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Biofield perception: a series of pilot studies with cultured human cells.


BACKGROUND: Energy medicine (EM) practitioners often claim to be able to perceive an energetic field associated with the body and to be able to use this skill to diagnose illness and guide treatment strategies. If a biofield associated with cells growing in culture is perceptible to EM practitioners, such an in vitro model would be a useful resource for investigating biofield perception that would provide some unique advantages over clinical models. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether EM practitioners can perceive the presence of cultured human cells without visual cues. DESIGN: Three randomized double-blinded pilot studies were used to evaluate the ability of participants to distinguish a flask containing cancer cells growing in culture medium from a flask containing either culture medium or sterile water. Each study consisted of six independent experiments: three with EM practitioners and three with non-practitioners. The number of independent trials for each experiment was estimated by statistical power analyses of the design. Practitioners' feedback from the first two studies was used to revise the protocol for the subsequent studies, with the intent to eliminate potential problems in making this distinction. Labeled flasks ("cells" and "no-cells") were added to serve as references for comparison in the second study and the number of experimental trials was reduced in the third study. SUBJECTS: Eight experienced EM practitioners and nine non-practitioners (laboratory personnel with no EM training). SETTING: A basic science laboratory and office at an academic medical center. OUTCOME MEASURES: In the first 2 studies, we determined the number of correct determinations in a series of 34 trials. In the third study, we determined the number of correct determinations in a series of 10 trials. RESULTS: All participants performed at the level expected by chance. CONCLUSION: While preliminary and inconclusive, these pilot studies found no evidence that EM practitioners can perceive a biofield associated with cancer cells growing in culture. Copyright Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Jun;10(3) Yount G, Smith S, Avanozian V, West J, Moore D, Freinkel A. California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA. yountg@sutterhealth.org






Posted: 08/08/2008

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