Research > Healing Hands

This study shows that healing methods similar to Therapeutic Touch can change the Human Energy Field
by Richard H. Lee, Director
CHI Institute
June 10, 1998

***In its April 1, 1998 issue, JAMA published a fourth grade science project which was claimed that Therapeutic Touch was ineffective because practitioners could not accurately determine whether a nine-year-old girl's hand was close to theirs. A far more accurate test of effectiveness of Therapeutic touch involves measuring, not the ability to sense a human energy field, but rather, to change a human energy field.

***Measuring changes in photonic and magnetic fields would be expensive, given the cost of SQUID and other high tech equipment needed to measure such weak fields. And while measurement of therapist induced changes in electric fields with EEG has been demonstrated (Liu G 1988), the simplest and easiest to replicate experiments involve monitoring the therapist-induced changes in electrical conductivity of a test subject's hand and arm. For more details on this electrical conductivity test method click here.

Findings -

***Therapists practicing non-contact healing methods are able to induce a significant change in the electrical conductivity of blindfolded test subjects, as shown in these enlarged conductivity images of fingertips.

Baseline 1

Baseline 2
(1 min later)

After 3 minutes
of attempting to
increase conductivity

After 3 minutes
of attempting to
decrease conductivity

Description of Experiment

***All four conductivity images are of the same finger of the test subject who is isolated behind a divider throughout the experiment. The first two exposures were made about a minute apart without any activity or intention on the part of the practitioner to be tested. Because they were similar, the test subject was judged to be consistent. Next the practitioner drew a card on which the word "brighter" was written. (Half of the cards said "less bright"). Only he saw the card so that nobody else in the room knew his intention. He then put the card face-down next to the photographer who was taking and tracking the conductivity images.

***The practitioner then proceeded to move his hand around the test subject without touching, using whatever non-contact energetic techniques he/she knew in attempt to make the conductivity image of the test subject brighter. After three minutes, the third conductivity photo (above) was taken. Then, for the next three minutes the practitioner proceeded to try to make the image less bright, at which time the fourth and final conductivity photo was taken. At this point the photographer looked at the card and recorded the practitioner's intention on the backs of the photographs.

***The series above indicates that the practitioner successfully increased, then decreased the brightness of the test subject's conductivity image without making physical contact. The technique used was "emitted Qi", a Chinese technique similar to Therapeutic Touch and Reiki. Note that, in the fourth picture, when brightness decreases to below the baseline level smoothness is above the baseline level.

***A few practitioners were able to increase and decrease the brightness as instructed. Some commented that they did not like making the image smaller because they had to reduce the energy in the test subject. The rest mostly increased brightness and smoothness no matter what they were trying to do.


***Many casual readers might tend to reject the findings of this study based on their assumption that the existence of human energy fields and the altering of a person's energy field are outside the laws of physics, and therefore impossible. It is therefore appropriate here to briefly review some of the findings of researchers mostly within the last decade to show that these energy fields are quite measurable with existing equipment and that there is strong evidence that known biophysical mechanisms can account for the observed phenomena.

***First, the human body clearly has a vibrating electrical field, measurable for decades through such techniques as EMG, EEG, and EKG. How is this possible? The classical view of the human cell as a bag of water with a nucleus has been, for the most part, rejected in favor of models in which a highly structured collection of filaments, tubes and fibers connect the cell's nucleus not only to the surface of the cell but beyond, in a matrix which connects and interrelates the cells of the entire body. (Oschman 1994) and (Pinta & Coffee 1991). Second, helical molecules within the body, such as DNA, keratin, collagen, actin, and myosin have piezoelectric qualities. As they elongate and contract they produce voltages. Also, when voltages are applied, they expand or contract producing mechanical activity and acoustical energy.

***While it is well established that electrical signals are produced and received by the body, readers are more likely to question whether a magnetic field interpenetrates and surrounds the body. In 1963 researchers at Syracuse University reported the first measurements of the magnetic field of the human heart, just a millionth the strength of the earth's magnetic field, yet highly coherent and measurable throughout the body and beyond. Soon after, in 1971 the SQUID, a highly sensitive superconducting magnetometer was developed which was used to measure the magnetic field of the brain, 100 times weaker than that of the heart. (Cohen 1972).

***Many researchers now believe that the magnetic field of the heart, which extends throughout the body plays a role in regulating biological functions. Then, in 1991 Seto and colleagues measured the magnetic field between the hands of healers to be as strong as 1 milligauss. This is less than 1% the strength of Earth's magnetic field, but 1000 times as strong as the magnetic field produced by the heart. If the heart regulates biological functions with it's weak field, it is certainly feasible that a magnetic field from the hands of healers, measured to be many times stronger than the heart field might influence biological functions.

***But, how can a magnetic field be produced from the hands? The Josephson junction, a superconducting semiconductor which is the basis of the SQUID's extremely high sensitivity to weak magnetic fields, has been predicted in quantum physics calculations to be present in living tissue. This was verified just ten years ago. (Del Giudice et al 1989). DNA is one of the biochemical structures shown to act as a superconducting magnetic field detector, able, through the Hall effect, not only to detect very weak magnetic signals, but also to produce magnetic signals. (McCraty 1993) Thus DNA may act as a signal amplifier, releasing its energy coherently into passing magnetic waves, much as the ruby rod of a laser releases its light energy coherently with a passing photon to produce a laser beam. This provides a mechanism by which healers might produce the observed relatively strong biomagnetic signals, and by which a test subject or patient might be influenced by such signals. (Oschman 1993).

***Thus, modern advances in science now provide mechanisms by which it is possible for healers to produce magnetic and electric signals of significant magnitude to influence patients. For those who seek a more in depth overview of this rapidly advancing field of knowledge, "The Scientific Basis of Energy Medicine"; by James L. Oschman, 1998, is highly recommended.

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The purpose of this study was to answer two questions:

1) Can therapists, using non-contact therapy methods, alter the electrical conductivity of a blindfolded test subject?

2) Can therapists improve their skill in the above test after attending an "emitted-Qi training", a seven day training program?

***The answer, to both questions, is a solid "yes". However, as expected, some therapists proved very capable at altering conductivity while others showed little or no ability. The data from the 25 participants who completed both the pre- and post-training tests was analyzed, evaluating each photo on seven point scales of brightness and smoothness, with the following photos used to set a standard of evaluation:

Brightness 2
Brightness 4
Brightness 6
Smoothness 2
Smoothness 4
Smoothness 6

The statistical findings are summarized below:

* Average increase
before training
Average increase
after training

Brightness 0.476 (t<.0025) 0.929 (t<.0005) 95%
Smoothness 0.714 (t<.0005) 0.690 (t<.0025) -3%

Brighter and Smoother:

***An increase in brightness is related to increased overall electrical conductivity in the hands and arms, while increased smoothness relates to how the electrical conductivity in the hands and fingers is distributed. In many electro-acupuncture methods using such equipment as Ryodoraku and EAV devices, both low conductivity and non-uniform conductivity are considered indicators for illness, and normalizing these measures is considered effective treatment. Thus the brighter and smoother image as observed here are not only indicators that the test subject's energy field has changed, but also that effective therapy may have been administered.

***The following two series of photos from the same practitioner illustrate how the ability to increase smoothness before training was replaced by ability to increase brightness and the electrical appearance of streamers after the training.

Baseline 1 (before) Baseline 2 Make brighter Make less bright

Baseline 1 (after) Baseline 2 Make brighter Make less bright

***Note that this practitioner was unable to reverse the tendency to add either smoothness or brightness. While he had practiced Reiki before, he had been unfamiliar with the Emitted Qi of Qigong, and commented after this final picture that his hands felt very electrical, and he was unable to turn it off. This suggests that different healing methods may change a patient's electrical conductivity in different ways, and that the healers aren't necessarily in control of what energies they are working with.

***Before the training this group of practitioners was able to increase the smoothness by 0.71 points and the brightness by 0.48 points. After the training, practitioners' ability to increase brightness doubled, to 0.93 points, but their ability to increase smoothness did not change. Thus therapists are able to alter a patient's electrical conductivity and the emitted Qi training they participated in strengthened one aspect of this ability.


***One cannot discard such techniques as Therapeutic Touch solely based on the inability to discern the energy field of a 9 year old's hand. The ability to influence the electrical field surrounding the hand of a test subject, as exhibited in this experiment, clearly indicates that such techniques as Therapeutic Touch and emitted Qi measurably influence the energy field, in this case, the electrical conductivity, of the patient.


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Description of Conductivity Imager

Low Frequency Sound Emission Study

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