The History of Future Folk Medicine – Wikipedia not playing fair with Harvard Doctor

Acupuncture and New Age memory therapy techniques now become “Energy Psychology.”   At least some people are exhibiting some sanity towards the creation of new scientific fields based on faith in unproven so-called “subtle energies.”  As a someone trained in Behavioral Psychology and Applied Behavioral Analysis, I am still waiting for proof of the existence of these so-called subtle energies and how humans can possibly manipulate them.  For now, these studies should be in the realm of “Energy Theology,” sorcery or metaphysics; and be treated as such.


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2 thoughts on “The History of Future Folk Medicine – Wikipedia not playing fair with Harvard Doctor

  1. Very poor summary of the article. I like how you don’t mention wikipedia in the blurb, or explain if the Harvard Doctor is for or against energy practices. Either way, I have yet to find the dangers this page promises. Energy doesn’t have to be real (although, in many cases circulation is an apt description of the energy at work, not to mention lymphatic movement and nerve conduction and all the other channels in our body that were described simply as energetic by premodern societies). It is also notable that breath feeds the aerobic respiration chemical reaction in our body that creates the literal electricity available to our muscles (look up adenosine triphosphate some time). The point is that it is usually a visualization exercise that works on a primarily mental level in turn affecting other systems including digestion, elimination, endocrine, immune system, and emotional processing. The statistics are pretty clear, yoga practices like breathing and moving in specific ways will increase circulation, nervous system activity, etc. Switching your nervous system (medicine 101 here) from a sympathetic mode into a parasympathetic mode can easily be achieved through breath (chanting, valsalva maneuver, pranayama, qigong, etc) and other “energy practices”. And bringing awareness to an area helps our different systems to start addressing the issue. Just the effect that positive thought can play on your endocrine system alone is immense, since all the different hormones in your body are affected by your level of activity, your breath, and your thoughts. That doesn’t mean there aren’t people swinging crystal wands around like idiots with no awareness of how the body actually works, but they are not representative of energy work any more than Mormons are representative of Christianity.

    • You say that “Energy doesn’t have to be real.” So by your logic we have a new therapeutic field of psychology that postulates “energy” as it primary interventional modality and we don’t know what this energy is or how it operates and it may not even be real? Even the Harvard doctor says in the linked article, “Without getting into the details of how it might work, suffice it to say that Energy Psychology has helped many of my patients make great strides..” So at one end of the spectrum, “Energy Psychology” could be very complex placebo effects or at the other end of the spectrum it could be manipulation of spirits, i.e. sorcery, since we really are defining things in the metaphysical realm. It is very difficult to do science if you cannot measure the independent variables but only postulate that they exist by some form of hand waving, tapping, or flesh poking. So this isn’t traditional psychology, but “spiritual psychology” and we have to bring in fields of philosophy, theology, metaphysics and possibly a few exorcists to round things out.

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