What are Biofield Therapies?

Adapted from:

The goal of biofield therapies is to create improved coherence within the biofield so that the corresponding physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the body also become more coherent and healthy. 

There are currently many different types of biofield therapies. Some examples include Healing Touch (HT), Pranic healing, Reiki, Qigong, Therapeutic touch (TT), Bio!eld Tuning, and the Regenetics Method. Therapeutic touch is recognized in the Nursing Intervention Classification Code and in some state licensure boards as within the scope of nursing practice.

Biofield therapies are generally classified as either direct or indirect. In the direct method, the practitioner utilizes physical contact with the recipient over the targeted treatment area. Whereas in the indirect method the practitioner delivers the therapy without direct contact with the recipient. This is possible because biofield therapies work within the biofield where direct contact is not required.

There is a substantial body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of biofield therapies. In the publication ‘Clinical Studies of Bio!eld Therapies: Summary, Methodological Challenges, and Recommendations’ by Jain et al (2015) over 30 published clinical trials were identified demonstrating positive effects of bio!field therapies for pain in ambulatory and hospitalized patient populations with chronic pain, arthritis, and movement restriction. 

Jain and Mills (2010) performed a systematic review of 66 clinical studies utilizing a variety of biofield therapies in different patient populations. The results showed that biofield therapies had strong evidence for decreasing pain intensity in pain populations and moderate evidence for improving pain intensity in hospitalized and cancer populations, decreasing negative behavioral symptoms in dementia, and reducing anxiety for hospitalized populations.

Additional studies have demonstrated positive results on improving heart rate variability (HRV) and anxiety; decreasing depression, persistent fatigue, and positive effects on diurnal cortisol variability in fatigued breast cancer patients compared to mock treatments or standard care.

A group of physiotherapists conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study on the effects of Oscillatory Biofield Therapy (OBFT) on individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome. 

It is reasonable to consider the potential limitations and misinterpretation of placebo-controlled randomized trials in bio!eld therapies. 

While biofield therapies may serve to increase the placebo effect, it does appear that biofield therapies enhance outcomes over and above sham-controlled groups, particularly for pain. Current data suggests it is unlikely that biofield therapies are reducible to placebo responses alone, but like other forms of mind-body interventions, biofield therapies may intentionally facilitate the patient’s conscious and unconscious expectations and desires in synergy with the treatment being delivered to enhance outcomes. 

The physical, mental, and emotional aspects of the human body are ultimately interconnected with one another and represented within the matrix of the biofield. Therefore, creating improved biofield coherence can in turn facilitate improved physical, mental, and emotional function. Likewise, facilitating better physical, mental, and emotional function can result in improved biofield coherence. There is a bidirectional relationship between these domains of bio-matter and bio-energy.

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