Saturday, March 31, 2007

Energy Medicine - Why so many "schools"

Energy medicines generally seem to offer to balance, harmonize and transform the body's energy processes. But why are there so many different "schools" of what is basically the old Oral Roberts "laying-on-of-hands" technique? I'm guessing money might have something to do with it. It's probably easier to compete in the teaching of energy medicine field if you can teach your own "patented" technique.

The Energy Medicine Institute
Vortex healing
qi gong
Quantum Touch
Pranic Healing
Therapeutic Touch
Healing Touch
Polarity Therapy

Here is a list of "Scientific" journals in which energy medicine researchers publish their scientific evidence. It's hard to imagine any reputable scientist wanting to be on the editorial board of these journals.

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Journal of New Energy
Journal of the BioElectroMagnetics Institute
Journal of Scientific Exploration
Journal of the International Society of Life Information Science

Sometimes there can be "equipment" involved in energy medicine. This is good because it gives the "school" another means of making money. Above is the scientology "e meter".

Speaking of scientology....they've got the energy medicine practice down pat. Declare it a religion, make money and pay no taxes.

Some SL Main St. Facades

Learning About Reiki

And I thought Scientology was funny. Has Reiki been covered on South Park yet? Oh yeah, I also learned that Jesus may have been a Reiki master.

Reiki FAQs:

What is Reiki? Quite simply put, is pure energy that comes directly from the highest source and is given by the laying on of hands.
How does Reiki work? Reiki helps to restore and rebalance our energy by helping us to release and remove these blocks that have lodged themselves within the system, and restoring a natural healthy free flow of our energy. Reiki balances, recharges and clears the energy of the person, which helps in raising the vibration level on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.
What can be treated with Reiki? Reiki has also had great success in helping to heal more serious illnesses and diseases such as herniated disks, broken bones, migraines, cancer, depression, HIV, high blood pressure, ADD and ADHD and heart disease.
I have heard that Reiki can be sent to others at a distance. How does this work? To distantly send Reiki to someone in need of the Reiki energy, one must first be attuned to Level II. The Reiki practitioner uses the distance symbol which is one of the 3 symbols they obtain and are attuned to in level II. The practitioner then empowers the symbol and allows the Reiki to flow to the intended person by use of a picture, a name written on a piece of paper or simply by thought of the person. This method works regardless of where the person is, or what they are doing at the time the energy is sent.
What is an attunement? Reiki is taught differently than the way other healing energies are taught. The attunement process is basically an initiation /ritual and aligning with the Reiki Energy for the student to become a channel for the flow of the Reiki Energy. This ability is transferred to the student via an attunement from a Reiki Master. During the attunement, the Rei or God-Consciousness makes adjustments in the student’s chakras and energy centers to accommodate the ability to channel Reiki and then links the student to the Reiki source.

Questions and answers Usui Reiki Master Teacher Pam Benton

Friday, March 30, 2007

Peanut Butter Disproves Evolution

  1. Evolution doesn't address the origins of life. Will people ever get that through their heads?
  2. An excellent Carl Zimmer article about an "origin of life" researcher can be found here.
  3. You don't find God in a jar of peanut butter either. So what does that prove?

JibJab 2-0-5

This JibJab got past me. It's funny but unfortunate too.

David Eyre's Pancake

  • 2 eggs 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk 4 tblsp butter
  • 2 tblsp sugar pinch of nutmeg (I like cinnimon)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs, add flour, milk and nutmeg and lightly beat until blended but still lumpy.
  2. Melt the butter in a 12 inch skillet with a heatproof handle over medium high heat. When very hot but not brown, pour in the batter. Bake in the oven until the pancake is billowing on the edges and golden brown, about 15 min.
  3. Working quickly, remove the pan from the oven and using a fine meshed seive, sprinkle with the sugar. Return to the oven for 1-2 min more. Serve with jam, marmalade, ice cream etc

Thursday, March 29, 2007

How Do You Know Whether You Are Christian?

Simple. Check with Focus on Family founder Dr. James Dobson.

A Quick Synopsis of Islam Beliefs

Click on the poster for larger text.

I'm not an expert but here are some of the differences between Christianity and Islam as I understand them.
  • Christians believe in 3 persons in 1 God - Islam believe God is indivisable
  • Christians believe Jesus is the son of God - Islam reveres Jesus as a prophet
  • Christians believe are are born with sin - Islam believes babies are born in a pure state
  • Both religions believe in the virgin birth of Jesus
  • Both religions believe Jesus ascended into heaven
  • Both religions believe in the Golden Rule
  • Both religions believe in the existance of heaven and hell
  • Both religions believe in confessing sins to God
  • Both religions believe their holy books are the inerrant word of God

Obviously there are many, many differences but it seems better to focus on some of the similarities.

Science vs Pseudoscience

The ADE guest editorial “Energy healing is now being scientifically validated” by Ms. Dionne-Dickson warrants a response. Ms. Dionne-Dickson believes that having an “energy healer” at a high school wellness fair is a "reflection of the times we are now living in.” But it is also a reflection of the times that science literacy in the USA is plunging. Two-thirds of Americans do not have a firm grasp of what is meant by the scientific method. I am pleased to hear that “everyone who lay on the table that day was eager to understand what they were witnessing.” My concern is that the wellness class students were not asking questions that help a consumer decide whether the foundation of a particular health practice or technique is based on science or pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is any body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that claims to be scientific but does not follow and adhere to the scientific method. How does a person distinguish science from pseudoscience?

Practitioners of pseudoscience commonly accuse scientists of being hostile. It seems the questions put forth in my letter to the editor, although valid, were full of negative energy and perceived as hostile. However, my concerns were about educating students about science, the scientific method, critical thinking and use of reason.

Another way to distinguish pseudoscience from science is the attempt to shift the burden of proof away from themselves. Note the quote offered from Dr. Dossey’s book: “A body of knowledge that does not fit with prevailing ideas can be ignored as if it does not exist…” Dr. Dossey’s so-called “body of knowledge” is being ignored because there is no scientific evidence to support it. The statement that “science cannot explain" is a common defense in pseudoscience. Pseudoscientists claim their beliefs are based in science yet beyond “ordinary” science. Often their claims are beyond the natural, what many refer to as the supernatural.

The “vast body of knowledge, scientifically based, that is now available verifying the validity of the energetic body and the many forms of what is now being called Energy Medicine” doesn’t exist. Here is what the National Institutes of Health Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine has to say about therapeutic touch, a form of energy medicine. “However, there has been little rigorous scientific research. Overall, these therapies have impressive anecdotal evidence, but none have been proven scientifically to be effective.” If that statement is not enough, I suggest you read “A close look at therapeutic touch” by Rosa L., Rosa E., Sarner L. and Barrett S. published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (1998) Apr 1; 279(13):1005-1010. Most practitioners of therapeutic touch are likely familiar with this article since it is a simple experiment that concludes, “Twenty-one experienced TT practitioners were unable to detect the investigator's "energy field."

Ms. Dionne-Dickson points out that she was trained at The Institute of Healing Arts & Sciences LLC. The IHAS is not accredited by the Connecticut State Department of Education. A visit to the IHAS Website and a listen to their introductory video explains that the Connecticut Commissioner of Higher Education approves the Institute. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges, an independent accrediting organization, does not list IHAS as an accredited school. If you spend some time looking through the IHAS catalog you will see that they teach “distance healing techniques” (pg. 16). As a parasitologist I found it interesting that the same module teaches techniques to eliminate intestinal parasites. There are 3 billion people in the World infected with intestinal parasites. It seems logical that far fewer people would have intestinal worms if they could be eliminated via distance healing techniques.

It is a problem that the many professional practitioners of complementary medicine in our area are concerned about “the judgement they can run into.” That is probably a cost of doing business in the energy medicine field. But this is not about judgments. It is about discerning science from pseudoscience. It is about teaching our students how to make intelligent decisions about their health care based on scientific evidence, critical thinking and reason, not faith. It is about insuring that the public knows that the basis of the health treatments they are receiving have been deemed scientifically safe, sound and effective.

Ms. Dionne-Dickson attempts to explain the “science” behind Chakra reading. The fact that “using a crystal as a pendulum, to hook into the spinning rotation of each energy center to give a visual representation of the activity of the energy center” may be interesting. But please explain what that statement actually means and provide the peer reviewed, scientific evidence on which your claims are based. Pseudoscientists commonly invent their own vocabulary in which many terms lack precise or unambiguous definitions, and some have no definition at all. It is generous of Ms. Dionne-Dickson to offer a free half-hour private session. But your Website indicates that you also do “distance”. Is it really necessary for a client to be physically present for a treatment?

I do not question that Ms. Dionne-Dickson is sincere in her beliefs and her intentions to bring health and healing to people in a professional and ethical manner. However, the legitimacy of the means in which she is doing it should be questioned. Moreover, unlike in pseudoscience, beliefs are not in the realm of science. Scientists do not believe scientific evidence; they accept or reject evidence obtained from experiments done in a controlled, repeatable manner.

Lastly, we need to ask where is the State of New York in regulating the practice of “energy medicine” especially Reiki or Therapeutic Touch? Massage therapists need to be educated and licensed under the auspices of the NY State Department of Education. Why not practitioners of touch healing? Florida, Utah and North Dakota all require practitioners of Reiki to be licensed massage therapists.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Energy Healing: Looking in All the Wrong Places

That's the title of an article written by Robert Todd Carroll. You can go to the Skeptics Dictionary and read it.

What we are basically talking about here after all the mumbo jumbo is faith healing. Dr. Carroll and I both agree that it is even more amazing that many of these energy healing techniques can be applied at a distance. He points out than many of these techniques go back to Franz Anton Mesmer and his discovery of "animal magnetism. But here is what is really important about therapeutic touch:
Practitioners admit that there has never been any scientific detection of a human energy field. This, they say, is because of the inadequacies of our present technology. One with a trained sense, however, is allegedly able to detect the human energy field and assess its integrity.
Go here to read an article which debunks "therapeutic touch".

There is money in therapeutic touch research however. The above picture shows Dr. Karen Priestwood of the Univ. of Connecticut Health Center, recipient of a $1.8 million grant from NIH to discover how touch can heal. She is receiving a Reiki treatment from Libbe Clark, a Reiki Master teacher. WTF?


Here is what I've learned about Chakra.

In Hinduism and its spiritual systems of yoga and in some related eastern cultures, as well as in some segments of the New Age movement a chakra is thought to be an energy node in the human body.

The word comes from the Sanskrit "cakra" meaning "wheel, circle", and sometimes also referring to the "wheel of life". The pronunciation of this word can be approximated in English by 'chuhkruh', with ch as in chart and both instances - the commonly found pronunciation 'shockrah' is incorrect.

The seven main chakras are described as being aligned in an ascending column from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Each chakra is associated with a certain color, multiple specific functions, an aspect of consciousness, a classical element, and other distinguishing characteristics.

The chakras are thought to vitalise the physical body and to be associated with interactions of both a physical and mental nature. They are considered loci of life energy, or prana, which is thought to flow among them along pathways called nadis.

There are 3 other chakras but evidently these are only used by evil forces.

Now this is key:
A mystic deals with these metaphysical concepts on the metaphysical plane, as a model for their own internal experience, and when talking about 'energy centres', they are generally talking about subtle, spiritual forces, which work on the psyche and spirit, not about physical electrical or magnetic fields.
See these are special biofields that are outside the realm of natural science. I guess you could call them...I don't know...supernatural?


As I understand it, a Chakra reading involves dangling a crystal as a pendulum to hook into the spinning rotation of each energy center to give a visual representation of the activity of each energy center. I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know what that means. Can anyone help me out?

Or, you can just go here and get a "distance chakra reading" for a suggested donation of $75 - 100.

If you are living in the Tri-Lakes area and you want a personal interaction, you can go to Healing Adventures and get a free 30 minute introductory session. After that you pay $75 an hour ($10 discount for long distance work).

What Do These Words Have in Common?

Crust; Cyst; Eczema; Fissure; Lichenified; Macule; Papule; Nodule; Patch; Plaque; Pustule; Scale; Ulcer; Vesicle/bulla; Wheal ?

They are all distinctive types of skin leisons.

Energy healing is now being scientifically validated

It's only fair that I post Ms. Dionne-Dickson's guest editorial from todays ADE. It's in response to my letter published last week. I'm working on a response. Ms. Dionne-Dickson's website is here. Notice the $10 discount for "distance healing". Also, visit the Institute of Healing Arts and Sciences.
It was such a pleasure to be invited to the first Wellness Day held at Saranac High this past week.

The fact that Tricia Preston was open to and excited about having an energy healer there was a reflection of the times we are now living in. I also commend the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for publishing the picture it did, showing one of hundreds of teenagers and adults who received chakra readings that day.

I was struck with how open and serious the young emerging adults were. Nearly everyone who lay on the table that day was eager to understand what they were witnessing, asking very honest questions, trying to take in the information as I was providing it and place it into a new frame of reference for how they perceived themselves and their world.

It’s too bad that Mr. Sayles could not bring forward his questions with the same kind of openness, for all of his questions and concerns were valid ones. It’s always difficult to provide a satisfying answer when there is such energy of judgment within the question itself. Dr. Larry Dossey, who has written a fabulous book bringing together the information of hundreds of scientific studies that have been done proving the positive effects of prayer and energy healing, says, “A body of knowledge that does not fit with prevailing ideas can be ignored as if it does not exist, no matter how scientifically valid it may be.” (“Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine,” Larry Dossey, M.D.)

This is the dilemma. There is a vast body of knowledge, scientifically based, that is now available verifying the validity of the energetic body and the many forms of what is now being called Energy Medicine. The school in which I was trained, The Institute of Healing Arts & Sciences LLC, is accredited by the Connecticut State Department of Education and works with five of the local hospitals, incorporating energy healers into the treatment plans for patients. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Saranac Lake, with its well-known history of being on the cutting edge of blending alternative and traditional medicine, could begin taking some serious steps in this direction? There are a significant number of professional practitioners of complementary medicine in this town — many of whom are afraid of being too public simply because of the judgment they can run into. And yet, people do seem to be finding us, working with us and experiencing positive results. It’s very fulfilling to be bringing this body of information to a younger population, such as with the high school Wellness Day.

Just to clarify a few things: “Chakra” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “wheel or disk” and refers to the centers of energy, mostly along the spine, that help us organize, receive, assimilate and express our life force. I was not “dangling a charm” but using a crystal as a pendulum, to hook into the spinning rotation of each energy center to give a visual representation of the activity of the energy center. For someone trained in interpreting how the energy flows, this can provide a wealth of information regarding how we are functioning on all levels: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. In my healing practice, I offer everyone a free, half-hour private session, which can include a chakra reading, and I invite Mr. Sayles to contact me so he can have a firsthand experience and also have the opportunity to ask further questions. He may be pleased to find out that we are not as far apart as he perceives us to be and that we all have the same intention — to help bring health and healing to people in a professional, ethical and legitimate manner.

Pat Dionne-Dickson, of Saranac Lake, is a spiritual healer, counselor and minister at Healing Adventures in Saranac Lake.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Todays Entertainment

SAT Examiners Can Be Fooled

Below is a paragraph from the writing portion of an SAT exam. The essay was scored a 5 out of a possible 6.

In the 1930’s, American businesses were locked in a fierce economic competition with Russian merchants for fear that their communist philosophies would dominate American markets. As a result, American competition drove the country into an economic depression and the only way to pull them out of it was through civil cooperation. American president Franklin Delenor Roosevelt advocated for civil unity despite the communist threat of success by quoting “the only thing we need to fear is itself,” which desdained competition as an alternative to cooperation for success. In the end, the American economy pulled out of the depression and succeeded communism.

This essay was an "experiment" by MIT professor Les Perelman who coached a student on how to "fool" the SAT examiners into giving a good score on a not so good essay. Prof. Perlman's goal was to prove that the new writing portion of the SAT is crap.

Read more here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

How Dare They?

Chutzpah: audacity, effrontery, nerve, cojones etc. G.W. Bush accuses Democrats of playing politics in trying to determine the truth about why 8 US Attorneys were fired, especially after the Bush administration has given several different reasons for the firings. This from an administration that has made the use of politics an ARTFORM in obtaining power, keeping power and in "running" government. Should we laugh or cry?

G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney slam Democrats for not supporting the troops. This from two guys (both of whom refused to fight in Vietnam) who basically mislead us into a stupid unwinable war with too few troops that were not equipped with personal armor or vehicle armor and still are not to this very day. These two men are directly responsible for the deaths of over 3,000 soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

These men want Democrats to "join" them in doing the peoples business. Quite a change in tune from the last six years when Democrats were basically treated as though they were not around in Congress. Does anyone accept the notion that oversight of the excutive branch might be doing the peoples business?

D. J. Dionne asks why are the principles that the Republicans held so dear during the Clinton administration no longer operative? The Pew poll results released last week indicate that people no longer support the Republican "resurgence" of the last decade. And, G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney are likely the reason.