The Biofield And Energy Medicine
While conventional biomedicine has historically viewed health and illness in terms of chemical, electrical, and mechanical systems, many traditional health approaches, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, hold a broader view of health and illness that incorporates energy fields and the flow of life energy through the body. This energy is referred to as qi or prana. Traditional health approaches maintain that disruptions in the flow of life energy can cause disease and illness.
Current research suggests that energy fields do, in fact, affect biological processes, leading the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create the term “biofield”, which describes the energy that surrounds, penetrates and affects the body. The biofield is a complex energy field associated with the production, maintenance, repair, communication and regulation of living systems. Biofield therapies, or “energy medicine”, refer to the administration of low level energy signals to the body. Examples of biofield therapies include bio-electromagnetic therapies, such as pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs), energy healing interventions, such as Reiki and Qigong, and photodynamic therapies, which use light energy.
While high frequency electromagnetic waves, such as cosmic rays and X-Rays, are damaging to our cells, ultra low frequency waves have been shown to be effective in enhancing growth, wound repair, and regeneration, and an effective treatment for tumors, musculoskeletal diseases, neurological diseases, pain, and inflammation.
Every living organism has an electromagnetic field. In fact, the life process is an expression of the electromagnetic field, guiding biological organization, structure, function, and maintenance from the beginning of embryonic development through the aging process. Cells in the body use electricity to guide growth, for repair, and for regeneration. Specific electrical currents are also used in the body to signal the transition from illness to healing. Significantly, however, the polarity of these electrical currents reverses during the healing process. Therefore, stimulation of electrical currents and electromagnetic fields can have a significant impact on tissue generation and dysfunction. For example, electromagnetic fields are involved in whole limb regeneration in salamanders, and can stimulate cell generation in humans, and can even be effective as a way to treat cancer cells.
The heart produces the greatest electromagnetic field in the body, which can be detected minimally fifteen feet away by specialized instruments, and some believe by the biological systems of others. It produces energy waves 60 times the amplitude and producing more than 5000 times the magnetism than that of the brain. The heart’s bioelectromagnetic field sends information to every cell in the body, influencing health and wellbeing. This field also varies with our emotions, and it can also synchronize with others. For example, gratitude and compassion enhance coherence of the electromagnetic field, whereas anger and fear disrupt heart rhythms, altering the electromagnetic field. Moreover, a mother’s brain waves can synchronize to her baby’s heart beat.
Energy healers claim to sense imbalances or blockages in participants’ energy fields, and through the use of light touch, movement and/or meditation, and are able to re-establish balance and regulate the natural flow of life energy through the body. While more studies needs to be conducted, there is a growing body of research that suggests electromagnetic energy generated by the heart is indeed exchanged with touch, or when people are in close proximity.
Electrocardiogram (ECG), electroencephalogram (EEG), and electromyography (EMG) have been used for decades to measure changes in electrical activity of the heart, brain, and skeletal muscles, whereas magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) use magnetic fields and radio pulses to measure changes in energy or oxygenated blood flow levels. Alternatively, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy uses a device, such as a sleeve or mat, with padded coils that when electrically charged, produce a pulsed electromagnetic field. Studies using professional PEMF devices have shown that it can be effective in the treatment of:
- Bone and muscle loss
- Bone fracture healing
- Spinal surgery healing
- Tendon- to-bone healing
- Pain reduction
- Cancer therapy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Postsurgical edema
- Chronic wounds
Electromagnetic Pollution / Electrosmog
Electromagnetic pollution refers to the radiation generated by electrical wiring and equipment such as microwaves, radio waves, cellphone towers, cellphones, wireless equipment, power lines, ground currents, etc. There is much debate on whether and to what extent the harmful effects of these man-made electromagnetic waves is harmful to human health. Those who argue these energy sources pose health risks are concerned about potential negative side effects, and argue that these artificial waves have unnatural intensities, signaling characteristics, and pulsing patterns that can cause stress responses in cells, negatively impacting cell communication and functioning of human cells in many ways. Certainly, when we are in close proximity to intense sources of energy, most people report experiencing very uncomfortable sensations, and the health risks of certain kinds of high intensity energy are well understood. Given that energy exists on a broad spectrum, study into the effects of exposure to other energy sources continues to broaden our understanding.
Light is a form of energy. Light therapy has been used for centuries to treat psoriasis, vitiligo and cancer, and was discovered to be an effective treatment for smallpox in the early 1900s. Photodynamic therapy is based on the concept that as molecules in the body absorb a particular light energy, known as a photosensitization, a chemical reaction takes place producing free radicals reactive oxygen species, which can cause cell damage and cell death. Current theorists suggest that the body has a coherent biophoton field associated with cell communication and orientation, neurotransmitter secretion, and human health. A significant amount of research continues to be dedicated to the role of light therapy in cancer treatment and treating skin diseases, while other research is investigating the use of photodynamic therapies as alternatives to antibiotics, as well as to enhance muscular performance.