Talk:Energy medicine

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Why the reversals?[edit]

User:RichardKingCEng, it would be helpful to understand why you are reverting the wording "mainstream biology and physics does not accept that [putative] energies exist, and mainstream medical science does not recognise any therapeutic benefit." These seem uncontroversial statements. If you are aware of peer reviewed literature which suggests the contrary then I'd be grateful for a citation. The original wording "and neither the fields themselves nor their purported therapeutic effects have been convincingly demonstrated" is potentially misleading, as it suggests that there is a mainstream consensus that the fields have been demonstrated to a degree, albeit not convincingly so. This is not the case. The issue is not whether you or I believe that putative energy exists; it's whether mainstream biology and physics accept this. It is clear that they do not. LeContexte (talk) 23:31, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

These seem uncontroversial statements
Can you provide sources for this. True, "mainstream science" does accept that there are things that it does not understand (perhaps sometimes with a "yet" attached.. I just finished Leonard Susskind's The Black Hole War regarding the AdS/CFT Correspondence, as a point of reference for the idea of "far beyond our current physics" things..)
However, it would seem that to have a "therapeutic benefit", one would have to be able to not only manipulate such (putative) energies, but also be able to measure those manipulations, or at least verify that the manipulation is actually happening. If you have references to back that up - supply them.. Jimw338 (talk) 21:59, 18 May 2013 (UTC)
I would call them "evidence-based (biology|physics|medicine)". The term "mainstream" itself is unspecific and has a negative connotation to it, which is uncalled for. Olaf Klischat (talk) 11:57, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Early twentieth century[edit]

Shortly after the discovery of electricity, many electric devices were sold as therapeutic health enhancers, available in Sears and Roebuck catalogs. The history and use of these devices could be elaborated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:04, 13 March 2008 (UTC)


This page is totally written by people who have no understanding of the subject and are not willing to explain how healing works or include all of the scientific research. When information is added to balance the skeptics someone immediately deletes it. This is a dark force at work. Shakti18 (talk) 00:28, 28 May 2014 (UTC)Shaktid18

This article is 75% criticism of the thing without giving a decent explanation of what the thing is and what is claimed about it. As it is, it not an article, but a collection of criticisms and the NIH's views on energy medicine, hence the tag.

If there is a lot of criticism of a thing, there tends to be descriptions of the thing. Hohohahaha (talk) 22:32, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

The NIH is the most reliable source on this topic. ScienceApologist (talk) 13:21, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I believe you.... and I am just looking for further ways to explain what energy medicine IS, before it is trashed. I actually addressed a lot of my concerns with my edits yesterday. Hohohahaha (talk) 16:31, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I'll go ahead and de-tag it, then. MastCell Talk 22:48, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
The same problems still exist. makeswell (talk) 08:33, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
Tag the non-neutral portions and we'll see what we can do about them then. Famousdog (talk) 12:24, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, this article seems VERY one sided, 85% of it is criticism.

I repeat, tag the non-neutral portions and we'll see what we can do about them then. It is also worth bearing in mind that adhering to a neutral point-of-view, does not mean providing 50/50 coverage of positive and negative viewpoints if the vast majority of published, relibale, independent sources stste that an idea is nonsense. The article should reflect the weight of evidence - if that is generally negative, then you get a negative article. That is still considered "balanced" coverage. Famousdog (talk) 12:24, 7 July 2011 (UTC)
  • And now the bias pendulum appears to have swung in the other direction, to the point where someone has taken it upon themselves to repeatedly stab the brief "history" paragraph with citation needed tags where it simply notes that electrical and radiological quackery once were rife. I'm half tempted to accept those tags as a challenge and riddle the paragraph with dozens of citations. Heather (talk) 15:03, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

yeahhhhhhhhhhhh boy — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:02, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Versus Quantum Healing[edit]

The following section was added by me and then deleted. I intend to undo the delete unless someone gives me a good reason not to. I have numbered all the sentences added for use in the discussion below.

(1) Energy medicine is similar to the pseudoscience of quantum healing in that both claim the consciousness of a healer (indirectly) impacts the body of another person. (2) However, energy medicine modalities are all based on some variation of universal life force, subtle energy or Qi. (3) Quantum healing refers to healing modalities which claim the effect is based on quantum mechanics. (4) Quantum healing modalities may or may not also assume the existence of Qi.
(5) From the point of view of mainstream science, these traditions would be considered Pseudoscience, and thus discussion of mechanism is moot. (6) However, healing traditions assert that the belief set forming the basis of a healing modality is a map of reality, and that the map used affects the experience of reality, and thus what the modality is capable of. Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas 2000

The reliability of sources must be considered with respect to the claim being made. Let's look at each sentence: (1) I consider this patently obvious that these modalities make these claims. (2) This is stated in the first paragraph of this article. (3) True by definition. (4) I could add examples to support this. I did not for brevity and it's covered in the article on quantum mysticism. (5) This is the dominant view of wiki. I doubt the mob would refute this. (6) This book discusses the healer's view of the 'map is not the territory'. It is a well known and highly respected book. It's a completely valid source for the claim being made, which is that "healing traditions assert". Alberto Villoldo is qualified to speak on behalf of healing traditions. This sentence is not claiming it to be true, only that healers believe it, and why the distinction between two healing modalities is significant. There is not going to be a scientific consensus on this, and it makes no sense to disallow a healers point of view. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mbilitatu (talkcontribs) 04:30, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

This article is not about quantum healing, and I don't see the sources directly comparing the two, though maybe I'm missing something. It sounds more like you, the editor, are comparing the two using sources individually describing each, which would seem to be original research. The wording itself is actually fine - I don't have a problem with discussing the views of healing traditions in general - but I don't see where quantum healing comes into things. Do the sources directly compare the two (energy medicine vs. quantum healing)? Maybe I'm missing it. MastCell Talk 16:56, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that's very helpful. I see your point and hadn't considered that my comments might qualify as original research. I'll go look for a source that directly compares the two. You are also right about this article not being about quantum healing. However, I don't think a generalization of energy medicine and quantum healing in which to place such commentary would survive in wiki at this point. So, I'm hoping to put it here to make the taxonomy of consciousness based modalities a bit more clear. --Mbilitatu (talk) 05:49, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Veritable energy machines claimed to manipulate putative energies[edit]

Good catch here. They use veritable energy, but their producers and users often claim the machines can manipulate putative energies. How do we get that point across? -- Fyslee (talk) 15:17, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

I take it you do not want to buy my clockwork atom bomb? It's right though - the people that really need slamming are the ones that are risking causing harm by profiting from things that are clearly fake - after all, even western medicine uses a fair few "traditional" interventions that have not been subjected to real control trials. The more we are fair and proportionate, the more the bad stuff will shine through. Stink through, rather. Redheylin (talk) 17:00, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
As far as the interaction between veritable and putative goes, though, the subject defies quick generalities. For example, there are writers who claim that qi and orgone have to be electromagnetic, while others claim they are not. To "get that across" requires a detailed, nuanced approach once again. Redheylin (talk) 17:04, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Energy fields "unconfirmed by scientific investigation"?[edit]

Describing the putative energies as "unconfirmed by scientific investigation" puts them in the same category as the higgs-boson (i.e. something plausible which may not exist). It's probably better to state outright that these bio-energy fields are regarded as pseudo-scientific, since they are implausible and contradict well-known facts about fields and physiology --Salimfadhley (talk) 19:25, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

The wiki page on Pseudoscience defines it as " a methodology, belief, or practice that is claimed to be scientific, but which does not adhere to an appropriate scientific methodology." So Energy medicine is only pseudoscientific to the extent that someone uses bogus science to back up claims not supported by science. The article points out examples of this, but not everyone working in Energy medicine does this and nothing in the discipline requires it. I think it's more neutral and factually accurate to simply state that putative fields are unconfirmed by scientific investigation. This does not make them pseudoscience. Subtle energy does not contradict known facts about fields any more than gravity contradicts electromagnetism. The seeming contradiction arises only when one starts making assumptions about the mechanism behind putative energy, which people do and is (most likely) pseudoscience. For what it's worth ... there are scientists who have applied scientific methodology to the investigation of subtle energy and reported positive results. (e.g., Tiller). It's so far outside scientific consensus that they simply get labeled as having gone around the bend. --Mbilitatu (talk) 23:27, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

I removed maintenance tags and clarified some of the language, I hope. Use of the word energy tends to drag spiritual ideas into the empirical realm where they do not always belong. To avoid that I inserted word modifiers like putative and empirical. Words like pseudo-science and quackery sound funny, hyper-emotional, and reduce the strength of the argument they are making. It's better just to say that something is not empirically observable. Heyzeuss (talk) 15:37, 28 May 2010 (UTC)

I think "unconfirmed by scientific investigation" is misleading. First, it implies there exists a meaningful underlying theory that could be tested scientifically. Second, it implies that we just haven't tested it well enough, when there in fact are plenty of experiments thoroughly renouncing it. Third, slinging about words like "energy" and "field" is clearly cargo-cult science. Ketil (talk) 08:17, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

Removal of citation regarding putative and veritable[edit]

I removed the citation that pointed to a no longer existant article on NCCAM's website. It was supposed to provide the source for the definitions of putative and veritable, and the link now redirects to an overview page. The new page does not mention either term and a cursory search on NCCAM site didn't turn up any other information on these terms. Dave Biskner (talk) 03:01, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

energy medicine is modern-day snake oil[edit]

If so, it's interesting that some VA and other hospitals are allowing Reiki practitioners to come in. This site lists 59 such hospitals or medical centers in the US and 7 in other countries. They also report research being done and results from that research as does ([[ (talk) 15:01, 28 July 2010 (UTC)User:oriole111 talk]])09:05 28 July 2010

Not medicine. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:55, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

Main article?[edit]

The article Energy (esotericism), section Energy in alternative medicine, references this article as the main article, but that section has more information than this article. Perhaps the information in that section should be moved to this article? Obankston (talk) 04:50, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

Removed Citations Replaced[edit]

Reasonable citations were removed. I undid the removal. It's common for alternative articles of to be eviscerated of supportive citations and then criticized for lack of citations. --Mbilitatu (talk) 17:09, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Merge Biofield energy healing. Much duplication of material. Synonomous terms. Its says right there in the lead para of Biofield energy healing that "Biofield energy healing, also known as spiritual healing, are terms used to describe a number of techniques by which practioners intend to treat illness. Healing by therapeutic touch, absent healing and other practices such as Reiki are known as biofield therapies or energy medicine." Famousdog (talk) 13:04, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Is there an "official" discussion underway or are you just expressing an opinion? Tom Butler (talk) 18:10, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
This is a discussion. I've started it by giving my opinion. You're up next. Famousdog (talk) 11:17, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
At least we've moved on from attempts to discredit biofield therapy (legitimate science) by trying to equate it with faith healing (pseudoscience). So now there seem to be attempts to discredit biofield therapy (legitimate science) by trying to associate it with fraudulent equipment (pseudoscience) and unrelated stuff (qi, prana, ...).
Adrian-from-london (talk) 18:24, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Opposed. At first I was going to come down on the side of merging because, in spite of the pervasive fraud in the field, I don't consider energy medicine fraudulent. I also don't think scientists understand biofields enough to know if it's related or not. However ... having read the arguments over on the biofields page, I agree there exists the concept of subtle-energy-qi-prana-bio-whatever that is wholly abstracted away from any model of spirit. And since it is almost impossible to keep the frauds and goofs off of a page like Energy Medicine (and I'm talking about the new age nuts as well as the illogical, pseudoskeptic zealots), I think a page like Biofield energy healing which restricts itself to being a home for the scientific investigation of the topic is a great idea. That said ... the current biofields page sucks. It's filled with material that makes it seem the same as energy medicine, so I can understand where the impetus for the merger comes from. --Mbilitatu (talk) 19:21, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Opposed. Biofield energy healing is an accepted subject for research and nothing to do with fraudulent energy medicine machines.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 20:27, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Opposed. I agree that there are problems, but mostly, I think, due to momentum and not due to the desire to speak of spiritual under the cover of biofield. It is difficult to make the leap from speaking in terms of one view to a different view of the same subject. Learning to talk about the point is an exercise that can be aided by input from fresh eyes.

I oppose the merger, but I agree with Mbilitatu in that, if the one still looks like the other, then there is more editing to be done. Tom Butler (talk) 20:35, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Since consensus seems to be against the merger, is there any objection if I remove the merge-to tags from both articles? Adrian-from-london (talk) 03:06, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Since the merge tag appears to have been put up to make a WP:POINT, then you should probably leave it up for the usual seven days in case this goes to arbitration. Tom Butler (talk) 17:05, 23 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for this information - I didn't realise there was a 7 day limit. Adrian-from-london (talk) 21:34, 23 October 2010 (UTC)

(I just found this discussion) This merger was performed a few days later, it was discussed at Talk:Biofield_energy_healing#Merge_to_energy_medicine. --Enric Naval (talk) 03:32, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

Referenced 3-8 do not say what is claimed in the article[edit]

For reference 3: (Tsubono et al. 2009) THE EFFECTS OF DISTANT HEALING PERFORMED BY A SPIRITUAL HEALER ON CHRONIC PAIN: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL RESULTS: A total of 17 subjects were recruited, and 16 subjects completed the study. Comparison of pretreatment and posttreatment visual analog scale indicated a slightly significant effect of distant healing (P=.056). The Present Pain Intensity Scale showed significant improvement in the treatment group compared to the control group (P=.0016). The Pain Rating Index showed improvement in the treatment group, but the difference between both groups was not statistically significant (P=.12).

Reference 4: (Ernst 2003) it has been previously pointed out on this talk page that Edzard Ernst has a reputation for contradicting himself in research results. Fist, he only conducts meta analysis--sometimes finding CM works a little and sometimes finding it doe snot. The May 2011 reference here An overview of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative medicine for fibromyalgia may be seen as superceded his previous negative findings. Its conclusion includes: Five systematic reviews met the inclusion criteria, evaluating the effectiveness of homoeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and massage. The reviews found some evidence of beneficial effects arising from acupuncture, homoeopathy, hydrotherapy and massage, whilst no evidence for therapeutic effects from chiropractic interventions for the treatment of FM symptoms was found.

Reference 5 (Pittler & Ernst 2008) includes the CONCLUSIONS: On the basis of our findings, the evidence is not fully convincing for most complementary and alternative medicine modalities in relieving neuropathic or neuralgic pain. However, for topically applied capsaicin there is evidence of effectiveness beyond placebo. The evidence can be classified as encouraging and warrants further study for cannabis extract, magnets, carnitine, and electrostimulation.

Reference 6 (So et al. Cochrane review 2008) has the Authors' conclusions: Touch therapies may have a modest effect in pain relief. More studies on HT and Reiki in relieving pain are needed. More studies including children are also required to evaluate the effect of touch on children.

Reference 7 (Astin et al 2000) includes Conclusions: The methodologic limitations of several studies make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the efficacy of distant healing. However, given that approximately 57% of trials showed a positive treatment effect, the evidence thus far merits further study.

Reference 8 is (Ernst 2001) Edzard Ernst again, only 2001. This looks like circular referencing. Even so, he concludes: The evidence for or against homoeopathy and spiritual healing is at present inconclusive.

The entire sentence Reviews of the scientific literature have generally concluded that there is no evidence for energy healing,[3][4][5][6][4] and that distant healing is no better than a placebo.[7][8] is unsupported and I am removing it. Tom Butler (talk) 16:41, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

Well, I'll have to agree with Tom. That sentence needs to be rewritten to fit what the refs actually say. --Enric Naval (talk) 07:59, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
You're both right, in a fit of summarising the article for the lead, I got a bit sloppy. Hopefully the new version is better. Ref 3 is, frankly, untrustworthy and a small sample size for such a strong conclusion. Secondly, stop ploughing this "Edzard Ernst contradicts himself" bullsh*t furrow. As more and more research has been done, Ernst has become more and more negative in his conclusions. That shows that he is open-minded (something that alt-med proponents always claim scientists aren't) and a good scientist. Look at the chonology of the citations to Ernst and you will see a gradual shift away from "hey, its all a bit inconclusive..." to "actually, this seems to be bollocks". I have added the names of the refs to your comment above to clarify this. The Pittler & Ernst (2008) reference is pretty negative about energy medicines (the focus of this article), although is is more positive about the more "pharmacological" alt-med treatments. The 2011 paper you cite did not look at energy medicines! (and all fibromyalgia research should be examined through the lens that the diagnosis of fibromyalgia itself is dubious) Finally, that something warrants "further study" is not a admission that it is true. Famousdog (talk) 12:23, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
That looks much better. I see that I am not alone in the world in thinking Edzard Ernst is more of a debunker than a scientist. All I see out of him is meta-analysis. He has changed his conclusions more to the negative over the years, but reading his work, I think that is because he has found a niche for himself to sell his new book.
The opening statement is not a good one, but is defensible with the selected references. Part of the problem is that you wanted biofield-kinds of healing bunched in with such things as magnet therapy and light therapy. If you can show magnet therapy is not effective, you can imply all of the modalities are ineffective. All are considered energy healing by the CAM but it appears to be using only two criteria for inclusion: some kind of energy is involved and it is not mainstream. The result is a complex article that will only get more complex as each rather different form is properly addressed. A better approach might have been to make "Energy healing" a disambiguation page and give the various forms their own article. Tom Butler (talk) 17:01, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
I've actually met Ernst (albeit briefly) and he's a not a debunker (he trained as a homeopath), is very open-minded (in fact, lots of scientists would think that he's too open-minded!) and just wants to establish what works and what doesn't in a very hotly-contested field. As it says in this very interesting profile, his research group used to do clinical trials funded by alt-med proponents who were eager to prove the validity of CAM. However, when Ernst's early trials proved mostly negative (despite the positive spin he might have put on them) the funding dried up and the group had to turn to meta-analyses because they were cheaper to do than clinical trials. Add to this the office-political bullsh*t that came about when Ernst criticised a report on CAM by an economist hired by Charles, Prince of Wales to prove that CAM was cost-effective (largely by ignoring the issue of whether it was effective-effective) and you have a recipe for Ernst's early retirement. I think its a f*cking shame on British academia.
Also, just to correct a couple of your comments above, most of Ernst's academic work predates publication of Trick or Treatment (not the other way round as you suggest) and initially I actually did want a separate "healing" article, we just disagreed on its content! Regarding the current article I think it should be split into putative and veritable sections. You want to have a go at that? Famousdog (talk) 09:51, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

It is difficult to accept the idea that the author Trick or Treatment or a 2009 book, Science Based Medicine, intends to further the understanding of subtle energy medicine and the influence of intention on such concepts as distant healing.

I cannot justify the time required for such a project. From experience here, it would be three words written and two endlessly fought over. I have found it more useful to make my point in other venues. Thank you for the suggestion, however. If you try, I would certainly drop in to help where I can. Tom Butler (talk) 17:13, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Mainstream acceptance verses scientific evidence[edit]

I have to agree with Makeswell that the way putative and veritable were defined makes it very clear that Wikipedia thinks the energy involved in energy medicine does not exist. It has been established using good scientific methodologies by good scientists that something exists. A more balanced approach would be to distinguish what is accepted by mainstream science. Tom Butler (talk) 17:05, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Really? Which papers do you have in mind? If it really has "been established using good scientific methodologies by good scientists that something exists" then wikipedia ought to cover that, to the extent that it's supported by the weight of scientific sources &c.
I'm puzzled by this; it seems to imply that whilst such subtle energies are incompatible with mainstream science, there's some other kind of "science" which does recognise them. Could you clarify? bobrayner (talk) 14:47, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
People holding doctorates from accredited academic institutions have conduced research employing accepted methodologies of science and reported correlation between action and effect, which to exist, must depend on a form of energy that is widely reported from research under similar conditions but not documented by the larger scientific community. That means that there is science practiced correctly which supports the existence of some form of subtle energy which is not accepted by the established academic community (mainstream). The science is seldom questioned. What is always discounted is the premise that there may be some form of energy other than what is accepted.
Mainstream is a word commonly used by people not in the mainstream of thought. You can use another word, but please resist using "fringe." The point is that part of this article is about healing which is based on the effect of intention on a subtle form of energy. Here, "subtle" is used to speak of energy that is not measured by existing mainstream instrument. The effect of intentionality on subtle energy is measured as a change in random processes, anomalous acquisition of information or changes in well being of sitters. So there are ways to detect changes in this energy.
A simple discussion is What Are Subtle Energy Fields? As an electronics engineer, I can vouch for Dr. Tart's understanding of shielding techniques for what the article refers to as "veritable" energy. His report here is important because such shielding has an opposite effect than what is required of the forms of energy accepted by the mainstream of science: Effects of Electrical Shielding on GESP Performance
So as you have reverted me, the lead is biased as I noted above. I invite you to try different wording, but as it stands, it makes the rest of the article appear to be a discussion of something that does not really exist. And it has already been demonstrated that at least some forms of intentionality healing do exist to some extent. Tom Butler (talk) 17:10, 8 July 2011 (UTC)
That first Tart paper seems to be some kind of loose review, stuffed with a random assortment of sciency-sounding sentences and, to the extent that it proves anything about subtle energies, it's through the assumption that "Other studies saw strange stuff; therefore subtle energies exist". (Including such discredited studies as Targ & Puthoff). Do you have a more detailed or more robust source which makes clear the science of these subtle energies? Feel free to use something more technical; I only have a degree in physics but I'll try to keep up.
It's quite OK for an article to discuss something which doesn't really exist. We already do that with lots of articles - Nessie, ESP, fan death, and so on. We don't have to pretend that Bigfoot is a real creature just for the purpose of describing Bigfoot's stature at the start of the article. bobrayner (talk) 19:33, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

Your sarcasm is unwanted and certainly unwelcome! The second article was the only one by Tart. How do you know it was discredited? That is a pretty grand statement to make without support. Support?

The fact that you do not believe in the existence of subtle energy does not license you to simply discount it in behalf of Wikipedia. I am sure you can gather more editors with your mind set to help you but that does not make a balance article. In fact, I am inclined to argue that you have a conflict of interest because you have a degree in physics. It is probably you I am speaking of when I say "mainstream."

This subject has been covered over and over. Read the talk history. I do not have to educate you. The fact is that the article is unbalance and a few "weasel words" would help rectify that.Tom Butler (talk) 21:54, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

References I will try to add to these as I come across them. It is understood that non-mainstream journals are often not accepted as reliable sources by mainstream academics. Not much I can say about that without being banned for eternity. From the Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE) which has a peer-reviewed journal.

Effects of Distant Intention on Water Crystal Formation: A Triple-Blind Replication

The GCP Event Experiment: Design, Analytical Methods, Results

Is the Psychokinetic Effect as Found with Binary Random Number Generators Suitable to Account for Mind-Brain Interaction?

Exploratory Study: The Random Number Generator and Group Meditation

Alternative Healing Therapy on Regeneration Rate of Salamander Forelimbs

The Effect of Paranormal Healing on Tumor Growth

The Effect of ‘‘Healing with Intent’’ on Pepsin Enzyme Activity

Okay, I'll go through these one-by-one as I read them. First, Radin et al (2008) The water crystal experiment: This was carried out by "researchers" at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, an organisation that exists to prove that there is some healing power in human consciousness. Forgive me if I raise an eyebrow at any research produced by this organisation. Who is the lead author? Its Dean Radin. Hang on a minute, he's on the editorial board of the Journal of Scientific Exploration, where this paper is published. All those conflicts of interest aside, lets look at the paper. (Looks at paper) Jesus Christ. So praying for a couple of water bottles on the other side of the world makes the ice crystals formed in them more beautiful than in two control bottles (nearby-contol-water and control-water-stored-elsewhere-in-the-building). F*ck is this some sort of a cult??? Okay, forget that this is a totally WEIRD experiment by some untrustworthy loons. Lets see what happens. Gosh, the ice cystals in the prayed-for bottles are rated as more beautiful than those in the nearby-control-water bottles! And the result is statistically significant! Blimey, that's impressive. But wait... the ice cystals in some control-water-stored-elsewhere-in-the-building are rated as more beautiful than the prayed-for bottles! Exactly WHAT is this supposed to show? "Don't bother praying for water, it might end up less beautiful than some other random water"? The authors admit this in the discussion, but then don't provide an explanation as to why it might have occurred. They just concentrate on the finding "of main interest". This is a bloody joke of a paper, but it teaches us an important lesson: Just reporting a statistically significant result is meaningless unless you look at the direction of the effects. As for the stats: It frankly looks like they have excluded some trials (on grounds that I don't quite understand) in order to beef up the significance values. The whole attempt to use image contrast as an objective measure of "beauty" is stupid and wrong. There is no simple correlation between image contrast an aesthetic beauty. Low contrast images (the later work of Willem De Kooning) can be considered as/more/less beautiful as high contrast images (the early work of Willem De Kooning). Conclusion: BUSTED. Famousdog (talk) 10:28, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
F-dog, stop being a dick! The point is evidence of some form of action at a distance that suggests an alternative form of energy. Sure wishing for pretty crystals is soft science, but it is replicable and shows an effect at a distance. I am sorry if you are offended by the technique and therefore assume impossibility. You did not address the other references. There are more but they are all able to be discounted by blind-faith, scientism editors like you. Your attitude is exactly why I will not agree to work with you to split this article.
Again, for physicist bobrayner, as you witnessed in F-dog's reaction and your own, these references are easily set aside as unreliable sources despite the science. So the point I am trying to make is that there are people conducting good science to study effects which are not supported by mainstream concepts of energy.You cannot discard a concept based on "not supported by science." You can describe the concept in less affirmative terms since it is clearly still hypothetical. As it stand now, the article is biased.
NCCAM uses "yet to be measured" as: The NCCAM also describes the difference in energy in more neutral terms here:Some CAM practices involve manipulation of various energy fields to affect health. Such fields may be characterized as veritable (measurable) or putative (yet to be measured). Practices based on veritable forms of energy include those involving electromagnetic fields (e.g., magnet therapy and light therapy). Practices based on putative energy fields (also called biofields) generally reflect the concept that human beings are infused with subtle forms of energy;.....
I think the solution is to move the NCCAM reference out of the introduction and substitute the current quote with this more balance done. Tom Butler (talk) 18:04, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Uh... isn't the Journal of Scientific Exploration a explicit refuge for research that has been rejected by "mainstream" science journals? --Enric Naval (talk) 19:59, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Tom, firstly please stop hurling insults at me and referring to me as "F-dog" or I'll simply get you blocked. This study does not show "action at a distance" since ice crystals from control (unprayed-for) bottles stored elsewhere were judged to be as/more beautiful than the prayed-for bottles. A clear disproof of their own hypothesis, glossed over by charlatans eager to prove an "effect". What do you not understand? This is not "good science" its very, very poor science. I am not "offended" by their protocol - I'm offended by how they have completely ignored what their own data are saying. There is no statistical difference in "beauty" between the prayed-for ice crystals and a couple of bottles kept in someone's drawer for the duration of the study. Secondly, I've only looked at the first paper so far (I have a real job too, you know) so I've restricted my comments to that paper. As I said earlier, I will go through them one-by-one if you let me.
Another thing I'm confused about. The bottles of water were subjected to a "prayer of gratitude" not a prayer "to form more beautiful ice crystals." Yet the dependent variable was the beauty of the ice crystals. Why? This suggests to me that they might have carried out the praying and then combed that water bottles for some trace of a difference between the prayed-for and not-prayed for water (maybe they tested pH value, light transmission, taste, or whatever else they could think of) and then published the "beauty" data and dumped the rest... I have no proof for this, its just a speculation as to why there is no explicit reason presented in the paper for choosing this particular DV. In the intro, they simply say that intention can effect the "properties" of water. No justification for looking at "beauty" at all. Just saying.
Enric, yes it is. That's why they have jokers like Dean Radin on the editorial board. Famousdog (talk) 14:09, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Enric, I have tried to put that issue into perspective in the two essays, Pseudoscience and Skeptic. I think you know the rational answer to the problem people with a minority opinion finding fair hearing, but judging by the tone of your question, I see you are going to stick to the Skeptical party line.

Famousdog, your "jokers like Dean Radin" comment is why I know there will be no balanced conversation with you. You are the one who was so happy with the treatment the now permanently blocked Scienceapologist gave this article. It is unbalanced and confusing just as you seem to like.

Rather than being able to have a constructive discussion about the article, I have only found Skeptics here who seem determined to drive off anyone who does not agree. Probably the only way I can expect change is via public education so I give up here. Again :-) Tom Butler (talk) 16:39, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Tom, you were the one that wanted the science to prevail (You started this thread by saying "[that healing energy exists] has been established using good scientific methodologies by good scientists"). I have looked at just the first paper you cite and the science is far from acceptable. I am not being "Scientist", I am a scientist. You cannot have it both ways. If the science behind spiritual healing is "good" then how come I can easily find so many problems in just one of the papers you cite? Chucking around labels like "scientism" doesn't help. Have I ever labelled you "faithist" or "spiritualist"? You say you can't have a balanced debate with me. Bullsh*t. You claimed the science was good. I argued that it was a crock of sh*t. Demonstrate to me that I am wrong about that paper. That would be a balanced debate would it not? Famousdog (talk) 11:42, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Paper 2: Bancel & Nelson (2008) The GCP Event Experiment. Your link seems to be a paper about the subjective experiences of DMT-users while tripping off their tits. Oh, no matter, I've googled and found the right paper. Corrected link above. (reads paper) So computer-based random-number-generators (RNGs) show "anomolous behaviour" at times of "global events" like Sept 11th and New Year's Eve? That seems to be what its saying, but I'm afraid I don't understand how they have shown this. It requires the attention of a statistician. I can't even work out how they chose the 236 "events" that they chose to correlate with the RNG behaviour. They give a sample of some of the events in an appendix, but one is simply described as a "Day of Murderous Violence" (31st Aug, 2004). Surely most days involve a lot of murdering and war? Why pick this one day and not the day after - or the one after that? Are there any stats to show that this "Day of Murderous Violence" was more violent than any other day? What happened on this "Day of Murderous Violence"? Well, Palestinian suicide bombers killed 16 Israelis, the Army of Ansar al-Sunna killed 12 Nepali civilians in Iraq and a female suicide bomber killed 10 people near a subway station in Moscow. A week earlier on 24th Aug, 2004 a terrorist attack killed 94 people when two Russian planes were blown up, and four bodyguards were killed in suicide attacks in Baghdad. So if we're going by bodycount, August 24th 2004 was a far bloodier day than the 31st! "Earthdance, 2004" is included as a global event, but what about Live 8? Another event is "Pierre Trudeau's Funeral". Now that might be significant for Canadians, the Quebecois in particular or the French, but the vast majority of humankind has never even heard of Trudeau. How is that a "global event"? Oh, look - one of the authors is French. Perhaps there is a cultural bias creeping in to how these "events" were (retroactively) selected? My main problem with this paper is that this is a retrospective correlational study, not an experiment (despite the title of the paper). There seems to have been a significant latitude on the part of the experimenter as to which events to pick and which to exclude. Now, I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt and accept that the stats are all sound, but if the authors are picking and choosing which days to include in the analysis and which to exclude, then the best stats in the world become meaningless. I can't say anything concrete about the stats because I simply don't understand them, but I have serious reservations about the choice of events that formed the analysis. Conclusion: RETROSPECTIVE DESIGN HIGHLY SUSCEPTIBLE TO EXPERIMENTER BIAS. Famousdog (talk) 13:15, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Paper 3: Helfrich (2007) The Psychokinetic Effect. This appears to be a review of, and attempt to explain results from, several previous experiments on PK, by people such as Dean Radin, most of which appear to have been published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration (this particular academic community appears to be quite insectuous, but my concerns about this particular researcher and this particular journal aside, a reinterpretation of flawed data will still be flawed. We would have to establish whether the work being reviewed here was actually of acceptable quality. The author admits that the effects reported in the literature he is surveying appear to have been small (the author states in the abstract that "the effect is minute" and begins his conclusion by stating that "significant z-scores are rare in PK experiments" Hmm, just a thought - could publication bias be playing a role here?). The core message of the paper appears to be that the PK effect (although small) might be of the right size to generate in a neuron the additional voltage required to reach threshold and fire. No mechanism is described by which this could occur. No data is presented that such a thing happens. It is entirely speculative. Conclusion: SPECULATION. Famousdog (talk) 10:11, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

I was mentioned in the beginning of this discussion. I think my view was misconstrued. I'll recant my view below in a second. I read the discussion you guys had, and think that it was basically,

tom butler: 'too sciency, not enough fringe alternative viewpoints'
famousdog: 'naw ah'
tom butler: 'yeahhh, here are some articles'
enric naval: '(aren't those articles from the journal that isn't reliable?)'
famousdog: 'yes'
tom butler: '<silence>'
famousdog: 'tom, i read the articles and they are not true. here's why.'

i think famousdog wins, because he wrote about the articles. the articles aren't reliable? so then they shouldn't be included.

i also think though that the article as it is is more sciency than necessary. there are other opinions out there. for instance, something i just found,

"Spiritual healing, sometimes also called intercessory prayer or distant, faith or psychic healing, is an intriguing subject. It is immensely popular: in the UK, for instance, there are currently about 14,000 registered spiritual healers (about half the number of primary care physicians!) and in the United States, faith healing is among the fastest growing “alternative” treatments."


I think that to be npov we'd want to reword the article to include the mainstream people who do believe in it, whether or not the scientists do believe.

Defining 'energy medicine'[edit]

Okay. The point I was making at the beginning was that the article refers to Qi and Prana and says that these are energy medicines and that all energy medicines don't work. Here's a quote from the article saying that Qi and Prana lack proof,

"The US-based National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) distinguishes between complementary and alternative interventions involving actual, well-known forms of physical energy (termed "Veritable Energy Medicine"), and those that invoke "energies", such as the Chinese Qi or the Indian prana, that serve as explanatory paradigms of claimed medical effects but lack the apparent quantifiability and falsifiability that current scientific method requires. (termed "Putative Energy Medicine")."

Qi and Prana are concepts inherent to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Yoga, see NCAAM article "Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Introduction",

"TCM practitioners use herbs, acupuncture, and other methods... In the TCM view, a vital energy or life force called qi circulates in the body through a system of pathways called meridians. Health is an ongoing process of maintaining balance and harmony in the circulation of qi...."

While there may be certain beliefs about the inefficacy of healing at a distance and stuff, there remains much evidence that Yoga works, for one, and some research that acupuncture, which is a part of TCM, is not yet proven inefficant, according to the NCAAM article "Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Introduction",

"Acupuncture research has produced a large body of scientific evidence. Studies suggest that it may be useful for a number of different conditions, but additional research is still needed."

So we should either rephrase the definition of 'energy medicine' to include only healing at a distance and stuff, and not Yoga, TCM or something, and then make the claims that energy medicine doesn't work, or, state that some types of energy medicine do work and others don't, or might work. I think that Yoga and TCM are being lumped together with other things like healing with hands and stuff. It was hard, and still is, for me to figure out what is meant by 'energy medicine' when I read this article. If we reword the article then it will be easier for nonexperts to determine what energy medicine is. If energy medicine is simply healing at a distance then let's just say so in the lead...makeswell (talk) 03:17, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Currently the unofficial definition of 'energy medicine' this article seems to assume is "any medicine that claims to use either a putative or veritable energy as the active ingredient, but which has no clear mechanism of action." If other potential confounding variables such as herbs, acupuncture or Yoga (essentially exercise) are involved, it would be better to list those under herbal medicine, acupuncture or the Yoga article despite the fact that they may claim to be affecting 'Qi', 'Prana' or whatever... Regarding faith healing, I think that spiritual healing or energy medicine are basically just faith healing stripped of the dogma, or given a little pseudoscientific gloss. However, some editors (Tom Butler and Adrian-from-london, namely) have fought tooth-an-nail to have this material treated separately from faith healing (and I sort of argree with them). Famousdog (talk) 09:24, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree that Yoga and acupuncture shouldn't be listed here. The thing is that Yoga and acupuncture are already listed on this page. By defining energy medicine as 'methods that involve the manipulation of Prana or Chi,' the current definition includes Yoga, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Tibetan medicine and Buddhism, i.e. the major traditional religious and healing paradigms of India, China and Tibet.
The main point is that there needs to be a simple definition of energy medicine in the lead so people know what we're talking about. makeswell (talk) 01:44, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
The current version of the article includes a bit from the NCAAM definition, which I'm going to quote in full below.

Some CAM practices involve manipulation of various energy fields to affect health. Such fields may be characterized as veritable (measurable) or putative (yet to be measured). Practices based on veritable forms of energy include those involving electromagnetic fields (e.g., magnet therapy and light therapy). Practices based on putative energy fields (also called biofields) generally reflect the concept that human beings are infused with subtle forms of energy; qi gong, Reiki, and healing touch are examples of such practices. The 2007 NHIS found relatively low use of putative energy therapies. Only 0.5 percent of adults and 0.2 percent of children had used energy healing/Reiki (the survey defined energy healing as the channeling of healing energy through the hands of a practitioner into the client's body).

Perhaps we should just define energy medicine as the channeling of healing energy to a practitioner, or something similar. The NCAAM seems to equate energy healing to, "channeling of healing energy through the hands of a practitioner into the client's body." What do you guys think about including this in the definition of energy medicine near the top of the page?
Also, if we want to include in the article some scientific studies about energy medicine then we need to define energy medicine as it was used in those articles to avoid misquoting them. makeswell (talk) 01:44, 9 August 2011 (UTC)
I went ahead with some edits on the topic of what we were discussing - defining energy medicine clearly and also distinguishing it from other forms of healing such as TCM or Yoga. Here's the link to my edits... [1] I'd suppose this a noncontroversial series of edits considering that we were in agreement on not including Yoga or TCM on this page. Post on my Talk page, please, if you wish to continue this dialogue, as I don't plan to continue monitoring this Talk page. makeswell (talk) 03:20, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

A good overview for energy healers[edit]

Energy Healers: Who They Are and What They Do Tom Butler (talk) 17:48, 27 September 2011 (UTC)


Many have proposed biofields as an explanation for energy medicine. So I thought the following was relevant. The words "bioelectric signaling" are used, but if you look at the video, you'll see that it seems to support the concept of biofields:

Tufts University biologists have recently reported that bioelectrical signals are necessary for normal head and facial formation in an organism and have captured that process in a time-lapse video that reveals patterns of visible bioelectrical signals outlining where eyes, nose, mouth, and other features eventually appeared in an embryonic tadpole.( The researchers had previously established through experiment that bioelectircal signaling played a significant role in the development of the face of the Xenopus ectoderm. PMID 21761475

This addition has since been removed.Pottinger's cats (talk) 12:56, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

There is a difference between Bio-electrical signals and Biofields. The former is real and keeps your neurons firing and heart ticking. -- Colin°Talk 15:27, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Bioelectricity is electricity produced by organisms. It is real, measurable, and has known effects on the body. It has nothing to do with energy medicine, which posits a to-date unmeasurable "energy" which has no relation to any known forms of actual energy such as kinetic, chemical, electrical, light, heat or radiation. So it's not surprising that reference, which is also a primary source in addition to being irrelevant, was removed. It's not just original research to include it, it's also outrageously irrelevant. Wikipedia is based on real science, not make-believe. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 15:27, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
The concept of Biofields is actually being pursued by serious scholars like Fritz-Albert Popp and the German institute for biophysics in such texts as Integrative Biophysics: Biophotonics. The argument was being used for veritable (as opposed to putative) energy medicine. The other source that I listed in the "further reading" section in my revision of the Energy medicine article also concerned veritable (and not putative) energy medicine. I find it arrogant that people here conflate their fundamentalist materialist (and even outdated fundamentalist materialist) beliefs for reality.
The "however" edits I put forth are in no way "irrelevant". For instance, I noted the following:
a December 1, 1999 BBC article, "Scientists prove acupuncture works", noted that researchers found that acupuncture produced statistically significant pain relief in two separate studies, going far beyond any "placebo effect":
a meta-analysis of 7 acupuncture studies (acupuncture being an energy medicine modality) conducted by the National Cancer Institute showed significant benefits from the treatment from all of the studies being analyzed. The summary of the meta-analysis stated that "Four randomized controlled trials,[1,2,4,5] a nonrandomized clinical study,[3] and two case series [6,7] found that acupuncture enhanced or regulated immune function.":
If this conflicts with your ideology, then it's your problem, not mine.Pottinger's cats (talk) 05:31, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
You cannot extrapolate the existence of energy fields, meridians or any other sort of particular from positive acupuncture results, it is non sequitur. You're assuming that because the Chinese explained positive acupuncture results that if acupuncture results are positive, then it must be because of the classic explanation. The logical fallacy is setup like this: If A then B. B, therefore A (for example: if I garden today, the sun will rise tomorrow. The sun rose, therefore I gardened). Read over our acupuncture article: studies have shown that it doesn't matter where you stick the needles, whether you penetrate the skin, or whether you even use needles - the results are the same. While we don't know exactly how acupuncture works when it does work, the automatic explanation isn't esoteric energy.
Secondly, we are an encyclopedia, not a repository for new and original research. If Popp discovers something and it's published and evaluated by the scientific community and becomes accepted, we will report it - until then there is nothing to report. Is it really that difficult for you to understand that we use mainstream scientific research? Why is it that multiple editors have to constantly remind you of this? Do you think that if you keep trying the same thing over and over again it will eventually work here? Noformation Talk 06:10, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
The author of that commentary is James Oschman, a researcher into alternative medicine practices. His views are not those of the wider scientific community and on this subject, neither are Popp's. (deleting this as I believe I erroneously concluded that Popp extrapolates his research to mean what you insinuate).This is science, this is not. Noformation Talk 06:16, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I am not arguing for esoteric, or subtle energy - as I said before, all of this concerns veritable (as opposed to putative) energy medicine. As I understand it, Oschman is not arguing for subtle energy either - his text deals with veritable energy claims. Here is an overview of the text:
It is not yet totally clear that the claims of traditional energy medicine proponents on this subject are entirely invalid. Some meta-analyses of the studies concerning the properties of acupuncture points and meridians have been conducted, though the results were inconclusive. The following meta-analysis noted: "According to conventional wisdom within the acupuncture community, acupuncture points and meridians are special conduits for electrical signals. This view gained popularity after anecdotal reports and clinical studies asserted that these anatomical structures are characterized by lower electrical impedance compared to adjacent controls. ... Five out of 9 point studies showed positive association between acupuncture points and lower electrical resistance and impedance, while 7 out of 9 meridian studies showed positive association between acupuncture meridians and lower electrical impedance and higher capacitance. The studies were generally poor in quality and limited by small sample size and multiple confounders. Based on this review, the evidence does not conclusively support the claim that acupuncture points or meridians are electrically distinguishable. However, the preliminary findings are suggestive and offer future directions for research based on in-depth interpretation of the data.":
I will report more as I read more sources.Pottinger's cats (talk) 06:49, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
No, stop reporting things on talk pages. Your next post should include an edit that you would like to make and it should be backed up by a maintstream source. Arguments about the subject matter are not relevant here. Noformation Talk 06:58, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I will incorporate mainstream research into future edits, and not discuss it in talk pages, unless it is disputed. However, the criticism of me for incorporating the Tuft's University research (which is what this section is about), is invalid. Bio-electrical signals occur as a result of complex biochemical reactions. In contrast, the two items I cited showed that bioelectrical fields directed subsequent biochemical reactions in the cells, thus showing that the fields were a carrier of information and a factor in cell formation more fundamental than the biochemical interactions (which followed). So what this shows is that ultimately, the Bioelectricity comes first, and then the biochemical reactions which come after it emerge. As the "The Face of a Frog" article notes:
"Our research shows that the electrical state of a cell is fundamental to development. Bioelectrical signaling appears to regulate a sequence of events, not just one," said Laura Vandenberg. "Developmental biologists are used to thinking of sequences in which a gene produces a protein product that in turn ultimately leads to development of an eye or a mouth. But our work suggests that something else – a bioelectrical signal - is required before that can happen."
This has nothing to do with Qi, or esoteric energy, but it does corroborate the claims of Veritable energy medicine proponents.Pottinger's cats (talk) 11:00, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Pottinger, you continue to perform original research on this talk page by reviewing basic science research and then falsely concluding this has some relevance to "energy medicine". So electrical stuff goes on at the cellular level. So some real scientists study that stuff. Doesn't mean that waving my hands over someone while chanting is going to cure their cancer. This is a really basic misunderstanding of reality. Like thinking that because I see people when I look at my TV set, that there are actually little people inside it. This is why we leave the putting two and two together to the experts. You need to find reliable published secondary sources that actually discuss energy medicine before they are suitable for discussing wrt this article. Colin°Talk 13:02, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────A news article from 1999? Seriously? First, news articles aren't suitable for medical claims. Second, the evidence base for acupuncture has eroded significantly since 1999 with the introduction of placebo needles that don't pierce the skin. Third, if acupuncture "works" (and isn't simply an elaborate placebo enhanced by a variety of incidentals - a lengthy consultation, a dramatic intervention, an exotic and "ancient" purported history and an explanation that combines both science and magic) that doesn't mean qi exists, nor do the acupuncture points or meridians. The latest research has completely failed to validate the existence of either specific points with specific effects, or any biological structure that maps to the alleged meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine; not to mention, there are at least a half-dozen variations of TCM acupuncture, all mutually contradictory in at least some measures. Ahn et al. is equivocal and only exists to suggest more research of higher quality. And finally, research from China is extremely suspect since it is closely tied to national identity. Unlike North American research which is equivocal and heavily mixed between positive negative trials, it's all positive suggesting significant publication bias.[2] So no, acupuncture doesn't justify energy medicine or biofields.

Regarding biophotonics, again photons are a specific, measurable type of energy - not "biofields" of unmeasurable or as-yet unmeasured energy. We can actually measure single photons, but we haven't found anything analogous to the HEF promoted by various CAM groups. Unless Popp has determined that the biophotons he investigates can have their direction, functioning or effects altered by human thought in the absence of machinery (and in particular, can influence the biophotons of another person leading to a health effect) it's completely irrelevant to "energy medicine". Until you have a peer-reviewed MEDRS published in a respectable, not CAM-ghetto journal, indicating "energy" as explained by CAM exists and has been independently verified, the main page shouldn't change. The thing is, even if these sources were genuine, supported your assertions without requiring original research and the "CAM shoehorn" forcing real research to support imaginary concepts (which it never does, since the authors are always doing empirical research on genuine phenomena, not attempting to prove or disprove CAM apologetics), it would at best get a small number of minor mentions since the field overall is not well respected or considered proven. To rewrite the page to give energy medicine any credibility would require a massive, significant expansion of the current evidence base - which doesn't support CAM "energy" or "energy medicine" as doing anything but take money from clients and make everyone feel better.

And on wikipedia-specific points, as Colin says, we can't use primary sources (particularly irrelevant primary sources) to synthesize new conclusions or to debunk secondary sources. Get some secondary sources or stop wasting our time. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 15:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Comments like Noformation's "No, stop reporting things on talk pages." [3] and similar comments by other editors are out of line. At best, they exhibit a refusal to consider alternative material. I agree that some of the material is probably not suitable for Wikipedia, but it is more appropriate for experienced editors to help consider the point rather than, in effect, telling the new editor to just shut up and go away! Tom Butler (talk) 17:44, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Pottinger's cat has been promoting a variety of unsubstantiated nonsense and CAM-themed tangents across a variety of pages with no appreciation for what WP:RS or WP:UNDUE mean [4]. Our comments are very much in line, as this alternative material is a mishmash of old sources, nonreliable sources, irrelevant sources and misrepresented sources. Wikipedia is not a place to soapbox but that's what PC is doing. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 18:34, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I understand. There is history. Thanks for the clarification. Tom Butler (talk) 19:09, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Essentially, Pottinger's cat is using the talk pages as a substitute for actually getting this material onto the article: a free website to post to. That's what Noformation was asking to stop. If Pottinger's cat wants to follow our talk page guidelines and sourcing policies then we'd get along just fine. However, I suspect he'd have very little to say then. Colin°Talk 19:23, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

The relevant policy is WP:SYNTH. You cannot take a scientific statement regarding bioelectric signaling and conclude that this venerates any sort of alt med concept of energy. Sources need to explicitly state any conclusions you want to make - you are not allowed to make those conclusions. Secondly, when an abstract ends with "[b]ased on this review, the evidence does not conclusively support the claim that acupuncture points or meridians are electrically distinguishable. However, the preliminary findings are suggestive and offer future directions for research based on in-depth interpretation of the data," it should be painfully obvious that it would not support any positive statements. Wikipedia is not a WP:CRYSTALBALL so it doesn't matter if more research is necessary, it matters when the research is complete. If anything, that source could be used to support the statement that "there is no evidence that acupuncture meridian points exist." Noformation Talk 20:15, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

I understand Pottinger's cats' frustration, but of course those are the Wikipedia rules.
Editor (the same person?) did make a few edits that softened the absolute nature of the article and I would like to see those preserved or at least reconsidered. For instance, the edit here makes the same point without being so editorial. Also the edit here seems to say the same thing but reads more to the point.
Since all of that batch of edits were reverted, I will not attempt to retrieve the useful one, leaving that up to the good intentions of other editors. Tom Butler (talk) 21:49, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I would say that one edit is probably fine but I don't blame Collin for reverting it as it places an undue burden on other editors to revert 15 edits individually. If PT or anyone else wants to readd that I'm sure it's fine. I would suggest to PT that s/he not edit in the medical/science section of WP until they better understand Wikipedia policy and how it is implemented; this is a tough part of WP in which to learn policy and most people who jump in head first tend to get blocked or topic banned pretty quickly. Noformation Talk 22:01, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
No, I don't support restoring any of Pottinger's cats edits. The first removes an explanation of pseudophysics for no good reason other than it isn't flattering, and replaces "physicists and skeptics" with just "Critics" as though this was a play we were judging rather than the fundamental laws of physics. It also adds the (presumably unsourced) comment "given that what it deals with is not currently measurable with modern instruments" which assumes that someday these will be measurable by modern instruments. The second edit replaces a fact ("There are many, primarily psychological, explanations for ...") with mere opinion ""Critics of energy medicine argue that there...)". The article suffers from the usual flaw of having a "criticism" section which only encourages a "balanced" "supporters say this", "critics say that". The edits only make that worse. Colin°Talk 22:29, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Ugh, false balance. Those edits pretend that the "critics" are unfairly maligning promoters of energy medicine when really it's exactly what the edits say - energy medicine is pseudoscientific. There is no evidence that this "energy" exists in any form described by "practitioners" (either in terms of basic science or clinical studies), and they frequently claim, wrongly, that there is any science backing their claims. "Quantum" does not support energy medicine. There is not two sides to this story, energy medicine is unsubstantitated pseudoscience. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 01:05, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
I've got rid of the "Criticism" section. A slight text change made it appropriate as a "Mechanism of action" as would appear in any medical article. I've also retitled one of the earlier sections "Beliefs". Colin°Talk 08:41, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

You are entitled to an opinion but now who is using the talk page as a soapbox? Tom Butler (talk) 19:36, 17 January 2012 (UTC)


I restored the Criticism section because the way Colin changed the article made no sense. Mechanism of action? Evidence? Really? Tom Butler (talk) 19:36, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Criticism sections are generally discouraged. The issues raised by critics should generally be dealt with in the appropriate sections. In this case the first two paragraphs of the section dealt with the proposed "mechanisms of action" of energy healing (none of which actually involve "energy"). These aren't "criticisms" but explanations. A criticism might be that the practitioners were charlatans, or charged too much, or took advantage of the gullible and the sick, or that the claims of efficacy were higher than reality, and so on. The third paragraph concerns itself with the efficacy evidence produced by scientific trials at two points in time. This rightly belongs in the "Scientific investigations" section and I created an "Evidence" subsection to contain it because it wasn't specific to any one technique. Only the last sentence can be described as "criticism" and seemed to fit with the other criticisms of efficacy made within the "Scientific investigations" section.
Keeping the "criticism" section is awkward because there are criticisms made in other parts of the article, and as I noted, most of the current text in that section isn't actually criticism. I suggest my edits be restored. Colin°Talk 20:03, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Against several of our recommendations, certain overly aggressive editors combined the biofield-type healing with this article which now has become a catch-all for way too many unrelated modalities. That as added to the difficulty in properly addressing each type. For instance, there is some pretty good research for the existence of some kind of "subtle energy" which seems to respond to intentionality, which is fundamental to several of the modalities but has nothing to do with magnetic devices, for instance. My feeling is that a physical mechanism will be found to bring this subtle energy into the fold of mainstream science. In the meantime, this article needs to provide a balanced view. Titling Edzard Ernst's work "Evidence" is misleading. It is simply criticism of virtually all kinds of alternative energy-based therapies.
I do not see that criticism sections are in disfavor, as they are in virtually all alternative thought articles I watch. The better solution would be to create a disambiguation page and separate Energy medicine, energy therapy and energy healing. Assuming that will not happen, a possible alternative is to separate them in this article and explain the specific criticism in each section with a final one to encamps some of the more general "they are impossible and therefore cannot be complaints.
In the meantime, I would rather see the criticism as it is to avoid the article seeming to have "statement-ya but" for every point. Tom Butler (talk) 20:25, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS. The section I put under "evidence" was a review of the evidence. Having it in "Criticism" just makes a bucket for folk to move negative aspects into, which can make other sections seem wrongly positive. As I said, the review of the evidence isn't a criticism. I agree the article shouldn't have "one side says this; however,...." formulations, but a criticism section just makes that mistake on a section scale.
I don't see how the reader could be expected to distinguish "energy medicine" from "energy healing". Colin°Talk 22:58, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS is not helpful. Show me WIKI policy to remove Criticism sections so I can use it in those other articles.
We can change the name of the section to something like "Alternative explanations." The Edzard Ernst material is specifically concerned with studies about studies about a variety of different healing techniques that are generally referred to as therapeutic touch or distant healing. His meta analysis indicates that, according to his selection of articles, intention-based healing does not work. "Evidence" as a section title seems to miss that point. He is principally saying that it does not work.
The rest is so general that it might apply to everything in the article.
The article is such a hodge-podge now, it really does not matter what is done with the criticism. I just think you are further confusing the issue by trying to embed material that is so general. Go ahead and revert me. I will wager that it will take less than a month to see someone come along and add a criticism section. Tom Butler (talk) 00:05, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Mainstream evaluation of validity shouldn't be dumped into a criticism section just because it's negative. Either it has found to work, or it hasn't, or it's still at doubt. --Enric Naval (talk) 00:15, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Criticisms sections should be avoided if possible because they tend to ghettoize; the best way to handle criticisms in the article is to have claims juxtaposed with "yeah-but" statements. Readers should be able to see a claim being made, followed immediately by a counter-claim, criticism or response. Otherwise the reader goes through an entire page of claims only to, at the bottom, reach a section that indicates all are flawed, false or faked. See WP:STRUCTURE. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 18:52, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, I can use that.

"Evidence" is misleading as if the section contains the only truth.

Also "Mechanism of action" simply does not make sense. If we are not to have a criticism section--if the criticism needs to be imbedded--then that material may as well be in the beliefs section. Tom Butler (talk) 01:59, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Tom, you say "there is some pretty good research for the existence of some kind of "subtle energy"..." Is that research as good as the claptrap you posted (and I dissected) here? Your "feeling" that evidence for subtle energy with be forthcoming holds no weight, I'm afraid. There are not "too many unrelated modalities" - there is a lot of hokum for which no decent evidence has been forthcoming. The article is only a "hodge-podge" if you believe that biofield energy is different from subtle energy which is different from Qi, or any of a hundred other "energies" for which there is no decent evidence. This article, though not perfect, is sufficient to deal with all of this nonsense. Or was that too "overly aggressive" for you? On the plus side, I thought your suggestion of calling the section "Alternative explanations..." was alright. So I've done it. WLU is bang-on with his criticism (teehee) of criticism sections. It is simply a way for editors with an agenda to ghettoize perfectly reasonable debate until the end of the article - a point probably not reached by the majority of readers. Famousdog (talk) 11:02, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not keen on "Alternative explanations for positive results". There are two problems with the word "alternative". The first is that it gives priority to whatever explanation is not "alternative" when in fact that explanation is the minority viewpoint. The second is that the word "alternative" is used for CAM so is ambiguous given the paragraph actually deals with non-CAM-belief explanations. I had branded it "Mechanism of action" per WP:MEDMOS. I'm open to other options but the section deals with: what do reliable sources say happens when "energy medicine" appears to produce a positive healing result. AFAIK, no reliable source claims it happens due to as-yet-undiscovered energy fields. Colin°Talk 13:13, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
An alternative is to merge the entire page into vitalism and cull most of it. After all, it's mostly crap and make believe. I don't know if "mechanism of action" is right since this isn't a real medical field, despite the name. But at this point I'm just venting. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 14:28, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Both of you are assuming knowledge you clearly do not have. The phrase "there is no" or "there is not" is used 10 times on this talk page and I think, all by people who insist this is "crap." It is the same editors who dominate this kind of article and who are clearly determined to show to the reader that the subjects are "crap."
The original intention of a biofield article was to explain current thought about the subject--not to prove it or make medical claims. The research is more about the mechanism by which distant healing is thought to occur and not so much about the cure. Mixing it here with cures that you are probably right in questioning makes it impossible to produce an article about what is going on in the field--something an encyclopedia is supposed to do.
Famousdog, you did not make a point in your 'dissection." As with the rest of the research, you are able to dismiss it because of the dominance of your kind here. The whole tone of your post is just you being a dick.
WLU, merging the article with Vitalism would be fine if it would take this bone from the Skeptics. However, if you are mindful of the history, I think you would see that it would be just a matter of time before someone starts a new energy healing article. Tom Butler (talk) 18:29, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
We have instruments that can measure the impact of single photons, or particles that can travel through a light year of lead with only a 50/50 chance of hitting anything. We have yet to uncover any form of energy that responds directly to human thought. Claiming there is some sort of hitherto-unrecognized energy responsive to human thought that we somehow have missed is an extraordinary claim well outside the scientific mainstream. It requires evidence. To date, the best evidence explains the "positive" results most parsimoniously via placebo, confirmation bias and sloppy methodology. Claiming the page "just explores" or "just talks about" possible mechanisms puts the cart well before the horse and ignores the fact that we've yet to find evidence of an actual effect - akin to a science fiction novel hypothesizing a mechanism for faster than light travel without it being demonstrated possible. At best, the page should document that people believe in energy medicine (briefly) then say it's never been proven. This is a political phenomena, not a medical one.
I have no problem redirecting this page and all future redirects to vitalism. Sourcing might be an issue. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 18:56, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Tom, the subject by its nature makes medical claims. It is "energy healing", "energy medicine" or "energy therapy". When one uses those names, one is claiming that the technique is healing, medicinal and therapeutic, and that this is somehow related to "energy". Since we can't actually measure or see the effect on the body, nor can we detect this energy, we are left with "does it work". And the answer would appear to be no.
I'm not sure of the "biofield article article you refer to. If it was Biofield energy healing then that's got the "healing" word in it too. Colin°Talk 19:15, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Tom, please stop calling me "a dick". That's the second time you've done it and I'm going to have to refer this upwards if you don't stop the abuse. Science is basically about "put up or shut up". You say I "did not make a point in (my) 'dissection'" of the research you posted. I believe I did. My point was that having looked at the first, what, three sources you posted I concluded they were fundamentally flawed or didn't actually present any evidence and were just waffle. You didn't reply to my comments on them then (which is why I didn't bother to read any more) and you haven't responded now either. I went to the effort of actually reading the fatuous tripe that you consider cutting-edge research and commenting on it and all you can do is call me "a dick," and continue insisting that I am simply "able to dismiss it because of the dominance of (my) kind here." Really? Okay. Could all the editors who consider themselves to be "my kind" please be keyboard-quiet while Mr. Butler responds to the criticisms I posted above or presents some new clinching evidence for biofields? Famousdog (talk) 09:55, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Johrei and Pranic Healing?[edit]

Is Johrei and Pranic Healing consider energy medicine as well?

Billy Bee — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:42, 3 October 2012 (UTC)


Why isn't chiropracty here? It's all about aligning the energy of the body. I'm aware in the United States it tries to pass itself off as a 'science,' etc, even so far as many people mistaking it as such and it becoming nearly a normal part of life where someone would visit a physiotherapist in Australia, or Britain (two nations where I have lived extensively) in the US many would substitute that role with chiropractor. But Wikipedia isn't American. And we're after just the facts ma'am. And chiropracty is an energy medicine, with very little to no medical efficacy like acupuncture. So I'd probably suggest that those who manage this project include it, as it meets the bill, and passes the duck test. Pun intended. BaSH PR0MPT (talk) 15:54, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

What the Buddha taught...[edit]

In the "Beliefs" section, there's a paragraph about the Buddha, saying that he "did not support the metaphysical". There are two possible meanings of "metaphysical", one meaning "the supernatural" or transcending the laws of physics or nature; the second meaning having to do with metaphysics, a branch of philosophy dealing with the fundamental nature of being and the world. Only the first meaning would seem to be related to the consideration of so-called "magical energies" being discussed here. However, it's the second meaning that is referred to in the quote from Rahula's book. The metaphysical "ten questions" referred to are: "(i) is the universe eternal or (2) is it not eternal, (3) is the universe finite or (4) is it infinite, (5) is soul the same as body or (6) is soul one thing and body another thing, (7) does the Tathagata exist after death, or (8) does he not exist after death, or (9) does he both (at the same time) exist and not exist after death, or (10) does he both (at the same time) not exist and not not-exist." (quoted from the book). Therefore this citation is irrelevant to this article, and I am going to remove it. I would very much appreciate an entry/citation from a knowledgeable person, regarding the affinity or opposition of the Buddha's teachings with the energy medicine practices described in this article, as a replacement. IamNotU (talk) 03:29, 25 June 2013 (UTC)


The "History" section of this article seems to be mostly unrelated to Energy Medicine? Perhaps it should be removed altogether or at least heavily edited to include historical information on the development of energy medicine, instead of what appears to be a rant on the evils of pseudoscience. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Moonunit64 (talkcontribs) 15:40, 27 February 2014 (UTC)


I have removed several inappropriately used references from the article. I have left this statement in the lead section: "However, one review suggests possible clinical benefit." The supporting reference is Feinstein, but I am unsure if this is a suitable reference. Axl ¤ [Talk] 13:45, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

That article seems to be about Energy psychology specifically - which BTW, doesn't redirect here (should it?) Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 14:20, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Indeed! I am only able to access the abstract so I don't know if the reference truly is about energy medicine as described in this article. Given that several other references were inappropriately used, I am inclined to think that this is the same. Axl ¤ [Talk] 19:05, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
I have deleted the statement and reference from the article. If someone asserts that the reference is pertinent, they should do so here and post a quote from it. Axl ¤ [Talk] 19:08, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

The Energy Psychology review is valid. From the introductory paragraph, "Specifically, EP, which is a derivative of energy medicine (Feinstein & Eden, 2008), postulates that mental disorders and other health conditions are related to disturbances in the body’s electrical energies and energy fields."

I've added back several references that were inappropriately deleted as irrelevant. Even a cursory look at their abstracts confirms they address modalities within Energy Medicine, and that they found positive clinical utility. If you delete references added with this timestamp, please describe specifically why below. Thanks! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Eisenberg D, David RB, Ettner SL, et al. Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States; 1990-1997. JAMA. 1998;280:1569–1575