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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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Serge Rivest said:
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.

Sure, and Native American Shamans were methodically murdered and told their form of healing was simply magic - when they'd been healers for more than 30,000 years before white Europeans told them such. I'd be happy to tell my clients that, but not that it's not reality.
Logical fallacy again, appeal to antiquity. Something is not necessarily true because it has been 'believed' for a long time. And please leave the natives out of this, they are not there to defend their point of view.

On using logic properly ;)
Monty Python - The Witch Sketch


Julianna Holden Mohler said:
Serge Rivest said:
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.

Sure, and Native American Shamans were methodically murdered and told their form of healing was simply magic - when they'd been healers for more than 30,000 years before white Europeans told them such. I'd be happy to tell my clients that, but not that it's not reality.
Hi Serge,

I looked in on this discussion because I plan to send Chris some info and wanted to check the status thus far, even though I left the discussion a few days ago. I saw your post and just want to say that telling your client that what you are doing, whether its energy related or not, is not based on reality, quite frankly would probably freak them out and they'd have every reason to get up and walk out. Maybe asking the client in the intake interview whether they have experienced energy work before, and if so, would they like to experience it during your session with them may be a better way to both determine if they are open to it and give you a sense of how they feel about it. You might have a client who is fond of energy work and may be offended if you tell them you'll do it but its not based on reality. I think I'd be very confused by that type of announcement. You could put a statement on your intake form that you don't practice energy work and that would be enough. People are not entirely stupid and those who seek energy work will look for it elsewhere if need be.

Serge Rivest said:
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.
Really? LOL. Humourous but preposterous. I totally appreciate where you're coming from but seriously, one could conclude from this video, provided they are alien to Monty Python humor, that King Arthur was an idiot, that groupthink is dangerous, that mob frenzy is cool (mosh pits, sports fans, protest groups, etc.), and even that Monty Python was poking fun at scientific hypothesis. Thanks for the link though - gotta love YouTube. . .

Serge Rivest said:
Logical fallacy again, appeal to antiquity. Something is not necessarily true because it has been 'believed' for a long time. And please leave the natives out of this, they are not there to defend their point of view.

On using logic properly ;)
Monty Python - The Witch Sketch


Julianna Holden Mohler said:
Serge Rivest said:
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.

Sure, and Native American Shamans were methodically murdered and told their form of healing was simply magic - when they'd been healers for more than 30,000 years before white Europeans told them such. I'd be happy to tell my clients that, but not that it's not reality.
Python is known to poke fun at anything that's formal procedure. It's one reason I love his humor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcHdF1eHhgc&feature=PlayList&...



Deborah Herriage said:
Really? LOL. Humourous but preposterous. I totally appreciate where you're coming from but seriously, one could conclude from this video, provided they are alien to Monty Python humor, that King Arthur was an idiot, that groupthink is dangerous, that mob frenzy is cool (mosh pits, sports fans, protest groups, etc.), and even that Monty Python was poking fun at scientific hypothesis. Thanks for the link though - gotta love YouTube. . .
Serge Rivest said:
Logical fallacy again, appeal to antiquity. Something is not necessarily true because it has been 'believed' for a long time. And please leave the natives out of this, they are not there to defend their point of view.

On using logic properly ;) Monty Python - The Witch Sketch

Julianna Holden Mohler said:
Serge Rivest said:
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.

Sure, and Native American Shamans were methodically murdered and told their form of healing was simply magic - when they'd been healers for more than 30,000 years before white Europeans told them such. I'd be happy to tell my clients that, but not that it's not reality.
Funny I came across this. I am not trained in energy work at all. I am very skeptical about it.... yet I think it is very interesting and would love to know more about it. I am still very new to this profession. I have only been licensed for 3 years now. I work for an Aveda Salon, and they have what they call a "Chakra Massage" which uses some of their "Chakra" products. I just had the discussion with my boss that I do not feel comfortable doing this particular massage because I am not trained in this area. She still insisted that I do the massage because they have a training book and video. I am sticking to my guns here and still saying no to her because I can't see myself doing this from reading a book!
"Energy Beings", "Living Things", "Metabolic Systems" . . . . equal animals. Makes me wonder if those who are skeptical about energy transfers also believe they get absolutely no benefit from the meat in their diets, from animals killed for nourishment. This is not to challenge anyone, but to provoke thought. Considerable effort has been applied to theories on whether or not meat is good for a human or not, whether farm factories are harmful to the planet or not, and there is statistical data out there for anyone in this forum to follow up on, should they be so inclined. I will only reference the book, "The Face on Your Plate, The Truth about Food" by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.

So, before anyone thinks I'm trying to divert this topic into one about veganism, let me just say that simply because you can't "see" a "transference of energy", doesn't mean you can claim it doesn't exist. Science helps us to understand phenomena that exist in our world, but it can be and is many times fallible as evidenced by our failure to control and cure cancers, birth defects, and world hunger.

Research an energy based massage course some time and perhaps participate and make your own assessments. For me, the jury is still out.

Christopher A. Moyer said:
I don’t use the term “energy beings” but I kind of like it.

I think a lot of people like it - it sounds kind of warm and positive. But the problem is that it doesn't really mean anything; it's much too vague to be useful (beyond sounding nice).

Chris, you said “humans, like all living things, are metabolic systems.” What is your definition of a living thing?

Oh man, there is a huge question. :) It's a question I like, on a topic I like, but I think it's much too big for me to get into here, now. I think for the present topic we should be able to limit ourselves to things we will all agree are living animials - humans. These are what we're talking about when we're talking about energy work, right? (Yes, I realize some probably perform it on animals such as pets, too.)
Hi Deborah.

"Energy Beings", "Living Things", "Metabolic Systems" . . . . equal animals.

Not necessarily. Living things and metabolic systems could also refer to nonanimal life.

Makes me wonder if those who are skeptical about energy transfers also believe they get absolutely no benefit from the meat in their diets, from animals killed for nourishment. This is not to challenge anyone, but to provoke thought. Considerable effort has been applied to theories on whether or not meat is good for a human or not, whether farm factories are harmful to the planet or not, and there is statistical data out there for anyone in this forum to follow up on, should they be so inclined. I will only reference the book, "The Face on Your Plate, The Truth about Food" by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.

No doubt, humans have to eat for energy! If that's all a person means when they say we are "energy beings," I'd couldn't disagree with that. It is not controversial at all to note that humans, like all living things, take energy from their environment, store energy, and release energy into the environment. No reasonable person, and no scientist, would disagree with this.

But I think people are often implying something else when they state that we are "energy beings" or similar. This usually seems to imply that there is a biofield or vital force, and that it can be manipulated in the pursuit of health. Most scientists would disagree with this, because there is no evidence to support it and because such a vital force is not needed or useful as an explanation for biological processes.

So, before anyone thinks I'm trying to divert this topic into one about veganism, let me just say that simply because you can't "see" a "transference of energy", doesn't mean you can claim it doesn't exist. Science helps us to understand phenomena that exist in our world, but it can be and is many times fallible as evidenced by our failure to control and cure cancers, birth defects, and world hunger.

The scare quotes make it difficult to know precisely what you mean. We have already noted that there are forms of energy that cannot be seen directly. Magnetism is one example. But we can see its effects. If absolutely no evidence of an energy transfer can be demonstrated, that is good reason to doubt the existence of the form of energy being asserted.

Research an energy based massage course some time and perhaps participate and make your own assessments. For me, the jury is still out.

A question for you, if you're interested - what would it take for you to feel that the metaphorical jury was no longer out, but in, with a verdict of 'no such thing as energy work?'
Deborah Herriage said:

"Energy Beings", "Living Things", "Metabolic Systems" . . . . equal animals. Makes me wonder if those who are skeptical about energy transfers also believe they get absolutely no benefit from the meat in their diets, from animals killed for nourishment.

Meat contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, mineral salts and vitamins. The way those elements are transferred in the body is fairly well known.

Considerable effort has been applied to theories on whether or not meat is good for a human or not, whether farm factories are harmful to the planet or not

Surely most factory meat is harmful from the perspective that since the Industrial Revolution, we began caging animals, feeding them nutrient poor, carbohydrate rich, chemically toxic diets, along with growth hormones and antibiotics.

I used to be a vegetarian, for 8 years, for philosophical reasons.

So, before anyone thinks I'm trying to divert this topic into one about veganism, let me just say that simply because you can't "see" a "transference of energy"

Food energy can be measured by its ash. So the energy you're talking about isn't the same as bodywork energy.

Research an energy based massage course some time and perhaps participate and make your own assessments.

I have done that personally, because the kind of energy work I do interests me to know how it works. I can't explain my own work, but this much I do know. When I research any of the courses I've taken, I'm sorely disappointed by lack of evidence to back up statements. Most of these courses fall back on a philosophical outlook - and that's ok with me if they state it as such. Then I can evaluate if it matches my understanding of the world.

This discussion, no matter how much friction, has made me think a lot. It's sparked conversations with my husband. There are things he, nor any scientist, can't answer. For example, science says everything that exists is natural, nature, call it a natural force. Time and space can be measured. Any tools we use to investigate something scientifically are made up of something within time and space. If all that exists is in time/space, does anything exist outside or apart from it? This is what he couldn't answer (nor seemed to care to answer lol). But it's that something I'm interested in, which is why I don't think we can ever measure it - how do you measure something that isn't within time and space with something made out of the time/space "fabric?"

There are lots of conversations that took place between J. Krishnamurti and David Bohm, PhD in quantum physics, about questions of this nature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bohm

"Bohm's scientific and philosophical views seemed inseparable. In 1959, his wife Saral recommended to him a book she had seen in the library by the world-renowned speaker on life subjects, Jiddu Krishnamurti. Bohm found himself impressed by the way his own ideas on quantum mechanics meshed with the seemingly-philosophical ideas of Krishnamurti. Bohm's approach to philosophy and physics receive expression in his 1980 book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, and in his 1987 book Science, Order and Creativity. Bohm and Krishnamurti went on to become close friends for over 25 years, with a deep mutual interest in philosophical subjects and the state of humanity."

There have been times I've been meditating, where I know I wasn't asleep or nodding off, but no more had closed my eyes and next time I'd opened them, it felt like only 5 minutes had passed when more than an hour had. Before entering a state like that, blinding white light was there. Where did "I" go? What faculty do I use to measure time?

Are we only a mass of cells, do we only exist in this period of time, then no more? Is there a soul? If there is, can you measure it? Where does volition come from? I could throw lots of questions out there. But, this is one reason some people are atheists - if you can't measure a soul, if we're nothing more than a chemical soup, then just enjoy your life while you can. I just can't subscribe to that outlook. I think we're here for a reason.


For me, the jury is still out
.

The jury isn't out for me at all. I know energy exists on the level of bodywork - I only wish I could explain it. =)
Christopher A. Moyer said:
Hi Deborah.

"Energy Beings", "Living Things", "Metabolic Systems" . . . . equal animals.

Not necessarily. Living things and metabolic systems could also refer to nonanimal life.

I used "scare quotes" around these terms because they were terms you used in your previous post I replied to.

Makes me wonder if those who are skeptical about energy transfers also believe they get absolutely no benefit from the meat in their diets, from animals killed for nourishment.

No doubt, humans have to eat for energy! If that's all a person means when they say we are "energy beings," I'd couldn't disagree with that. It is not controversial at all to note that humans, like all living things, take energy from their environment, store energy, and release energy into the environment. No reasonable person, and no scientist, would disagree with this.

No, I wasn't saying that energy in the form of nutrients is what anyone was referring to by using the term "energy beings". Obviously, I wasn't clear. I don't want to offend anyone who eats meat, but if an animal is a living being, there is energy. Where does that energy go when the animal's body is no longer housing it? Does it go into the human who is eating it? Does it disperse and disappear? Does this now become karmic baggage? Some people would believe so, even if they are not religious. We might argue that they choose to believe it because its dogma. Or, maybe they just consider killing of an animal as cruelty to another "energy being".

But I think people are often implying something else when they state that we are "energy beings" or similar. This usually seems to imply that there is a biofield or vital force, and that it can be manipulated in the pursuit of health. Most scientists would disagree with this, because there is no evidence to support it and because such a vital force is not needed or useful as an explanation for biological processes.

I understand what you are saying and have from the beginning. Can you point to any contemporary scientific studies done using sophisticated criteria that would support the claim that there is no evidence of a biofield or vital force or their ability for manipulation? Who are "most scientists"? Do you consider physics or quantum theories to be science?

So, before anyone thinks I'm trying to divert this topic into one about veganism, let me just say that simply because you can't "see" a "transference of energy", doesn't mean you can claim it doesn't exist.

The scare quotes make it difficult to know precisely what you mean.

I quoted "transference of energy" because it was used in some previous posts, referring to the use of energy work in massage therapy as "giving energy" to a receiver, as in Reiki, for instance.

A question for you, if you're interested - what would it take for you to feel that the metaphorical jury was no longer out, but in, with a verdict of 'no such thing as energy work?'

Good question. In this case, the jury is me, and the evidence is subjective, so judicial process as we know it doesn't apply. Perhaps if I conducted an informal study on a controlled number of clients, using some energy technique and the results were significantly impressionable in favor of a "vital force" that could be manipulated to affect the health of the clients, then I would be inclined to do even more studies around how that force could be measured. But, I'm not a scientist, and I'm not an energy worker. Many times, I see a positive change in a client after I work on them but sometimes I don't see anything. I DO look for an energetic change in the body, evidenced by improved posture and relaxed presentation. This to me, is evidence of energy and a comparison could be made between stored energy and released energy. Did I affect this energy in my client through my hands and technique? I think so. If I believe this, do I think I can touch any one person or a number of people and bring instantaneous healing to an ailment? No, not at my level of consciousness today.

Maybe "energy" in the term "energy work" is used to describe the effect as well as the process of the work. You say the vital force is implied, but maybe its just misunderstood.
Chris,
In light of your statement:
"But I think people are often implying something else when they state that we are "energy beings" or similar. This usually seems to imply that there is a biofield or vital force, and that it can be manipulated in the pursuit of health. Most scientists would disagree with this, because there is no evidence to support it and because such a vital force is not needed or useful as an explanation for biological processes"

The above statement unfortunately implies the practitioner claims to be able to examine the actual energy field, then manipulate it much as one would add basil to a culinary dish to manipulate the flavor. I honestly don't know a single therapist who makes that claim. In the absence of empirical evidence, "often" would be an assumptive hypothesis on your part, not an evidence based theory. Also the term "vital force" as you use it sounds like this is some force independent of the organic being rather than a force being produced by that same being. This is ambiguous therefore meaningless. Additionally, simply explaining the biological process within the current parameters of knowledge is rather limiting. Apparently there is work in research that is attempting to address some of these questions.

Here is a research article that seems to contradict your position. It includes double blind RCT's (your standard) as well as outcome measurements of treatment results (my standard for evaluating the effectiveness of energy healing)

http://lach.web.arizona.edu/CFMBS_Report.pdf

Here is a brief:
This report summarizes a set of key findings from the CFMBS (NIH P20
AT00774-01) at the University of Arizona. The report addresses three questions:
1. Can biofield effects be observed across multiple biological assays (e.g. in cells,
plants, animals, and humans)?
2. What factors modulate the direction, magnitude, replication, and stability of
biofield effects (e.g. biophysical, psychological, and contextual factors in
healers and patients)?
3. Can biofields be measured from living systems using state-of-the-art
bioelectromagnetic and optical instruments (e.g. low frequency magnetic fields,
biophotons)?

Robin, you are at UA, do you know these researchers?

Vlad!....Oh Vlad!.... where art thou??...... The squirrel worshipers would appreciate your input on this! Om shanty Om!
Hi Bert,

I know of most of the researchers listed and am working with a few of them on another whole systems research project. We are in the formative stage now (qualitative research) with a RCT planned afterwards. Ours is a fully funded 5 year project.

Attached are a couple studies with Reiki; one is the actual study with Schwartz and the rats, the other is a sytematic review.

Vlad, you really are missed; come back after you've had a break, won't you?


Bert Davich said:
Chris,
In light of your statement:
"But I think people are often implying something else when they state that we are "energy beings" or similar. This usually seems to imply that there is a biofield or vital force, and that it can be manipulated in the pursuit of health. Most scientists would disagree with this, because there is no evidence to support it and because such a vital force is not needed or useful as an explanation for biological processes"

The above statement unfortunately implies the practitioner claims to be able to examine the actual energy field, then manipulate it much as one would add basil to a culinary dish to manipulate the flavor. I honestly don't know a single therapist who makes that claim. In the absence of empirical evidence, "often" would be an assumptive hypothesis on your part, not an evidence based theory. Also the term "vital force" as you use it sounds like this is some force independent of the organic being rather than a force being produced by that same being. This is ambiguous therefore meaningless. Additionally, simply explaining the biological process within the current parameters of knowledge is rather limiting. Apparently there is work in research that is attempting to address some of these questions.

Here is a research article that seems to contradict your position. It includes double blind RCT's (your standard) as well as outcome measurements of treatment results (my standard for evaluating the effectiveness of energy healing)

http://lach.web.arizona.edu/CFMBS_Report.pdf

Here is a brief:
This report summarizes a set of key findings from the CFMBS (NIH P20
AT00774-01) at the University of Arizona. The report addresses three questions:
1. Can biofield effects be observed across multiple biological assays (e.g. in cells,
plants, animals, and humans)?
2. What factors modulate the direction, magnitude, replication, and stability of
biofield effects (e.g. biophysical, psychological, and contextual factors in
healers and patients)?
3. Can biofields be measured from living systems using state-of-the-art
bioelectromagnetic and optical instruments (e.g. low frequency magnetic fields,
biophotons)?

Robin, you are at UA, do you know these researchers?

Vlad!....Oh Vlad!.... where art thou??...... The squirrel worshipers would appreciate your input on this! Om shanty Om!
19859450.pdf
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