Energy Healing — Real or Placebo?
Mention the possibility of energy healing and many people will have strong reactions to the idea. Some will emphatically state that it is impossible. Others will, just as insistently, say that they know it IS possible. And then there is a wide range of beliefs in between. In his book, “The Energy Healing Experiments”, Dr. Gary Schwartz, PhD, compares these different levels of explanations to seven steps on a ladder. Where do you stand on the ladder? Read more to determine the different steps of explanation.
Step 0 is when people believe that patients who receive energy healing show no improvements and that any findings published in literature on improvements observed or felt after energy healing are completely false.
Step 1 argues that any improvements in patients are a result of spontaneous remission, while Step 2 claims that any healing is a result of placebo effect (power of belief and expectancy on healing). “Since energy healing effects can be observed in single cells such as E. coli bacteria or even in plants, trying to blame these effects on the cells’ and plants’ or expectancy simply doesn’t wash.”
Which brings us to step 3 – any healing effects are the result of electromagnetic fields. This theory explains healing as caused by the patient resonating with bioelectromagnetic fields generated by the healer’s body and “draws on the application of well-accepted models in conventional physics and biophysics”. Not all healing effects can be explained with this theory, however. For instance, healing can occur over long distances beyond the effect of electromagnetic fields. So, take another step up the ladder of explanations to Step 4 – observed effects are the result of quantum fields.
Anomalies which cannot be explained through Step 3 – electromagnetic fields – can be predicted when including quantum-field explanations at Step 4. Yet even Step 4 has anomalies, leading us to Step 5 – healing effects are the result of advanced physical phenomena, beyond the predictions of quantum physics. Step 6 then takes us to the idea that observed effects require new physics. Professor Emeritus from Stanford University, Dr. William Tiller, proposes a “new reference frame for viewing nature, one that encompasses both conventional space-time science and the psychoenergetic phenomena” and suggests that science envision a new energy in nature. “It should be noted that physics is in a constant state of evolution. Physicists are not afraid to invent ideas such as dark energy, dark matter, and superstrings if the data and equations warrant it.”
If you’ve worked your way up the ladder to Steps 5 and 6, you may be open to the final rung, Step 7 – observed effects involve spiritual mechanisms. The argument here is that “beyond what we experience as matter, energy, and even information is the existence of a conscious intelligence that pervades everything, including us.” This conscious intelligence is what some refer to as Universal Energy/God/Goddess/Spirit.
Where do you stand on the ladder of explanations? As a practitioner of Reconnective Healing, I stand at Step 7, accepting the involvement of Spirit in healing, even though my logical mind still seeks the explanations of Steps 3-6! Which perhaps contradicts the whole meaning of faith as defined in Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. But the ladder of faith is a different ladder, likely with many rungs, and a discussion for another day!
* Gary E. Schwartz, PhD, The Energy Healing Experiments: Science Reveals Our Natural Power To Heal, (New York: Atria Books, 2007).