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2010-08-22

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The following article provides some good information on the following fields:  

~ Bio-Plasmics ~ Biofield Therapeutics ~

~ Attunement ~ Vibrational Health ~

For more details in a specific area check the link bar on the left.

This article was obtained from: Colorado Health Site

Overview

Biofield therapeutics, often called energy healing or laying on of hands, is one of the oldest forms of healing known to humankind. Discovery, partial characterization, and use of the biofield have risen independently among peoples and cultures in every sector of the world.

The earliest Eastern references are in the Huang Ti Nei Ching Su Wen (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), variously dated between 2,500 and 5,000 years ago (Veith, 1949). The earliest Western references are in hieroglyphics and in depictions of biofield hearings dating from Egypt's Third Dynasty. Hippocrates, a major figure in Western medicine, referred to the biofield as "the force which flows from many people's hands" (Schiegl, 1983). Franz von Mesmer, an Austrian physician who investigated and popularized this process in the late 18th century, referred to the biofield as "animal magnetism" to differentiate it from "metal magnetism," which he understood to be a similar but different medium (Mesmer, 1980). In the United States, use increased after Mesmer's "magnetic healing" became popular in the 1830s. (Among others, both Andrew Still (founder of osteopathy) and Daniel Palmer (founder of chiropractic) practiced for a time as magnetic healers (Gevitz, 1993).

Historically, beliefs about causation in this type of healing have clustered around two views that remain active today. The first is that the "healing force" comes from a source other than the practitioner, such as God, the cosmos, or another supernatural entity. The second is that a human biofield, directed, modified, or amplified in some fashion by the practitioner, is the operative mechanism. Some of the terms presented in table 1 are devoid of religious or spiritual overtones, while others carry religious aspects common to the culture in which they were or are used.

Therapeutic application of the biofield is a process during which the practitioner places his or her hands either directly on or very near the physical body of the person being treated. In so doing, the practitioner engages the perceived biofield from his or her hands with the recipient's perceived biofield either to promote general health or to treat a specific dysfunction. The person being treated, who is usually clothed, reclines in some forms of the process but is seated in others.

The process is not instantaneous, as it is in "faith healing." (Faith is not a factor in the biofield process.) Treatment sessions may take from 20 minutes to an hour or more; a series of sessions is often needed to complete treatment of some disorders.

The ability to perform biofield healing appears to be universal, although most people seem unaware of possessing the talent. As with any innate talent, practice and learning appropriate techniques improve results.

There is consensus among practitioners that the biofield that permeates the physical body also extends outward from the body for several inches. Therefore, no real difference is seen between placing the hands directly on the body (either by direct skin contact or through clothing) or in close proximity to the body. In either case, the practitioner's biofield is understood to come into confluence with the recipient's biofield. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach in clinical applications.4

Extension of the external portion of the biofield is considered variable and dependent on the person's emotional state and state of health. Practitioners describe the external portion, sometimes called the "aura," as tactilely detectable (see the "Biofield Diagnostics" section) and less dense than the portion permeating the physical body.

Biofield practitioners have a holistic focus, for most treatment sessions produce results that encompass more than one aspect of the person's health. Within that focus there is, however, a range of therapeutic intents:

  • General (e.g., stress relief, improvement of general health and vitality).
  • Biologic (e.g., reduction of inflammation, edema, chronic and acute pain; change in hematocrit and T-cell levels; and acceleration of wound healing and fracture repair).
  • Vegetative functions (e.g., improvement of appetite, digestion, and sleep patterns).
  • Emotional states (e.g., changes in anxiety, grief, depression, and feelings of self-worth).
  • Dysfunctions often classified psychosomatic (e.g., treatment of eating disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, and post-traumatic stress disorder).

Some practitioners incorporate mental healing, or focused intent to heal, as part of their biofield treatments. This is also called psychic healing, distant healing, non-social healing, and absent healing. Mental healing can also be performed by itself at a considerable distance from the recipient. It is an active process on the practitioner's part, involving centered, focused concentration; it may include various imagery (visualization) techniques as well. (See the "Imagery" section and the "Prayer and Mental Healing" section in the 'Mind-Body Interventions" chapter.)

A related mind effect sometimes used in biofield healing is described as the practitioner, by effort of will, extending the biofield (principally from the hands) into the recipient's body with increased force, sometimes from a distance of several feet. Chinese qigong masters are considered especially adept at this. The process appears to be draining; interviews with practitioners who do this procedure indicate they are limited in the number of treatments they can perform in a day.

Some practitioners meditate before giving a treatment in order to enter a so-called healing space; some others maintain a meditative state during treatment.

Biofield diagnostics. Detailed diagnostic methods have been developed to determine the condition of the patient's general health and present disorder by sensing, with touch, subtle perturbations in the biofield (clairsentience). Janet Quinn, researcher of the therapeutic touch method, writes that "assessment [of the external portion] focuses on perceiving the way this energy is flowing and is distributed in the patient" (Krieger, 1992). Patricia Heidt adds that areas of "accumulated tension" or "congested energy" are detected (Heidt, 1981b). Barbara Brennan, developer of the healing science method, describes the use of "high sense perception," which includes other subtle perceptions of the external biofield (Brennan, 1987).

Biofield researcher Richard Pavek writes of similar subtle tactile cues detected when the hands are placed directly on the body during SHEN therapy as 'changes in temperature..., tingles, prickles, 'electricity' (sensation of light static), pressure or magnetism'... sensations are usually different over an area of physical pain, inflammation, tension and/or when release of emotion occurs" (Pavek, 1987).

Many practitioners develop their treatment plans entirely by interpreting these various tactile sensations. Others use biofield diagnostics to supplement conventional methods, such as nursing diagnostic forms or chronic pain evaluation forms.

Current status. Considerable interchange of technique occurs between Europe and the United States and some between the United States and Asia.

United States. The process of using biofields has been treated with a reflexive mixture of awe and disgust, reverence and fear, and belief and disbelief, but this situation appears to be changing as more and more people seriously investigate the process from a critically neutral perspective.

No formal census is available, but reasonable estimates suggest that some 50,000 practitioners in the United States provide about 120 million sessions annually (Pavek, 1994). Of these, about 30,000 have trained in therapeutic touch (Benor, 1994). For some, it is a major part of their vocational activity; others use the process occasionally to help family and friends. Many practitioners have had no formal training in the process, and many have independently discovered biofield effects. Others learned rudimentary techniques from friends or trained in one of several schools that teach various forms of the process. Reviews of school enrollment records indicate that most practitioners are women.

Some practitioners, often those who have independently discovered the process, and some teachers ascribe to it a religious or spiritual basis.

A few link the process with specific religious activities.

No State has licensing requirements for biofield practitioners. Because legal constraints in many States prohibit the use of the terms patient and treatment, most practitioners use the terms receiver and session in describing their work.

Some, possibly because they fear being charged with practicing medicine without a license, have cloaked themselves by incorporating under the name of a healing church. They often deny attempting to treat biological disorders and describe their process as "healing the spirit," from which "healing of the physical" will follow.

In the past 20 years or so, formal training in the process has emerged in considerable strength in this country. At this time several teaching establishments with standardized training programs teach different forms of the process; most grant certificates. Schools differ considerably in curriculum, focus, length of training, extent of internship, and certification requirements. Some schools are semistructured associations of instructors trained in a particular method; others are more centrally organized.

At least four forms of biofield therapy-healing science, healing touch, SHEN therapy, and therapeutic touch-have been taught in a number of medical establishments. Currently, Student nurses are trained in one or another system in more than 90 colleges and universities around the world. Acupuncturists, massage practitioners, and nurses who pass these courses receive continuing education credit from several State bureaus for training in these four forms.

Most of the practitioners of this process work independent of conventional medical and health practitioners. The conventional practitioner may occasionally be aware that his or her patient-client is seeing a biofield practitioner collaterally, but most are not.

However, while much of the current activity in this discipline can be considered separate and alternative, the process is beginning to seep upward into mainstream medical and health practices. It is likely that several thousand practitioners of conventional therapies currently combine one or another of the biofield therapy processes with their primary approaches. Among these are nurses, counselors, psychotherapists, chiropractors, and massage practitioners who at least occasionally use a form of biofield therapy as an adjunct.

At least three forms are currently in use in hospitals: healing touch and therapeutic touch are used for a variety of reasons in several hospitals (Quinn, 1981, 1993), and SHENO therapy is used in alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and codependent recovery programs in a few hospitals (Sunshine and Wright, 1986).

Europe. The United States falls far behind other countries in legal recognition of biofield therapy. Currently, more than 8,500 registered healers in the United Kingdom (British Medical Association, 1993) "are permitted to 'give healing' (a term for the process in common usage in the United Kingdom) at the request of patients" (p. 92). Approval has been obtained to use the process at the 1,500 government hospitals. In some situations, biofield healers are paid under the U.K. National Health Service (Benor, 1993). Physicians receive postgraduate education credits for attending courses in the biofield process, and healers are able to purchase liability insurance policies similar to those covering physicians (Benor, 1992).

In Poland and Russia, biofield healing is being incorporated into conventional medical practice; some medical schools include instruction in the process in the curriculum. In Russia, the process is under investigation by the Academy of Science. In Bulgaria, a government-appointed scientific body assesses abilities and recommends licensing for those who pass rigorous examinations (Benor, 1992).

Asia. China leads the rest of the world in research on therapeutic application and methods of increasing biofield effects. Biofield healing is called wei qi liao fa, or "medical qigong" (chi kung), in China, where proficient practitioners are called Nigong masters." Qigong masters are described as having developed their qi (biofield) to a high degree through qigong exercises. (A few qigong masters are reported to be able to anesthetize patients for surgery solely with this method [Houshen, 19881). Reduction of secondary cancers by medical qigong masters is commonly reported; there are clinics for that purpose alone.

Departments of medical qigong research exist in every college of traditional Chinese medicine in China. Both national and regional governments sponsor periodic international conferences on medical qigong. American researchers are frequently invited to present papers at these conferences.

Explanatory models. No generally accepted theory accounts for the phenomena of biofields. As one might expect of a discipline often perceived as bordering between superstition and random process on the one hand and science and technique on the other, there are profound differences-both inside the discipline among practitioners and researchers, and outside among theoreticians-as to the exact nature of the phenomena. In many cases, the view of the biofield is not a clearly defined one; it often mixes concepts of physics and metaphysics, or ancient and modern wisdoms (see the glossary).

The current major hypotheses are that the biofield is

  • metaphysical (outside the four dimensions of space and time and untestable),

  • an electromagnetic field effect, and

  • a presently undefined but potentially quantifiable field effect in physics.

There are three metaphysical approaches:

  • Spiritual energy. Practitioners of some methods believe that they are channeling a spiritual energy that has innate intelligence or logic and knows where and to what extent it is required (Baginski and Sharamon, 1988). Reiki and also "radiance," a form of reiki, are examples of this view (Ray, 1987). Reiki teaches that the practitioner is merely a conduit for spiritual energy. After training, the practitioner is initiated and given the power to heal; sacred symbols are often used to give added power to the process (Jarrell, 1992). Another system with a similar approach, mari-el, incorporates the use of angels or spiritual guides in the healing practice.

  • Interacting human and universal energy fields. Heidt and others have postulated that both the healer and the healed are vibrating fields of energy (Heidt, 1981b) that interact with the environmental energy field around them for healing purposes. Brennan describes a similar process as one of "harmonic induction" (Brennan, 1987).

  • Repatterning of resonant vibratory fields. Going further, Quinn and nurse-theorist Rogers state that current assumptions (about Therapeutic Touch), which remain "untested" and 'untestable," [are that] people are energy fields. We are not saying that people have energy fields in addition to what they are.... [Instead they are] open systems engaged in continuous interaction with the environmental energy field. [Therefore] when a person is "sick" there is an imbalance in the person's energy field, [and] when a person uses his or her intent to help or heal a person, the energy field of the person may repattern towards greater wellness.... The Therapeutic Touch practitioner knowingly participates in . . . "a healing meditation," facilitates repatterning of the recipient's energy field through a process of resonance, rather than "energy exchange or transfer" (Quinn, 1993).

The healing intervention is seen as a 'purposive patterning of energy fields, a mutual process in which the nurse uses his or her hands as a mediating focus in the continuing patterning of the mutual patient-environment energy field process" (Rogers, 1990).

In addition, certain models in physics may offer some explanation of biofield phenomena. Although quantum physics, the branch of physics that treats atomic and subatomic particles, has been proposed to explain the effects of a related phenomenon, mental healing at a distance, it has not proved to be a useful model to explain biofield healing. For example, Brennan states, "I am quite unable to explain these experiences without using the old [classical physics] frameworks" (Brennan, 1987).

Classical physics is a model that is applied with high precision to large-scale phenomena involving relatively slow motion, such as the flow of fluids, electromagnetic currents and waves, hydraulics, aerodynamics, and atmospheric physics. It appears to be a reasonable model to apply in studying biofield phenomena.

Indeed, much of the terminology used by biofield practitioners to describe their work - while somewhat imprecise and variable-clearly describes quantitative and qualitative factors similar to those in fields of classical physics. For example, qi appears to be equivalent to flux in electromagnetic fields, for it describes direction and quantity of field. Polarity between the hands and between different bodily regions appears to be equivalent to polar difference in electromagnetic fields and to pressure differential in hydrodynamics. Pavek describes the biofield as having 11 circulating [flux] patterns ... similar in formation and function to magnetic fields or electrostatic fields" (Pavek, 1987).

Around 1850, Karl von Reichenbach (discoverer of kerosene and paraffin) demonstrated apparent biofield polarities and determined apparent velocity through a copper rod to be about 4 meters per second (von Reichenbach, 1851). In 1947, L.E. Eeman demonstrated a polarity through the arms and hands and another through the spine with his device known as an Eeman screen (Eeman, 1947).

In about 1950 Randolph Stone, developer of polarity therapy, determined that flux density showed polarities within the physical body (Stone, 1986).

In 1978, Pavek compared paired-hand placements and reversed paired-hand placements on patients by hundreds of trained and untrained practitioners; he noted that one arrangement consistently resulted in relaxation and feelings of well-being but that the other set consistently produced agitation and anxiety. From this he deduced normal (healthy) qi polarities and movement patterns in the body (Pavek, 1987).

In 1985 Pavek expanded on these findings by demonstrating coherent linkages between qi patterns, emotional holding patterns, and autocontractile pain response while developing biofield treatments for disorders often classified as psychosomatic (Pavek, 1988b; Pavek and Daily, 1990) and correlating emotional holding patterns with Chinese five-phase theory (Pavek, 1988a).

In 1992, Isaacs conducted a double-blind study using Eeman screens, which confirmed polarity at the spine and arms (Isaacs, 1991).

It is unclear at this time whether the biofield is electromagnetic or some other presently unmeasured but potentially quantifiable medium. It is popularly hypothesized that the biofield is a form of bioelectricity, biomagnetism, or bioelectromagnetism. This may well be the case but has yet to be established. Some researchers discount the possibility.

Some Chinese researchers have conducted experiments indicating that when wei qi (the external biofield) is used in fa qi (healing), electromagnetic radiation in the infrared range is produced; others found indications of infrasonic waves. However, both phenomena appear to be minor secondary effects (Shen, 1988; Xin et al., 1988).

Research base. Rigorous research on biofield healing has been hindered by the belief, held by many, that nothing more than a placebo effect is the operative factor. This belief has affected funding, publishing, and status of researchers. Because funding organizations and scientific communities believed that any effects obtained were largely placebo effects, not real effects of biofields, research has been considered pointless. Moreover, many researchers have been unwilling to study biofield effects that they would otherwise be interested in, because they fear being ostracized by other researchers. Publication of research by the journals has been limited for similar reasons.

Notwithstanding these limitations, a number of studies have been implemented. In the United States, there are more than 17 published studies on biofield therapeutics.

Published U.S. studies. Because no comprehensive database of studies on biofield therapeutics exists, the following are considered to be only a sampling.

In two controlled studies on therapeutic touch, Krieger found significant change in hemoglobin levels in hospitalized patients (Krieger, 1975, 1973). In a similar study, Wetzel found significant change in hematocrit and hemoglobin levels of 48 subjects receiving reiki, and no significant change with 10 controls (Wetzel, 1989).

Wirth found significant change in the healing rate of full-thickness skin wounds in a carefully controlled, double-blind study of therapeutic touch (Wirth, 1990), while Keller and Bzdek found highly significant decreases in pain scores recorded on the McGill-Melzak Pain Questionnaire by patients with tension headache in a controlled study of therapeutic touch (Keller, 1993; Keller and Bzdek, 1986).

Although Meehan found no significant difference on the Visual Analog Scale and Pain Intensity Descriptor Form between postoperative patients receiving therapeutic touch and controls, secondary analysis showed patients receiving therapeutic touch waited longer before requesting analgesia (Meehan, 1985, 1988). Similarly, Heidt found significant changes in anxiety levels of hospitalized cardiovascular patients receiving therapeutic touch versus controls as measured on the A-State Self-evaluation Questionnaire (Heidt, 1979, 1981a; Spielberger et al., 1983). Quinn (1983) found similar results in a study of therapeutic touch versus mimic therapeutic touch without centering and intention to assist.

In a replication study on patients before and after open heart surgery, using therapeutic touch versus mimic therapeutic touch and no-treatment groups, Quinn found no significant differences between the groups. Yet changes occurred in the expected direction, and there was a significant reduction in diastolic blood pressure among the therapeutic touch group that was not seen in the no-treatment group (Quinn, 1989). In another study of therapeutic touch versus mimic therapeutic touch, Parkes showed no significant differences among elderly hospitalized patients (Parkes, 1985).

Collins (1983), Fedoruk (1984), and Ferguson (1986) found significant relaxation effects of therapeutic touch with various subjects in different studies, and Quinn (1992), in a pilot study of four bereaved people, found significant reduction of suppressor T cells in all four after therapeutic touch. Moreover, Kramer found significant differences in stress reduction between treatment and control groups in a study of therapeutic touch with hospitalized children (Kramer, 1990).

Other U.S. studies. A number of pilot and case studies in fruitful areas have shown interesting results that are worthy of further investigation. These studies were conducted without controls, usually because of the severe limitations on funding.

In four uncontrolled cases, Pavek found that white cell decrease during chemotherapy reversed and rose significantly after single SHEN therapy treatments at the thymus gland (Pavek, unpublished, 1984-85). In a pilot study on SHEN therapy and premenstrual syndrome, Pavek noted significant long-term symptom relief and behavioral change with 11 of 13 subjects (Pavek, unpublished, 1986).

Beal, in an unpublished study of 12 hospitalized major depressives, found no statistical difference in time of release from the hospital between 6 subjects randomized to receive SHEN therapy and 6 controls receiving sham SHEN therapy. However, in analyzing both subject and counselor reports, Pavek found significant change in dreaming, emotional expressiveness, and interpersonal contact with subjects receiving SHENO therapy and much less change among controls (Beal and Pavek, 1985).

Other therapeutic touch research with promising indications includes research on rehabilitation (Payne, 1989), helping patients to rest (Heidt, 1991), mental patients (Hill and Oliver, 1993), symptom control in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (Newshan, 1989), and severe bum patients (Pavek, unpublished observations).

Promising research with SHEN therapy includes research with occupational therapy clients, third-trimester abdominal pain, reduction of pain during birthing without pain medication, irritable bowel syndrome, posttraumatic stress disorder, anorexia, bulimia, phobias, and chronic migraine.

International research. There has been considerable research on biofield therapeutics in other countries. In China, more than 30 controlled studies on effects of fa qi on both humans and animals were reported in the proceedings of just one meeting, the First World Conference for the Academic Exchange of Medical Qigong. At the same meeting, 32 studies were presented on effects on health of qigong exercises that raise qi (Proceedings,1988).

In an overview report, Daniel Benor has compiled data on 151 healing studies from around the world (Benor, 1992). In many of these studies, mental healing efforts were combined with the biofield processes. However, 61 were controlled, published studies of biofield healing effects without the confounding factors of mental intent.

Research Recommendations

Promising clinical results. While technique, focus, and range of treatments attempted vary considerably, a number of results are common to all forms of the biofield process:

  • Acceleration of wound healing.

  • Reduction of the pain of thermal burns and acceleration of healing time.

  • Reduction of sunburn pain and coloration.

  • Reduction of acute and chronic pain.

  • Reduction of anxiety.

  • Release of pent-up grief.

In addition, practitioners of some forms of the process report consistently good results with

  • recurrent panic attacks;

  • premenstrual syndrome;

  • posttraumatic stress disorder;

  • irritable bowel syndrome;

  • nonbiological sexual dysfunction;

  • drug, alcohol, and codependence recovery;

  • migraine;

  • anorexia and bulimia; and

  • third-trimester pregnancy and birthing.

Characterization of the biofield. That the biofield has definable form, flux pattern, and polarities seems clear to practitioners from the wealth of empirical evidence available. However, characterization of the biofield is far from complete, and determining its nature is paramount to its further development among the healing arts.

Two hypotheses should be tested: first, that the biofield is a field in physics other than an already known field, and, second, that the biofield is bioelectromagnetism. One approach that would support the first hypothesis would be development of a device (transducer) that would react with the biofield so as to exclude the possibility of bioelectromagnetism. Research projects in China have shown that application of the biofield affects lithium fluoride thermoluminesence detectors, polarized light beams, Van de Graff generators, and silicone crystal plates (Proceedings, 1988). These preliminary experiments suggest possible approaches toward further characterization.

Research design considerations. The following should be considered in planning well-designed studies to evaluate potential effects of biofields on health:

  • Mental healing techniques. Since mental healing techniques are often mixed with biofield techniques, care must be taken in all research designs to separate out the two factors. Unless this is done, unclear results will prevent reasonable analysis.

  • Sham treatments. Unlike placebo pills, biofield healing cannot be faked. According to the observations of practitioners, it is not possible to touch subjects in a clinical study in a purely physical way for any period of time without resulting in some effect from the practitioner's biofield. Nor is there a way to shield the biofield emitted by one person from another person's; this renders the notion of a "sham control" meaningless. This particular confounding factor has adversely affected results in several studies of biofield therapeutics (Beal and Pavek, 1985; Meehan, 1988; Parkes, 1985; Quinn, 1989). In these studies, controls were established by effecting a mimic, or sham, of the primary method. The practitioners' hands were brought into close proximity with the subject in a "sham treatment." In all such cases, some positive effect was obtained with the mimic or sham treatments that was greater than could be reasonably expected from notreatment controls.

  • Double-blind studies. Although it is not possible for a biofield healing practitioner to perform in a strict double-blind situation, it is possible to design studies in which the evaluators are blinded to the treatment method and subjects are blinded to the method and to the specific intended outcome.

  • Science and metaphysics. Because the metaphysical model lies, by both definition and practice, outside the usual confines of science, research on metaphysical explanatory models will be difficult. However, outcome studies of clinical effect could be designed and executed.

  • Collaborations. The process could be speeded up if experienced researchers sympathetic to energy healing work together with researchers experienced in developing appropriate criteria. These criteria must (1) provide the established medical and health communities with valid, reproducible data and (2) be constructed so as not to negate the operative treatment mechanism.

Barriers and Key Issues

Hindrances. For various reasons, biofield healing has been hindered from reaching its fullest potential. Principal among these reasons are the following:

  • Until recently, few testable hypotheses.

  • Few theoreticians who are also practitioners.

  • The disdain of currently established scientists.

  • Lack of a solid research base.

  • Lack of an adequate outcomes database.

  • Unsystematic accumulation of empirical evidence.

  • Obscuring of the extent of efficacy by a plethora of conceptual confusions and conflicting claims as to causal factors, best methods, and procedures.

Placebo and efficacy. Some people have attributed any successful applications of biofield therapeutic to a high probability of placebo effect. This assumption has inhibited reviewers and editors from accepting as valid the usual, smaller pilot studies that would be acceptable for other types of therapy.

No studies that have been done, however, indicate that placebo factors are any higher with biofield therapies than with other healing methods. In fact, a number of situations in which placebo effects would have been highly unlikely cast doubt on the concern. Some such studies have had marked, positive results (Benor, 1992) with animals and with small children below the age of reason. There are also numerous anecdotal reports of children receiving treatments while asleep and awakening with marked change. Fevers have broken during such treatments, panic attacks have ceased, and comas have ended (Pavek,1988).

Such evidence suggests that the reason why biofield treatments are effective is other than the placebo effect.

Peer review. At this time, there are no peer review groups that actually include "peers." True peers, who have a hands-on understanding of biofield therapeutics, should be included on review committees. (See the "Peer Review" chapter.)

Recommendations. Because the stigma associated with "faith healing" has been attached to biofield therapy, it has not been seriously considered as a viable treatment method. Consequently, the discipline languishes in a research doldrums The following steps are recommended:

1. The biofield should be characterized. Reasonable approaches exist, some of which have been described in this report.

2. Simple and appropriate instruments should be developed to begin the process systematically collecting clinical data. With properly designed forms, individual case studies could be statistically sorted and grouped by disorder, treatment process, and results. This sorting would begin to establish relative efficacy in the various categories, suggesting productive avenues for future research. To implement this process, OAM should establish a small study group, including members familiar with intake and outcome forms and data collection and representative members of the discipline.

3. Studies should be undertaken to determine how much of biofield therapeutics is attributable to mental healing and how much is attributable to quantity and proper directional application of the biofield flows.

4. Appropriate review panels with actual peers should be established.

5. A number of open technical questions in the discipline should be resolved. OAM should invite the leaders of the various systems to a general meeting to discuss and compare techniques and methods and to begin resolving these questions. Resolving these differences will enhance the techniques of all biofield healing methods.

6. A number of clinical studies that have been done in Europe and in Asia could be replicated here. Replication is necessary to assure the American research community that the studies are valid and to point the way for further research here.

7. A wealth of serious study proposals are available. These should be reviewed, and the most promising should be implemented.

Conclusion

Biofield therapeutics and diagnostics have been struggling to cross the border from metaphysics to physics and gain mainstream acceptance for a long time. In spite of considerable difficulties, biofield methods are gaining acceptance from health professionals and the general public in two areas(1) the medical clinic and (2) hospital and psychotherapeutic settings. In both, biofield treatments are reported to be of benefit for many people.

Biofield therapeutics are a low-cost, non-invasive, non-drug approach, and applications have been reported in many medical and health situations as alternatives or as complements to mainstream medicine. The potential reward-to-risk ratio is great, and relatively small amounts of money are needed to start a validation process, which should be done with dispatch.

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