Reviewed by Heidi Boudro
Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, by James L. Oschman, concerns biological electricity. Oschman's purpose is to show that scientific research, from the well-known to the cutting-edge, provides plausible mechanisms for "energy medicine," which here includes acupuncture, bodywork, and laying on of hands.
Some fields of research related to energetics are both well established and fairly widely known. Atmospheric electrodynamics includes the study of lightning, the ionosphere, sun activity, and radio transmission. Spectroscopy detects the unique electromagnetic signatures of chemical compounds. In the body, nerve conduction is known to be electrical. The electric currents and fields of the brain and heart are measured by electroencephalograms and electrocardiograms.
Less well known, for example, are "injury potentials," which Robert O. Becker studied in salamanders: "slow waves of electrical depolarization" in the body after injury, which direct healing and growth. Becker helped establish that bones and other tissues are structured in crystalline form and, as semiconductors, conduct electricity throughout the body.
Elsewhere the body has been called a "liquid crystal semiconductor"; Oschman speaks of the "crystalline living matrix." What is this matrix? It has been discovered that the biological cell is not a "bag of soup" lodged in connective tissue. It too is structured, so that it can be called the "cytoplasmic matrix." It links to its nucleus and DNA (also crystalline structures), and is linked to the connective tissue system or "extracellular matrix," by "integrins." Integrins are specialized molecules that glue things together, and to everyone's surprise, "regulate most functions of the body."
"The entire living matrix," Oschman writes, "is simultaneously a mechanical, vibrational or oscillatory, energetic, electronic, and informational network." Its crystalline form communicates the forces of motion, stress, and gravity; passes molecular vibrations; conducts electricity; and in many subtle, poorly understood or unknown ways, transmits information throughout the body. He reviews how information may be transmitted from person to person by traditional healers, as well as the biological electricity shown to be involved in acupuncture.
Oschman compares large-scale biological electricity, such as injury potentials and the electrical currents of the brain, to the flow of house current in our appliances; and he compares biological electronics--the flow of subatomic particles within the body--to the subtle workings of a computer chip. Perhaps biological electronics is the key to the mysteries of growth, healing, form, and even consciousness.
See Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, 2e at Amazon.
Copyright © 2009 by Heidi Boudro