The Human Biofield — The Missing Dimension in Health Care
The word “biofield” is a term that was chosen by a team of NIH scientists in 1994 to describe the field of energy and information that surrounds and interpenetrates the human body. This field is also called the human energy field, or aura. It is recognized as being composed of both veritable (electromagnetic) and putative (subtle) energies. The word putative literally means “rumored or alleged to be,” and in this case refers to the elusive and seemingly unmeasurable and unprovable chi or prana that is recognized and defined by numerous other cultures and medical systems (one source claims 90 different words from 90 different cultures identified), but not Western medicine.
There is an unwillingness, especially from those involved in the hard sciences, to consider the existence of this energy, never mind its composition, and the rules of physics that govern its behavior. One of the reasons why this perspective has held so fast in Western science is because the Western translation of what is called chi, qi, or prana in the East is Holy Spirit or spirit. Since the scientific revolution divided the territory of spirit and science, subtle energy falls in the domain of spiritual and as such it has not been considered a valid area of scientific research.
The concepts of ki or chi do not just describe what we term subtle energy but also imply that this energy is the equivalent of consciousness. This quote from biofield scientist and researcher Beverly Rubik PhD, author of the seminal paper, “The Biofield Hypothesis” illustrates this:
“As I understand the concept of qi (or ki, as it's called in Japanese), it's not just energy. It's really an intelligent energy, with consciousness attached to it. In other words, in Eastern philosophy, they never suffered a Cartesian split. So when they're thinking about an energy field around the body, it's not just physical electromagnetic or biophotonic fields, it's imbued with mind. It's something much more profound and not quite part of Western science.”
The idea that subtle energy is imbued with mind definitely correlates with the findings of my own research using tuning forks around the human body that I have been conducting for the last 18 years. In 1996 I received a book on the use of color and sound in healing. This was shortly after I had come across quantum physics and the notion that everything is vibration. It appeared to me at once that if everything is vibration, then treating vibration with vibration is logical and elegant, and so I proceeded to read everything I could find on this subject.
At one point I received a catalog in the mail advertising a set of tuning forks for healing, which I ordered on impulse. The tuning forks were called the solar harmonic spectrum set: eight forks in the octave of the C major scale. They came with very simple directions: use the note of C over the root chakra, the note of D over the sacral chakra, and so on, up to the note of B at the crown chakra. According to the Vedic and other ancient traditions, there are seven major energy centers, or chakras, that run along the spine; these are considered part of the body’s subtle anatomy.
I began experimenting with the tuning forks on my massage therapy clients. I activated the forks by striking them with a hockey puck and then held them over the body as instructed. I immediately noticed that the quality of the sound — the volume, pitch, and timbre — changed, depending on where the tuning fork was held. This was very surprising to me, as I expected the fork to produce a steady, regular tone. A single strike could produce tones that were flat, sharp, dull, loud, soft, or full of static as I moved the fork around the body.
Furthermore, I found that if a client was complaining of pain in a particular area, the fork would produce either a loud, sharp tone or a tone full of static and noise. After holding the fork over the area, perhaps six inches or so over the body, I found that in a few moments the tone would become clear.
After this, I began to explore the area around the body. I went as far off to the side as space allowed — about six feet — and from there combed my way in on the plane of the treatment table toward the body. I began to find phenomena I perceived as pockets and walls and fields and different kinds of vibrational information expressed through the overtones and undertones of the tuning forks on every person I worked on in various positions all around the body.
Much like how a minor third in music is a universal expression of sadness, there seemed to be a pattern of information stored in the field and expressed by the sound of the tuning forks that evoked a sense of emotion, just as music does. And much to my surprise I began to find that the same emotions seem to reside in the same places in each person. For example, I kept observing, or more precisely, hearing, the emotion of sadness in the area off the left shoulder, and the emotions of guilt or shame in the area off the right hip, particularly for those who were chronic guilt-driven overdoers. The feelings of unexpressed words and emotions could be sensed on the left side of the throat, while speaking and not being heard was on the right. A tendency to worry can be felt off the left side of the head.
I noticed that information generated currently or in the recent past was closer to the body, while information from earliest childhood, including gestation and birth, was at the outer edge of the field, which is about five feet out on most people, with the rest of the life history falling in between like tree rings. Only after seeing the patterns repeated over and over again, in many hundreds of people, do I now feel more confident that this structure of information storage exists within the body’s energy field.
The idea that this biofield contains our mind, our consciousness, and our memories, and that our states of mind and our memories can be accessed and modulated with sound and other tools, represents a whole new way of looking at and treating mind, body and spirit. Treating imbalances at the level of the field is an elegant, efficient, non-invasive way of supporting balance and health. It adjusts imbalances in the mental and emotional bodies before they manifest in the physical.
As we come to see that every thought and every feeling is intimately connected to and influencing our physical bodies, the mind/body split becomes healed, allowing our illusions of separation on other levels to begin to dissolve as well.
Eileen McKusick is a researcher, writer, educator and therapist who has been studying the effects of audible sound on the human body since 1996. You can learn more about Eileen and her work at www.eileenmckusick.com.