Energy Healing Science

Nowadays, the scientific world is paying a little more attention to the idea of energy healing. Although they embrace different schools of thought, advocates for both conventional medical science and energy healing might have found at least one point on which they can agree—the importance of good communication with patients.

According to some skeptics, the positive results attributed to energy therapy or complementary health care practices may be due to the consultation and relationship between healer and client, not the energy therapy itself.

Differences Between Science and Energy Healing

People with a scientific view tend to have two main issues with energy therapy:

  1. Lack of scientific evidence: Although energy healing practitioners, patients and advocates offer testimonials galore, individual success stories don’t sway the scientific world. Scientists require well-designed, statistically significant surveys, carefully constructed to eliminate bias and wishful thinking, but current trial designs and measurement methods make it difficult to measure effects on the subtle energy bodies. Many doctors and other medical professionals point to the lack of evidence, showing that energy healing is no more effective than a placebo.
  2. Universal energy concept: The idea of a universal energy influencing human health might be an even greater source of friction between believers of science and energy healing. To many 21st century medical professionals, a universal life force sounds like something made up back when doctors used leeches and other “primitive” forms of health care. Now that we know about bacteria, genetics, viruses and more, today’s health care workers consider forces that can’t be measured or analyzed the stuff of superstition—to be viewed with suspicion.

Science and Energy Healing: Finding Common Ground

Despite the skepticism, evidence that energy healing can be effective does exist. In 2009, the UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, and the Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Diego published a review of 66 clinical studies exploring energy therapy—or biofield therapy treatment.

The results, published in the “International Journal of Behavioral Medicine,” pointed to evidence that energy healing techniques—such as Reiki and Healing Touch—may reduce pain in independent and hospitalized patients alike. Researchers also found evidence that energy therapies can ease agitation in patients with dementia and decrease anxiety in hospitalized patients. All in all, the review stressed the need for further research into the benefits of energy therapy.

The positive effects of lengthy healer/client interviews, breathing, massage and exercise are research topics that may bridge the gap between science and energy healing, yielding insights into effective health care of all kinds.

Resources

Carroll, R. T. (2010). Energy healing: Looking in all the wrong places. Retrieved August 4, 2010, http://www.skepdic.com/essays/energyhealing.htm

Jones, V. (2010). Energy healing in Maryland. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from http://www.skepdic.com/essays/energyhealing.htm

Jones, V. (2010). Energy healing in Maryland. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3734

ScienceDaily. (2009). Biofield therapies: Helpful or full of hype? Review looks at reiki, therapeutic touch and healing touch. Retrieved August 4, 2010, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029111913.htm

ScienceDaily. (2009). Non-traditional therapy is effective as pain management, study suggests. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from http://www.skepdic.com/essays/energyhealing.htm

Jones, V. (2010). Energy healing in Maryland. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from http://www.skepdic.com/essays/energyhealing.htm

Jones, V. (2010). Energy healing in Maryland. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3734

ScienceDaily. (2009). Biofield therapies: Helpful or full of hype? Review looks at reiki, therapeutic touch and healing touch. Retrieved August 4, 2010, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029111913.htm

ScienceDaily. (2009). Non-traditional therapy is effective as pain management, study suggests. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217104443.htm