Talk:Biofield energy healing

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I agree that this draft article should be developed and used for the spiritual healing article. Tom Butler (talk) 19:08, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

References for opening statement??[edit]

I have this on my clipboard for the faith healing article. May as well put it here and see if it can be applied. At point is the effecy of studies related to spiritual healing. Both of the kinds of healing here appear to be self-administered as they describe them.

Energy Medicines: Will East Meet West? beginning with:

Growing Western interest

As the appeal of these practices grows in the United States so does anecdotal evidence of their results. 20 prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trials, but only three studies met their inclusion criteria--Tai Chi may provide benefit to them, based on its combination of meditation and aerobic-like exercise.
27 studies, only four met their inclusion criteria. From these, only two reported significant differences in psychological and physiological symptoms compared to psychosocial support control (Not a treament for cancer)
examined the effects of Reiki on cancer-related fatigue, pain, anxiety and overall quality of life. Patients who practiced Reiki, following the trial’s protocol, experienced significant improvements in quality of life, as compared to the control group who merely rested.

Next steps in research

“interviews, with biomedical researchers who designed the trial and with the Qigong master responsible for the Qigong arm of the trial, revealed two fundamentally different understandings of how Qigong is experienced and how that experience may be beneficial. The biomedical team sees it as a non-specific therapy, which combines relaxation and exercise. The Qigong master, on the other hand, sees it as using specific movements and visualizations to direct mental attention to specific areas of the body.”
She suggests that the gaps in understanding between researchers and practitioners may hinder scientific efforts to assess therapies like Qigong. Therefore, she proposes that these clinical trials build into the protocol information that looks at cultural aspects of the practitioner’s experience. Tom Butler (talk) 19:08, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
Therapeutic touch stimulates the proliferation of human cells in cultureTom Butler (talk) 23:47, 7 October 2010 (UTC)

More references[edit]

Distant Healing: Srinivasan Pillay, award-winning psychiatrist and brain-imaging researcher, conducted a study measuring the Skin conduction of people receiving distance healing. The study done in 2008 examined thirty-six couples. In twenty-two of these couples, one of the two people was a cancer patient. Some couples were trained in “directing intention” of healing towards the sick partners, and others received no training at all.

In this experiment, when people used intention to reach their partners who were in a shielded room, every time intention was sent, it created changes in the skin conductance that were very significant compared to the breaks when these changes would not be present. Thus, the experiment showed that intention can affect a partner’s body across distance.

The effects of distant healing have not been uniform and it appears that distant healing works in some situations but not in others. Dr Pillay writes, “I believe that the healing is not always effective for several reasons: (1) the quality of the intention is not high enough; (2) different intenders have different capacities; (3) different illnesses may require higher levels of intention; (4) there may be other intentions coming from elsewhere that disrupt the intention being measured … in a study that showed that distant healing had no effect on chronic fatigue, the expectation that one would get better did have an effect. I wonder if this implies that intention works best when we believe in our own capacities to get better.”

From: Tom Butler (talk) 17:56, 8 October 2010 (UTC)

About the title[edit]

The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) is a nonprofit organization which has a policy of developing and promoting evidence-based ideas concerning human potential. As a "human"-based group, the term, "spiritual," is often used to signify a state of mind or point of view as characterized in the Wikipedia article for Spirituality but in the non-religious sense, more like the introduction and #5: Personal well being. As such, the term "spiritual healing" is most often used to signify the expression of Compassionate Intention, Prayer, and Distant Healing.

The concept, however, is evolving to a more process-oriented practice based on techniques and policies designed around academic/clinical studies. In this way, the term "spiritual healing " is being replaced by "energy healing" or some variation of that denoting the intentional influence of the subtle energy of the biofield. The lead scientist for IONS is one of the leading scholars for the concept of biofields and intentionality affecting that subtle energy.

The problem is that Power's comment: "Oppose; it's all "faith healing" to the layman. Powers T 17:07, 1 October 2010 (UTC) " is probably pretty close to the truth and simply saying they are different will not work when you continue to use faith-based terms. I support the separation of energy healing from faith healing, but I think titling the article "spiritual healing" will have us back at this same discussion in a few years. I suggest alternative terms should be explored. I cannot think past "Energy healing," but there should be a simple title that embraces both the human potential aspect of "spiritual healing" with the process oriented "Energy healing." In the end, I feel something like "Energy healing" will dominate as academics attempt to separate their research from religious connotations. Tom Butler (talk) 20:11, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

That's an interesting point in that the word spiritual (unfortunately) can be used in religious and secular contexts. I think any alternative needs careful consideration as there are several energy healing(...) subjects already covered in Wikipedia for which redirects could be used:
in which case the term "spiritual healing" could be a redirect to energy healing(biofield). One of the clinical trials I've found [1] Therapeutic touch affects DNA synthesis and mineralization of human osteoblasts in culture reports that cancer cell growth is affected differently from normal cells. However relevant the term energy healing(psychic) may be, it will probably never be accepted by the scientific community - likewise for energy healing (paranormal).
Adrian-from-london (talk) 23:06, 12 October 2010 (UTC)
How about Energy_healing(biofield)?
Adrian-from-london (talk) 00:43, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
I honestly do not know what the best term would be. Certainly not faith healing and I think spiritual healing is too likely to be taken as faith healing. You want to address the subject as a disclosure of what it is thought to be and how it is applied, but at the same time, you want people to recognize the subject. Take a look at: Energy medicine modalities, also known as biofield therapies
As it has been in the past, common usage follows academic usage. With the Internet, popular usage of academic terminology follows very soon after the academics adopt a term. We all know from quantum mysticism that people love to cloak their beliefs in science.
Right now, scientists have sanitized their vocabulary to eliminate faith-tainted terms and have at least to some extent settled on "biofield" as a name for the as yet undefined energy they are detecting associated with psi functioning, intentionality and REG studies. This energy is gradually being quantified and is being seen to show up in virtually every area of human potential research. "Biofield" is the academically accepted word for "energy" and it does not require recognition of an etheric aspect, which would be required for faith healing.
The term "healing" is not universally used either. "Therapy" is used in the above article, and I would guess it will be widely adopted by academia. "Biofield therapies" is a good name, and I think Energy healing(biofield) could work to stay with the wikipedia view.
"Energy medicine" is a problem because that term is used for mainstream therapies such as cancer treatment. Tom Butler (talk) 16:53, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

This is the sort of stupid cr*p I expected to happen. I don't believe anybody on the Faith healing talk page signed up for an article with such a stupid title. "Biofields". Don't make me laugh. Famousdog (talk) 10:00, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

Nice talk Famousdog. Rather than going the typical aw shit attack, why not ask why the name?
Based on Powers' oppose comment: "it's all "faith healing" to the layman." and your oppose comment: "... Personally, I don't think that the fact that spiritual healers don't consider themselves part of "organised religion" and ask for divine intervention justifies an overly wordy title or a split." it is pretty clear that many of the people editing the faith healing article cannot see the difference. That is probably understandable. Spiritual healing is seen by many people as a New Age synonym for faith healing, yet the majority of the studies directed at examining the veracity of what is clearly not faith healing are describing the practices as energy or biofield (energy again) healing or therapy--anything to make the distinction more evident. That is why I had suggested the change.
I think you are just expressing an opinion based on an "its all faith healing" and not on an understanding of the subject. In the end, the article needs to be supported by references. If the references do not support the title, then the title needs to be changed. My advice would be for you to inform yourself a little more and then help Adrian compose a stable article. Tom Butler (talk) 17:14, 18 October 2010 (UTC)
Firstly, in reply to the "why the sh*t name?", "biofield" is a term used by a number of journals:
Journal alt. cmp. med.
Oncology Nursing Society
Intl. Jnl. Behavourial Med.
Seminars Onc. Nursing
Whatever the title, how many sceptics will ever be able to accept a concept regarded as legitimate by these journals? Any debate about the title hasn't taken account of the redirects I've used - if any sceptic thinks this subject is "hand-waving nonsense" then feel free to add a redirect for that.
While the statement "Unlike faith healing, ..." may seem abrupt to some, it passed the review by user SPhilbrick (see section 10 on my talk page). It's a clear definition of the difference between the two, supported by the references quoted in the article. The term spiritual is ambiguous, as in a spiritual attitude to life means not needing to resort to... demonstrating that spiritual isn't always related to religion or healing.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 22:27, 18 October 2010 (UTC)

"Biofield" is meaningless. Its just an attempt to make "energy-but-not-measurable-energy" sound more scientific. Why not subtle body or any of a host of other, frankly, synonomous terms. What's wrong with Energy healing, for example. Oh, that's just energy medicine - which includes qi, chi, prana ... except they're linked to religious belief, which makes them faith healing I guess, and so the whole miserable cycle begins again. You say "educate yourself". In the face of this meaningless double-talk and infinite regress, education is not an option. Famousdog (talk) 12:57, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

As you say Famousdog, the whole miserable cycle begins again - you seem unable to accept that biofield (without the quackery connotations of faith healing, possibly regarded by some as spiritual religious) is a perfectly legitimate term, supported by reliable sources. It's not such a stupid title. '"Biofields". Don't make me laugh.', the journals aren't laughing at the name. The energy medicine article is all about fraud, quackery and coverage of the whole subject (qi, prana). This article includes numerous references to reviews of clinical trials compared with the other article based on fraudulent energy machines any decent clinical trial can disprove.
"Education is not an option" is just irrational sceptic talk of Wikipedias coverage of this subject - same goes for equating qi, chi, prana with faith healing.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 17:55, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
I guess I do not understand your style of collaboration. ""Biofield" is meaningless." is a pretty myopic view that pretty much closes the door for agreement. "Biofield" is, by definition, energy associated with living organisms. It is sometimes detected using deviation in REG randomness [2] and [3]. In biology, there may be a convergence of biofield studies and discoveries in energy fields related to cells. I would have thought you would like the more antiseptic term, or is it that you are irritated about the article being wrestled away from religion?
"Energy medicine" would probably have worked had this debate begun twenty years from now and the multitude of device-based free energy machines had not been invented. Obviously biofield is a form of energy and the presentment detected in REG arrays is obviously linked in some way to consciousness suggesting an energy field of some form. Also obvious if you open up a radionic box, is that some forms of energy medicine are really controlled by intentionality just as distant healing is thought to be in the subject here. There are no concrete divisions, and how they are defined is more based on the person's perspective. You see this in physical and social sciences as well.
Just because healing systems such as qi gong and Reiki are listed in the Wikipedia article does not mean they belong there. I see that "energy medicine" is pretty much owned by the free energy people [4], but if you are going to put all of the energy related healing techniques into the energy medicine box, then radiation therapy for cancer need to be there as well.
I do not have access to reference 5 but reference 6 is a good read at Is spiritual healing a valid and effective therapy?. (I should note that the article is from 1995 and much more is understood about the biofield concept today.) As is so often the case with Wikipedia, the article is clearly written by people who know a little about the subjects from mainstream references. How the government categorizes alternative healing techniques is a little like how I would expect it to categorize anything that it has officially labeled as impossible.
With the presence of this article, such articles as the energy medicine one will have a place to make a comparison between ray machines and intention-based therapies. Conversely, biofield healing does not belong in that category any more than it or an article about radionic machines belongs in the faith healing article. However, I expect a paragraph or two about how some people think they are related would be good. Tom Butler (talk) 18:06, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
Okay. I admit I was annoyed by the title because of several other hopeless encounters with biofield proponents on WP (see Orgone for more biofield hilarity and rank-amateur pseudoscience). In the spirit of collaboration then: You define a biofield as energy associated with a biological organism. Fine. What energy? Apparently the energy detected by a REG. Fine. What's a REG? A REG is a Random Event Generator. Okay. What's that? (reads the methods section of the Radin paper you cite above - a paper published in one of the 'wackier' journals, frankly) Oh, a REG, scientific-sounding as it is, seems to just be a normal computer generating random events (except computer processors can't generate genuinely random events, but let's forget that just for the moment) and it turns out that only eight out of twenty seven experiments carried out by Dean Radin with this apparatus produced a result significantly different from chance. I don't know how much or how little you know about statistics, but if you do enough experiments, occasionally you get a significant result through sheer probability. What the authors should have done is average all the data and then their "significant" results would have come out in the wash. So, where can I buy one of these REGs. Oh, from a company closely associated with Dean Radin, the author of that study. Blimey, what an amazing coincidence. (sarcasm off) If this is the kind of "evidence" you are intending to cite in support of biofields, I suspect you're in for a rough ride. Famousdog (talk) 11:08, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh, and radiation is a detectable form of energy, which produces results that can be measured and predicted, so it certainly does not rank alongside "energy medicines". Read up on the difference between veritable and putative energy, please. Famousdog (talk) 11:08, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
... and the Hodges and Scofield (1995) paper is definitely not "a good read". What is is is a very selective review of only positive results (The abstract begins: "This paper briefly reviews the evidence supporting the reality of healing..." (my italics)) combined with a study the authors performed with one of their personal acquaintances. Hmmmm. Experimenter bias and publication bias, anyone? Famousdog (talk) 11:15, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

I will try to take your sarcasms one at a time. First, the objective of a Wikipedia article is to correctly explain subjects using verifiable and reliable references. The objective here is to explain what it is and not to prove anything. It does not matter if biofields are real, it only matters that there is a form of healing practiced by some people that is not faith-based, but is based on the assumption that there is a form of energy associated with life that is responsive to the expression of intention and that is thought to produce beneficial effects in people. The idea is not to prove this, but to explain what it is.

REG is random event generator. There are a number of people producing them for research in many fields. they can be quite expensive. It is not necessary to address the "no such thing" red herring because REGs are used based on the norm for each device. What is being detected is differences in that norm and not differences in real randomness. What has been determined is that a random process is changed by the influence of intention. This can be written into the article as part of the explanation if you want.

As an aside, I think the actual influence is more on the average power than on the actual randomness. White noise would work as well, but they began being "scientific." The majority of the phenomena I study appear to depend on a psi influence of random process, so there is growing precedence that there may actually be a methodology to clinically study psi. This is an important point. For the most part, psi research has lacked a "psi meter", but the REG may be able to be used as one. That means that someone saying they are remote viewing could be tested with an REG meter. Such research is being conducted with positive results. This is pretty much original research and poses difficulty for Wikipedia, so I am not proposing it for inclusion.

Radin is sensitive to the "File Draw effect," and to my knowledge tries to report everything. Much of his recent work has been to determine what does and does not work with the REG meter. For instance, he placed on in the Monroe Institute and one in town. The Monroe Institute is a place in which considerable deep meditation occurs by many people working in concert. The REG at the center showed a convincing difference in randomness with the one in town. The indication is that there is not complete nonlocality of effect, but the many experiments to learn this probably produced null tests as well.

You said " a paper published in one of the 'wackier' journals, frankly" and then you went on about statistical analysis. We funded a study that will be reported as a "Failure to replicate" result. It depended on statistical analysis of the data which discarded what we refer to as Class A examples because they fell outside of the statistical norm. In fact, Class A examples are very rare and statistical analysis is an inappropriate tool for their evaluation.

This is why the article must be carefully written to only explain what the subject is and not to defend it ... or debunk it. Most of us are not qualified to address the legitimacy of the subject, but you have the power to keep this article in turmoil forever. As with that vote for name change, you can call up many people who will blindly defend the status quo or their religious beliefs and even have the article deleted. The pseudoskeptics pretty much have control of this wiki so it is your choice. Tom Butler (talk) 16:59, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

Just correcting one specific point about the comment, 'Oh, a REG, scientific-sounding as it is, seems to just be a normal computer generating random events'. This is not correct. A good REG (about $1400) shoots individual photons through a half-mirrored surface. It is a quantum-mechanical process as to whether an individual photon passes straight through or reflects off. Two individual detectors sense which route. To the level of quantum mechanics, it is truly random. For example, see There are cheaper implementations and some RNG devices rely on more macro processes, such as heat. --Mbilitatu (talk) 19:05, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh, and as to the comment, 'The pseudoskeptics pretty much have control of this wiki' ... well said. --Mbilitatu (talk) 19:07, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
I can understand why the sceptics would like to associate biofield therapy (legitimate science) with faith healing (pseudoscience) and now discredited equipment (more pseudoscience). Research into biological specimens in-vitro is looking for different characteristics compared to human trials. Going from using the technique on people (making people better but not knowing how), to in-vitro research: looking for how it works (decreased mineralisation of cancerous cells). A better alternative to Hodges and Scofields' (1995) paper is this article in J Orthop Res. 2008 Nov;26(11):1541-6 since it was designed to use modern analytic techniques on in-vitro specimens to provide statistically significant data. How much more effort is necessary to demonstrate that research into biofield therapy is considered acceptable by numerous journals? (citations are in the article)
Adrian-from-london (talk) 19:17, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Great article. If you cited that exact same abstract with the words "Tetrohydracholorinated-Ambiguen Injections" in place of "Therapeutic Touch", nobody would think twice about it. Odd. There are people who still think we faked the moon landing. Pseudoskeptics forget that the scientific frontier always forces us to let go of what we thought we knew to be true. --Mbilitatu (talk) 19:41, 20 October 2010 (UTC)
Adrian: Faith healing is not pseudoscience because it doesn't pretend to be scientific. I'd argue that all this waffle about "energy", REGs, and bargain-basement quantum theory is the very definition of pseudoscience. I'm happy to call spiritual healing "spiritual healing" accept that it is down to belief and be done with it. But all these attempts on your part to give it scientific credentials cheapen both "healing" itself and science. Mbilitatu: I'm sure that "better", "more random" REGs exist. But a better one was not used for that study, and the statistics are a joke. Tom: But I'm not a pseudoskeptic. I'm genuinely skeptical ;-) As are most people you tar with that rather daft brush. You say that "the article must be carefully written to only explain what the subject is and not to defend it ... or debunk it". I absolutely disagree. An article on the Ptolemaic system of the celestial cycles should not just present Ptolemy's view of the universe without discussion of the problems in his theory and the fact that a much simpler theory supplanted it. By writing to "only explain what the subject is" you promote it uncritically, raise it to the level of fact and do a disservice to all readers. The pendulum of WP can certainly swing too far. For example, I think that the Emotional Freedom Technique page needs a better explanation of what these "techniques" actually are. But not at the expense of critical discussion. Famousdog (talk) 09:39, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Waffle, bargain-basement, 'wackier' journals, and stupid cr*p are the kind of language I expect from a pseudoskeptic. "...accept that it is down to belief and be done with it" is exactly what I see from Wikipedia pseudoskeptic who edit based on the assumption that something is impossible and therefore cannot be. The company you keep...

Questioning the randomness of the REGs is a red herring I suspect you use to avoid the issues of what the devices may be detecting.

I am not proposing that the article be written to endorse the concept. That would obviously not be a stable article. But the balancing points need to be based on good references that address the point. Saying scientists think it is wacco because there is no physical science to support it is simply not a viable counterpoint. As with any subject, there needs to be an explanation of alternative views.

But here is my concern. Wikipedia is edited by shadow people who only need access to a computer to contribute. The rule of what is a credible source has been debated for years without functional resolution and it ultimately comes down to who has the most votes. The expression of just about any view can be supported somewhere somewhen in the literature, even "it is all the same" probably officially written in the dog catcher's gazette.

You may not be a pseudoskeptic, but there is a whole cadre of aggressive editors defending the status quo over at Rational Skepticism that will eventually show up to force this article into spiritual nonsense.Tom Butler (talk) 17:03, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Noting your accusations of bad faith editing, conspiracy, perjorative use of the non-term pseudoskeptic and your lack of knowledge regarding WP:MEDRS, I'm going to stop responding to this enormously long thread because clearly nobody else is reading it. I will hereby confine my activity on this page to editing the article, because arguing with somebody with a non-conventional approach to statistics, who thinks studies demonstrate things that they clearly don't, who is willing to disregard Occam's razor in order to explain uncomfortable data or who wants to spend $$$s on a device that could be replaced with a much cheaper, yet equally effective random event generator in order to give their studies undue scientific credibility is clearly a complete waste of all our valuable time. Best wishes, Famousdog (talk) 19:36, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Red herring is correct. Famousdog, you can not stick to your argument. You make a broad brush statement about REG's in general. I show you that is incorrect. You come back and say, "But a better one was not used for that study, and the statistics are a joke." and then a few paragraphs later scoff at "wants to spend $$$s on a device that could be replaced with a much cheaper, yet equally effective random event generator". You try to play both sides. Your arguments do not hang together. You love to complain about 'bad faith' but there's no one on this page with more disdain for the topic than you. --Mbilitatu (talk) 19:52, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Did someone mention "bad faith"? A basic spiritual healing article used to be on the esoteric energy page before being moved to the faith healing page. Once there legitimate (OK ambiguous) content was deleted with no mention of "showing that healing can be beneficial" and a live link was deleted. I subsequently inserted the same link and rewrote the text previously deleted as being ambiguous. Adrian-from-london (talk) 20:42, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Mbilitatu, Freud could have a field day with all your projection. Adrian, I assure you that link appeared to go nowhere - perhaps the AIM servers were down when I tried it. Who's assuming bad faith now? The rest of the edits are entirely legitimate and I stand by them. The text "showing that healing can be beneficial" is implicit from the preceding statement. Famousdog (talk) 20:56, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Famousdog ... Freud? That's all you can come up with. You could at least advance to Jung. Or, if you knew anything about projection, you would understand that all perception is projection. We are all projecting, always. --Mbilitatu (talk) 21:03, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Here ... I'll make it easy on you, since you can't even hurl insults well. My big flaw? It's arrogance in the extreme. You want to criticize me ... call me arrogant and you'll be on the mark. I'll take that shot. But my arguments are clear and logical and hang together and go deep and you haven't even begun to poke a hole in them with your shot-gun approach at attempting to discredit what you don't grasp. --Mbilitatu (talk) 21:10, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
Earlier Famousdog wrote "I'm happy to call spiritual healing "spiritual healing" accept that it is down to belief and be done with it. But all these attempts on your part to give it scientific credentials cheapen both "healing" itself and science. " I'm not the one attempting to give it scientific credentials - you have to blame the Cochrane Collaboration, Edzard Ernst and any other number of legitimate researchers cited in the article for that, even without citing Hodges and Scofield(1995). They are willing to spending time and money investigating the effects on people and biological specimens J Orthop Res. 2008 Nov;26(11):1541-6.. Adrian-from-london (talk) 21:24, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
One other thing, I've clarified this ambiguity here by rewriting the text instead of deleting it. Adrian-from-london (talk) 21:37, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

(undent) Yes, M, you are arrogant in the extreme and to some extent so am I, hence this argument. But your confidence in you power of argument is a little misplaced. Case in point: "all perception is projection". So no information comes into our heads from the outside world at all, eh? Secondly, my reference to Freud was ironic, cause in case you haven't noticed, that's pseudoscience too. (cue lengthy argument about psychoanalysis) Adrian: Ernst, Cochrane et al are investigating the efficacy of spiritual healing. Even if healing was "magic", if it had a genuine effect, this could be measured scientifically. I don't have any problem with that because while "biofields" could be unmeasurable by science, positive effects on health should be measurable (and the evidence shows a distinct trend: the more rigourous the study, the smaller the effects). Some editors, on the other hand, are trying to give the mechanism of healing an undeserved and dubious scientific credibility. That I object to. If you want to interpret subjects "feeling a bit wierd" while undergoing genuine healing as evidence for some effect, I can't argue with that. If you want to (as Tom does) interpret a failure to show an effect as resulting from psychic powers, I can't argue with that. If you want to (as Mbilitatu does) argue that the effect of biofields is detectable by a device the behaviour of which is assumed without further evidence to be caused by biofields (that logical enough for you, M? Sorry I don't live up to you impressive and rigorous standards), then I can't argue with that. Now I'm going to do what I said I'd do and give up talking to you all and concentrate on the article. Or better yet, do some real science. Famousdog (talk) 09:17, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

I deleted the "feeling a bit weird" bit a while back so that comment's irrelevant, and based on your edit summary [5] I added "on in vitro specimens".
I could work on another (completely unrelated) article on Wikipedia, but you know what, I'll save myself the aggravation.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 23:46, 22 October 2010 (UTC)
'So no information comes into our heads from the outside world at all, eh?' I knew that you didn't have a clue about my field, but I thought you might have one about your own. All perception is projection. This does not imply no information comes in. Let's take a physical analog, something simple, so maybe you can see. Let's take vision. We think we see a red apple. But color "red" as we perceive it is ambiguous. First, there are different frequency combinations that give rise to the exact same "color" in our 3-to-4-D down-projected color space. Then there's color constancy, the brain's re-mapping of that color so that red looks red at noon and sunset. Then there's the fact that the apple is mostly empty space, sub-atomic quantum potential of force interacting with other potential, not at all as solid as it appears. Then our eyes take the jumble of light coming into our eyes, do essentially a Fourier transform on it in order to focus the image on two separate retinas which our brain resolves into an internal image in our mind. Read "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" where she emphasizes how most people and beginning artists draw what they THINK they see, not what is. So, in this very simple situation ... an apple ... there is something out there, but what we perceive is a highly processed, simplified approximation to reality. And that's just an apple. If you can not fathom that this pattern of simplification and down-projection continues, you do not know your own proclaimed field. --Mbilitatu (talk) 18:39, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Let's play Karnak Predicts. So far in 3 different situations the following happens. (a) You make an incorrect statement, (b) I and/or others shred your statement with clear facts and then (c) you rebut by shifting the topic and making another incorrect statement. Let's review, shall we: (a1) No evidence for acupuncture (b1) evidence provided (c1/a2) REG's are just computer programs (b2) quantum REG (c2/a3) Freud and projection implies no external info (b3) projection is internal perception of external info. Now, we await the wall-sliding, shot-gun change in topic. How about, just once, you actually try to defend your previous statement, which of course, is indefensible. --Mbilitatu (talk) 19:02, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
By the way ... I've requested a vanish. Good luck to you who carry the bright torch with more wiki-fortitude than I have. This is not a good venue for me. --Mbilitatu (talk) 19:21, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
You're absolutely right Mbilitatu, nobody knows anything about anything except you, who are clearly in possession of extraordinary insight and intelligence. It must be f***ing amazing living inside your head. I can only imagine the delights contained therein. I am unceasingly impressed by your ability to "shred" my arguments with your flawless logic and encycopaedic knowledge of science and claptrap. Famousdog (talk) 08:52, 27 October 2010 (UTC)
Oh, it would appear that Mbilitatu has thown his toys out of the pram in a rather childish display of last-wordism. I guess he must have been so convinced of his own superior skills of argument that he decided not to bother defending his viewpoint. I, on the other hand, will not be vanishing anytime soon. Famousdog (talk) 09:07, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Theories section[edit]

Don't have any problem with this section being here, but it should be clear that these are speculative theories that have not, as far as I am aware, been furnished with supporting evidence (at least the citations don't include any evidence), the jargon needs cleaned up (you can't just wave your hands and say "oh, its quantum entanglement" and walk off...) and it should be pointed out that these interpretations of quantum theory are unorthodox at best. Famousdog (talk) 10:37, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

I've deleted the Hyland stuff - I'll try and get a copy of the paper and write something based on that rather than the published abstract. Credit to Leder and the Journal for risking being called nutters by writing about this protoscience.

I wasn't planning to "wave your hands and say "oh, its quantum entanglement" and walk off..." - getting a copy of the paper is what I have in mind, whatever people hope I'd do.

Adrian-from-london (talk) 22:36, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

Discuss Contact healing[edit]

User: Enric Naval, Your reference: Ernst E. (Nov 2006), "Spiritual healing: more than meets the eye", J Pain Symptom Manage. 32 (5): 393-5, PMID 17085260 is a letter to the editor and not a peer reviewed article. See

Further, if you read his commentary here you will see that the author, Ernst E., refers to all of this as faith healing and spiritual healing and is highly dissatisfied with any form of alternative healing practice. He may have a good point, but he alone is just a ranting skeptic accusing everyone of virtually everyone outside of the mainstream as "Proponents of Absurd Claims".

Please find a better reference. Tom Butler (talk) 17:47, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

About problems with studies, how about this editorial in Support care cancer[6]. It's a version of the letter.
About reviews finding no evidence, he coauthored two reviews in 2000[7] and 2003[8].
Our article on Edzard Ernst doesn't suggest a "ranting skeptic". --Enric Naval (talk) 19:45, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
I think that inclusion of the information would add a balance to the article. My concern was that it was used in place of material. I personally would not use letters to the editor, commentary or opinion pieces as reference, even from a peer reviewed journal because they are vetted opinions. In my studies, anything older than around ten years is simply out of date. The first 2000 (up to 1999) study was pretty conclusive that some effect indicated need for further study. It is illogical for a subsequent 2003 (200-2002) study to reverse the decision. It sounds like selective reporting.
Perhaps it would be appropriate in the Criticism section. That needs more material.
I used "rant" because the man uses derogatory terminology to dismiss people with contrary views. That is the first indicator of a debunker. Tom Butler (talk) 21:02, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
*I hadn't noticed that the 2000 review was already in the article* What I find selective is that this article has the 2000 somewhat-positive review but not the 2003 negative follow-up. How did that happen :-/ It should appear at the end of the paragraph where the 2000 review is mentioned (about being illogical, the 2003 review says "Since the publication of our previous systematic review in 2000, several rigorous new studies have emerged. Collectively they shift the weight of the evidence against the notion that distant healing is more than a placebo.") --Enric Naval (talk) 21:37, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

I think you have it right. If you look at the literature you will see that there is a growing interest in proper study of this subject. I do not know where the line should be drawn between too old and current study. Older studies are based on older understanding and technique. There is hardly any effort to prove biofield therapy will heal the blind or cure cancer so much as to prove that it has some beneficial effects. I think that is the point of this article.

The subject does have problems and those need to be clearly stated, so I would continue if I were you. It is good to have other editors.

Oh, and don't let ScienceApologist confue the issue. He is a devout protectector of the status quo.Tom Butler (talk) 22:05, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

I've just read the talk page item above associated with "User: Enric Naval, Your reference: Ernst E. (Nov 2006), "Spiritual healing: more than meets the eye", J Pain Symptom Manage. 32 (5): 393-5, PMID 17085260 is a letter to the editor and not a peer reviewed article. See"
The author of the letter clearly fails to distinguish faith healing religion from spiritual healing - secular. I suggest a highly biased sceptic - why mention "creationism" which is a theological term? Based on those choice of words the author of the letter used is that an appropriate article to be cited in Wikipedia? I think not.
In reply to Enric Naval "but not the 2003 negative follow-up. How did that happen :-/ " - that's due to having access as an individual rather than professional research experience and an institutional subscription to research paper download services (athens). I've had no intention of skewing results: that's why I've used the Cochrane Collobration reviews of trials to provide a balanced review of the studies - I don't think they're as incompetent as "Ernst E. (Nov 2006)" seems to suggest.
Tom, re: your comment about "(difference between) too old and current study" - although there may be concerns with Hodges&Scofield(1995) I think it's still worth including given the context and methodology used.
In regard to what's on the user page of ScienceApologist, I think material substantiated with reliable sources WP:RS and WP:MEDRS deserves to be included even where (like biofield therapy) it's relatively new to mainstream science.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 00:32, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Publication date is never an appropriate reason to exclude material. If new evidence has come to light between 2000 and 2007 which resulted in the same authors coming to different conclusions, then it is an easy enough matter to cite both reviews and explain the different conclusions. Tom, I think your attempts to smear one of the premier researchers in the field of CAM offensive, misguided and in extreme bad faith. Ernst is a hugely respected academic who has put his career prospects on the line by carefully and rigorously studying something that many other people have walked away from. In addition, please don't insult other editors or assume bad faith. Adrian, you have a strange definition of "secular"... Famousdog (talk) 12:06, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

I would not consider the two articles "authored" by Ernst as intended in the usual since of new material. It is meta analysis, and as such, is a review of other author's work. For that reason, the time span of work considered in the analysis is an important factor. At best, meta analysis is a second hand look at research--twice removed from original data analysis and protocol design. The down side for me is that a person can selectively examine research just as you have accused others.
I am not surprised that you are offended at my characterization of the man, since I have characterized you much the same way and for the same reasons. I do not know him, but he has referred to people who study frontier subjects in derogatory ways under cover of his academic license. The is a clear warning to me that he is biased and his evaluating of second-hand data will likely be biased in the same way.
As far as I know, Wikipedia does not provide for the exclusion of his work based on his bias so my opinion on the matter does not really count except that there is a problem with the range of years he selected. If he inappropriately biased his report, then other researchers will probably have corrected that in subsequent reports, so let us see what falls out of the literature. After all, his second study is based on data nearly a decade old. Tom Butler (talk) 17:24, 19 November 2010 (UTC)
First, Famousdog - re: your comment "Adrian, you have a strange definition of "secular"..."
I defend my assertion that biofield therapy is completely unrelated to faith healing, please don't try to bring up previous discussion on the difference between these on the faith healing page - save such comments for people you know personally rather than hiding behind a wikipedia alias.
2nd comment - any author is entitled to retract previous research, Famousdog, but your comment "(Edzard Ernst) one of the premier researchers in the field of CAM offensive, misguided and in extreme bad faith" suggesting that when Edzard previously published research he also participated in possible (bad science) raises significant concerns about his motives. Adrian-from-london (talk) 19:00, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

Edzard Ernst is a Professor of CAM in a respectable University in the UK. He collates research and conducts reviews of research. He is an eminently reliable source. Attempts to marginalise him from CAM articles as an unreliable extremist are probably doomed to failure. CAM proponents would do better to spend their time conducting more research.Fainites barleyscribs 17:26, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

The issue is not that Ernst is respected. I am responding to his choice of terms for things he does not agree with. On his meta analysis, the early studies included all sorts of healing techniques which includes faith healing. I find it insulting.
Current trends in energy healing research is focusing more on intentionality, deep meditation and visualization as essential ingredients for effective results. Praying for a person seldom takes in all of these, and as a Reiki master, I can assure you that being one does not assure an understanding of these techniques. The studies should be reported in the article, but at some point, it wil be appropriate to show that early studies did include all of the faith-based stuff, as well.
The change in conclusion between a larger but older sample of studies and a slightly newer and smaller sample is problematic if you read the first page of the second report that is available as a review here shows that he was under fire from peers for bothering with the study. Did he capitulate?
You have to admit that he made a 180 degree turn between the studies. Would he make another 180 if he did the work today? Tom Butler (talk) 20:06, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Reviewing the article outline, I'll comment that:
I've made a clear distinction between contact and distant healing in this article to ensure that readers are aware of the different methodologies involved and I haven't included intercessory prayer (how do you identify who's good at (healing by prayer)?
His articles' final paragraph (absence of research / results) contradicts what I've found -[predatory] this] (photographs in figure 3) for example, or "unusual experiences" in this
Adrian-from-london (talk) 20:38, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
I've just had a look at (first page of the second report that is available as a review here). In the introduction there is "the word 'distant healing' is used here as an umbrella term" - from that point on has he used a subtly different definition of the term taken to include all forms of healing? This article is beginning to look like a piece of pseudo-journalism. Adrian-from-london (talk) 21:11, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Yes, Tom. Clearly Edzard Ernst should be ignored because he is "biased". While we should all listen to you because you are a paragon of objectivity. (Thanks for your support on this, Fainites) Ernst has not made a "180 degree turn" between studies. It is the overly-positive interpretation of his earlier papers (which on the whole are pretty negative) by some editors that simply gives that impression. He's gone from saying "this is probably rubbish, but merits investigation" to "this is rubbish and now we've investigated further, its still rubbish". Maybe an 18 degree turn, but not 180. Adrian, I am still waiting for your definition of "secular" - and your attempts to smear a respected academic, while citing bullsh*t written by Gary Schwartz are a tad disingenuous ;-) Famousdog (talk) 21:35, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

To describe a change from a cautious statement about a preliminary analysis of data to a firm statement following a more in depth analysis as an "180 degree turn" is not a sustainable viewpoint. The paper is published specifically to review the new research - described as "rigorous trials". Fainites barleyscribs 22:30, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Famousdog - my definition of "secular" as in spiritual healing specifically excludes reference to or use of faith healing. I'm not attempting to "smear (an academic)", in Ernsts' article the introduction has the phrase "the word 'distant healing' is used here as an umbrella term". From that point on he seems to have used a bizarre definition of the term "distant healing" within which he chose to include Therapeutic Touch, and faith healing in a secular context.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 23:42, 20 November 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't seem odd to me that he includes faith healing and therapeutic touch (which doesn't involve any physical touching) as distance healing. But anyway - even if a distinction is made between close distance and long distance - he's saying there's no evidence of efficacy beyond placebo for any of them. Fainites barleyscribs 21:31, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

That takes us back to Power's statement: ["it's all "faith healing" to the layman." In fact, there is a substantial difference. Psychical research today is increasingly focused on how intentionality is involved in healing. If you pay close attention to the evolution of the literature, you may notice that the emphasis is moving from using some college kid being paid to sit and stare during an experiment to the practice of using a person who has been trained in the energy healing arts.

I am particularly sensitive to this because "Failure to replicate" experiments in my field were conducted using college kids rather than qualified practitioners. That is a very effective way of debunking something while seeming to give it an honest try.

As I am seeing the evolution in research, a proper protocol requires the practitioner (sender) to be a trained healer. That is, to know how to enter into a meditative state, to have good visualization skills and to be able to focus attention for a prolonged period of time ... with compassion. Those are the skills a good practitioner has, while the average religious person praying for a loved one cannot be expected to have such training. A survey of studies that includes requirement for skilled practitioners in the protocol will produce a biased result. It is not much different than if you wrote a report about the economics of rebuilding car engines verses buying a new car and do not consider if the mechanic is trained or a shade tree one like me.

What I have been able to read of Ernst's reports is that he does not make a distinction between modalities of healing. What he is saying seems to be that he put them all in the same pile, averaged them and found no significant results; shad tree healers along with factory trained ones. That is a clever way of biasing results. Tom Butler (talk) 23:31, 21 November 2010 (UTC)

Adrian, Secularism is the separation of the institutions of state from those of religion, but it also reflects a wider rejection of superstition - i.e a belief in a non-measureable, physiologically and physically implausible healing energy. It seems to me that faith healing is just spiritual healing that has been around for longer, had a few sacred texts written about it and inspired at least one martyr.
Tom, what are you talking about? The Abbot et al. study, for example, compared "genuine" healers to actors mimicing their movements and failed to find a meaningful difference. No "college kids" involved there. Also, your oversimplification of the methodology of a systematic review needs stricken from the record. Its a gross misrepresentation of what Ernst has done. Famousdog (talk) 11:12, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
The last thing Ernst is is just a debunker. His whole raison d'etre is to collate and analyse what evidence there is in relation to Cam therapies. He is very clear about what is supported by evidence, what is specifically unsupported and what is essentially unexamined. Fainites barleyscribs 14:40, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
This is getting pretty funny. Examine this article here and see what Ernst says about data dredging with reference * as support. The read reference 8 here. I see no reference to data dredging. Are the other references equally misleading?
The first problem is that this is little more than a Op-ed articles and have not been vetted. On that subject, the Spiritual healing: more than meets the eye article is a letter to the editor and is also not vetted. It is not an acceptable source for the opening statement and it as not a peer-reviewed opinion should be clear noted where it is used.
I do not understand why you keep using Ernst as a reference. Are there no others writing in peer-reviewed articles to balance the subject? I respect informed decent, but as I see it, he has changed his mind after publishing that first study and then being beat up by his peers. Since then, I suspect he has not found a positive thing to say about energy healing while I know there have been many studies showing positive results. Tom Butler (talk) 18:20, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Tom, the "data dredging" part is in page 5[9]. Our article Elisabeth_Targ#Research_on_healing_prayer puts the data dredging in context. Please don't perform your own original research to try to..., eh..., hum..., to try to debunk sources. --Enric Naval (talk) 21:27, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Enric! I'd just about reached that page. As for letters to the editor not being "vetted", what does that mean? We are supposed to using secondary sources in preference to primary sources. A published article summing up systematic reviews by Ernst is a perfectly good secondary source. As for "changing his mind", I would expect a scientist to change his mind in accordance with the evidence. Surely an essential part of scientific thinking. What would you expect Ernst to do? Ignore the more recent and more rigorous studies and reviews? Fainites barleyscribs 21:37, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

I stand corrected. I have to admit that I began skimming when I hit "The usual wackos - " on page two. Obviously, if the results were based on creative data interpretation, then that should be reported to the public. I would feel better if I read it in one of the journals rather than Wired. I will attempt to get a read from some of Elisabeth's friends.

I don't know about my performing my own original research Enric. Whenever the tone of an article is so adamantly negative I feel it is important to look into the references. I cannot withdraw my view that Ernst is one sided about the subject. There are studies which are supportive of some action at a distance directed by intention. If any survey such as the A major scandal in the history of science article includes only the ugly and none of the good and bad, then it is difficult not to think of the author as biased. Tom Butler (talk) 23:50, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

Fair enough. However, I don't think Ernst can be argued to be one-sided when he reported the original positive research. Fainites barleyscribs 00:05, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Regarding a previous comment: "Adrian, Secularism is the separation of the institutions of state from those of religion, but it also reflects a wider rejection of superstition - i.e a belief in a non-measureable, physiologically and physically implausible healing energy. It seems to me that faith healing is just spiritual healing that has been around for longer, had a few sacred", if those of you idolising Edzard Ernst can drag yourselves away for a moment to read the "Biofield research" section in the article, and this (look for the section "measuring ELF magnetic fields" on page 6) - sorry to disappoint those expecting some mystical 11-dimensional inverted quantum subspace - its just a 1Hz electromagnetic field.
If you read the abstract of Ernsts' article it's all about distance healing, and no (pseudo-journalism) about "distance healing is used as an umbrella term for ... Therapeutic Touch" - if he's as good as advocates say, he'd know better than to use "umbrella terms" either in mainstream or the scientific press? Ernst has been one-sided about his debate, extrapolating doubts specifically about distant healing into a sceptics attempt to portray all forms of healing as pseudoscience.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 02:34, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
For crying out loud.... alt-med types are the first to say that scientists and skeptics aren't open-minded. Yet when Ernst starts off open-minded (he used to be a CAM practitioner and has received training in acupuncture, autogenic training, herbalism, homoeopathy, massage therapy and spinal manipulation, FFS), then finds that the data don't support CAM, aforementioned alt-med types criticise him for changing his mind. Its laughable, absolutely poke-me-in-the-eye-and-call-me-a-skeptic laughable.
Adrian, personally I simply do not trust "research" carried out by people (Oschman, Gary Schwartz) who promote the ideas of energy medicine in non-peer-reviewed books, DVDs and workshops and who self-publish reports (like the one you reference and which I will remove forthwith as WP:SPS) on their website because they can't find a journal to publish it, or who only publish in minor journals on whose editorial board they serve (Oschman). You may have noticed that I left that research alone when I removed several other unscientific studies you cited from the "scientific investigations" section. I did that because I was being "open-minded" and hadn't assessed them yet. The Schwartz and Oschman stuff is a joke and has to go. The other stuff I will get round to. You also haven't answered my question about your difinition of secularism. Finally... "pseudo-journalism"??? What the hell are you talking about now?! Ernst's use of "umbrella terms" is perfectly acceptable when said terms refer to a whole class of nonsense that has been given different names in order to cloud the central issue that none of it works. If somebody proves (as Emily Rosa did) that TT practitioners can't do what they claim they can, that's okay, we'll just re-brand as "biofield healers." Famousdog (talk) 11:57, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Dog, your statement "The other stuff I will get round to" is just simple arrogance. The talk page is for discussing the reasonableness of what is to be in the article. Please discuss and do not make unilateral changes as you have and apparently intend. You obviously know they are controversial changes and seem to be made just to make a pint.

I agree that Gary's "Summary Report" is self-published intended to be a summary and not a report in itself. As I read it, the report was supported by an organization for which he was offering an opinion. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, indicates it is peer reviewed. Journal of Scientific Exploration is as well. Those two references should be usable. I could not find a report on the findings of NCCAM’s “Think Tank Working Group Meeting on Biofield Energy Medicine” except for a Tribe report here. That lists the recommendations from the gathering.

As to the RS of the references, the question should be whether they are valid publications and bring a balanced view to the article. There is little sense in going off on a publication war. Tom Butler (talk) 19:09, 23 November 2010 (UTC)

Famousdog, regarding your comment "to go. The other stuff I will get round to. You also haven't answered my question about your difinition of secularism. Finally... "pseudo-" - I've already given my definition of what secular means in relation to spiritual healing.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 19:43, 23 November 2010 (UTC)
Tom: By "get around to", I simply meant "get around to reading and contemplating in due course." How is that "pure arrogance"? Do you not want me to take the time to read the material that Adrian has posted? You are being totally paranoid now and assume that I'm just editing out of bad faith. I'm not. There are genuine problems with a lot of the material here, but I don't want to remove stuff before I've looked at it!
Adrian: I've started a new discussion (below) on the topic of secularism. Famousdog (talk) 12:08, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Healing arts are just complicated[edit]

This is a little off-subject but still an interesting read:Reckless Medicine by Jeanne Lenzer and Shannon Brownlee in the current issue of the science journal Discover. Is it just that health care of any kind is a very difficult subject to properly study? Tom Butler (talk) 00:31, 23 November 2010 (UTC)


I started looking through this article. It's a mess. Not only are uncritical statements of nonsense from pseudophysics being coatracked in, there are inappropriate rejoinders to criticisms and a distinct lack of objectivity. I tagged the article and started to deal with some of the worst problems.

I was amazed that biofield energy was being shown to be an "electromagnetic frequency" and "chaos theory" was said to explain how distance healing works.


ScienceApologist (talk) 06:00, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Can opened. Worms everywhere. Cat firmly amongst pigeons. Famousdog (talk) 12:18, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I like your "wikifying" the article SA, but the edits go way too far. There is absolutely no reason to use the "pseudo-" prefix unless you are trying to discredit the subject. The term, "quantum mysticism" was probably coined by Randi and is a deliberately derogatory characterization. Why is it that you come carrying worms for Dog rather than constructive input. Tom Butler (talk) 17:50, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
The more common term is quantum flapdoodle which was coined by Murray Gell-Mann. Interestingly, there are some cases where legitimate ideas were spawned out of such nonsensical handwaving including a fascinating cross-pollination toward quantum computing. [10] However, this fact is irrelevant to the point at hand. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:04, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I didn't know that. A childhood friend of mine has apparently taken up quantum computing and is publishing papers on it ... he was always the "brain" amongst us. Tom Butler (talk) 1:11 pm, Today (UTC−5)
You should ask him if he got interested in it because of The Tao of Physics or the 'The Dancing Wu Li Masters leading to exploring David Bohm's ideas. When you have an hour free, listen to the lecture I posted, Tom. I think you'll really enjoy it. (It was recommended by Jack Sarfatti for inclusion on his page. I'm still trying to figure out how best to describe the ins-and-outs of this peculiar story from the history of science.) ScienceApologist (talk) 18:19, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Is "spiritual healing" secular?[edit]

Starting a new section for this discussion.

Adrian, trawling through the above mammoth discussion in order to find the point where you have "already given" your definition of secular, I see several points where you seem to be edging towards something substantive only to go ga-ga at the last minute. At first you say "my definition of "secular" as in spiritual healing specifically excludes reference to or use of faith healing." Which is like saying "my definition of "fish" as in orangutan specifically excludes reference to or use of chimpanzee." The term secular doesn't seem a sensible descriptor of either faith or spiritual healing in the same way that "fish" is not a sensible term to use when talking about primates.

Then you have a go at "those of you idolising Edzard Ernst" and claim that biofields are "just a 1Hz electromagnetic field" followed by an attack on me for "hiding behind a wikipedia alias" and start banging on about Edzard Ernst using "umbrella terms". No help there.

You say you won't repeat "my assertion that biofield therapy is completely unrelated to faith healing" and refer me to the discussion on the faith healing talk page (Talk:Faith_healing#Requested_move). But in that discussion you also fail to explain how spiritual healing is secular and faith healing isn't secular. You say (I quote): "the word faith can be used in both a religious and a secular basis and that's what seems to be happening here. As you say Famousdog, healers...have to have (secular?) "faith" or confidence in their ability. For readers there is the confusing association with (religious) faith as in faith healing." I understand that the term "faith" can mean faith in superstition or a "secular" faith in your own abilities, but most secularists would include spiritual and faith healing in the former category - as examples of faith in something based on superstition. Having "secular" faith that you can pull off a roundhouse kick is not the same as having faith that you can channel healing energy.

The fact that in the above discussion you have referred to "my definition" and "my assertion", suggests that your definition of "secular" is simply your own. A definition in which you can choose (or not choose) to include spiritual healing pretty much on a whim. Yes? Famousdog (talk) 12:02, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

I do see these two subjects (faith healing and biofield energy healing) as being separate things from the perspective of the practitioners. "Secular vs. religious" doesn't really cut it. Let me explain:
  1. Faith healers believe that there is a divine action which is a healing power. They believe they are acting as a conduit for this.
  2. Energy-field believers think that there is a putative energy source which can be manipulated through the psychic, pseudoscientific, or reiki techniques. These people believe that they are tapping into a repeatable and reproducible aspect of the universe.
Faith healers don't think that their results are reproducible. Miracles happen explicitly in defiance of reproducibility. God works in mysterious ways and all that. Some, such as Benny Hinn even go as far as to contend that they trust so fully in God that they cannot say for certain what is going on during a healing service: they are only passing on what the Holy Spirit is telling them.
The alt med bioenergy types in contrast are explicitly pseudoscientific in their approach.
ScienceApologist (talk) 17:42, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Obviously "pseudoscientific" is a characterization that would not be acceptable here, nor is it necessary.
Your other observations are the bases for wanting to see them treated separately. One is intentionally asking for divine help. The other is applied with the expectation of some human capability. Faith healing requires some form of greater reality in which survived personalities exist along side gods, doctors and healers--people who care about us. Energy healing is more of a human potential thing that only requires the existence of an as yet undefined physical energy.
The problem is that both camps sometimes use the wrong term to characterize what they are trying to do. The title of this article is intended too be clear that the human potential version is intended. I agree though that it is difficult to explain what is reliably known. There are proponents and detractors on both sides of the question who seem willing to say anything to win their point. There is also good research that suggests some of the theory is sound. I think the trick is to limit the scope of what that good research is able to address. It may be unreasonable to claim distant healing can cure cancer, but it may be reasonable to say that there is some notable effect of distant intentionality, even if it is just feeling better. Tom Butler (talk) 18:07, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm just using "pseudoscience" as a way to offer distinguishing features, not as a means to disparage. Biofield enthusiasts embrace scientific thinking while faith healers tend not to, is all I was trying to say. I'm not sure that faith healers believe that ghosts help them, but some might. In any case, I totally agree with your point about the stated intentions of the two groups being different. Faith healing is a lot older a trick than the subject of this article. I'm wondering, however, whether a redirect to energy healing article may be appropriate. Thoughts? ScienceApologist (talk) 18:12, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Okay. Energy healer as a title was considered. I am not sure about they dynamic of how we got to biofield. Biofield is antiseptic and seems to be where the academic thinking is taking the research. Whether or not it can be used in any therapy is still a question, but that is the question most research seems to be asking. I am not personally stuck with Biofield and would yield to Adrian. The main thing is to avoid confusion with faith-based thinking. Tom Butler (talk) 18:22, 24 November 2010 (UTC)

Well, the redirect for "energy healing" currently is to energy medicine which seems to defy your understanding that there is a pure academic/non-practical side to these discussions (independent of vitalism or energy (esotericism), I presume). I'd be interested in understanding why you think that these bioenergy fields have components that are independent of therapies. Even the "academic" sources cited here seem to be focused on explanations for alternative medicines rather than being, say, foundational works trying to establish a new paradigmatic explanation for psi, for example. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:27, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
First, please try to avoid using the term "spiritual healing" - the word "biofield" was suggested by Tom as a (scientific) term being adopted by researchers. When I submitted the article for review, user SPhilbrick suggested "Biofield energy healing" which I accepted. I prefer to keep this article separate from the existing (generic) energy healing / energy medicine / (pseudoscientific machines) connotations which explains the separation between these. I also had no plans for introducing parapsychology hence the lack of any psi information - my original intention being that the article keep just to the biofield energy healing stuff. Even then articles which offer a more comprehensive discussion of biofield therapy as a specific subject can get tagged as wp:sps even when subsequently cited in subject reviews published in mainstream literature. Adrian-from-london (talk) 21:45, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Can you clarify exactly how this subject is separate from other subjects in energy medicine? Or, alternatively, can you point to energy medicines which are not "biofield energy healing"? ScienceApologist (talk) 21:51, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
This article was initially written based on trying to get spiritual healing documented as a separate subject from faith healing, and is based on that article. It's not, and never has been, an attempt to POV-fork any energy medicine stuff. The section varities of energy medicine provides good reason to regard the energy medicine page as a generic overview.
A comment from one of your associates on the "fringe theories" (pseudoscience) noticeboard is "Apparently he didn't like the fact that the existing article treats pseudoscience as pseudoscience so he decided to write one of his own. --Steven J. Anderson" - which is complete nonsense. The Cochrane reviews of contact healing clinical trials confirm that healing isn't pseudoscience, regardless of whatever people would have us believe. Αnother comment there is:
'It's an idea floating on the talk page right now. I think that "energy medicine" (as defined by, say, NCCAM) may actually be broader than the particular subject this article is focusing on. But I cannot confirm that suspicion. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:57, 24 November 2010 (UTC)'
The NCCAM can say what they want about energy medicine - I've not gone beyond what they may regard as "spiritual healing", and yes, the NCCAM definition of energy medicine is broader than this article - the nearest they've got is "healing touch". Their website page includes magnet and light therapy as energy medicine.
You can still see bits left over from when this article was an exact copy of the faith healing article. Adrian-from-london (talk) 23:04, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
I understand your concerns about faith healing, but can you explain how this article should be different from energy medicine? ScienceApologist (talk) 04:54, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
If I understand your question correctly, you are asking why this article should not be merged into energy medicine?
In this article I've tried to explain biofield therapy without any discussion of Reiki, 'energy medicine' devices, general reference to NCCAM classifications or comparison of veritable / putative energies. If the energy medicine article was renamed to "Introduction to energy medicine" then it might be easier to see how the energy medicine page relates to all of the items listed in the "energy therapy" infobox. That page includes a reference to acupuncture, believed to work by an interaction between specific points on the body and meridians (the natural flow of some sort of energy as part of the bodys normal functioning) wheras biofield therapy is believed to work specifically by the interaction of at least two people based on some intention that a sick person is healed.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 08:44, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
But Adrian, this is preceisely the problem. You want this page to be separate from faith healing, You want this page to not mention Reiki, You want this page to not be merged with energy medicine, You think that associating this material with already discredited healing devices would be a "bad thing" ... You see where I'm going with this? Look at WP:OWN, please. Wikipedia is not about You. I know exactly what you and Tom will say in response, but I (and other editors, I suspect) simply don't see the ever finer and finer gradations of meaning that separate biofields from reiki from other energy therapies from TT, from EFT, from TFT and all the million-and-one other labels for the same thing. Whenever anybody (like Emily Rosa) demonstrates that "healers" are, frankly, full of sh*t, they simply re-brand and WP is expected to have another page with another title and another discussion exactly like this. Enough would seem to be enough. The whole "biofield" thing also took me entirely by surprise as my reaction on the faith healing talk page will recount. I agree that energy medicine as currently written is sort of a 'generic overview', so I recommend moving this to energy healing, including mention of its incestous relationship with all the other energy therapies and going from there. "Biofield" is not common outside of alt-med circles so should remain a redirct. Famousdog (talk) 11:17, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

FD, the issue of ownership is a red herring. Adrian has a vision of what he is trying to do. It is not his fault that you do not understand the distinction.. Even so, I have not seen much out of you but edits to make a point. As you pointed out, you think it is all faith healing, so which is it: faith healing or energy healing? There is nothing stopping you from making legitimate edits.

A good example of how the term, "energy medicine" is use in here. The comment in the introduction of the Wikipedia article for Energy medicine "Some claims of those purveying 'energy medicine' devices are known to be fraudulent" tells the rest of the story.

What is considered energy medicine is a mixed bag of devices such as magnetic bracelets and radionic machines, and practices or treatments intended to mobilize body energies thought to naturally occur. I can talk about some of these from experience, and I am confident that parapsychologists and psychical researchers would shy away from associating their studies with them.

Biofield research has evolved out of the study of what causes changes in REG randomness (local and at a distance and not just touching and near contact). The direction of that study is toward the hypothesis that a person's focused intention is the operative influence in changes in REG randomness. Studies have included remote viewing and healing. As I understand the work, it is focused on healing because the effects are measurable.

The agent of influence is hypothesized to be an energetic field associated somehow with living organisms. From my study, some of the models depending on quantum theory or some etheric influence are interesting but none are dominant and calling it a "biofield" is probably as far as that speculation should go at this time. An example of this influence as told to me by Radin is a commonly conducted experiment in which an REG is placed near a meditating group and a second in a nearby town. The result is usually a detected decrease in randomness near the group and no change (or even increase) in the town. Two similar studies are [[ - this is unlikely to be accepted as a reliable source.] here] and here.

There are also recent reports of the detection of changes in magnetic field near the target person in distant healing studies such as: Anomalous magnetic field activity during a bioenergy healing experiment, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Fall 2010.

The reason I pointed out to Adrian the current trend toward biofield research is specifically because of the results of the faith healing-spiritual healing discussion. If such knowledgeable editors are confused, then certainly the casual reader will be confused by the difference. It seemed that the main point was that you all saw faith healing and spiritual healing as the same, so perhaps it is better to follow the scientist's lead and call it what they are calling it. In that way, we might avoid having this discussion every few months.

Okay, so that is the logic. You all can take it as you wish. I have work to do. And Adrian, after they get through making the article appear to be about fringe pseudoscience, my offer still stands. I can give you at least as many page views. Tom Butler (talk) 18:33, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

Famousdog, I don't have any intention of "owning" this article, as you put it. It's just that I've spent more time editing it than you and I've tried to ensure that my contributions are constructive. You have edited the article in the past, example1, example2 being two of them. Your extremely derogatory comment above "including mention of its incestous relationship with all the other energy therapies" in comparing Acupuncture vs. Spiritual Healing says it all - utter contempt instead of any genuine desire to contribute. You've formally proposed a page merge in the past - you can't seem to accept that these articles deserve to remain separate since they serve different purposes. You cite the Emily Rosa experiment - Therapeutic Touch practicioners trying to detect another persons aura - of scientific value but also a nice circus sideshow - and completely unrelated to Reiki or Spiritual healing. I can understand your resentment at not being able to equate this articles title "biofield energy healing" with Reiki, qigong, "faith healing" and "pseudoscience", hence the "incestous relationship" comment above. Adrian-from-london (talk) 22:31, 25 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Tom, whenever I open my mouth its to spew red herrings and I never make any constructive edits and I don't understand the topic so shouldn't talk about it ... except according to the next discussion (below) the people who are making supposedly intelligent contributions (unlike my evil non-constructive edits) don't understand the subject matter of this article either ... Famousdog (talk) 15:42, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
... and my "unconstructive" edits you highlight, Adrian, only show me trying to correct your petty last-wordism and educate you that science does not "prove" only disprove hypotheses. Famousdog (talk) 15:46, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Removal of types of therapy[edit]

This source describes TT as a biofield energy therapy. This source listed Reiki, therapeutic touch, and healing touch as biofield therapies. On what basis are you removing these sources? Fainites barleyscribs 00:27, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Based on recent comments on the talk page I removed the references to Reiki etc. - I take your point about the sources and have reverted the edit to get them back. I'll rewrite the text to try to explain that while Reiki is one form of biofield therapy, this article is about spiritual healing which is a different type.
Adrian-from-london (talk) 01:56, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
I've done the edit and hopefully it can direct people to more appropriate pages. Adrian-from-london (talk) 02:14, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
The problem is - the Cochrane material refers to Touch therapies (Healing Touch (HT), Therapeutic Touch (TT) and Reiki), so if you're saying it's different, where does that leave the Cochrane material in this article? Fainites barleyscribs 10:34, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Nail. On head. Well done, Fainites. Famousdog (talk) 15:35, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
Fainites, as you say the Cochrane material includes different types of therapies - on one hand it can possibly be regarded as an overview (the "plain language" summary) and illustrates that there's significant unpredictibility so it deserves to stay. Alternatively if the Reiki and TT content means it shouldn't be included then it has to go. I think it should stay as it provides some general background information. Adrian-from-london (talk) 02:14, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Then notable views that see these therapies as essentially the same should stay. If there are properley sourced views that explain any differences between the types then that can be explained in the body of the article but you can't just say they are based on different hypotheses as a fact if it's unsourced and not in accordance with mainstream thinking. The conceptual difference between faith as in intercession by a higher power, and energy as in utilising natural energies is obvious, if unproven. But otherwise, anything that claims to utilise or channel natural physical energies seems to be assessed collectively by the notable sources. For example TT practitioners claimed to be able to physically feel somebodies energy field. Having felt it they claimed they were then able to manipulate it. (Emily Rosa's experiment assessed whether they were in fact able to feel it in the first place).Fainites barleyscribs 11:16, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Then perhaps moving the references further on by a few words (as in "field[4]" and "ability[5]") would help clarify that there are different types - the NCCAM website cited states "facilitating the person's own healing response" for Reiki, and the American Cancer Society's page on TT mentions "direct human energy for healing purposes". Perhaps by "assessed collectively" you mean an external source specifically comparing these rather than a list here and relying on the reader comparing the different definitions (each individually supported by cited sources)? A distinction not made in the energy medicine article. One difficulty is that mainstream scientific thinking may not yet accept spiritual healing (as the article in The Times states) even where there is clinical trial evidence for some efficacy. Adrian-from-london (talk) 17:47, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Indeed mainstream scientific thinking may not yet accept spiritual healing. It's going to take a lot more sound research before that happens. All I'm saying is, if you want to say Reikki, TT or whatever are essentially different, you need decent sources that say so. Fainites barleyscribs 11:20, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
I found several decent sources that say that they are all biofield therapies, some also list Qi gong and therapeutic touch. Apparently even the NCCAM itself says so (page 130, University of Michigan Press, 2003) Elsevier Health Sciences, 2004(page 25, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007) (page 243, Springer, 2010). The first and fourth ones explicitly say that NCCAM classifies reiki as a biofield therapy. --Enric Naval (talk) 21:57, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
Well done Enric. By the way - Adrian-from-London has retired and is considering Right to Vanish. Do you think it matters whether Biofield energy healing redirects to Spiritual healing or vice versa? Or should it be merged with Energy medicine as SA suggests below? Fainites barleyscribs 22:01, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I hope I wasn't too forward, but I redirected both to energy medicine. jps (talk) 15:15, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Merge to energy medicine[edit]

No coherent argument has been made to keep this page separate from energy medicine. Therefore, I am preparing for the merge. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:21, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

I don't see any consensus for merging an article about spiritual healing - a specific topic - into the energy medicine which is an overview of the whole topic of subtle-energy and alternating / direct current therapy. Adrian-from-london (talk) 23:46, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
None of the sources you have cited disambiguate. We are not empowered to do so on the basis of your say-so. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:56, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Support This is simply another example of the many-headed hydra of energy medicine. Merge please. Famousdog (talk) 16:48, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
The only issue I can see is the very clear distinction made between energy machines and the supposed use of healing energies in the body. Seems a bit odd to me to have them in the same article just because they both use the same word "energy". Bit like having CBT and prozac in the same article on the grounds they both affect the brain! Apart from that - merge all these forms of energy/biofield/spiritual healing. Fainites barleyscribs 18:39, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
There is a NCCAM distinction between veritable energy and putative energy. This topic falls into the latter. We could split the energy medicine article into those two camps, but I don't think there is enough content yet to justify such a WP:CFORK. ScienceApologist (talk) 18:53, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
The split might come about almost "naturally" as it were once the information is merged and a bit more editing is done.Fainites barleyscribs 18:55, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

 Done. Please see Energy medicine and try to improve that article. More information on energy medicine devices and veritable energy medicine is needed there. jps (talk) 15:14, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Cheers. Now we can move on with our lives. Famousdog (talk) 10:00, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd send you some distant healing if I knew which way to face. Fainites barleyscribs 13:14, 1 December 2010 (UTC)

Removed some primary source[edit]

Some primary sources that did in vitro TT, loony-toons seed magic studies, and other Alternative Medicine Journal baloney were being coatracked into this article. I removed them per WP:PSTS and WP:MEDRS. We will only include secondary sources and sources that have received independent notice and review. ScienceApologist (talk) 23:24, 27 November 2010 (UTC)