Susan Downs, MD, ABOIM, IFMCP

Energy medicine includes a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic tools that are becoming increasingly popular

Vibrational therapies include homeopathy, hands on energy healing, Reiki, acupuncture, reflexology aromatherapy, light therapy (including laser), sound therapy, music therapy, color therapy, Bach flower remedies, essential oils, qigong, tai chi, yoga, meditation, guided imagery, prayer, EMDR, and EFT (emotional freedom technique). Energy diagnostic tools include MRIs, EKG, CT scans, and ultrasounds.

We are all energetic beings. How the electricity flows is both a reflection of and determines our physical health. Both electrical and chemical gradients guide cell movements using common signaling pathways within the cell. 1

In the 1940’s, Harold Burr discovered electrical fields around molds, salamanders, frogs and humans. 2 Bodies have electromagnetic fields that vary with different emotions.

The biofield / body field surrounding the body is in electromagnetic communication with the larger universal fields. 3 Humans can contribute to and receive from the field. The body field is affected by external and internal influences such as earth fields, diet, stress, toxins, pathogens and other factors. Energy comes into our field as information via our energy anatomy. Symptoms and physical degeneration occurs from misdirected energy and energy blocks. Optimal health depends on maintaining the structural integrity of our internal energetic systems. Popp found that cancer patients had lost their biological rhythms and coherence as did patients with multiple sclerosis. 4 Anger and frustration can put the electromagnetic field in disarray. 5

Every person is connected to every other person: everything is interconnected. Each person is not a separate identity to the reality around him but is related to the rest of the world. EKG patterns of people who are close become similar. 6


All chemicals including food contain energy. 7, 8 Molecules vibrate. 9 Since molecules consist of charged particles, they emit electromagnetic radiation / energy with their vibration. Molecules and atoms have their own unique frequencies and that specific molecular signals can be transmitted. 10 Each tissue responds to a different electromagnetic frequency as well. 11

Masuru Emoto found that the structure of water could be changed by the energy of thought, music or writing. When such phrases such as “love,” and “hate,” or exposing water to different type of music the crystalline structure of water changes. Emoto froze the water and examined the crystals under a microscope. The water placed on words such as “love” and “peace” had beautiful crystalline structures where as the water exposed to words like “hate” or heavy rock music had ugly, un-crytslline patterns with out coherence. Water serves as a transporter of energy through out our body. 12

Homeopathy may work on a similar mechanism. A key premise in homeopathy is the law of similar that a substance that may cause a disease, may be used to cure a person with similar symptoms. Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy also believed that disturbances in the vital force (our innate healing capacity) results in susceptibility to disease. As there might be no molecules in the dilute homeopathic formulations, water maintains a memory of the ailment. It is thought that this transmission of energy operates through nanoparticles and nanostructures. 13 These nanoparticles have been observed with a transmission electron microscope. 14

Studies have shown that homeopathy is of use in Attention deficit disorder, 15 eczema, 16 and arthritis, 17 slowing prostate growth, 18 menopausal symptoms in breast cancer, 19 and in autism. 20

Physicists have been saying that energy is matter and that all reality is energy. Einstein summed it up in his equation E=MC 2. Which stands for energy equals mass times the speed of light. This indicates that all matter surrounding us is also energy. Along with energy comes information. Nobel Prize winter Albert Szent-Gyorgyi postulated that protein cells act as semiconductors preserving and passing along electrons as information. 21 Further refined, this implies correct information plus optimized energy equates with total wellness. The collective vibration was thought to be responsible for proteins to cooperate with each other and carry out DNA instruction/ information.


Life force energy flows through the body and can boost physical vitality and energy. Life force energy is known as chi in Asia, Prana in India, and ki in Japan. It is sometimes called universal energy. Prana /life force /Chi Healing touch supports the human energy system to restore balance and harmony in the energy system and encourages the natural ability to self heal.


Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning “wheel” and refers to seven energy centers located along the spine extending out the front and back of the body. The chakras are concentrated local energy fields in the body. Rapid oscillations have been detected at the chakra points. 22 Each chakra has specific qualities. And is associated with a certain part of the body to which it provides the energy. The openness and flow of energy through the chakras determine the state of health and balance. Meditation and yoga balance these energies.

Meridians are energy pathways that allow information exchange between systems; they carry and distribute qi, the life force (also known as prana, chi, ki). The life force vitalizes all forms and allows them to flourish and grow. It is invisible to the human eye. However experienced Chinese doctors can feel and trace these pathways of energy with their hands. Acupuncture balances these. Sometimes the flow of energy is disrupted either with an overload or lack. There are six yang meridians that generally flow down the body from the very yang sun. Yin meridians flow from the yin energy of the earth up towards the sun.

The meridians serve as semiconductors to the body’s bioelectric field. They are formed embryonically before birth and are found in fresh cadavers (but not dry cadavers). 23

Meridians have been measured with radioactive isotopes 24

There is a twenty-fold drop in electrical resistance at acupuncture points. 25 Cutting the liver meridian resulted in liver degeneration 3 days later. 26

Traditional Chinese Medicine balances the life force (Chi, prana) and the yin (receptive, substance of the body) and yang (active force) energies through herbs and diet.

EFT (emotional freedom technique) helps clear energy disruptions in acupuncture meridians It allows the energy to flow more freely to all parts of the body. EFT involves tapping with the finger tips which inputs kinetic energy into specific meridians accompanied by voicing affirmation helps to clear the short circuit – the emotional block of the body’s bioenergy system. This helps to clear the short cut emotional block. It

can be used to remove negative emotions, reduce food craving, reduce pain.

Craniosacral Work

The body has a series of waves, pulses vibrations and oscillation. There represent a movement of energy through out the body. These include blood pressure, pulse, respiration, blood follows, cerebral spinal fluid flow and the cranial rhythm impulse. Using craniosacral therapy which involves manipulation helps in pregnancy, birth trauma, seizure, neurological deficits, ear infections, learning disorders, head aches.


Reiki is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy “ flows through people. When this energy is low, people are more likely to become ill. Reiki uses the universal life force energy to remove any physical, mental, emotional, biological or spiritual blocks.

Therapeutic touch

Therapeutic tough or hands on healing has helped in treating hypertension, 27 pain, 28 headaches, 29 mood and anxiety disorders, 30 osteoarthritis, 31 slowing cancer growth 32

and in promoting wound healing. 33


There was work on remote viewing enlisted by the CIA. This shoed that people could view places remotely. 34 Neither time nor distance affected the results. In the quantum world of the pure potential of the Field, life exists as one enormous present. Cleve Backster showed plants felt empathic pain for each other and that there was interconnectedness between living things. 35 Some effectiveness found in non-touch biofield therapy. 36 Some studies on distant healing showed benefit in AIDs 37 and ICU (intensive coronary care unit) patients. 38


Helps with feelings of stress, lower cholesterol levels,. Improved sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, fewer headaches, more relaxed muscles and longer life spans.


Meditation results in brain changes. 39 There are changes in brain activity in the frontal cortex, limbic system and hypothalamus, Meditation results in increased parasympathetic activity and increased heart rate variability. Changes in neurotransmitter levels including increased serotonin, beta endorphin, melatonin and acetylcholine decrease norepinephrine and cortisol are found as well. Meditation helps cognition by increasing BDNF and reducing cortisol and oxidative stress. 40 and produces positive changes in telomerase activity. 41


Health Risks with EMF

Electromagnetic fields EMF surroundS every type of energy transmission and IS produced by the use of electricity by any device. Studies show a decrease in insulin and an increase in blood sugar levels. 42 EMF also impairs insulin’s ability to bind to its receptor. 43 It has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well. 44

EMF adverse effects include damage to mitochondrial DNA in human sperm, adverse pregnancy outcomes in mice rabbits and rats, changed in pyramidal cell formation, dentate gyrus, and increased production of reactive oxygen species. There is evidence of an increased long term risk for brain cancers. 45

  • Electrotherapy as healing
  • Electrotherapy has long been used for regulating heart
  • rhythms and healing bone fractures, It is used for vagus nerve
  • stimulation which involves implanting a lead under the skin
  • and sending electric impulses to the vagus nerve which
  • influences both the sympathetic and parasympathetic
  • cardiovascular modulation in patients with epilepsy.

TENS devices

TENS devices are small portable devices that sends mild electrical impulses to the body and is used for back pain, neck strains, joint injuries, degenerative disease, osteoarthritis, and insomnia. It has been useful in treating substance abuse, depression, reversing cranial brain dysfunction, anxiety, pain relief and stress. TENS devices stimulate an increase in endorphins and acetylcholine. 46


PEMF stands for pulsed electromagnetic fields which have been found to provide health benefits including reducing inflammation through changes in relative amount of messenger (m) RNA encoding enzymes Studies have shown that PEMF helps in pain, edema, 47 depression, 48 promoting angiogenesis, 49 stimulating bone growth, 50 promoting wound healing, 51 and neuron regeneration. 52, 53

PEMF has also been shown to Facilitate cardiac recovery from heart attacks by increasing capillary density and vascular endothelial growth factor (VSGF). 54


All human beings and matter are composed of energy. Energy contains information. Healers interact with the energy field and influence body functions. By balancing our internal energy, we removed impediments to the body’s tendency for healing. Electromagnetic fields has many health risks as well.


1. Huttenlocher Q, Horwitz AR. Wound healing with electric potential NEJM. 2007,356:303-304.

2. Burr H. The Fields of Life. New York: Ballantyne, 1972.

3. Miller R. Bridging the Gap. An Interview with Valerie hunt Ed D. Science of Mind, October 1983.

4. Cohen S and Popp FA. Biphoton emission of the human body. J Photochem and Photobiology B: Biology, 1997;40:187-9.

5. McCraty R. The Energetic Heart: Bioelectormagnetic Interactions Within and Between People

6. Russek and Schwartz. Subtle Energies. 1994;5(3):195-208.

7. Darland G. Bioenergetics and Biotransformation. In David S Jones (ed). Textbook of Functional Medicine. Institute for Functional Medicine. Gig Harbor, WA. 2010 p 183.

8. Ruth B and Popp FA. Experimentelle Untersuchungen zur ultraschwachen Photoememission biologisher systeme. Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung. 1976; 31C:741-5

9. Frohlich H. Long range coherence and energy storage in biological systems. International J Quantum Chem. 1968; 2:641-9.

10. Benveniste J et al. Digital recording/ transmission of the cholinergic signal. FASEB Journal. 1996 10, A1497

11. Sisken BF, Walker J. Therapeutic aspects of electromagnetic fields for soft-tissue healing In : Black M (ed) Electromagnetic fields: biological interactions and mechanisms. Advances in Chemistry Series 250; American Chemical Society, Washington DC pp 277-285: 1995.

12. Emoto M. The Hidden Messages in Water. Atria books, 2001.

13. Bell IR and Koithan M. A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012; 12: 191.

14. Chikramane PS et al. Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanopartiulate perspective. Homeopathy. 2010 Oct;99(4):231-42.

15. Frie H et al. Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit disorder: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial. Eur J Pediatr. 2005; 164”758-767.

16. Keil T et al. Homeopathic versus conventional treatment of children with eczema: a comparative cohort study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2008;16(1):15-21.

17. Widrig R et al. Choosing between NSAID and arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomised , double-blind study. Rheumatology International. 2007;27(6);585-591.

18. Jonas WB et al. Can homeopathic treatment slow prostate cancer growth? Integr Cancer Ther. 2006;5(4):343-9.

19. Jacobs J. Homeopathy for menopausal symptoms in breast cancer survivors: a preliminary randomized controlled trial. J Altern and Comp Med. 2005;11(1):21- 27.

20. Rajalakshmi MA. Role of homoeopathy in the management of autism: study of effects of homoeopathic treatment on the autism triad. The internet J of Altern Med. 2008;6(1):21=17.

21. Becker and Selden. The Body Electric: 92-3.

22. Miller R. Bridging the Gap. An Interview with Valerie hunt Ed D. Science of Mind, October 1983.

23. Rabsichong P et al. Bases experimentales de l’analgesie acupunturale. La Nouvell Presse Medical. 1975; 4(28):2021-2026.

24. Tiller W. Energy Field observations, pp 125- 128.

25. Rose-Neil, The Work of Professor Kim Bong Han. The Acupuncturist, vol 1 (1067) p. 15.

26. Tiller W. Energy Field Observations. Pp 125-128.

27. Miller RN. Med Hypothesis. 1982 May; 8(5):481-90.

28. J Altern Complement Med 1990 April;8(4):481-90.

29. Nurs Res 1986 Mar- Ppr;35(2):101-6.

30. Nurs Res 1981 Jan-Feb;30(1):32-27.

31. J Fam Pract 1998 Oct; 47(4):271-77.

32. Acta Psiquauiatrica y Psicologica de America Latine 1968;14(1):47-60.

33. Subtle Energies 1990; 1(1:1-20.

34. Utts J. An assessment of the evidenceofo psychic functioning. J Scientific Exploration, 1996;10:3-30.

35. Backster C Evidence of a primary perception in plant life. International J Parapsychology, 1967.

36. Hammerschlag R et al. Nontouch biofield therapy: a systematic review of human randomized controlled trials reporting use of only nonphysical contact treatment. J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):881-92.

37. Sicher F, Targ et al. A randomized double-blind study of the effect of distant healing in a population with advanced AIDS; report of a small scale study, Western J Med, 1998; 168(6):356-63.

38. Harris W et al. A randomized, controlled trial of the effects of remote intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients admitted to the coronary care unit. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1999; 159(19):2273-8.

39. Amen, Daniel H Healing the Hardware of the Soul. Free Press New York 2002 chapter 12.

40. Xiong G et al. Longevity Regeneration and Optimal Health. Ann Acad Sci. 1172;6:63-9.

41. Jacobs L et al. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2011 Vol 36 pages 664-681.

42. Sakurai T et al. An extremely low magnetic field attenuates insulin secretion from the insulinoma cell line, RIN-m. Bioelectromagnetics. 2004;25:160-166.

43. Hillman D. Exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMF) linked to neuro-endocrine stress syndrome, increased cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Shocking News. 2005;(8); p 4.

44. Savitz DA et. Magnetic field exposure and cardiovascular disease morality among electric utility workers. Am J Epidemiol. 1999;149:135-142.

45. Devra Davis Identifying clinical manifestations of EMF/RF adverse impacts including electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome. Institute for Functional Medicine.

46. Braverman ER et al. Electrotherapy. Antiaging Therapeutics Volume X Ronald Klatz, Robert Goldman editors

47. Kubat NJ et al.. Effect of pulsed electromagnetic field treatment on programmed resolution of inflammation pathway markers in human cells in culture. J Inflamm Res. 2015 Feb 23;8:59-69.

48. Straaso B et al. Dose-remission of pulsating electromagnetic fields as augmentation in therapy-resistant depression: a randomized, double-blind controlled study. Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2014 Oct; 26(5):272-9.

49. Yuan Y et al. Pulsed magnetic field induces angiogenesis and improves cardiac function of surgically induced infarcted myocardium in Sprague-Dawley rats. Cardiology. 2010;117(1):57-63.

50. Chalidis B et al. . Stimulation of bone formation and fracture healing with pulsed electromagnetic fields: biologic responses and clinical implications. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2011;24:17–20.

51. Cheing GL, Li X, Huang L, Kwan RL, Cheung KK. Pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) promote early wound healing and myofibroblast proliferation in diabetic rats. Bioelectromagnetics. 2014;35:161–169.

52. Kim SS et al. Enhanced expression of neuronal nitric oxide synthase and phospholipase C-gamma1 in regenerating murine neuronal cells by pulsed electromagnetic field. Exp Mol Med. 2002;34:53–59.

53. Weintraub MI et al. Pulsed electromagnetic fields to reduce diabetic neuropathic pain and stimulate neuronal repair: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2009;90:1102–1109.

54. Hao CN, et al. Pulsed electromagnetic field improves cardiac function in response to myocardial infarction. Am J Transl Res. 2014 May 15;6(3):281-90.