There are prominent and influential Western leaders emerging in the field of energy medicine. The Rev. Rosalyn Bruyere, founder of the Healing Light Center Church in California has influenced most of the healers in the United States including many of the nurses who have studied therapeutic touch as well as Barbara Brennan, PhD who directs a school for healing science in Florida. (Goldner, 1999)
Other Western leaders in holistic medicine include: Deepak Chopra, MD, an advocate of meditation; Dr. Jon-Kabat Zinn, founder of a stress-reduction clinic at the University of Massachusetts; and, cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish, an expert on reversing heart disease through diet, yoga and meditation. They found that calmness and self-knowledge gained through meditation may have therapeutic biological effects.
In the 1990s, three mainstream doctors published books on the interaction of the human energy field and medicine. Christine Northrop, MD, wrote about energy anatomy in her best-selling book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. Judith Orloff, MD, wrote about clairvoyance in the practice of psychiatry in her book, Second Sight. Psychiatrist and neuroscientist Mona Lisa Schultz, MD wrote, Awakening Intuition, which explains how to use the mind-body network for insight and healing.
In the 1980s, C. Norman Shealy, MD, grounded holistic and energy medicine into mainstream acceptability with his study and training of medical intuitives. His groundbreaking research with clairvoyant Caroline Myss, PhD, created the accepted definition of the term “medical intuitive.” In the 1970s Dr. Shealy was one of the prime founders of the American Holistic Medical and Nurses Associations. Dr. Shealy created the first degree granting Energy Medicine Program within Greenwich University. This program participated in a new academic paradigm for the study of biology and medicine based on energy-information.
In the past decade, holistic medicine has become a recognizable presence in the healthcare field. Holistic medicine modalities are being taught to hospital staff at California Pacific Medical Center, Health and Healing Clinic in San Francisco. Medical Intuitives are sitting in surgery rooms at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. Energy medicine documentation forms for medical insurance claims have been available on the Internet since January 1999. (Henderson, 1999)
Hospitals, surgery rooms, medical clinics, insurance companies, and burgeoning academic programs have grounded holistic/energy medicine into the present. Courses on the role of religious devotion and prayer in healing are currently being taught in approximately 50 U.S. medical schools. This is an historic development, a stunning reversal of the exclusion of these factors from medical education for most of the twentieth century. In addition, conventional medical journals, such as the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), are increasingly willing to publish studies involving unconventional therapies. JAMA's issue of November 11, 1998, was devoted exclusively to the field of alternative medicine.National Statistics:
A groundbreaking move was made by the American Board of Holistic Medicine (ABHM) in December, 2000; the first ABHM board review of holistic medicine, The “Art, Science, and Practice of Holistic Medicine” was presented in Denver, Colorado. Approximately 200 MDs sat for the first ABHM certification examination.
The opening statement of the Art, Science, and Practice of Holistic Medicine course included this statement:
Holistic medicine is based on the core belief that unconditional love is life’s most powerful healer. At its essence, the practice of holistic medicine embraces a spirit of interdisciplinary and physician-patient cooperation; balances the mitigation of causes with relief of symptoms; integrates conventional and complementary therapies; and facilitates the experience of being fully alive. It is at present not possible to fully academically test candidates for these core issues in holism. It has been the intent of the directors of the ABHM, however, to carefully structure the testing for skills in complementary medicine, the interview and the required paper for candidates for the board examination, in the content of this review course itself, to be a total learning experience for those in attendance to foster the enhancement of the practice of holistic medicine.
The review course and the board certification examination will begin to incorporate reasonable standards into American medical practice and education, health planning, and research, regarding the application of the body of knowledge which encompasses the field of holistic medicine. The ABHM founders envisioned a paradigm shift in the direction of incorporating holistic principles into the practice of medicine in the United States. Standardization of the curriculum and the certification examination will help the public demand and professional interest in the inclusion of “alternative” medical practices in the integrated delivery of the best possible medical care.
This board certification examination opened a new chapter of holistic/energy medicine in the history of science. The ABHM board of trustees established twelve principles of holistic medical practice; twelve areas of the science of holistic medicine were approved; and three components of holistic health — body, mind, and spirit — were defined. During the first board review course intensive, thirty-two specific holistic courses were presented by thirty medical and osteopathic doctors. Each physician presented a course designed to introduce his or her specialty, and taught a complementary allopathic to holistic approach. The learning objective of this intensive review course of holistic medicine was that the participants should be able to, “…describe the areas encompassed by holistic medicine; and implement a personalized program for creating a condition of optimal health.” (The Art, Science, and Practice of Holistic Medicine, 2000)
The American Board of Holistic Medicine took an enormous leap for Western medicine putting aside the rationalistic/scientism model for understanding the human condition moving into the current transitional approach in holistic medicine research by stating that, “The primary objective of the practice of holistic medicine is the experience of optimal or holistic health. Optimal health is the unlimited and unimpeded free flow of life force energy through body, mind, and spirit.” The statements continued further with an expression of, “Holistic physicians believe the essence of this energy is unconditional love. It is also called and chi (Chinese), ki (Japanese), prana (Sanskrit), and chai (Hebrew). The art of practicing holistic medicine lies in healing/loving ourselves love; and that our work is to help our patients by identifying and committing to mitigate and remove the restrictions and obstructions that cause dis-ease to prevent us from fully experiencing and enjoying life. It is a process of facilitating growth and maximizing human potential.” (ABHM, 2000)
History by the word itself implies an event which occurred in the past, and in examining this recent historic movement in medical science we are observing history in the making — or maybe in the remembering of ancient principles of holism. The ABHM also created their definition for the science of holistic medicine and in part stated, “ … this science has been evolving for the past three decades …”
A regimented course of “areas of study” is required for board certification in holistic medicine, in addition to a written exam, an essay, interview, holistic health self-assessment, and recommendations. The twelve topics which comprise the core curriculum for certification are in themselves a current history of the science of energy medicine. The ABHM areas of study are:
The Science of Holistic Medicine
BODY: Physical and Environmental Health
1. Nutritional Medicine
2. Environmental Medicine
3. Exercise Medicine
MIND: Mental and emotional health
4. Behavioral Medicine (including Psychoneuroimmunology)
SPIRIT: Spiritual and Social Health
5. Spiritual Medicine
6. Social Medicine
The six specialized areas are:1. Biomolecular Medicine
The introductory talk in the Art, Science, and Practice of Holistic Medicine conference included statements more akin to ancient principles of spirituality rather than the modern science of medicine. In addressing the conference of physicians Dr. Ivker used phrases like: “Path of self-nurturing; Listening to your heart; Guiding our patients.” and presented a list of components of holistic health which reads like a powerful list of greater-good affirmations. The ABHM compiled list for:
Components of Holistic Health
Loving your Body ::Physical Health
Loving your Mind ::
Loving your Spirit ::
Holistic physicians are listening to their patients, as well as their own hearts and spirits, and changing the practice and the science of medicine by the complementary inclusion of the art and science of energy medicine. Holistic practitioners are being educated in the protocol of integrating their ancient practice of healing arts into the current western model of medicine. Greenwich University granted the first Master and PhD degrees in energy medicine until closure in 2002. Many universities and medical schools in the US are offering courses in energy medicine and holistic health as part of their complementary and alternative medicine program. Presently Energy Medicine University is one of five higher degree granting institutions offering Master and Doctorate degrees in Holistic Health.
We are in a renewed era of energy medicine. We are embracing a renewed belief in holism and spiritually as part of medicine thus re-embracing ancient healing wisdom. The future of Holistic/Energy Medicine is in the education of compassionate, humanistic practitioners. (McCartney, 2002)
If a man empties his purse into his head no one can take it away from him. An investment in education pays the best interest. ~ Benjamin Franklin