Facebook Twitter

S29: Biofield/Bioenergetic Science: Recent Studies and Relevance to Integrative Medicine

10:30 - 12:00, Flagler, Terrace Level

Shamini Jain (1), Garret Yount (2), Ann Baldwin (3), Gloria Gronowicz (4), Norman Hansen (5) Der Fa Lu (6)

(1): Samueli Institute, Univeristy of California San Diego (UCSD), United States      

(2): California Pacific Medical Center, United States

(3): University of Arizona, United States

(4): University of Connecticut, United States

(5): University of Maryland, United States

(6): University of Iowa, United States


The purpose of this symposium is to update attendees on current research and address gaps in knowledge surrounding the scientific study of biofields/bioenergetics, particularly as they apply to therapeutic models of care.  Biofield therapies (such as Healing Touch, Reiki, and others) are often used in clinical practice within Integrative Medicine (IM), but questions remain regarding their comparative efficacy with other IM modalities, their mechanisms of action, and optimal scientific models and research methodologies to use in the area of biofield science.

This symposium brings together key researchers to discuss the most current clinical, preclinical, and basic science studies in the area of biofield science and relate their results to study models and methodology.   Dr. Ann Baldwin will discuss clinical results from her study comparing two biofield interventions (Reiki and Reconnective Healing) with physical therapy, sham healing, and no treatment for acute pain and range of motion in patients with limited shoulder mobility. Dr. Der Fa Lu will discuss recent findings of clinical studies with biofield approaches (Healing Touch and Bodytalk) for Alzheimer’s Disease and osteoarthritis. Dr. Garret Yount will discuss his studies (including cell culture, mouse, and human model systems) examining biofield interventions on glioblastoma.  Dr. Gloria Gronowicz will discuss her pre-clinical studies examining the effects of verum vs. mock Therapeutic Touch on the development of tumors, metastasis, and cytokine and lymphocyte distribution in a mouse mammary carcinoma model.  Finally, Dr. Norm Hansen will present his basic science work examining the oscillations of bioenergetic force fields emitted from humans using a torsion pendulum balance.   Dr. Shamini Jain, discussant, will provide integration of these findings and facilitate discussion with audience members on key topics, including replicability, methodology, the role of placebo elements, and need for further basic science research to continue to propel the promising area of biofield science forward.

While the scientific inquiry around biofield physiology and biofield approaches to health might appear to be limited to “biofield therapies”, in truth, theories of the biofield permeate nearly every integrative medicine modality currently used in the West, such as Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (including acupuncture), meditation, yoga, and qigong.  Understanding the impact of biofield physiology may help us better understand mechanisms of action across a wide variety of integrative medicine approaches.  This symposium provides a bridge in our thinking surrounding empirical inquiry of theories of mechanism - not only by explicating findings related to studies with biofield therapies, but also by expanding our understanding of physics-oriented biofield effects in humans.  Our last symposium at IRCIMH 2012 on this topic was extremely well attended (with “standing room only”) and was selected by the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine as their Roundtable Discussion for publication.  Thus it appears that Integrative Medicine members and researchers in our community are highly interested in this topic and knowing about the rigorous research that is being conducted in the area of biofield science.