You found my old blog. Thanks for visiting! For my new writing, visit mikesententia.com.
Energy healing acts on the biofield, using biofield energy. But what is the biofield?
Short answer: It’s the body’s natural energy field, produced by living cells. The term was coined in 1992 by researchers at an NIH conference. It refers to the “energy” of energy healing modalities such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Chi Gung, and many more.
Long answer: That’s a definition, not an explanation. What is the biofield?
Before I start, let me say: All of this is speculative. It’s my current best understanding, but I’ve updated that understanding in the past, and probably will again in the future. None of this is established science, and other energy workers and researchers would probably disagree with some parts.
Cells seem to emit some sort of energy field. The signature of this energy (its state, sometimes called a “color” or “frequency”) seems to correspond to the state of the cells. That is, healthy cells emit a different signature of energy than inflamed cells, and both emit a different signature than cells under attack from an auto-immune disorder, and so on.
Some people ask, “Isn’t it possible that you already know the person’s condition, and are just feeling what you expect to feel in their energy?” And it’s hard to rule that out completely — in fact, our expectations influence all our senses. But like many energy workers, I’ve had the experience of feeling a person’s biofield, not knowing their condition, feeling an inflamed energy in their knee or other area, and having them confirm what I had sensed. That gives me confidence that something real is happening here.
Normally, energy flows from the cells to the biofield, and the state of the cells determines the state of the biofield. But it also works the other way: Altering the biofield seems to influence the state of those cells. When I’m developing new biofield techniques, I’ll usually start with the tissues involved in a condition, sense their biofields, then figure out what signature to set each of those biofields to. When I do that, I like to think of the biofield as inhibiting or promoting the cell’s processes. (Which process depends on the particular energy signature.) Is that how it actually works? I can’t say for certain, and I’d like to collaborate with biologists to verify that someday. But that model leads me to useful techniques, which is another way of saying that it makes non-obvious, useful predictions that turn out to be accurate.
What about the shape of the biofield? It’s easy to imagine it as just a cloud of energy. Part of the biofield is like that, but as I’ve explored it, I’ve found energetic pathways and structures beneath that shapeless energy, between the energy and the cells. When I adjust someone’s biofield (changing the signature of their energy), if I also sink those changes deeper into the pathways (closer to cells), I find it produces faster, stronger results.
So, those are the moving pieces: A cloud of energy and some energetic pathways to cells. Normally, the cells produce this energy, and it flows from cells through the pathways to the energy cloud. Energy workers change the signature of the cloud, which feeds back to influence cells. And by sinking those changes deeper into the pathways, we see a larger, faster influence.
OK, but what is the biofield, in terms of physics and biology? I have no idea. I don’t think today’s physics can explain the biofield, I think we’ll need new physics, and as a non-physicist, I’m going to stop there. A major part of Healing Lab’s mission is to demonstrate phenomena that will get physicists interested and open up collaborations to actually answer those questions. For more, see the vision.
As a closing thought, asking “what is the biofield” is a bit like asking “what is magnetism?” Here’s Richard Feynman explaining why he can’t answer that:If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.
He’s kind of a d*ck about it, though, and you are not. I vote for you :-).
I know you’re a big fan of that Feynman piece, since if I remember right this is the second time you’ve shared it, but I don’t actually think it’s that analogous. Feynman isn’t saying that he can’t explain magnets because his ideas about how they work are speculative, he’s saying that he can’t explain it in a meaningful way to someone who lacks a deep understanding of physics. Magnets are in fact well-understood in physics, but any accurate explanation would depend upon the listener having a comprehensive education in physics down to the quantum level.
Gravity is probably a better example. We can easily show that gravity works, but we still don’t have a clear theory that explains how due to conflicts between general relativity and quantum theory. Cosmological models like string theory propose possible explanations, but they are so difficult to test experimentally that they essentially amount to little more than informed speculation.
Yeah, Feynman’s talk resonates for me. When people ask me about the biofield, I want to talk about the different structures, about driving the signature deeper, about all the things in this post. But they’re not easily accessible to laymen.
I initially used gravity as my example, because we understand it even less than magnetism. Magnetism, as I understand it, is caused by all the atoms being aligned, all exerting their electromagnetic pull in the same direction. And we can describe the qualities of atoms that give them this electromagnetic pole. But what is electromagnetism? I’m not a physicist, but I think that’s roughly as mysterious as gravity. Anyway, I broadly agree with you, and if the Feynman quote didn’t exist, gravity would be my choice too.
I’ve been trying to think of a smart comment, lol, this is the best I got!
Maybe it’s okay that he doesn’t have an answer, although he gives a brief answer towards the end. I think magnetism and the biofield are complex subjects bordering on the metaphysical which causes them to be trickier to define. Why is ice slippery? Why does pizza taste good? Because it is. Because it does. Knowing why ice is slippery doesn’t make it any less slippery, and you don’t realize how slippery until after you’ve slipped. Around here we say, “It’s slicker than snot out there!” Knowing why pizza tastes good just wrecks my nutrition goals and makes me feel guilty for eating it. I’d rather not know.
I get what he’s saying, go deeper to find out the reasons why things are the way they are. Like in therapy, a therapist encourages the client to go deeper into the feelings beneath the story, find out if the anger is really about the current situation or something that happened in the past. Maybe what he’s trying to say is there are certain things you can’t explain because there aren’t words or it’s beyond our vocabulary. Magnetism is a feeling and you can see it happening. Like he said it’s a force. The biofield makes me think of a person’s aura. I believe they exist even though I can’t see them. It just makes sense.
We don’t explore why ice is slippery to make ice stop being slippery. We explore why ice is slippery to understand how atoms and molecules work, to understand what causes materials to be slippery in general. Then we use those insights to engineer better lubricants, adhesives, and other materials.
I like your idea to take a more accessible example like food. A friend who loves to cook has explained to me about the main aspects of taste (sweet, savory, salty, umami, maybe there’s another), and how food becomes more interesting if it has more of them. And then we had ice cream with salt and cyanne pepper, and it was amazing. Understanding why food tastes good lets us engineer more delicious meals. That’s the point.
I think you have the right idea with therapy. Understanding why things work the way they do (whether that’s a psyche or a physical phenomenon) lets us interact with it better, finding solutions that otherwise might not occur to us. That’s the point.
Thank you for helping me straighten out my thought process. I think I spent too much time staring out the window during science class in school! Yes, sometimes a flavor profile that sounds odd can be surprisingly delicious. Good example.
I missed this post. The former NASA physicist Barbara Brennan has a pretty comprehensive definition of the biofield that you would find useful, seeing that you both work with spirits and are interested in healing: https://www.amazon.com/Hands-Light-Healing-Through-Energy/dp/0553345397
Thanks! She seems to get good results from her healing techniques.
Have you heard about wave genetics? In a nutshell, photons interact with DNA and how it is read in the cell. Changing (with lasers) the photonic “makeup” in the cell you can control it. They even had an study (replicated) in which they destroyed the pancreas of some mice and then gave them a treatment with lasers (previously they recorded the photonic information of a pancreas of young healthy rats) they were cured in the 90% of the cases (those untreated or placebo died).
That sounds really interesting. Do you have a link to the study?
The dissertation is in russian. I can send you a copy for mail. For now you can read an article that is in internet: