A Quantitative and Qualitative Approach to Understanding Mind/Body Medicine and Self-Healing

Author: Syldona M
Conference/Journal: First World Symp on Self-Healing & Power of Consciousness
Date published: 2001
Other: Pages: 53 , Word Count: 432

Practitioners of mind/body medicine, such as mental healing (healers) in its various forms (faith healing, Therapeutic Touch, Qigong, etc.) are said to generate, direct, or somehow alter aspects of 'life energy' (qi), such as its amount or flow, in order to promote health in an external healee, or in themselves. According to Oriental Medicine, qi circulates in the acupuncture meridian system. Studying the meridian system, therefore, should yield important information about the mechanisms of mental healing. Additionally, the subjective aspects of healing are essential to gain a complete understanding of the processes or mechanisms involved in the healing modalities of mind/body medicine.
It is hypothesized that qi is related to the endogenous DC current of the body. DC potential measurements taken from skin loci corresponding to acupuncture points (acupoints) differ in nature from those taken from off acupoints (non-acupoints). Since the meridian system is involved in mental healing and self-healing, it is further hypothesized that patterns in DC potential measurements taken continuously over a period of time, on acupoints, should be different than patterns similarly obtained from measurements on non-acupoints. These differences in patterns from acupoints and non- acupoints should further be affected by the state of consciousness of the healing practitioner: i.e. healing (meditative) or wakeful (attention focused externally, on a mundane activity). Furthermore, similar patterns should exist in a healer's self-report of a felt sense of the flow of qi, over time.
This study investigated the application of a new methodology to measure mechanisms of the healing process in 27 mental healing practitioners by comparing DC electrodermal measures taken from acupoints and non-acupoints with graphical representations of the subjects' felt sense of the flow of qi. Subjects served as their own controls in an ABAB within-subject experimental design, with baseline. These subjects alternated between 5-minute wakeful segments and 5-minute mental healing segments. After each of the 5-minute segments, subjects indicated graphically their felt sense of a flow of qi. During each 5-minute segment, DC potentials were simultaneously and continuously recorded at 5-second intervals from both acupoint and non-acupoint locations using two Autogen 3400 Biofeedback Dermographs (Autogenics-Cyborg, Chicago), and specially designed electrodes to minimize artifacts.

Results supported the main hypotheses. Temporal patterns emerged in the DC potential data that distinguished acupoint and non-acupoint measurements. Patterns also appeared that distinguished healing segments from wakeful segments, regardless of whether the healing was directed to another individual or was a self-healing for the practitioner. Furthermore, for many subjects, the pattern of their felt sense of a flow of qi corresponded to DC potential patterns taken from acupoint locations, but not from non-acupoint locations.