Introduction to Bioenergetic Medicine

By Dawn M. Ewing, RDH, PhD, ND, & Li-Chuan Chen, PhD

Originally published in Carolina Health & Healing (Summer 2001, p. 3- 7)

Einstein convinced the world that energy is matter and matter is energy. If this is so, then our physical body, comprised of matter/energy, should be affected by energy. The National Institute of Health defines Bioenergetics as the scientific study of interactions between living organisms and electromagnetic fields, forces, energies, currents and charges. Most people accept that these forces affect us; the debate is about measuring the effects. Research has been done on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from high-voltage power lines on people. However, this research uses conventional testing and looks for conventional diseases. If no disease is found in an active state, then there is no effect correlated.

To prove that energy, especially subtle energy, matters, we need devices to measure the different kinds of energies. A thermometer is a perfect example of a device used to measure energy. However, measuring the increase or decrease in the body’s temperature does not diagnose the disease. But a high or low temperature does tell us that something is out of balance. When cold, we wear warm clothes or drink hot beverages. When working under the hot sun, we cover our heads to prevent stroke. This kind of self-protection is a natural instinct. No waiting for a full blown disease – take action to achieve balance and prevent disease.

There are many types of energy:

  1. Temperature – hot vs. cold
  2. Electrical – the flow of electrons
  3. Magnetic – polarity
  4. Electromagnetic – radio, light
  5. Sound – vibration of air
  6. Force – the energy needed to move an object

In fact, the dynamic human energy system is a complex network of different types of energies. Richard Gerber, MD, the author of the classic book, Vibrational Medicine: New Choices for Healing Ourselves, describes this network as: (1) biochemical energy (i.e. glucose, ATP, fats, protein); (2) bioelectric energy (i.e. nerve signal transmission, cardiac electrical rhythms, neuroelectrical brain activity, piezoelectrical bone currents); (3) biophotonic energy (i.e. mitogenic radiation, UV biophotons emitted from DNA); (4) bioelectronic energy (i.e. inherent cellular/DNA activity – DNA vibrating at GHz frequencies); (5) and biomagnetic energy (i.e. by-products of cardiac, nerve, and brain activity, by-products of cellular activity, subtle energies – Qi, Prana, and Etheric energy).

Dr. Gerber further hypothesizes that these energies are part of a bio-informatic model of information that flows within living systems. For example, the calcium ion is an information carrier. It triggers different cellular events in different types of cells. When calcium flows into the cardiac pacemaker cells it influences the heart beat rate, and when it flows into smooth vascular muscle cells, it effects vasoconstriction. Other information carriers include genetic materisls (i.e. DNA and RNA), biochemical signals (i.e. peptides, steroid hormones, neurotransmitters, nutrients, etc.), electrical signals (i.e. nerve cell transmission), light or biophotonic signals, and subtle energy signals.

Due to the expansion of our understanding of bio-energetics and bio-informatics, many diagnostic and therapeutic devices have been invented in the past few decades. These energetic or vibrational therapies are able toe excert positive effects of human physiology. Finally, the framework through which to explain their therapeutical mechanism of action is starting to come forth.

In this introductory article we will cover three subject: (I) modern bioenergetics devices, with emphasis on the meridian stress assessment devices and the theory behind these inventions – the Chinese meridian theory; (II) healing through the five senses; and (III) biofield therapies and the importance of intentionality.

I. Modern Bioenergetic Devices

There are many modern bioenergetics devices available these days and their efficacy remains largely unknown. The advance of computer science has greatly facilitated this invention process because many of them are software-driven programs. Modern bioenergetics devices can fall into the following categories: (1) devices that measure a direct or indirect response to an evoked potential, which is the response of the body to energy or a change in energy, (2) devices that deliver special frequencies of energy to the body to promote energy balancing, and (3) devices that can do both. The response of the body to energy allows muscles to move, food to be digested, eyes to see, ears to hear and skin to feel. All functions use energy. When energy is out of balance, symptoms and diseases ensue.

(1) Devices that fall into the first category include Kirlian photography, Electrocardiogram (EKG) and Electroencephalogram (EEG). The EKG and EEG machines are used to measure the electrical activity in the cardiac muscle and the central nervous system, respectively. They are not effective devices for measuring sound or temperature. Kirlian photography enables us to view the electrical radiation, often called an aura, that can be seen around different forms of matter. The energy seen in the aura of living matter is in constant motion, while the aura emanating from inanimate objects is static. Documentation of visible changes in the aura prior to symptoms of disease has come out of original studies done in Russia.

One notable modern invention that can detect the function of both the nervous system and the heart is the Heart Rate Variability (HRV) test with specific programs such as Nerve Express and Health Express Analysis. Decreased HRV has been found by Dr. Dardik, the inventor of the concept of HRB, to be the single most reliable risk factor for a wide range of disorders. Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine do something similar when they check the quality and rhythm of the heart pulse. The basic beat of the heart rate is controlled by the medulla (a part of the brain). The hypothalamus, vagus nerve and sympathetic nuclei control the variability of the heart and the vasoconstriction of the vessels. Modern spectral analysis has discovered that the high frequencies correspond to the parasympathetic tonus and the low frequencies to the sympathetic tonus. The computer program, Nerve Express, was developed to measure HRV by using an orthostatic test (lying down and standing up) as a predictable autonomic nervous system provocation to measure the ANS adaptability. Health Express Analysis determines the functional state of the patient by providing numerical and quantitative parameters. The functional state includes the ability to perform habitual functions, the ability to adapt to internal and external changes or stresses, and the ease in which the ANS functions are performed. For example, the HRB test can measure the effect of a therapeutic intervention for an immediate improvement or exacerbation of the problem. If the latter occurs, the test can quickly determine whether another supportive measure can alleviate the adverse effects from the healing crisis.

Meridian stress assessment devices that measure certain subtle energies include: EDS, CEDS, Avatar, Vega, BEST, Computron, Lis Ten and Prognos, to name just a few.

(2) The second group of energetic devices gives out frequencies to facilitate healing or achieve energetic balance. These include the TENS (pain relief) and CES (cranial electrostimulation for depression, sleep disorders, addictions); PENS (a form of electroacupuncture); electromagnetic field devices such as orthopedic bone stimulators and Diapulse; pulsated magnetic field devices such as TMR (transcranial magnetic field brain stimulation for depression and Parkinsonism); static magnet devices such as magnetic insoles (pain relief), magnetic pads, bracelets, wraps (localized pain relief); and magnetic acupoint stimulation (magnetoacupuncture).

Other energetic devices are light and sonic based and include full spectrum light for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), UV-based therapies for skin disorders, Lumatron (ocular light therapy); laser-based therapies such as laser surgery, laser eye surgery, laser phototherapy for cancer and soft laser stimulation/laserpuncture; Sonic devices, such as therapeutic ultrasound for sore muslces and back pain, shock wave lithotripsy, and music therapy and sonic rhythms; the Rife/Crane machine of various designs, Orgone machines, Chi machines, to name just a few.

The evolution of energetic devices for orthopedics will be presented as an example to illustrate how energy medicine is used to facilitate bone repair. Dr. Valerie Free, in her book, Orthopedic Energy Goes Mainstream, shows us that in the 1960s and 1970s electrodes of direct currents were used to stimulate the growth of exposed bone or were implanted to stimulate bone growth. In the 1970s Drs. Andrew Basset and Rober Becker showed the possibility of stimulating bone growth with pulsed electromagnetic fields. From the 1970s through the 1990s, scientists in Eastern European countries tested static permanent magnetic devices to stimulate bone tissue, to treat non-union fractures, and to help conditions such as osteoporosis and osteonecrosis. In 1994 the FDA approved a vibrational resonance device patented by Liboff, McCloud and Smith. This bone-healing device transmits the vibrational resonance of potassium, magnesium and/or calcium in the 200 to 300 milligauss range together with a pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF). In 1994 the FDA also approved the Sonic Accelerated Fracture Healing System (SAFHS) which emits ultrasound pulses at about the same low intensity as sonogram fetal monitors. In this new millennium, energy devices of different wave lengths, amplitudes and frequencies will have the ability to stimulate the body’s natural bone healing mechanisms.

(3) The third category of energetic devices are those capable of measuring the energetic imbalances and transmitting frequencies to rebalance the energy. Examples include the newest form of the Rife machine called the F-Scan, the QXCI (see “Bioenergetic Balancers” article), frequency broadcasters, etc. The F-Scan, an improved version of the Rife/Crane device, can scan the frequencies of micro-organisms or toxins and then transmits only those necessary for energy rebalancing. The traditional devices use fixed programs for treatments. QXCI, and advanced computer software package invented by Dr. William Belson, includes a TENS unit to transmit the healing frequencies into the recipient. This device uses parameters beyond impedance (skin conductance) to identify energy imbalances in human subjects. A low-tech energy-balancing device is the pyramid-shaped frequency broadcaster. Eugene Rheams, the son of the well-known Cary Rheams, uses such a device to transmit positive vibrational frequencies of supplements to the intended subject.

Despite the proliferation of energetic devices of various sorts, there are limits to these devices.

Limits of Energetic Measurement

Some things are impossible to measure. Consider the spoken word. A shrill voice shouts the word “fire” in a crowded room and immediate the room empties. How do you measure the energy of that word? By the volume of the utterance? Is it by the length of time it took to clear the room? Do you line all the people up and take their pulse or measure their blood pressure?

The spoken word may elicit different responses in different people. News of a loved one’s death could result in tears, fainting or even cardiac arrest. When asked to think of the word “lemon” and its sour taste, does it cause you to salivate? When words are spoken that generate fear there may be many measurable responses i.e. increase in pulse rate, blood pressure, sympathetic stimulation and changes in neurotransmitters. But, is it importance to balance all those parameters which are out of whack, or is it more important to get rid of the fear factor?

One of the biggest limitations of energetic measurement is that it cannot distinguish cause and effect. For instance, an infection in the tonsils often stresses the liver. To treat the liver, which appears to be a stronger stressor, is the norm; however, a more cost-effective treatment is to eliminate the lesser stressor, the infected tonsils. This is where the art of healing is more important than simply taking measurements. All medicine is a combination of science and art. A good doctor is a good observer, one who can pick up minute details that the average doctor simply passes by.

Energy Channels According to Chinese Meridian Theory

The Chinese make use of pulses to measure the energy in various areas of the body. This technique is a time-honored tradition requiring great skill on the part of the physician. By feeling different pulses associated with corresponding organs, the physician can determine a disturbance in the flow of energies and prescribe treatments to strengthen weak areas or sedate overpowering areas.

One of the many ways of measuring changes in subtle energy is through the channels called meridians by the ancient Chinese. This theory identifies energy flowing through the body on the pathway meridians. The scientist, Dr. Kim Bong Han, discovered a system of ducts, separate from nerve pathways or blood vessels, when he injected a traceable fluid into an acupuncture point. He went on to show that these meridians were laid out about 15 hours after conception in baby chicks. Han also proved that the meridian system connects with all cell nuclei in the body. Most interestingly, the energy channels serve to link the physical to the etheric body. This Chinese meridian channel theory has led to the invention of many energetic devices.

Dr. Reinhold Voll used an ohmmeter to measure the resistance of electricity at specific points on the body. Most of these were acupuncture points. He called his technique EAV, short for Electro Acupuncture According to Voll.

Dr. William Tiller, past president of the Material Science Department at Stanford University, believed that the skin had a uniform conductance, and he set out to prove that Voll’s work was a farce. What he found, however, was that the points on the body that had been mapped out thousands of years ago by the Chinese did, in fact, have a lower resistance than the rest of the skin. He subsequently agreed with Dr. Voll that, where the readings were higher (higher conductance meaning lower resistivity at that point) there was an inflammation of the area associated with that point. This inflammation caused an increase of ions which enhanced the flow of electrons. Conversely, when the reading was low (low conductance meaning higher resistivity) there was a degeneration of the area associated with that point. Degeneration caused a decrease in ion concentrations that hindered the flow of electrons. This pattern of associating low readings with degeneration was studied by Drs. S.G. Sullivan, MD, J.T.Martinoff, MD, PhD, D.W. Eggleston, DDS, and R.J. Korenig, MD who applied it in their research on confirmed lung cancer patients. Their study validated that the lower readings on the lung meridian were indeed reflected in the confirmed cancer patients and not on the healthy patients.

The June 1996 issue of the Institute of Engineers magazine published several articles on acupuncture and the clinical aspects of EAV. Their abstracts confirm that the technology works. A quote from Susan Stockton’s book The Terrain is Everything states: “Homeostasis is the body’s balancing mechanism. When the body is out of balance, energy can no longer flow freely. Energy blockages set up and that leads to disease conditions. Health, in a very reasl sense, is energy, energy flowing freely through the body without obstruction.” We can conclude from Stockton’s comment that health is the easy flow of nutrition, air, water, thoughts and energy into and out of the body. A disruption of that flow would then be disease. Being symptom-free is not a sign of health.

Computerized Devices for Meridian Stress Assessment

Dr. Voll’s original technology has now been computerized with each program having a different name. The terminology, Electro Acupuncture According to Voll (EAV) was changed to Electro-Dermal Screening (EDS), then to Computerized Electro-Dermal Screening (CEDS), and now it is called Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA). The Bio Energetic Stress Test (BEST) is just one program using meridian stress equipment. Other familiar names are Prognos, Computraon, Avitar, Lis Ten, and Omega. Each program varies according to complexity (user friendliness), the frequency of updates, and the quality of the technical support the provide. The advice to a potential consumer of this type of equipment is to spend time talking to current users. The average cost is under $20,00. If you obtain equipment at a bargain but are unable to get training or technical support, then you will be spending money to increase your level of stress instead of decreasing it, as the technology was designed to do. I speak from my own experience of dealing with companies that could not meet my needs.

Lie detectors, another variation on the instrument, are used to measure the effect of the words and thoughts of the individual being tested. This is a form of biofeedback to measure the stressors known to cause disease. First the stress is measured. Then the patient is taught to reduce it. The subsequent measurement of stress reduction teaches the patient their inner body language and empowers them to reduce health burdens.

Healing takes place in an unconscious mode. If you had to think about and direct the healing of a cut, you could not walk, talk or eat without interrupting the healing process. By reducing stress and chaos you increase the ability of the unconscious to achieve its goal of healing.

Healing Through the Five Senses

Healing occurs unconsciously but it can be enhanced through the conscious mind and the five senses. Through them we receive both chaotic signals that stress our body and mind, and organizing and balancing signals that relax us. Most therapies help us to heal through one or more of these five senses. Healing touch, massage, and other manual healing methods, often relieve stress and bring our emotions into balance. Premature babies were found to gain more weight when touched daily for a short period of time.

Taste, and the taking in of homeopathic, herbal, dietary and nutritional remedies, brings about healing. The sensory receptors linked to the central nervous system are very dense in the oral cavity. Those in the mouth and sinuses pick up the frequencies of the supplements. For example, the bitter taste of an herb stimulates the fire element which is linked to the heart and small intestine meridian, according to the Five Element Theory in TCM.  Listening to soothing music or other sounds relaxes us. Different colors and fragrances evoke healing, and balance thebody and the mind. Sound and music therapy, color and light therapy, and aromatherapy have been used from ancient times to the present for healing.

As Americans, we are becoming more open to the belief that forces seen and unseen effect our conscious and unconscious minds. Subliminal tapes are used to reduce cravings and stress levels. However, the use of subliminal tapes is often subject to abuse. This brings up the issue of intentionality.

Biofield Therapies and Intentionality

Intention is the most important facet (the x factor) of healing. The mother of Therapeutic Touch, Delores Krieger, tried to understand what the innate skill to heal was all about. She found that those who REALLY CARE about their clients had the best healing abilities. The well-known Dr. Larry Dossey, who prayed for his patients every morning before rounds, noticed a marked improvement in their healing. This caring intention is often sacrificed in the name of scientific inquiry and objectivity. Little did we know that we threw out the baby with the bath water. Research from the University of California Los Angeles shows that the brain waves of the patient and healer synchronized after a certain amount of time. Obviously, a visit with a medical doctor for 5 to 10 minutes will not establish a vibrational resonance between the two.

Biofield therapy is the scientific name for energy healing or laying on of hands. It is one of the oldest forms of healing known to humans. The validity of biofield therapy was summarized in healing Research: Holistic Energy Medicine and Spirituality by Dr. Daniel J. Benor who compiled data from 151 studies conducted around the world. Dr. Benor concludes, “I submit that it is adequately demonstrated that (energy and spiritual) healing is an effective treatment modality. Healing often opens both healers and healees to spiritual awareness. Again this pushes the boundaries of materialistic beliefs. These dimensions are impossible to appreciate through words and reason alone. It is like when a traveler to a far land returns with descriptions of tastes of exotic fruit.”

Some practitioners of biofield therapy incorporate mental healing or prayer as part of their treatments. Mental healing is also called psychic healing, distant healing, nonlocal healing, and absent healing. Prayer is considered a form of mental healing. As mentioned above, the efficacy of prayer in healing has been validated in Dr. Larry Dossey’s book, Prayer is Good Medicine.

There is a misconception about energy healing by some religious people and by scientists alike, but for separate reasons. Examples of energy and spiritual healing are well-documented in the Bibles. Dr. Benor documented Jesus’ healing of individuals (24 cases) and of crowds (3 instances). Moreover, Dr. Benor also found Jesus giving authority to others to heal (2 cases) and healings conducted by Apostles 911 times). In fact, Jesus healed many problems, including every disease and sickness, demons, seizures, pain and paralytics. Energy healing, including toning, sound and music therapy, color and light therapy, use of crystals, etc., is not occult or new age stuff. It is an ancient tradition of human kind and it is vibrational medicine. This is the conclusion reached by Dr. Leonard Horowitz and Dr. Joseph Puleo in their book, Healing Codes for the Biological Apocalypse and in Dr. Horowitz’ book, Healing Celebrations: Miraculous Recoveries Through Ancient Scriptures, Natural Medicine and Modern Science. However, they also point out that some people have used these techniques and technologies for ill gain or with ill intentions.

On the other hand, because of the religious and metaphysical associations, biofield therapy and mental healing often suffer the stigma of “faith healing.” Furthermore, critics and scientists often associate any positive outcomes with the placebo effect. However, successful studies with enzymes, microorganisms, plants, and animals precluded the placebo effect as the rightful explanation. Further characterization of biofields and biofield therapies with the development of various transducers will shed light on them. Research projects in China have shown that the application of biofield affects lithium fluoride thermoluminsence detectors, polarized light beams, Van de Graff generators, and silicone crystal plates.

Let us end this section with Dr. Benor’s comment, “Energy healing points out that our bodies can be understood as energy in addition to understanding them as matter.”

Bioenergetics: An Open Field of Investigation and Research

Not all bioenergetics effects have been measured and properly explained. One important area to be investigated is Chinese Feng Shui, the art of designing your surroundings to be in harmony with the forces of nature. The homeowner and the commercial builder alike now seek out Feng Shui masters. Feng Shui was used in the design of Donald Trump’s most recent high rise building. Research on the influence of Feng Shui on health and prosperity is largely anecdotal. More testing should be done using the MSA and biofeedback devices. Again, Dr. Benor writes, “Healing is not yet explained by existing theories. There are many clues and speculations as to what it is and how it happens.” However, we certainly cannot deny the fact that biofield therapy and the intention to heal do heal. As we open ourselves to the doors of healing, we will experience and examine the world in new ways to find the keys to unlock the mystery of life.

Individuals trained in these areas should be encouraged to do studies and submit them to peer-reviewed journals and magazines like Carolina Health & Healing for publication.

This issue includes articles touching upon various aspects of bioenergetics medicine for educational and informational purposes. We hope that you will enjoy these readings and become more aware of the many alternative healing options. Healing, especially self-healing, is a human instinct and innate ability. Understanding the many forms of energy flow in our bodies and minds will heighten our sensitivity to our energetic nature and increase our general health, longevity and well being.


  1. William A. Tiller, MD. On the Explanation of Electrodermal Diagnostic and Treatment Instruments: Part 1, The Electrical Behavior of the Human Skin, Department of Material Science, Stanford University, 1980.
  2. Mark J. Friedman, Stephen Birch, and William A. Tiller, “Towards the development of a mathematical model for acupuncture meridians” Acupunct.Electro Ther Res, Vol 14, No 3-4, 1989, pp. 2217-2264.
  3. Reinhold Voll, MD “Verification of Acupuncture by Means of Electroacupuncture According to Voll” American Journal of Acupuncture, Jan. 1978.
  4. S.G. Sullivan, MD, D.W. Eggleston, DDS, J.T. Martinoff, MD, PhD, and R.J. Korenig, MD. “Evoked Electrical Conductivity on the Lung Acupuncture Points in Health Patients And Confirmed Lung Cancer Patients,” American Journal of Acupuncture, Vol 13, No 3, July-Sept. 1985.
  5. Majid Ali, MD. (Department of Pathology, Immunology and laboratories, Holy Name Hospital, Teaneck, NJ) “Correlation of IgE antibodies with specificity for pollen and mold allergy with changes in electrodermal skin responses following exposure to allergens,” American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 1989 (march); 1991 (3): 357.
  6. Susan Stockton, The Terrain Is Everything, Power of One Publishing, 2000.
  7. Richard Gerber, Vibrational Medicine: New Choices for Healing Ourselves, Bear & Co., 1988 & 2000.
  8. Richard Gerber, Bio-information, Subtle Energies and Their Relationship to Vibrational Medicine, lecture at 2001 BioEnergetic Lyceum Conference, Atlanta, Georgoa.
  9. James L. Oschman, Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, Churchill Livingstone, 200.
  10. Alternative Medicine: Expanding Medical Horizons, a report to the National Institute of Health on Alternative Medical Systems and Practices in the United States, Government Printing Office, 1982.
  11. Daniel J. Benor, Healing Research: Holistic Energy Medicine and Spirituality, Vol. 1, Helix Verlag Gmbh, Munich, Germany, 1993.
  12. Leonard G. Horowitz and Joseph S. Puelo, Healing Codes for the Biological Apocalypse, Tetrahedron, Sandpoint, Idaho, 2000.
  13. Leonard G. Horowitz, Healing Celebration: Miraculous Recoveries Through Ancient Scriptures, Natural Medicine and Modern Science, Tetrahedron, Sandpoint, Idaho, 2000.