Energy Medicine includes all concepts of energy: light, sound, electro-magnetism, body, mind and spirit. In addition to concepts central to electro-chemical physiology, older traditions of “life force” or “élan vital” are commonly found in the discourses of Energy Medicine. From Taoist alchemy and Chinese Medicine comes the principle of Chi, with its Cosmic and Microcosmic cycles and flows through the channels or meridians in the physical body. From Yogic Hinduism comes the breath or Prana, and the principles of multiple energy vortices in the body – the Chakras, and especially the concepts of multiple bodies beyond the flesh and blood physiological body, conceived in various systems as layers such as the etheric body, the astral body, the emotional body, the mental body, and the spirit bodies.
Many roots and paths have contributed to these ecumenical and syncretic endeavors that are loosely allied around the concept of energy. The psychology of Carl Jung, with his conception of the collective unconscious and especially his emphasis of myth and Kundalini Yoga is a major root. Another main stream is Christian mysticism in its many forms. Christian Science and the spiritual healing practices of both conventional religious denominations and the "New Thought" churches such as Unity and Science of Mind are also threads that underlie various practices in energy medicine. Recent studies on the healing efficacy of prayer are contributing to the resurgence in spiritual healing. Northern European folk healing traditions have come in through Naturopathy and the teachings of skilled healers such as Olga Worral and Hanna Kroeger. On the more intellectual side, the emphasis on Spirit also has roots in American Transcendentalism and from Northern Europe, in German Idealism, which was heavily influenced both by the Hermetic Alchemical tradition coming via the Arabs in the fourteenth century from late Alexandrian Greek culture, and by Chinese Alchemical traditions coming into Continental Europe in the seventeenth century via the Jesuits, such as in the work of Athanasias Kircher. The Hindu Yogic revival in Europe comes in the Nineteenth century such as through the Theosophy of Madam Blavatsky and the later Anthroposophy of Rudolph Steiner, and then again in the second half of the Twentieth century in both Europe and America, as part of the enthusiasm for meditative disciplines and consciousness studies.
The work of Drs. Elmer and Alyce Green in the 1960s with their colleagues at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas, pioneered investigations in biofeedback studies and what they preferred to call voluntary control of autonomic physiological processes. The Green's world view and research questions were influenced by their own exposure to traditions of psychic healing in the early Twentieth century and their researches in India in the 1960s, studying the physiology of Yogic adepts and Tibetan Tantric trance meditators.
Dr. Green and associates founded ISSSEEM as an interdisciplinary association for the study of energetic and informational interactions, to explore the concepts of subtle energies in the experience of consciousness, healing, and human potential. ISSSEEM is intended as a bridging organization for scientists, clinicians, therapists, healers, and any other interested people. This is an interdisciplinary professional organization representing the entire field of Energy Medicine. (Williams, 2004)
Recently holistic/energy medicine has come under increasing study by the scientific community. While holistic/energy medicine has existed in various forms for centuries, the current field does not have one absolute definition. The answer to the question "What is holistic/energy medicine?" varies according to the practitioner. There is no standard scientific understanding or precise meaning of these ideas in the Western scientific paradigm, although various explanations are offered for holistic/energy medicine in terms of a vital force or life energy. A new paradigm for researching biology and medicine based on energy information is required to define holistic/energy medicine. (Rubik, 1995) Today, holistic/energy medicine is practiced in many forms. The following is a brief list of holistic/energy medicine specialties.Meditation, Prayer
Guided visualization, deep breathing, focusing on a word or sound, and being mindful of your thoughts are some of the current applications of the ancient arts of meditation and prayer. Some benefits researched by Western scientists include lowered blood pressure, stimulation of the body's immune system, and stress release.Meditation, Prayer
Guided visualization, deep breathing, focusing on a word or sound, and being mindful of your thoughts are some of the current applications of the ancient arts of meditation and prayer. Some benefits researched by Western scientists include lowered blood pressure, stimulation of the body's immune system, and stress release.Acupuncture/Acupressure
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine. The acupuncturist identifies blockages to the energy flow and opens up the pathways to increase circulation. This is done by inserting small needles into the skin at specific energy points along the meridians. Electro-acupuncture uses the same method with the addition of a regulated low-voltage electric current sent through each needle into the meridians. Acupressure uses no needles, the trained hands of a therapist applies pressure to the nodal points on the meridians.Chi Gung/Qi Gong
The movement meditation of Chi Gung sprouted the Western version called, Tai Chi Chaun; this practice is a dance like movement of the hands, body, and feet aligned with breathing techniques. The practitioner focuses on feeling and moving the Chi energy through the meridians of the body. Medical Qi Gong is the root from which many hands-on healing techniques branched out from into the West.Reiki/Therapeutic Touch
Reiki is a Japanese practice that trains practitioners to access the “Buddha/Christ universal healing energy.” This ancient modality is passed on from master teacher to student and involves specific symbol and energy transference. It is an easily accessible form of energy healing to people of all walks of life. This is a hands-on healing modality where a practitioner touches specific locations in a patient's body. In the early 1980s, Dolores Krieger, R.N., created an American version called Therapeutic Touch. She learned some basics of spiritual healing from theosophy. She introduced this concept of spiritual healing energy, which she referred to as “prana,” to thousands of nurses. (Goldner, 1999)Homeopathy
Homeopathy was formulated 200 years ago by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. Remedies are prescribed according to the classical Greek Law of Similars, namely “that which makes sick shall heal.” This means that the symptoms caused by an overabundance of a substance can be cured with a small dose of that substance. The homeopathic remedies are diluted so greatly that no chemical trace of the original substance remains. This process apparently imprints the energy pattern into a container of water in which it is diluted. (The Society of Homeopaths, 1998)Biofeedback
Developed at the Menninger Clinic in Kansas, by Elmer Green, the biofeedback machine operates via electrodes connected to a patient’s head and fingers. People learn to control muscle tension, skin temperature, brain wave activity, and blood pressure. A widely used modality and accepted in many medical institutions for it’s proven efficacy in treating migraines, high blood pressure and other illness.Intuition Medicine®
Intuition Medicine is based on the premise that all matter, including human bodies, is comprised of energy. Physics has taught this for years, and it is now considered a scientifically proven fact. Intuition Medicine focuses on the energy and spirit of a person. Our cells are meticulously organized into systems that doctors use as a basis for diagnosis and healing, and it is the same for our energy. Intuition Medicine practitioners have many diagnostic and intervention tools to heal these energy systems. All cellular and chemical matter has energy as its base component, so when you shift the energy, you also physically heal the body. Because it works with energy, the basic element of matter, Intuition Medicine offers a healing modality that can be both an alternative and a complement to our traditional methods of healing. (Laurenson-Shipley, 2000)Kinesiology
Kinesiology interfaces between subtle energy to physical medicine. Basically it is the testing of muscle power at its simplest physical level. Physical therapists and exercise specialists have very detailed manual techniques for evaluating muscle strength. A wide variety of tests may be done ranging from placing an unknown substance in the mouth, to colors, to thoughts that affect the muscle energy.Flower Essences
Flower essences are vibrational preparations which were originally created by Dr. Edward Bach, a British physician, early in the 20th century. Many practitioners believe that the Bach flower remedies or flower essences are among the most popular of the homeopathic approaches. Rescue remedy is perhaps the most popular of all and is said to be of great use in both emotional and physical shocks.Magnetic Therapy
Studies in the application of magnets to the body have reported significant reduction of pain with applications of 11,000 gauss magnets to specific areas of the body. These magnets which have been demonstrated to be of some benefit physiologically and psychologically produce an electromagnetic field which creates a differing electromagnetic response in the area of the body where it is placed. Research has been done with 2500 gauss magnets placed six inches above the top of the head which results in increasing Delta activity deep inside the brain.Color and Light Therapy
Color therapy has scientific evidence to support that application of different colored lights can markedly change chemistry, including oxytocin, prolactin, beta endorphins, etc. Flashing red lights have been used successfully to treat migraine headaches. The Lucia Color Test is a psychological diagnostic based upon one’s preferences of up to 156 colors.Sound, Music and Tone
The brain can be entrained by sound frequencies just as it can be by light frequencies.The late Robert Monroe has done the best work in this field at his Monroe Institute in Virginia. The Institute has reports of research of marked reduction in pain, as well as many health improvements using pulse frequencies of sound. Music is well documented as an emotional calming agent, as well as can be used in psychotherapy to assist with emotional catharsis.Electro-Physiological Measures
Another technique was discovered by Reinhold Voll, MD Dr. Voll is a German doctor who found in 1940 that the electrical resistance of the skin decreases dramatically at the acupuncture points when compared to the surrounding skin. This led the Western founders of the current approach to energy medicine. These discoveries created a new field of energy medicine instruments (e.g., Voll Meter, Meridian Stress Analyzer) that have been developed both for assessment and treatment.The Burton Goldberg Group (1993) reported the following:
Franz Morrel, MD, a colleague of Dr. Voll, created another treatment instrument called the Mora. Dr. Morrel believed that all biological processes are essentially a matter of electromagnetic signals that can be described by a complex waveform. Health can be considered as a smooth wave, while disease is identified by unwanted variations on this wave, both higher and lower. Dr. Morrel had the idea of taking the electromagnetic signals directly from the body and manipulating the aberrant waveforms by raising or lowering them to create normal waves. These corrected waves are then fed from the device back into the patient at the corresponding acupoints. The signals can be taken from any area of the body, modified, and then returned to the specific area (p. 195).