Biofield Therapies (BT) refer to medicinal use of the human body’s subtle energy using a wide variety of practices, and are administered by biofield practitioners who work with the subtle energy or biofield of the patient. In Ayurvda, this subtle energy is know as prana, qi in traditional Chinese medicine, ki in traditional Japanese medicine, reiki in the Usui system, vital force in homeopathy and , innate intelleigence in chiropractic, vis medicatrix naturae in naturapthay, and olodumare in Yoruba medicine. (Beverly Rubik, PhD)
The Biofield refers to the complex, dynamic, extremely weak electromagnetic field (EMF) within and around the human body that has been proposed as a super –regulator of health and healing (Rubik, 2002). This subtle energy, vital force or cosmic life energy is a key concept in many complimentary therapies. Eastern medical systems of philosophy, treatment and diagnosis include specific “energy anatomical” concepts that have no equivalent in the science of allopathic medicine. These include the acupuncture meridians, along which subtle energy purportedly flows and the chakras, seven key energy nodes that lie along the body’s midline. Recent scintigraphic evidence has shown some evidence for the acupuncture meridians.
Biofield therapies believe that the practitioners can, by moving their hands through the patient’s energy field , alter it—remove blocks, restore energy flow, realign and balance the energy field, thereby improving health and well being. Biofield therapies does not involve massage or any physical adjustment of patients’ bodies, as do the manual therapies; chiropractic, massage and classic osteopathy
Modern forms of biofield therapy in the U.S. include such practices as Therapeutic Touch (TT), Reiki, external qi, chakra healing, Healing Touch and SHEN therapy. These therapies may involve touching the patient’s body, or not, depending upon the specific practice (Rubik et.al., 1994a) Clinical studies indicate that biofield therapies are especially useful for treating anxiety (Keller et. al.,1990), and pain (Quinn, 1984), stimulating immune function (Olson, 1997), hemoglobin formation (Krieger, 1976) and facilitate healing of wounds (Wirth, 1992).
Theories of nonlinear dynamical systems from biophysics predict that extremely small energy stimuli used in energy medicine can effect the dynamics of the human body, even dramatically, to facilitate healing. A concept of bio-information that goes beyond that of the biomolecules and genes has been proposed (Rubik, 1995;1997b).
Biofield energy therapy includes several different modalities such as therapeutic touch, healing touch, Reiki and gigong. Therapeutic touch according to Krieger (1993) is based on “The conscious use of one’s hands to direct or modulate, for therapeutic purposes, selected nonphysical human energies that activate the physical body”. When organization in the energy field is disrupted and disease ensues, a healing touch practitioner aims to repattern the field. Reiki is a method for connecting the universal life force or energy with the body’s innate powers of healing. Gigong is the chinese terminology for energy healing and it seeks to optimize and restore energy (qi) to the body, mind, and spirit.
Although the biofield energy therapies have differences, they share some common assumptions:
1) the human body has a subtle energy system that interpenetrates the physical anatomy and extends outward beyond it.
2) the subtle energy may be conceptualized as universal energy or vital energy flowing through and available to all beings.
3) The normal self-healing capacity of the human body is supported by the free and balanced flow of energy through its subtle energy system
4) Disease or disorder can be detected in the energy system (perhaps before it manifests in the physical body) and can be affected therapeutically by the action of energy practitioners, in support of the self- healing capacity of the body
5) Conscious healing intent and compassion are considered essential to the effectiveness of biofield therapies
6) Practitioners hands may or may not touch the physical body. Practitioners also may carry out healing work mentally from a distance. When performed at a distance (nonlocally) it comes under the domain of mind-body medicine which covers modalities such as mental healing and prayer.
Subjectively, practitioners may sense connection with universal energy through meditation or visualization and connection with the recipient through compassion and healing intent. Practitioners are in a meditative frame of mind, open, focused, and caring.
Pierce M. (2006) The use of biofield therapies in cancer care. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. 11:2, 253-258.