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Folks -

There previously was a discussion on this site in which a skeptical attitude toward energy work was being discussed, but that discussion eventually got deleted. The reason seems to be that it was judged not to belong in the location where it was taking place, which was inside one of the energy work groups.

I was the person who introduced the skepticism to the discussion. Some people did not appreciate that, but others did. Given how many participants there are on this site, and how many threads and groups are dedicated to discussing energy work with no skepticism, I thought maybe it was time to open a discussion where such skepticism is invited and welcomed.

I look forward to seeing how this discussion might develop. Is there interest?

-CM

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Chris,
Might as well take a shot at this scenario, sounds intriguing. No I would not buy the car unless I brought a designated driver. When I went to school I learned to set my intentions, focus on my client, and focus my energy to my client, so therefore my driver better have good reflexes. Now being that I live in Nascar Country, and I am a new therapist, Ive got enough energy to send that car around the track a few times, and very excited to do so. Oops I forgot to mention massage therapy is a career change for me ,I spent just a tad over 30 years in the auto repair business and man Ive never thought about this but it would be neat to be able to do this but being that I walked right out of auto repair and into massage therapy, Im thankful that i have received the great feed back from my clients and not one of them have hit a pothole in the road,and come back to complain to me so I will stick with the human scenario and not the auto scenario. So do not ask to work on that car ! And while Im at it as long as the vital force is with me I suppose Ill continue sending that car around the track. Respectfully, Peace Travis
Excellent post

Erica Olson said:
Julianna Holden Mohler said:

There was no mention that it was to be kept strictly to a scientific discussion and exploration of ideas.

That is true. Chris left the discussion open to its own development.

Then you say we must keep discussions in line with what you want it to be.

The discussion evolved to one about how to prove, scientifically and with repeatable results, the existence and/or efficacy of energy work. Bringing "I feel" and "I've seen" anecdotes into it are anecdotal evidence; they are not scientific, nor can the results be reliably repeated under the same circumstances. This discussion has already had several sub-branches of "but I/others feel it, so it must be so," which keeps leading back to trying to find a scientific reason why.

Personally, I think we've had a fine, interesting discussion going, and I too would like to see it continue along the same vein, rather than be derailed into a philosophical discussion. Nothing stopping anyone from starting such a discussion, but I, for one, would prefer it be in a different thread.

There has been no interest on his part to engage in questioning his own premise, only in asserting his own flawed conclusion.

Actually, it's the other way around. The burden of proof is on energy work, to prove its existence and efficacy as a treatment on its own with effects that can be replicated under the same conditions--and with those effects being a clear and direct result of such work. Saying "the sun comes up in the north and you can't prove it doesn't" doesn't hold a lot of water when all evidence points to it continually coming up in the east.

I have seen no shred of evidence on his part to support his conclusions.

Have you been missing the discussions wherein alternative options for results attributed to energy work have been brought up? There've been some rather civil ones. Again, he doesn't have to prove the sun doesn't come up in the north; burden of proof is on the proponents who do.

Therefore, he brought on what evolved.

You mean the repeated personal attacks made upon Chris, his profession, and his motives? I call shenanigans. I could enjoy violating pictures of Al Franken while I was dressed as a cocker spaniel in the privacy of my own home, but it still wouldn't negate the validity of my questions.

You may not take seriously what someone says because you don't like their viewpoint. But that's irrelevant.

Hmmm. Et tu, Brute? From what I've seen, it's not the viewpoint resulting in someone not being taken seriously so much as lack of a cohesive argument. One made entirely of logical fallacies doesn't help, either.

Researching something as a hobby or interest is not the same as being a scientist.

Very true. However, Chris and a number of other participants in the discussion are scientists. For real and for true. Labs and medical devices and research citations and all.

Let's just be clear: not one person in this discussion has thoroughly backed up anything they've said "scientifically."

Actually, there have been quite a few.

And the most important thing is the condescending attitude, as if science holds a superior place in the realm of bodywork.

As opposed to the one that only massage therapists can ask for scientific proof about things that may (or may not) be related to massage? I see that one around here a lot.
I give up.
I was one of the first posters on this and in it I basically was telling Chris off for challenging people's beliefs. I didn't think it was the way to go. Now I'm finding that I'm challenging people and I don't like it in myself. Also, in the original thread (which was pretty darn interesting), Chris had it a nerve because he jumped in on something and people thought it was just wrong.
Now what's happening?
People are attacking Chris.
I'm not going to defend Chris or anything. In fact, I might even presume that maybe he gets a kick out of the whole "oh they're ganging up on me" thing.

But here's the thing:
It's a massage therapy forum. It's not a "energy workers united" forum
Energy work is usually just an add on to what most people do - we're massage therapists first. Energy work is just a modality, isn't it? Or am I wrong in thinking that? Should this site be renamed energyworkersunited.com?
Is everyone so sure on what is going on when energy work is being done? Is everyone just OK with it? Are they not really curious on what people think about it?

His thread was to invite skeptics in on the discussion. He got a whole 9 or 10 on the thread and the rest were jumping on him. Now, maybe it's just me, but I'm presuming that there are more than two sides to this. On the one side there might be the "I'm a believer, I don't care what anyone says" and I bet a lot of those people don't even read this thread. On the other there's the sciencey peeps in their wee white jackets singing the logical song. But is there not another group? Is there not a "well, maybe there is, but it hasn't been researched enough' group? I'm starting to come to the conclusion there isn't. Has everyone picked a side? I know Chris has, but he's a scientist - what do people expect?

I am completely amazed at the polarization with people on this thread.

This is reminding me of politics and you know what? Politics makes me puke.

Vlad is going back to lurkdom.
Adios, amigos.
Julianna Holden Mohler said:

At what point did it evolve to that?

Well, it was heading there by about page 4, and was pretty much the main topic of discussion in pages 11-18. I'm surprised you don't remember, seeing as how that was about where you first started posting.

And at what point is an open, public forum not allowed to take any course it so chooses?

There's a difference in a forum naturally changing its course when the topic at hand has been exhausted, and having someone interrupt a conversation with a topic that is only tangentially related. Makes no difference whether this happens online or in person--nor does it matter who makes such an interruption. "We're not talking about that right now" (just prior to a return to the original conversation) is a perfectly normal response to such an interjection and generally does not warrant accusations of control, condescension, or conspiracy.

Personally, I don't think philosophical discussions are derailing.

They are when they are not the current topic of conversation.

Then start your own thread on that.

I'm not interested in a philosophical conversation. I'm quite happy with the scientific one currently in play.

I've had several people tell me in private how these discussions are a certain group of people running them and attacking everyone who doesn't agree.

There's a difference between attacking an individual and attacking an argument. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a hard time making that distinction.

The only people I see asking for proof about scientific things are the ones who claim to be scientists, so I have no idea what you're talking about.

Actually, there's quite a few people here who are interested in scientific proof regarding energy work. I can say with confidence that not all of them--perhaps, not even the majority--are not scientists. Quite a few of them--again, if not most--are bodyworkers.

However, the point I was trying to make is that I find the attitude of "if you're not an MT, you have no right asking challenging questions about the field" to be a far more condescending one than "I want science to be able to explain why massage works." Not to mention, it is yet again another ad hominem attack.


Vlad, to answer your question--yes, I'm more in the "well, maybe there is" camp. I would like to believe in energy work, but I have so many questions of my own (many of which have already been brought up on this forum):

When people say they are "energy workers" or are "working with energy," well, what kind of energy? What form? Serge put up a good list--is it one of those? Is it "vibrational energy"? What does that mean? How does it work? What's the physiology/mechanics/physics behind it? I don't want to hear about what it does, I want to know how. I want to know the carburetor-and-pistons workings, not just the "stick the key in and turn it." For those who say energy work is a viable modality on its own, how can you not want to know why or how?

I started out thinking that maybe energy work was entrainment at the cellular or subatomic level. Keith Grant gave some good reasons as to why that didn't work. There's been other discussion about what the results from energy work might be more properly attributed to, and it's been fascinating.

I want to believe--I really do--but I need a lot more than "because Mom said so."
Vlad, I agree except I'm not quitting just yet, as I am one who is still questioning everything, and would like to see more research, particularly with models other than RCT's as I suggested in earlier posts. And I'm not done learning or contributing (at least attempting to) either.

TO EVERYONE: I realize this is not my discussion......... HOWEVER......
I implore all participants to PLEASE help restore this discussion to civility, NO more personal attacks. Scientifically, it's a waste of valuable time. Energetically it is 'dampening'. (I hope that gives everyone a reason) For me this form has been a learning experience, and I think that is true for others. I would like to see it continue (civilly).

Thanks to all participants for your input and participation.
Bert Davich


Vlad said:
I give up.
I was one of the first posters on this and in it I basically was telling Chris off for challenging people's beliefs. I didn't think it was the way to go. Now I'm finding that I'm challenging people and I don't like it in myself. Also, in the original thread (which was pretty darn interesting), Chris had it a nerve because he jumped in on something and people thought it was just wrong.
Now what's happening?
People are attacking Chris.
I'm not going to defend Chris or anything. In fact, I might even presume that maybe he gets a kick out of the whole "oh they're ganging up on me" thing.

But here's the thing:
It's a massage therapy forum. It's not a "energy workers united" forum
Energy work is usually just an add on to what most people do - we're massage therapists first. Energy work is just a modality, isn't it? Or am I wrong in thinking that? Should this site be renamed energyworkersunited.com?
Is everyone so sure on what is going on when energy work is being done? Is everyone just OK with it? Are they not really curious on what people think about it?

His thread was to invite skeptics in on the discussion. He got a whole 9 or 10 on the thread and the rest were jumping on him. Now, maybe it's just me, but I'm presuming that there are more than two sides to this. On the one side there might be the "I'm a believer, I don't care what anyone says" and I bet a lot of those people don't even read this thread. On the other there's the sciencey peeps in their wee white jackets singing the logical song. But is there not another group? Is there not a "well, maybe there is, but it hasn't been researched enough' group? I'm starting to come to the conclusion there isn't. Has everyone picked a side? I know Chris has, but he's a scientist - what do people expect?

I am completely amazed at the polarization with people on this thread.

This is reminding me of politics and you know what? Politics makes me puke.

Vlad is going back to lurkdom.
Adios, amigos.
I am interested in hearing peoples opinions and thoughts.
Hey all.

Maybe this is a good time to take stock of the thread as a whole. It's interesting to me that when I posted this thread, I suspected it might consist of four or five posts and then fade into obscurity. Instead, it appears to be the single largest and most active thread on the whole site. Almost 400 posts!

That alone does not mean it has been a good discussion; if it produced all heat and no light, I would see it as a waste of time. But from my perspective, it hasn't done that. In fact, I think it has been well worth while. I have made several acquaintances as a result of this discussion. I have learned more about the ways in which therapists view their own work, their field, and the modalities that are associated with their field. And, it has helped me organize my thinking for some of the projects I have on my drawing board, one of which is likely to be an editorial on the topic of energy work's inclusion under the heading of massage therapy. These have been some of the benefits from my perspective.

I have also had several people write to me directly to tell me that they have enjoyed reading this discussion and have liked the way that it challenged their assumptions; several of you have also said that publicly here in the discussion itself. I think this is good evidence that the discussion has benefited several of the participants.

Some will ask if anyone's mind has been changed. I'm not sure that is essential to justify this discussion as valuable, but it is still a question worth asking. I'm not aware of any single person who has made a 180 degree change of position on the topic, but I have heard from several people who have said that the discussion has caused them to examine their position more carefully, or to change it subtly. It seems some minds have been changed, at least a little. When you consider how hard it can be to change a human mind, perhaps that is quite a development.

The discussion has definitely devolved recently. Perhaps it has run its course; I know I have found myself feeling that I am repeating certain things that were said 200 posts ago. And if so, that's fine. Another possibility is that one of the more recent participants radically changed the tone of the discussion, as evidenced by several of you who have requested an end to ad hominems. My own strategy in the face of such nonsense, generally, is to ignore it, and I recommend the same to you. To do otherwise just takes everyone off track. Ignore it, and it probably goes away. A person who is engaged with the discussion at that level is unlikely to have anything substantive to add.
All these then made me think of rats.
Yep, I thought of rats next (and dogs and cats, since so many now are going into energy work with pets).
A rat isn't a car and although they might have some serious beliefs about cheese, I'm sure they don't have any beliefs about energy work, right? Apparently I wasn't the only one that thought of rats.
Take a look at this.
To me this is an example people putting out so called research in order to try to justify a belief system.


Oh, and let me add this - I think this study (which I have not yet read completely) is actually quite interesting as a methodological approach. (It could also be a really useful example of certain concepts for a research methods class.) Vlad, if you're lurking, and want to discuss it elsewhere (or whatever), let me/us know.
Chris,
I must say you have an interesting forum going here, I felt like while I have been following this forum that senses have gotten a little disoriented. Everyone here on this site are wonderful and we are certainly lucky to have made their aquaintance. Glad to see that we are all still adults, and friends here. Hope that you find the answer that you are looking for, but untill then may you continue to gain more friends and great conversation and especially knowledge Peace Travis.

Christopher A. Moyer said:
Hey all.

Maybe this is a good time to take stock of the thread as a whole. It's interesting to me that when I posted this thread, I suspected it might consist of four or five posts and then fade into obscurity. Instead, it appears to be the single largest and most active thread on the whole site. Almost 400 posts!

That alone does not mean it has been a good discussion; if it produced all heat and no light, I would see it as a waste of time. But from my perspective, it hasn't done that. In fact, I think it has been well worth while. I have made several acquaintances as a result of this discussion. I have learned more about the ways in which therapists view their own work, their field, and the modalities that are associated with their field. And, it has helped me organize my thinking for some of the projects I have on my drawing board, one of which is likely to be an editorial on the topic of energy work's inclusion under the heading of massage therapy. These have been some of the benefits from my perspective.

I have also had several people write to me directly to tell me that they have enjoyed reading this discussion and have liked the way that it challenged their assumptions; several of you have also said that publicly here in the discussion itself. I think this is good evidence that the discussion has benefited several of the participants.

Some will ask if anyone's mind has been changed. I'm not sure that is essential to justify this discussion as valuable, but it is still a question worth asking. I'm not aware of any single person who has made a 180 degree change of position on the topic, but I have heard from several people who have said that the discussion has caused them to examine their position more carefully, or to change it subtly. It seems some minds have been changed, at least a little. When you consider how hard it can be to change a human mind, perhaps that is quite a development.

The discussion has definitely devolved recently. Perhaps it has run its course; I know I have found myself feeling that I am repeating certain things that were said 200 posts ago. And if so, that's fine. Another possibility is that one of the more recent participants radically changed the tone of the discussion, as evidenced by several of you who have requested an end to ad hominems. My own strategy in the face of such nonsense, generally, is to ignore it, and I recommend the same to you. To do otherwise just takes everyone off track. Ignore it, and it probably goes away. A person who is engaged with the discussion at that level is unlikely to have anything substantive to add.
I'm not convinced that we will be able to prove or disprove 'energy' (as the energy workers define it). Until proven, it has to be taken as a belief and not a fact.

Now it's up to you as a practitioner to be ethical and tell your client that you are working within a specific belief system and what you do doesn't necessarily apply to reality.
Stefanie Adams said:
Here are some articles Barrett has written on the subject:
http://www.barrettdorko.com/desk.htm
"The Analgesia of Movement" is a good article that describes how societal pressures force isotonic contractions that natural movement which creates mechanical deformity, then pain. Ideomotion (I call it natural movement) as a therapy reduces pain.

"Body Counseling" is the best article to get a brief overview. It's a little further down the page. It states "the patient already knows precisely what to do, and that all you have to do is provide a safe place for them to do it."

The technique may look a lot like energy work, but it's based on scientific principles and draws on the client's own natural healing processes, not energy. The scientific research he draws from and his conclusions make the most sense to me.

Hi Stefanie

A late reply here (off doing other things), but what you've put out is much along my own thoughts--that there are simple interactions that are consistent with known physical laws and that produce positive effects.

Barrett Dorko, some years back, used to be on an email bodywork list that I'm on. So I'd had some discussions with him and ended up buying his book "Shallow Dive" years back

To me, as a physicist, this is a lot more of a satisfactory answer than the idea that "science hasn't caught up" or that observations are being "ignored". Science, these days, is not all that conservative and not tending to ignore convincing observations. It also has tracked down interactions in energy and particles down to very fine levels. One place to get an idea of this is at the website for New Scientist, under their Cosmology topic guide. An example would be a recent article on Our world may be a giant hologram. It would be extremely hard to hide any form of unaccounted for energy field and resulting inconsistencies in explaining measurements. Given the level of creativity I'm seeing, it's also pretty absurd to think that scientists are stuck in a static model of a single universe. One of the telltale signs of psuedoscience in energy work is the thought that there's a form of energy that does this one thing, accessed by these given techniques, and that it has no other interactions, impacts, or consequences on the world around us. That simply isn't how the universe works. And to note Laura Allen's remarks, there is still plenty of room for wonder, as in A universe like no other.

.
Some believe that posts have been civil up until a certain point and wonder where everything started to go south. Regardless of what someone thinks about civility, if you have poison coated with sugar, it's still poison.

If someone makes an assertion that "energy" doesn't exist, and calls for a division in the profession – which has been done here and elsewhere -, i.e. science based massage and do not want to see any classes on energy work part of any curriculum, what they've effectively done is attempt to annihilate the livelihoods of thousands of therapists. You might think this is some casual undertaking, but it's insidious, methodical, and before you know it, someone has taken away your freedom to bring about results in a client the way you know works.

Let's look at human history - because humans often don't learn from it and don't change, they repeat it again & again. Look at what happened to midwifery, the oldest profession on the planet. In the 1800s, it was taken over by white, male European medical doctors and midwives were jailed, called witches, fined for practicing with a license, and other charges. The industry was almost completely annihilated.

As a result, did the neonatal mortality rate improve when men took over the industry, dragged babies out with forceps, drugged women into twilight sleep, and separated babies from their moms? No, the US, with access to the best nutrition, the most scientific technology and sophisticated hospitals known to humankind is #33 in the United Nations list and #46 in the CIA world factbook list in countries in neonatal mortality. In addition, we lose some of the art the midwives cultivated for 10’s of thousands of years. Granted, at the same time there has been a lot of medical progress entirely unrelated to midwifery. Looking at countries with a better standing in the list, one realizes that midwives have a large role in many of them.

Now we have a few white, male scientists and even fewer women and people of color claiming our profession must be "risen in status" to a medical one and get rid of anything to do with energy work. What, you didn’t think we’d just say, ok, you’re right, go ahead and support this kind of research.

That does not fly with many others or me. If I'm one voice, like it or not, I'm going to speak out and point out that every profession has flaws and wonder why such a harmless profession is being forced to become entirely medical. If one of these scientists publishes a paper on ill-founded assumptions and it’s somehow accepted as the way it is, there’s a lot at stake for the profession and livelihood of people.

It’s kind of like spitting in someone’s face and when they hit back, running to mom crying that you got hit. This isn’t a discussion about a belief system and taking away someone’s pet belief. It’s about forcing those of us who have both medical and intuitive skills to drop the intuitive and affect our livelihood. You can’t simply come into a forum and expect everyone to see the logic in that.

I see a lot of logic in some of the scientific discussion I enjoy, but if you try to tell someone their days are numbered, as if you’re wearing pearly white underwear in your own profession, it’s not going to go by unnoticed. I’m all for research that builds. I’m totally blown away by research that destroys. Personally, I’m really interested in research and ideas that Bert presents and I’d like to see some of that continue.

Do I think there’s a lot of hooey that goes on? Yes. Do I see a need to regulate so we don’t end up with snake oil salesmen? Yes. But calling a witch-hunt under the guise of the name “science” isn’t going to go unnoticed.

With that, I'll refrain from commenting more on the topic because it has been more than exhausted.

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