Energy Medicine: A New Frontier in Healing?
by Debra Kirchhof-Glazier
Member, Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association
When Einstein discovered that energy and matter are interchangeable in his revolutionary equation E = mc2 (energy = mass times the speed of light squared), we didn’t initially make the connection to healing. However, thousands of years before Einstein’s equation, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine were treating and healing people according to a complex system based on vibrational frequencies of energy. Chinese doctors likewise were treating and healing people through acupuncture, which involves manipulating the flow of energy through channels known as meridians. We are only beginning to explore the connections between modern science and ancient healing techniques like Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture, and what is emerging is both fascinating and exciting.
Quantum physics has revealed that, at the particle level, all matter is essentially energy. This finding is at the core of what is known as energy medicine or vibrational medicine. Energy medicine is a broad field that encompasses the therapeutic use of both measurable energies, such as light and magnetism, and “biofields”, which have yet to be measured. Practitioners of biofield therapies maintain that human anatomy is more than what is visible to the eye and speak of energy centers (chakras), energy pathways (meridians) with points of entry (the acupuncture points) for energy to penetrate the body, and successive layers of energy fields that surround the body and connect it to increasingly higher frequencies of energy. These are believed to work together with our biochemical and physiological machinery to create a living organism.
Many energy therapies are based on the premise of subtle energy, a form of high frequency energy beyond the known electromagnetic spectrum. Much of the healing work is often concentrated on the seven major chakras, which run from the top of the head down through the central axis of the body. Energy, known in different cultures as chi, ki, or prana, is believed to enter the body through these chakras, which are said to have characteristic vibrational frequencies and act as specialized energy centers to influence the physical body through the nervous and endocrine systems. Dr. Candace Pert, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical School, has found that there is a very close correspondence between the most concentrated areas of certain chemical messengers called neuropeptides and where the classical chakras are located. Our thoughts profoundly influence what Dr. Pert calls “the molecules of emotion”, which are critical in regulating the interplay of the brain and the immune system, providing a possible mechanism to explain the mind-body connection in healing.
Acupuncture meridians, like the chakras, have no defined anatomical counterpart.
They travel through the body in specific pathways that are punctuated at various places by the acupuncture points, which are believed to serve as portals of entry for energy into the body. Modern science is confirming the ancient role of some acupuncture points. For example, an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in March of 1998 showed that acupuncture of a point on the foot that Chinese medicine defined as beneficial for the eyes made the visual part of the brain respond, as measured by functional MRI. However, inserting the needle 2 to 5 centimeters distant from that point in a random location had no effect, as would be predicted by Chinese medicine.
We understand how energy from the sun is converted into sugar by photosynthesis and subsequently into chemical energy in our system from the food that we consume, but might we also be able to directly channel energy into our bodies through the chakras and acupuncture points? And if so, could we be able to learn how to manipulate this energy in order to maximize our health and facilitate healing?
There are many different modalities of energy medicine, such as acupuncture, Reiki, therapeutic touch, homeopathy, and qi gong. Despite an overall lack of scientific rigor and questions about efficacy, energy therapies like acupuncture and Reiki are increasingly being employed as complementary treatments in medical centers and hospitals. A new and particularly provocative idea is that energy medicine may develop in the future to the point where vibrational frequencies of health and illness can be defined and adjustments to the frequencies made in order to treat or even prevent disease.
These ideas may seem strange, but many people have experienced the feeling of someone staring at them from behind. What is that, other than energy? And those who are adept at martial arts will testify to the power of “chi”. If this is true, it implies that you are far more than your biochemistry. It also would explain why energy in the form of thoughts can have such a powerful influence on your health and that of others. Many people are already intuitively channeling healing energy through positive thinking, prayer, “the will to live”, and feelings of joy and reverence. How much more effective medicine could be if we were to better understand the energetic basis of healing.
In the meantime, it is good to keep a critical but open mind and to cultivate as much positive energy as we can in our views about ourselves and others as we explore new ways to heal our bodies, minds, and spirits.
For more information on the topic and science of energy medicine see the website of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health at http://nccam.nih.gov/health/backgrounds/energymed.htm or the books Vibrational Medicine by Richard Gerber, M.D. and Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mindbody Medicine by Candace Pert, Ph.D.
The Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association makes no medical claims or recommendations. Check with your doctor about your specific health care needs. For more information on the Huntingdon Health and Wellness Association contact Jennifer Champion, president, at
814-667-2097 or firstname.lastname@example.org