation, centering, prayer, or positive self-statements.

The interaction between body and mind is indisputably clear with
the emerging science of epigenetics. The work leads us to see ourselves as the
key to gene expression via attitudes and beliefs. We have the power to select
the interests, actions, and lifestyles that nurture gene expression. Each of us
is indeed the genius behind the unique patterns that emerge from the billions
of options possible within our biological make-up!

We have looked at the growing scientific evidence for practices of
energy-oriented therapies. They include the reality of energetic diagnostic
testing and treatment within the most current medical technology, the framework
of interrelationships and subtle energies known to physics, the emerging
science of human consciousness, and the actual confirmations within the science
of epigenetics. It remains now for us to consider some of the most relevant
research studies in relation to Healing Touch and associated energy-medicine

©2011 Dorothea Hover-Kramer. Used by permission of the publisher. Visit

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