Surprising Findings about Biofield Healing
By Deepak Chopra™, MD, Tiffany Barsotti, MTh, Paul J. Mills, PhD
When faced with traditional healing systems outside the Western tradition, science looks askance. That was true when traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, and Ayurveda from India began to be known a generation ago. Popular acceptance doesn’t budge these prejudices, but if there’s a crossover with accepted Western concepts, the chances improve.
This is currently happening with energy healing, because it has a crossover with a proven phenomenon, the human body’s faint electrical field, known as the biofield. This field is composed of the emission of electricity and biophotons, which are the light naturally emitted by all living things, and yet no one has scientifically established the use of the biofield. Into this gap steps energy healing, which looks to the body’s subtle energy field as something both crucial and vital for balanced health and wellbeing. At its most basic, the notion behind energy healing is that the biofield of a sick person is out of balance, and balance can be restored by directly treating the biofield.
Energy healing has ancient roots. Today it is most commonly recognized through modalities such as Healing Hands (from Native American traditions) and Therapeutic Touch. Their aim is something like removing the static from a radio signal; the practitioner is removing dissonance and restoring resonance in the biofield. Needless to say, energy healing and the biofield remain highly controversial when considering Western ideas of the body and the practice of medicine.
But before decrying another outbreak of pseudoscience, there is serious, well-controlled research to consider. Despite not yet having scientific instruments to measure how the biofield might respond to a particular energy healing practice, studies have proceeded to examine their potential use under real-world conditions, such as in a clinic setting, and typically going head-to head with a standard therapy.
One of the first methodologically sound placebo-controlled trials of an energy healing modality examined the effects of an energy chelation therapy (as taught by Rev. Rosalyn L. Bruyere) on chronic fatigue in breast cancer survivors. In the journal Cancer, the official journal of the American Cancer Society, findings showed that study participants who received energy healing over a four-week period had statistically significant and clinically relevant reductions in their chronic fatigue. (The study also found that the placebo control, which was called “mock healing”, also led to a reduction in fatigue, although not as significantly as the real energy healing technique.)
Interestingly, there was an independent effect of belief, i.e., the type of treatment the study participants believed themselves to be having had an independent effect on their quality of life. A waiting list of breast cancer survivors showed no changes in their fatigue. In addition, the healing-energy group showed a significant restoration in their daily levels of the hormone cortisol, which is typically flattened in chronically fatigued breast-cancer survivors.
To date and despite mainstream skepticism, there have been numerous scientific studies of healing energy using accepted scientific methods. They have demonstrated significant beneficial effects, the majority of which focusing on anxiety, depressed mood, and pain. More broadly, other disciplines are seeking to understand the biofield from the perspective of the physical sciences, and how the biofield relates to consciousness (given that the brain is the most prominent area of electrical activity in the body).
Circling back to the quest to develop scientific instruments to reliably measure the biofield, Tiffany J. Barsotti and Paul J Mills recently reviewed dozens of such devices, pointing out their merits and shortcomings and providing guidance on next steps in the field. One device, the Bio-Well, uses Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) to assess the body’s energy system as related to physical, emotional, and mental conditions. The Bio-Well device captures photon emissions using the Su Jok hand meridian system from Korean medicine and maps these emissions to the organ systems of the body.
Disclosures. Tiffany J. Barsotti is an educator and distributor of the Bio-Well device.
The Bio-Well captures the biofield as energy and information penetrating throughout the body. Knowing that the biofield is both inside and outside our bodies, what is needed next are devices that can reliably visualize and map it for therapeutic purposes. When the day comes that scientific instruments can successfully map and quantify the totality of the human biofield, it could be a game changer for medical science and more broadly for Western scientific thought. We are already on the threshold of redefining what we mean by the body and how it miraculously functions.
DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation. Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 89 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential, unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”
Rev. Tiffany Barsotti, M.Th., is an internationally renowned medical intuitive, spiritual healer, and a clinician and researcher of subtle energy, biofield therapies and energy psychology. With her spiritual and intuitive guidance, she serves as an integrative practitioner working alongside physicians and other allied health professionals. She received her Masters of Theology in Energy Medicine with special emphasis in Medical and Spiritual Counseling from Holos University Graduate Seminary and was personally mentored by the school’s founders, Drs. C. Norman Shealy and Caroline Myss. Tiffany is a visiting scholar at the University California at San Diego. To advance her clinical and research activities, Tiffany utilizes Biofield devices to measure the human Biofield and Subtle Energy interactions related to mind-body mechanisms.
Paul J. Mills is Professor and Chief at the University of California San Diego’s (UCSD) Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and Director of the UCSD Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health. He is Director of Research for the Deepak Chopra Foundation, with a focus on meditation and yoga within the context of Traditional Medical Systems. In the early 1980s, he published some of the initial scientific research on meditation. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, The New York Times, National Public Radio, US News and World Reports, Consumer Reports, The Huffington Post, Gaia TV, and WebMD, among others.