Energy You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

Energy You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

My undergraduate degree, back in the dark ages, was in physics. I remember studying all the kinds of energy, the ability to work:

  • Kinetic (≥0), that of the motion of a body
  • Potential, A category comprising many forms in this list
  • Mechanical, The sum of (usually macroscopic) kinetic and potential energies
  • Mechanical wave (≥0), a form of mechanical energy propagated by a material’s oscillations
  • Chemical, that contained in molecules
  • Electric, that from electric fields
  • Magnetic, that from magnetic fields
  • Radiant (≥0), that of electromagnetic radiation including light
  • Nuclear, that of binding nucleons to form the atomic nucleus
  • Ionization, that of binding an electron to its atom or molecule
  • Elastic, that of deformation of a material (or its container) exhibiting a restorative force
  • Gravitational, that from gravitational fields
  • Rest, (≥0) that equivalent to an object’s rest mass
  • Thermal, A microscopic, disordered equivalent of mechanical energy
  • Heat, an amount of thermal energy being transferred (in a given process) in the direction of decreasing temperature
  • Mechanical, work an amount of energy being transferred in a given process due to displacement in the direction of an applied force.

There are a lot of different kinds of energy. What is not on this list? All the unmeasured and unmeasurable energies that define many of the pseudo-medicines. Qi, innate intelligence, reiki, therapeutic touch, etc. All the mystical and magical energies purported to be felt and manipulated by their practitioners.

We have the amazing ability to measure energy. We can still detect the signal of the Voyager spacecraft, 11 billion miles away, broadcasting with the power of a refrigerator light bulb. Yet somehow the energies altered and manipulated by pseudo-medical providers have never been measured or found to exist outside the imagination of the pseudo medical provider.

A simple and elegant study, by a nine year old for her 4 grade science project, clearly demonstrated the inability of energy practitioners to detect human energy fields. The results, never refuted by further studies, were published in the Journal of the American Medical Society.

This result should come as no surprise since there are no anatomical, physiological or biochemical reasons to suspect such an energy exists and no mechanism or structure to transmit or utilize the human energy field.  The human energy field is a fantasy.

Unfortunately this fantasy is now before the Oregon legislature in Senate Bill 298 adding

“Bodywork” means any form of touch therapy that uses manipulation, movement, energy or repatterning to produce structural and functional changes to the body

to the existing statute which says

(ii) Using minimal touch over specific points on the body to facilitate balance in the nervous system; or

(iii) Using touch to affect the energy systems or channels of energy of the body;

This is akin to defining a unicorn to facilitate its hunting.

Fictions should not be part of the law.

Mark Crislip MD