The Scientific Basis for Magnetic Healing

OCR scan from

Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis

James L. Oschman, 2000.


The functioning of the heart, brain, and some other organs
result in oscillations in the ELF range of the electromagnetic

Over the last half century, Robert 0. Becker and others have
done important research on the role of brain waves in healing.
These studies have many implications for bodywork and movement
therapies. Becker's work reveals one of the unknowns in the
X-signal system of Manaka (see Ch. 4).

Modern neurophysiology focuses primarily on the activity of
less than half of the cells in the brain (Becker 1990a, 1991).
The 'neuron doctrine' holds that all functions of the nervous
system are the result of activities of the neurons. Integration
of brain function is therefore regarded as arising from the
massive interconnectivity of the neurons. This view is
incomplete because it ignores an evolutionarily more ancient
informational system residing in the perineural connective
tissue cells that constitute more than half of the cells in the
brain. Perineural cells encase every nerve fiber, down to their
finest terminations throughout the body.

The perineural system is a direct current communication system
reaching to every innervated tissue. The perineural system
establishes a 'current of injury' that controls injury repair.
Historically, the injury potential was discovered before the
discovery of resting and action potentials of nerves (Davson
1970). The current of injury is generated at the site of a
wound, and continues until repair is complete. One function of
the current is to alert the rest of the body to the location and
extent of an injury. The current also attracts the mobile skin
cells, white blood cells, and fibroblasts that close and heal
the wound. Finally, the injury current changes as the tissue
heals, and therefore feeds back information on the progress of
repair to surrounding tissues. Becker's research demonstrated
that the current of injury is not an ionic current, but a
semiconductor current that is sensitive to magnetic fields (the
Hall effect). Semiconduction takes place in the perineural
connective tissue and surrounding part s of the living matrix.

Other tissues in the body are ensheathed in continuous layers of
connective tissue: the vascular system is surrounded with
perivascular connective tissue; the lymphatic system with
perilymphatic connective tissue; the muscular system with
myofascia; the bones with the periosteum. Conceptually, the
living matrix encompasses all of these connective tissue
systems, including the cellular and nuclear scaffolds within
them (see also Ch. 15 and Fig. 15.5).

It has been suggested that the current of injury is not confined
to the skin, but is a general property of layers of cells,
called epithelia (Oschman 1993). If this is so, a current of
injury will arise in any tissue, epidermal, vascular, muscular,
nervous, or bone, that is injured. Which systems are activated
will depend on the depth and severity of the injury. This
perspective is leading to a detailed explanation of how the body
coordinates its responses to injuries of all kinds.

Oscillations of the brain's direct current field, the brain
waves, are not confined to the brain. Instead, they propagate
through the circulatory system, which is a good conductor, and
along the peripheral nerves, following the perineural system,
which reaches into every part of the body that is innervated.
Similarly, oscillations of the heart's electrical activity are
not confined to the heart muscle, but are propagated through the
vascular system, perivascular connective tissue, and living
matrix to all parts of the body.

The measurable brain waves arise because of the rhythmic and
synchronized spread of direct current through large populations
of neurons in the brain. The field is relatively strong and
partly coherent because it flows through massive numbers of
parallel neurons in the vertically oriented pyramidal portion of
the somatosensory cortex (see Kandel & Schwartz 1981).

Becker's research shows that brain waves regulate the overall
operation of the nervous system, including the state of
consciousness. There is a neurophysiological basis for this
concept. The brain waves cause the local fields around
individual neurons to vary rhythmically. The local field, in
turn, determines the sensitivity of the neurons to stimulation.
When the local field is such that the neuron is ready to send a
signal (called the threshold for depolarization), a small
stimulus will cause the nerve to fire. When the local field is
far from the firing level (far from threshold) a much larger
stimulus will be needed for the nerve to be excited.

Hence there is a rhythm in the excitability of nerve cells
throughout the body. Sophisticated research using
Microelectronics has confirmed that the probability of a nerve
firing in the brain changes rhythmically in relation to the
electroencephalogram (Verzeano 1970, Fox 1979). The
significance of these phenomena to consciousness will be
discussed in the next chapter.


When considering the timing of any biological rhythm, the
concept of entrainment is important. Physicists use this term to
describe a situation in which two rhythms that have nearly the
same frequency become coupled to each other, so that both have
the same rhythm. Technically, entrainment means the 'mutual
phase-locking of two (or more) oscillators'. For example, a
number of pendulum clocks mounted on the same wall will
eventually entrain, so that all of the pendulums swing in
precise synchrony. For this t o happen, the pendulums must have
about the same period, which is determined by their length. What
couples the pendulums are vibrations (elastic or sound waves)
conducted through the structure of the wall.

The brain's pacemaker

Brain waves are not constant in frequency, but vary from moment
to moment. The 'pacemaker' or 'rhythm section' is located deep
in the brain, specifically in the thalamus. The system is known
as the thalamic rhythm generator or pacemaker (Andersen &
Andersson 1968).

Careful research is determining the cellular basis of the
rhythms (Destexhe et al 1993, Wallenstein 1994). Calcium ions
slowly leak into single thalamocortical neurons, which oscillate
for 1.5-28 seconds, triggering and entraining the brain waves,
which spread upward throughout the brain. Eventually the
thalamic oscillations cease because of the excess calcium built
up in the thalamocortical neurons. During this 'silent Phase/
lasting from 5 to 25 seconds, the brain waves are said to
'free-run'. It is probably during this phase that the brain
waves are susceptible to entrainment by external fields, as will
be discussed below. Eventually the thalamic oscillations begin
again, after the cells have restored their calcium levels to the
point where they are once again able to oscillate.

The electroencephalographic waves spread not only throughout the
brain, but throughout the nervous system (via the perineural
system) and into every part of the organism. In this way, the
brain waves regulate the overall sensitivity and activity of the
entire nervous system (Becker 1990a, 1990b).

Entrainment of biological rhythms: more controversy

This chapter is heading toward a discussion of the possibility
that external signals, including signals projected from the
hands of an energy therapist, can entrain brain waves during the
thalamic silent, or free-run period. The reader should be aware
that the entrainment of biological rhythms is a subject as
controversial among biologists as the mechanism vs. vitalism
issue discussed in Chapter 1. The controversy is about whether
biological rhythms are predominantly timed by 'internal clocks'
or by 'external clocks'.

While there are good arguments on either side of this issue, the
current consensus among scientists is that biological clocks are
mostly set by internal pacemakers, such as the thalamus, and
that organisms are, for the most part, independent of natural
energy cycles, such as those discussed below. However, the
history of science has repeatedly demonstrated that scientific
consensuses have a rhythm of their own, as ideas of one
generation give way to new truths, based on new data.

Most scientists and non-scientists alike take a firm position on
one side or the other of this question. For many, it is obvious
that life is part of a larger fabric, and that rhythms of the
sun, moon, planets, and other celestial bodies must affect us
(see e.g. Leonard 1978). For others it is equally obvious that
any such effects, if they do exist, are minimal. For many
scientists, there is strong bias ...against any concept that might
be taken as support for astrology, a field that is widely
frowned upon. There are good reasons to suspect that a person's
point of view on this subject is based less on logical analysis
and more on their individual emotional and personality
structure. This perspective will be addressed when energetic
aspects of personality structure are examined (Ch. 8).

Geomagnetic and geoelectric fields

Evidence will be presented that the 'free-run' periods, when the
brain waves are not paced by the thalamus, allow the brain's
field to be entrained by external electric and magnetic rhythms,
either natural or man-made.

What is the source of natural electric and magnetic rhythms? The
magnetic field of the earth, called the geomagnetic field,
causes the compass needle to Point toward the North Pole.
However, if you look carefully at a compass needle with a
microscope, you will see that the needle is rarely still - it
dances back and forth in a variety of rhythms. Some of these
rhythms are diurnal (24 hour), some are much slower, and others
are quite fast (in the ELF range). The last are called
geomagnetic micropulsations. They are caused by a unique
geophysical mechanism known as the Schumann resonance (see also
Ch. 13).

In the 1950s, a German atmospheric physicist, W. 0. Schumann,
suggested that the space between the surface of the earth and
the ionosphere should act as a resonant cavity, somewhat like
the chamber in a musical instrument (Schumann 1952). Pressing
the keys on a wind instrument changes the size of the cavity and
therefore changes the frequency of the standing waves within
that cavity.

In a musical instrument, tones are generated when the musician
blows over an orifice or reed, Energy for the Schumann resonance
is provided by lightning. While you may be experiencing calm
weather where you are now, there are, on average, about 200
lightning strikes taking place each second, scattered about the
planet. To use the physics terminology, lightning pumps energy
into the earth-ionosphere cavity, and causes it to vibrate or
resonate at frequencies in the ELF range (see also Fig. 13.4).

In the 1960s, Schumann's theory was confirmed (Galejs 1972,
Balser & Wagner 1960). Lightning creates electromagnetic
standing waves that travel around the globe. As electromagnetic
waves, the Schumann resonance can be detected either as electric
or magnetic micropulsations. The waves are reflected from the
ionosphere, back to the earth, back to the ionosphere, etc.
This 'skip' phenomenon has been widely studied,
because it is the basis for long distance radio communication.
Radio signals of certain frequencies can travel great distances
because they are repeatedly reflected by the ionosphere and the
earth's surface.

The average frequency of the Schumann resonance is about 7-10
Hz- But when the ionosphere gets higher, the cavity gets larger
and the resonant frequency drops. Rhythms of terrestrial and
extraterrestrial origin alter the height and other properties of
the ionosphere, and thereby alter the Schumann frequency in the
range of 1-40 Hz. There are times when solar activity leads to
magnetic storms that disrupt the ionosphere, and Schumann
resonances cease.

To summarize, the Schumann resonance is created by terrestrial
activities, and is modified or modulated by extraterrestrial
activities. In radio terminology, the signals are frequency
modulated (FM).

Evidence for entrainment by external fields

The Schumann oscillations propagate for long distances and
readily penetrate through the walls of buildings and into the
human body. Schumann frequencies have considerable overlap with
biomagnetic fields such as those produced by the heart and brain, but the

Schumann resonance is thousands of times stronger.


Fig. 7.4 The Schumann resonance is a unique electromagnetic
phenomenon created by the sum of the lightning activity around
the world. Electromagnetic pulses from lightning travel around
the earth, bouncing back and forth between the ionosphere and
the earth's surface. At any given point on the earth, the
Schumann resonance shows up as electric and magnetic
micropulsations in the range of 1-40 Hz. The frequency and
strength of the signals depend on the distribution of global
thunderstorm activity, local mete orological conditions and the
conductivity of the earth's surface at the point of observation.
Bursts of Schumann pulses are easier to detect in fair weather,
and occur more often during the day than at night. These
terrestrial factors are, in turn, influenced by more distant
extraterrestrial factors, such as solar and lunar position, sun
spots, planetary positions, etc. (See Pressman 1970, Dubrov
1978.) (After Bentov 1976, Fig. 16, p. 145, with kind permission
from Integra l Publishing.)

A number of biologists have concluded that the frequency overlap
of Schumann resonances and biological fields is not accidental,
but is the culmination of a close interplay between geomagnetic
and biomagnetic fields over evolutionary time (e.g. Direnfeld
1983). Hence researchers have examined interactions between
external fields and biological rhythms.

Organisms are capable of sensing the intensity, polarity, and
direction of the geomagnetic field (Gould 1984). There is
evidence that geomagnetic rhythms serve as a time cue in the
organization of physiological rhythms (e.g. Wever 1968,
Gauguelin 1974, Cremer-Bartels et al 1984), although this
continues to be controversial. A variety of behavioral
disturbances in the human population are statistically related
to disturbances in the earth's electromagnetic field or to
man-made interferences:

* Friedman et al (1965) documented a relationship between
increased geomagnetic activity and the rate of admission of
patients to 35 psychiatric facilities.

* Venkatraman (1976) and Rajaram & Mitra (1981) reported an
association between changes in the geomagnetic field due to
magnetic storms and frequency of seizures in epileptic patients.

* Perry et al (1981) correlated suicide locations in the West
Midlands, England, with high magnetic field strengths due to 50
Hz power lines.

Many studies have demonstrated the probable entrainment of brain
waves by external rhythms of natural and artificial origin:

* Reiter (1953) measured reaction time, an important factor in
traffic safety. Upon entering a cubicle at a traffic exhibition,
visitors were asked to press a key. When a light came on, they
were to release pressure on the key Their reaction time (i.e.
the time between 'light on' and 'key release') was recorded for
many thousands of visitors over a 2-month period. At the same
time, the ELF micropulsations (Schumann resonances) were
monitored. The micropulsations slow when a thunderstorm is
approaching, and Reiter found that the subjects were slower to
respond during such periods. When the micropulsations speeded
up, into the range of alpha brain wave activity, reaction times
were faster.

* After the traffic exhibition, Reiter took his test cubicle to
the University of Munich and lined the top and bottom with wire
mesh connected to an electrical generator. He introduced
artificial low level, low frequency signals similar to those of
the earth's field. Under these controlled conditions, the
effects of the fields on reaction time were comparable to those
obtained during the exhibition. Moreover, subjects in the
laboratory experiments repeatedly complained about headaches,
tightness in the chest, and sweating of the palms after several
minutes of exposure to 3 cycle/second fields. When the headaches
faded away, there was often a feeling of fatigue. These symptoms
resemble the so-called 'weather sensitivity' complaints that
some people have before the arrival of a thunderstorm.

* Hamer (1968, 1969) pulsed subjects with low intensity
artificial electric fields from metal plates on each side of
their heads. Fields of 8-10 Hz speeded up reaction time, while
slower oscillations of 2-3 Hz slowed down reaction times
significantly. Similar results were reported by Friedman and
colleagues in 1967.

* In 1977, Beatty reported studies on the practical significance
of brain wave entrainment for people such as air traffic
controllers, who need to maintain an alert state for long
periods. Subjects monitored a simulated radar screen, watching
for certain targets to appear. In agreement with the findings of
Reiter and Hamer, slower brain waves were correlated with slower
reaction times and poorer performance in the task.

* Over many years, Wever (1968) and colleagues at the Max Planck
Institute in Germany observed hundreds of subjects who lived in
two underground rooms that were shielded from external rhythms
of light, temperature, sound, pressure, etc. One room also had
an electromagnetic shield around it, consisting of a mesh of
steel rods and plates that reduced the influence of geomagnetic
rhythms by 99%. The rhythms of body temperature, sleep-waking,
urinary excretion, and Other physiological activities were
monitored. All subjects developed longer and irregular or
desynchronized or chaotic physiological rhythms. Those in the
magnetically shielded room developed significantly longer and
more irregular physiological rhythms. In some experiments,
artificial electric and magnetic rhythms were pulsed into the
shielding. Only one field had any effect: a very weak 10 Hz
electric field. This field dramatically restored normal
patterns to the biorhythm measurements.

Each of these important but seldom cited studies concluded that
biological rhythms can be entrained with natural and artificial
ELF electric fields. Entrainment of brain waves can set the
overall speed of responsiveness of the nervous system to
stimulation. This is called reaction time, and is an easily
measured parameter of consciousness. The results support
Becker's contention that the pulsing DC electrical system (brain
waves) set the tone of the entire nervous system.

These studies do not mean that when a thunderstorm approaches,
everyone will get drowsy and react slowly, and accidents will
happen. Instead, they suggest that there is a statistically
greater chance of slower reactions and more frequent accidents
under these conditions. Geomagnetic pulsations do not affect
everyone the same way. However, there is evidence that
geomagnetic pulsations strongly entrain brain waves during
meditation and other practices in which one 'quiets the mind' to
allow the 'free-run' periods to be dominated by geophysical

Mechanism of entrainment

The internal pathways involved in the body's responses to
external magnetic rhythms are shown in Figure 7.6. The pineal
gland is the primary magnetoreceptor Between 20 and 30% of
pineal cells are magnetically sensitive. Exposure of animals to
magnetic fields of various intensities alters the secretion of
melatonin, the electrical properties of pineal cells, and their
microscopic structure (reviewed by Sandyk 1995). In addition,
various animal tissues contain particles of organic magnetite.
Two separate research groups have now recorded magnetically
influenced impulses in single neurons connecting
magnetite-bearing tissues with the brain (reviewed by Kobayashi
Kirschvink 1995).

The question of whether living systems are sensitive to the
earth's magnetic field has been bitterly controversial for more
than a century. There are now a number of plausible and
well-documented mechanisms for such interactions, and abundant
evidence that they take place. Moreover, Becker's research has
shown how geomagnetic entrainment of the brain waves can affect
the entire nervous system at a very high level of control (i.e.
the perineural DC system that extends throughout the body and
has roles in regulating injury repair).

In terms of an energetic paradigm for bodywork and movement
therapies, there is no need for us to hypothesize that
geomagnetic fields, modified by terrestrial and extraterrestrial
events, entrain brain waves. Scientists from around the world
have already done so, and continue to build solid supporting

The next chapter explores how these concepts may apply in the
therapeutic setting.

 A summary of the pathways involved in magnetoreception,
the regulation of brain waves and therapeutic emissions from the
hands of therapists. Micropulsations of the geomagnetic field,
caused by the Schumann resonance, are detected by the pineal and
magnetite-bearing tissues associated with the brain. During the
'free-run' period, when the brainwaves are not being entrained
by the thalamus, the Schumann resonance can take over as the
pacemaker, particularly if the individual is in a relaxed or
meditative state (Schumann signals are thousands of times
stronger than brainwaves). The brainwaves regulate the overall
tone of the nervous system and the state of consciousness. The
electrical currents of the brainwaves are conducted throughout
the body by the perineural and vascular systems. The biomagnetic
field projected from the hands can be much stronger than the
brainwaves (Seto et al 1992) indicating that an amplification of
at least 1000 times takes place somewhere in the body.
Alternatively, the body may simply act as an effective antenna
or channel for the Schumann micropulsations. The projected
fields scan or sweep through the frequencies medical researchers
are finding useful for 'jump-starting' injury repair in a
variety of tissues (see Table 7.1 ). (Portions of this
illustration are after Becker 1990b, with kind permission from
Robert 0. Becker, MD.)

(the following details about magnetic field emitted from hands
and possible mechanisms of interactions)

"Fields projected from the hands

Chapter 2 documented how the movements of electricity within the
human body create biomagnetic fields in the surrounding
space. Figure 6.2 shows the shape of the biomagnetic field
around the body, as visualized in polarity therapy. There are
good reasons (given in the legend to the illustration), to
suspect that this is an approximate representation of the
overall biomagnetic field of the body, recognizing that there
will be local variations in the field related to activities
taking place within the various tissues. For example, the inset
for Figure 6.2 shows a representation of the detailed structure
of the field around the head.

In the early 1980s, Dr John Zimmerman began a series of
important studies on therapeutic touch with a SQUID magnetometer
at the University Of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver
(Zimmerman 1990). The experiments were done with a SQUID
detector of great sensitivity that had been designed to study
some of the weakest of the human biomagnetic fields. These are
called evoked fields; they are produced in the space around the
head in response to external stimuli such as sounds or visual
images (e.g. Reite & Zimmerman 1978).

A therapeutic touch practitioner and his patient entered a
magnetically shielded chamber containing a SQUID detector. The
practitioner held his hand close to the patient, and a baseline
recording was made with the SQUID. Then the therapist relaxed
into the meditative or healing state that is the focus of the
therapeutic touch method. Immediately the SQUID detected a large
biomagnetic field emanating from the practitioner's hand. The
field was SO strong that the amplifiers and recorder had to be
readjusted s o that a recording could be made. This was the
strongest biomagnetic field Dr Zimmerman had encountered in his
years of medical research using the SQUID.

The therapeutic touch signal pulsed at a variable frequency,
ranging from 0.3 to 30 Hz, with most of the activity in the
range of 7-8 Hz.
In other words, the signal emitted by the
practitioner is not steady or constant, it 'sweeps' or 'scans'
through a range of frequencies. One of the recordings is shown
in Figure 6.4

The pulsations are interesting in relation to the experiences of
energy practitioners, who often report a sensation of vibration
or tingling during the period when the technique seems to be
particularly effective.

In Zimmerman's studies, non-practitioners were unable to produce
the biomagnetic pulses. Recording sessions were repeated eight
times and strong biomagnetic signals were recorded five times.

Zimmerman's observations represent a profoundly important but
preliminary line of investigation into energy medicine. A
problem was that the biomagnetic field produced during
therapeutic touch was so strong that it was out of the
calibrated range of the SQUID magnetometer. This meant that it
was not possible to quantify the signal strength.

This difficulty was resolved in a study conducted in Japan: Seto
et al (1992) confirmed that an extraordinarily large biomagnetic
field emanates from the hands of practitioners of a variety of
healing and martial arts techniques, including Qi Gong, yoga,
meditation, Zen, etc. The fields were measured with a simple
magnetometer consisting of two 80 000 turn coils and a sensitive
amplifier. The fields had a strength of about 10 ^ -3 gauss,
which is about 1000 times stronger than the strongest human
biomagnetic fields (from the heart) which are about 10 ^ -6
gauss and about 1000 000 times stronger than the fields produced
by the brain. Figure 6.5 summarizes the Seto experiment and
shows a typical recording.
As in Zimmerman's study, the
biomagnetic field pulsed with a variable frequency centered
around 8-10 Hz.

The work of Zimmerman and Seto and colleagues has profound
implications in terms of correlating ancient concepts of energy
medicine with modern Science. Neither study documented that any
clinical healing was taking place during the projection of
energy, so further investigation is definitely needed. However,
the evidence shows that practitioners can emit powerful pulsing
biomagnetic fields in the same frequency range that biomedical
researchers have identified for jump starting healing of soft
and hard tissue injuries. This implies that biomagnetism is one
form of the elusive Qi energy or life force. The projected
fields are so strong that they can be detected with a relatively
simple magnetometer, indicating that it is a robust effect that
should be easy to study

If the effect is so robust, why was it not discovered before?
The answer is that it was described before. In 1779, Franz Anton
Mesmer wrote his famous description of the magnet-like sensation
he and his patients experienced while he held his hands near
their bodies (Mesmer 1948). When he invited physicians to
witness his popular treatments of 'incurable' cases, the
response was critical and hostile. Academic antagonism toward
'vitalism' hindered serious investigation of Mesmer's
discoveries for more than 200 years. Attitudes are changing
because, with a little training and practice, virtually anyone
can experience the phenomenon Mesmer described. More and more
people are having these experiences because of the increasing
popularity of alternative medicine, including energy therapies.

As the biomagnetic field extends some distance from the body
surface, the fields of two adjacent organisms will interact with
each other. This general effect is illustrated in Figure 6.6A.
Likewise, during non-contact therapeutic touch and related
methods, as well as during manipulative techniques of all kinds,
the biomagnetic field of the therapist will penetrate into the
body of the patient. This is shown in Figure 6.6B in which the
lines of force of the biomagnetic field of the arm and hand have
been superimposed upon an illustration from Chaitow's book on
soft-tissue manipulation (Chaitow 1987).

Infrared radiations

SQUID research has enhanced our understanding of 'the body
magnetic', but this does not mean that biomagnetism is the
whole story of healing energy. Several studies have implicated
infrared signals (heat) in therapeutic touch (e.g. Schwartz et
al 1990, Chien et al 1991). This is important method because
some practitioners of therapeutic touch and related methods do
not experience Mesmer's magnet-like sensation, but rather a
sensation of heat or warmth during their work.

Research shows that masters of the Qi Gong technique can project
measurable amounts of heat from their palms (so-called
'facilitating' Qi) that increases cell growth, DNA and protein
synthesis, and cell respiration. Practitioners can also produce
'inhibiting' Qi, in which infrared energy is absorbed from the
environment. This kind of Qi slows metabolism. References to
more recent work on infrared and biomagnetic and QiGong
effects can be found in an article from the Mount Sinai School
of Medicine in New York (Muchmore et al 1994). A description
of healing effects of QiGong can be found in a series of
articles published for physicians (Walker 1994).

One explanation for facilitating and inhibiting Qi is based on
the fact that the circulation to the skin is influenced by the
autonomic nervous system. Years of research into biofeedback
shows that anyone can learn to control autonomic parameters,
including skin temperature. For example, biofeedback regulation
of skin temperature has been used to treat migraine headache.
Figure 6.7 shows how changes in circulation alter skin
temperature. The rates of chemical reactions and other processes
are affected by ambient temperature, so a warm or a cool hand
near another person can increase or decrease the rates of
temperature sensitive activities within their bodies.

Some conclusions

In the past, many conventional doctors accepted or at least
tolerated therapeutic touch because it seemed harmless, but
doubted that the method had any real value. Medical research is
changing this picture. We now know that the various energy
therapies, including both complementary methods and those
approved for medical practice (PEMF devices), have many
similarities in terms of their effectiveness in stimulating
tissue healing, and in terms of the mechanisms by which they
influence tissues. A common denominator is the production of
pulsating magnetic fields that induce currents to flow within
tissues. Infrared energy (heat) and other forms of energy are
probably involved as wel
l. As similar cellular and molecular
mechanisms appear to be involved, the extensive research on the
effectiveness and safety of PEMF devices, non-contact
therapeutic touch, acupuncture (see Eskinazi 1996) and a variety
of other energy methods tend to support each other.

It is fascinating that practitioners of therapeutic touch and
related methods produce strong biomagnetic fields that are not
steady in frequency. The emitted field appears to sweep or scan
through a variety of frequencies in the ELF range (see Figs 6.4
and 6.5). This is the same range of frequencies that biomedical
researchers are finding effective for jump starting healing in a
variety of soft and hard tissues. In later chapters we will
examine the mechanisms involved In the production of these
magnetic  fields, and the ways they affect the body. We will
also explore the possible mechanisms by which practitioners are
able to sense biomagnetic fields.

Wound healing is a remarkable and intricate process, involving
the integrated and cooperative activities of a variety of
systems. Each wound is different, and the body's response must
be precisely appropriate if structure and function arc, to be
fully restored. Dynamic interactions take place between local
and systemic processes. A wide range of physiological activities
are activated, and all must be down-regulated when repair is
complete. Some repair processes persist for weeks, or even
longer, after an in jury.

Until recently, the medical approach has been almost exclusively
molecular. Researchers have looked for, and found, a variety of
chemicals that influence the repair of tissues. The clotting of
blood involves a cascade of reactions involving many different
substances. Fibroblast growth factors stimulate division of the
cells that lay down collagen, a major structural protein used in
healing wounds. Hence healing can be promoted by adding natural
growth factors, or genes for those growth factors, directly to a
site of injury (e.g. Vogt et al 1994).

It is easy to see how molecules can regulate the rates of
cellular processes by activating or inactivating particular
metabolic pathways. However, there is something missing from the
picture. How can the ebbs and flows of regulatory substances
provide a 'blueprint' for the elaborate architecture of cells
and tissues and organs?


Therapeutic entrainment


Evidence has been presented that strong biomagnetic fields are
projected from the hands of practitioners of therapeutic touch,
QiGong, and other methods. In Chapter 2 it was suggested that
repeated practice of various hands-on bodywork techniques might
increase the size of brain areas devoted to movement and
sensitivity of the fingers involved. This, in turn, could
enhance the biomagnetic output from those areas of the brain, as
it does in those who practice ESP 'readers,' output from the
fingers, as the brain waves are conducted to the fingers via
the perineural and circulatory systems.

Hence the arrangement shown in Figure 8.1 is ideally suited for
coupling or entraining  the biomagnetic rhythms of therapist
and patient. If the therapist relaxes into the state of
consciousness typical of those who practice meditation,
therapeutic touch and QiGong, and other methods, it is likely
that his or her brain waves will, from time to time, become
entrained with the micropulsations of the earth's field. If the
patient is also relaxed, both therapist and patient may become
entrained with the earth's field.

There is remarkable documentation for this concept. In 1969,
Robert C. Beck began a decade of research on the brain wave
activity of 'healers' from a wide variety of subcultures around
the world (Beck 1986). Beck recorded their electrical brain
waves with an electroencephalograph (EEG). All the healers
produced s1milar brain wave patterns when they were in their
'altered state' and performing a 'healing'. Whatever their
beliefs and customs were, all healers registered brain wave
activity averaging about 7.8-8.0 cycles/second while they were
in their 'healing' state. Beck studied exceptional individuals
who were famous or who had developed reputations as healers,
psychics, shamans or dowsers ESP 'readers'. He studied a
charismatic Christian faith healer, seers, ESP 'readers, an
authentic Hawaiian kahuna, practitioners of wicca, Santeria,
radesthesia and radionics. Most of these so-called 'sensitives'
entered an altered state of consciousness and produced nearly
identical EEG signatures, which lasted from 1 to several

The obvious question is how did these individuals, unknown to
each other and located thousands of miles apart, develop the
same brain wave frequency during their 'healings'. Beck noted
that, 'the subjects were practicing opposing disciplines, and
came from totally disparate teachings, and held opposing
viewpoints, and would barely acknowledge the existence or
authenticity of practitioners outside their belief systems'.
Beck performed additional studies on some of the subjects and
found that during the healing moments their brain waves became
phase and frequency synchronized with the earth's geoelectric
micropulsations -
the Schumann resonance.

There is evidence for coupling of both cardiac and brain rhythms
between two individuals in the same room, who are sitting
quietly, facing each other, With eyes closed, without touching
(Russek & Schwartz 1994, 1996). The electrocardiograms and
electroencephalograms of both individuals are recorded, and the
rhythms are analyzed for the presence of between-person
cardiac-brain synchronization. Such synchronization is present,
and it is enhanced if the subjects are connected electrically,
such as by a wire he ld in the left hand of one person and the
right hand of the other.

This approach opens the door to a variety of quantifiable
studies of the healer-patient relationships in terms of energy
coupling. If there is entrainment of rhythms in two individuals
who are not touching, what can we expect from commonly used
therapeutic situations such as that shown in Figure 8.1?

Taken together, the research summarized here points to a
remarkable model that may explain the unusual emissions of Qi or
'healing energy' and other phenomena observed in a wide variety
of energy therapies. What these practices have in common seems
to be periodic entrainments of brain waves and whole-body
biomagnetic emissions with the Schumann resonances in the
earth's atmosphere. The Schumann resonance, in turn, is governed
by terrestrial and extraterrestrial rhythms produced by cyclic
astronomical activities. The result may be a whole-body
collective oscillation, driven partly by the energy of higher
frequency Froehlich oscillations (Ch. 4), entrained with
geophysical fields, involving virtually all of the billions of
collagen, membrane phospholipid, and contractile protein
molecules throughout the body, and, possibly,

the associated water molecules. What links brain electrical
activity (as measured with the EEG), the biomagnetic emissions
from the body (measured with magnetometers), and healing
responses is the perineural direct current regulatory system
described by R. 0. Becker.

If these speculations are correct, the next question is what
function coherent biomagnetic emissions would serve in healing.
The healing power of projected fields may arise from their
ability to entrain similar coherent rhythms in the tissues of a
client. Perhaps such entrainment enhances the evolutionarily
ancient communication and regulatory systems involved in wound
healing and defense. Martial arts techniques appear to involve
projecting fields at points in the body's energy system that are
sensitive nodes in a solid state informational and power
distribution system (Oschman 1993).

The thalamus maintains the rhythms, and the 'free-run' periods
allow the brain waves to be entrained by rhythmic
micropulsations that are tied to terrestrial and
extraterrestrial rhythms. It is during these free-runs that we
extract information on rhythms taking place in our environment.
Hence it may be necessary to expand our definition of
'information' in the context of healing.

We have seen how medical devices and therapeutic hands-on
methods inject 'Information' into cells and tissues, and we can
now see how some of the Information content of these messages
may relate to distant activities in the larger environment. An
idea of this sort would have been very suspect a few Years ago,
before the extensive research that has documented the exquisite
sensitivity of a wide variety of organisms to environmental
energy fields. For example, an important symposium held in 1974
and updated in 1977 (Adey & Bawin 1977) concluded that 'a
striking range of biological interactions has been described in
experiments where control procedures appear to have been
adequately considered'. The existence of biological effects by
very weak electromagnetic fields 'suggests an extraordinarily
efficient mechanism' for detecting these fields and
discriminating them from much higher levels of noise. 'The
underlying mechanisms must necessarily involve ever increasing
numbers of elements in the sensing system, ordered in particular
ways to form a cooperative organization and manifesting similar
forms and levels of energy over long distances.'

The studies leading up to this conclusion have been particularly
valuable in explaining the ability of animals such as homing
pigeons to use geomagnetic fields in their navigation.

Certainly, for those who use their hands to enhance the
functioning of their fellow beings, the 'free-run' periods, when
allowed to happen without intellectual processing, can give rise
to moments of profound insight and deep healing. This is the
'healing state of mind' that is the goal of many healing and
religious traditions.

The thalamic relay oscillations resume from time to time. This is
important physiologically because there are times when the
Schumann resonance stops (as during magnetic storms, when the
ionosphere is temporarily disrupted or even vanishes).
Therapists often blame themselves for periods when their work
seems less effective than usual, when the real 'problem' may be
meteorological or astrophysical phenomena that are beyond their
control. Therapists also need to be aware of aspects of their
local environment, (such as the conductivity) of subsurface
soils, which can be an important factor in the 'reception' of  Schumann

resonances and other geophysical rhythms.