What is energy healing?

Acupuncture and moxing (Wikimedia Commons)

At last week’s meeting Zack Lewis discussed several varieties of energy healing, alternative therapies derived largely from Eastern traditions including reiki and acupuncture. Promoters of energy healing may invoke concepts from physics, from quantum mechanics to electromagnetism to energy itself, to suggest a scientific underpinning. Most claim, more directly, that their treatments have been validated, not just by testimonials but through clinical trials.

The clinical evidence for acupuncture and emotional freedom techniques, for example, show a pretty consistent trend in my view. But paralleling the question of evidence always seems to be a hidden question of definition. What, precisely, is being tested?

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