You may wish to review the Bioenergetics section before reading this page.
While bioenergetics is a modern term, it has deep historical bindings. For example, as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture has been practiced for at least 2,000 years with some dating its inception up to 5,000 years ago. At the heart of acupuncture are meridians, channels that form energetic circuits throughout the body. This flow is not unlike the movement of blood through the circulatory system, which requires proper regulation for health. Meridians are also a biological connection with qi, or life energy.53 Needles are inserted into the skin along the channel routes in order to restore and regulate the movement of energy. Since acupuncture is performed with minimal invasiveness, adverse side effects are also minimal—a valuable consideration given the frequent toll taken by the side effects of pharmaceuticals.
Chakras form yet another energetic circuit within the body. In a basic reference, chakras are energy centers occurring along the length of the spine, each accounting for a different mode of perception. The root chakra at the base of the spine, for instance, is often viewed as relating to physicality, whereas the crown chakra located at the top of the head corresponds to spiritual orientation. Pertaining to bioenergetics, chakras present a gradation of energies—from the dense to the sublime—that influence consciousness, health, and life in general. Many laying-on-of-hands practices, as with Reiki, use the chakra framework, which was developed in Eastern cultures thousands of years ago.54 Whether a chakra practitioner is deemed to be spiritual or not depends on the values of those making the assessment.
A more recent model of energetic healing is found in homeopathy. In 1810, its inventor, physician Samuel Hahnemann, published the formative treatise, Organon of the Medical Art, in which he detailed the practice of using small amounts of a substance that corresponds to a disease in order to treat it, a “like cures like” principle. Through succussing, during which the solution is vigorously shaken, as well as repeatedly diluting the solution, the physical molecules are gradually removed until only an energetic trace remains, establishing another principle of “less is more.” According to Hahnemann, this potentizes the formulation, which acts directly on the “vital force,” the underlying energy of the patient. This causes the physical body to respond and heal.55
The history of bioenergetic technology also includes an assortment of devices. Most such technologies are regarded as highly unorthodox and unproven by the medical community. For example, the history of bioenergetic technology includes devices such as the Rife Gun, also known a the Rife Beam Ray, which advocates purport uses precise frequencies to kill cancer cells, bacteria, and viruses. During the 1930s, Royal Rife determined that every organism and disease has a specific resonant frequency, a Mortal Oscillatory Rate. Treatment consisted of transmitting a frequency to the patient that killed the disease-causing organism. Reports indicate he was successful in treating a variety of illnesses including cancer, the cause of which he attributed to either a virus or a related but unknown 'BX' organism.56 Rife’s work continues to be controversial, although it is often referenced within the field of bioenergetics.
Another bioenergetic invention comes from Konstantin Korotkov, a physics professor at Russia’s St. Petersburg State Technical University. An expert in the field of bioelectrography, Korotkov developed a computerized device that permits what he refers to as Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV). Based on Kirlian photography, GDV allows the observation of human energy fields, and can help in observing the changes in energy in a variety of situations, including when therapies are administered.57
Yet another emerging technology having potential for diagnosing physical and mental illness is Polycontrast Interference Photography (PIP). Invented by British researcher Harry Oldfield, PIP consists of a digital camera and proprietary software that visually depicts the energy emitted when two waveforms intersect. The resulting photonic discharge from converging energy fields provides real-time images that portray areas of disease and health as represented by colors and patterns of color and changes in those colors and patterns. Chakras, meridians, and physiological states are easily discernible, as are the effects of personal intention and environmental influences. In one study, the crown chakra of a person diagnosed as psychotic was clearly split. In an informal session, PIP accurately mapped an experienced meditator’s shifts as he went from normal waking consciousness into deep meditation and back to waking.58
Bioenergetics is also defined as the study of metabolic activity at the cellular level. Based on this, scientists at leading universities are demonstrating the role of energetic flow and transformation in disease and healing. The University of Colorado’s Institute of Bioenergetics at Colorado Springs, for example, is building “a multidisciplinary approach to understanding cellular metabolism and cellular communication with the intention of treating or curing serious diseases.”59 The area of cellular signaling is also evolving from the study of physical processes—a hormone docking with a cellular receptor, for instance, which in turn sets a cascade of events into motion—to investigating energetic signaling where the first cause of the physical cascade is energetic.
If energy is in any way a determinant for biological actions and reactions, then new models, new variables for investigation, and new technologies for healing and wellness will continue to sprout. At the same time, these revelations are not casting an entirely new net over the scientific world. “The emerging concepts do not require us to abandon our sophisticated understandings of physiology, biochemistry, or molecular biology,” maintains Oschman. “Instead they extend our picture of living processes, and of healing, to finer levels of structure and function.”60
Next Section: Biocognitive Technologies