by Melinda Connor PhD;
Ruth Lamb, PhD (c)
Linda Turner, PhD (c).
Monica Houser (left) with Sascha Holberg and patient Sheila Brown.
The Integrative Energy Healing (IEH) Certificate Program at Langara College in Vancouver is actively involved in weaving together the science and research of energy-based healing with its practice. For eight years, this program has worked to offer a three-year certificate program in IEH, which offers an in-depth study of the various Eastern and Western scientific theories underlying energy-based healing. It is also an exploration of the human condition and the practice of different types of energy-based treatments.
Today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US formally recognizes and encourages the study of energy therapies. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) identifies five domains of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM), including the domain of energy medicine. It defines energy therapies as “healing that involves the use of energy fields.” Two types are identified: (a) biofield therapies which are “intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body” and (b) bioelectromagnetic-based therapies which “involve the unconventional use of electromagnetic fields, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields or alternating-current or direct-current fields” (http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/).
Over the past five years, NCCAM has focussed its funding on preclinical and foundational inquiry into these two areas to begin to identify mechanisms of action, to understand the effects and outcomes of these therapies and to explore the nature of provider-patient interaction and relationship that occur during energetic healing.
With this increased recognition and federal funding for energetic healing in the US, there is a growing body of research that supports the use of energetic healing interventions with patients. Several recent publications, including Energy Medicine (Oschman, 2000), Healing Research: Volumes I & II (Benor, 2001; 2004), Healing Intention and Energy Medicine (Jonas & Crawford, 2003), Energy Healing Experiments (Schwartz, 2007) and Synchronized Universe (Swanson, 2003) summarize scientific findings and theoretical models in the field. NIH/NCCAM’s funding of two exploratory frontier medicine centres in Biofield Science (University of Connecticut and the University of Arizona) since 2001 has increased both capacity and productivity in research about energetic therapies.
Key in the current research process is identifying possible mechanisms of action related to energetic healing process. Dr. Melinda Connor, who recently joined the IEH faculty from the Karen Connor Optimal Healing Research Program at the University of Arizona, has discovered what may become recognized as one of the first mechanisms of action for energy medicine. A Sypris model 4080 Triaxial ELF Magnetic Field Meter has been used to measure extremely low frequency magnetic fields in a range of 0.1 – 511 mG. Reiki practitioners and age-/gender-matched controls have been tested in a series of one-minute hand measures. Each hand was tested in an off/on/off/on sequence. Data demonstrated that oscillations of amplitude were higher than baseline rate when subjects were running the energy. This oscillation of amplitude at a different rate than baseline was produced by a harmonic of the energy wave induced or directed by the energy practitioner.
This curve shows that Reiki ON (red) produces more oscillations in milliGauss readings per minute than Reiki OFF (blue). This effect replicates across hands (left-right) and trials. More than 150 practitioners have been tested as of spring 2009 and the significance of the data has remained the same.
Ruth Lamb, one of the founding members of the IEH program, conducted her clinical research in the area of healing, viewing it as a transpersonal-spiritual as well as mind-body practice. Lamb defined IEH as “a subtle-energy, intentional, therapeutic modality that… focuses on multidimensional physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of healing,” adding, “IEH helps to restructure the human subtle-body energy field towards higher levels of coherence.”
What this essentially means is that IEH treatments help to balance the energy field.
In this research, 12 graduates of the IEH program provided treatments to in-patients in an acute addiction treatment centre. Through this process, healing was initiated on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Numerous clients experienced transformative experiences where they released trauma often held from childhood. The physical body and energetic cellular structure were addressed, as were the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of a life lived on the edge of suicide. The aim with these individuals was to facilitate a new way of being. In many cases, individuals were able to emerge from the series of treatments with purpose. This included a spiritual healing-learning view of daily existence. They were able to tap into latent potential and find a way to re-pattern their life with new meaning.
Linda Turner, coordinator of the IEH program, is currently involved with studying the meridian system of the body. The meridian system is the path that carries the qi energy through the body. She is comparing the meridian system of people who suffer with chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis to that of individuals who are pain-free. According to the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, when there is a blockage in the qi flow through the body, it results in the development of a physical illness. Once this qi flow has been corrected, theoretically, the physical illness should be able to correct itself.
One of the problems in measuring the results of energy-based healing is that there has been no reliable way to measure the qi flow in the body before and after energy-based healing. Toward this end, she is testing an ohmmeter from Germany called the Prognos that purportedly measures the meridian system and is able to detect energy blockage before it has manifested in a physical illness. If this machine proves capable of differentiating between an energy field of a person with pain and one without, it will provide a possible way to scientifically evaluate the results of energy-based healing modalities as well as other forms of complementary therapies. (If you have had rheumatoid arthritis for five years and suffer from pain, you may participate in this study. Please call Linda Turner at 604-306-1810 for details.)
There is incredible potential now for the development of the science that underpins the use of energetic healing therapies with patients. There are also unprecedented opportunities to explore both the basic mechanisms of energy healing as well as the human response to these therapies. Scholars and providers are key in the development and translation of these programs of research. We encourage you to explore and become involved in this developing science.
Currently, we have several hundred graduates of the IEH program and alumni who have been contributing to an international health promotion project in India. This is a time of paradigm change in healthcare and a new view of health and healing is emerging.
Energy-based healing talks & treatments
at Langara College
Langara College sponsors two speakers on energy-based healing:
Dr. James Oschman presents “Energy Medicine, Fundamentals and New Breakthroughs,” Sat. Oct. 10, 9am.
Dr. Daniel Benor teaches a two-day course on WHEE (Whole Health - Easily and Effectively), an energetic healing modality, November 12-14.
For more on these speakers, and the Integrative Energy Healing Program, visit www.langara.bc.ca. If you would like an integrative energy healing treatment, students offer free sessions in the following locations starting in September:
- Langara College every second Friday, 12-4pm. Call 604-875-4118.
- Vancouver General Hospital Wellness Center, every second Tuesday,
6-10pm. Call Bett at 604-875-4118.
- Raven Song Community Health Centre, every second Thursday,