By Larry Malerba, DO, DHt – Mainstream medicine tends to balk at the suggestion that there may be subtler energetic forces at play in disease processes, as if this notion was some sort of science fiction fantasy. However, if the laws of physics determine all chemical and, therefore, all biological processes, then the answers that we seek in the quest to heal human ills are likely to be found through investigating the energetic nature of biological systems. I believe it is time for the medical establishment to reassess its worldview and begin to acknowledge the role that energy plays in illness and the role it can play in healing.
Biology, Chemistry, and Physics:
Standard medical school prerequisite courses include biology, chemistry, and physics. The basic sciences teach us that biological systems are driven by chemical reactions along biochemical pathways. But we also know that chemical reactions cannot occur without physics and the laws of thermodynamics. Thus, biology depends upon chemistry, which, in turn, depends upon physics. In fact, all things in the physical universe must, at least in theory, act according to the laws of physics.
Of course, we understand that physicians commonly intervene on the biological/ structural level by surgically manipulating the human body. Physical parts are repaired, removed, and replaced. On the chemical level, physicians and patients similarly attempt to alter or control disease by employing over-the-counter and prescription drugs. And it must be acknowledged that physics is widely employed with great benefit in highly advanced forms of diagnostic technologies. Most of us have experienced an X-ray, CAT scan, MRI, ultrasound, or some other form of energy-based diagnostic testing at some time in our lives. Although they do come with their potential dangers, they can tell us a lot about what’s going on inside the physical body.
It must also be admitted that energy has been used in some very crude and dangerous ways in medical therapeutics. Thus, for example, high doses of radiation are used in attempts to blast cancers, radioactive chemicals are used to destroy diseased thyroid glands, and lasers are used in a variety of medical procedures. Curiously, there is little discussion of, or interest in how to use subtler energetic forces in disease treatment. In spite of the cornucopia of energy therapies that predate modern medicine itself, and that have been used successfully to treat a wide variety of ailments, the medical establishment continues to studiously avoid this information. Such healing methods, rather than eliciting the normal curiosity that one would expect from an open and inquiring mind, are often met by some with an attitude that conveys the message, “prove it to me.” It is as if these individuals are more interested in invalidating potentially valuable new therapies rather than learning about them.
The Bioenergetic Etiology of Illness:
Let’s consider the relatively straightforward example of three people traveling at a speed of 20 mph in a car that hits a telephone pole. According to elementary physics, the law of conservation of energy dictates that the kinetic energy represented by the car in motion will be converted into potential energy when the vehicle comes to a halt. The question then becomes “Where did all of that energy go?” Some of it is transferred to the telephone pole, which is no longer standing straight up. Likewise, some of the energy is stored in the mangled metal of the wrecked car. One passenger has a broken leg, one a concussion, and a third has a severe case of whiplash. As time passes, it turns out that the one with whiplash also develops panic attacks that are exacerbated by driving at high speeds on highways. Is it possible that some of the kinetic energy has become locked into the bodies (and minds) of these passengers in the form of potential energy, which now manifests in symptomatic form
The broken leg heals in time and that individual, the lucky one, turns out to be almost as good as new. The person with the concussion recovers but begins to have recurring bouts of confusion and headaches, even after months have passed. The person with panic attacks and whiplash eventually develops chronic back pain, generalized stiffness, and muscle spasms. Unfortunately, this individual’s anxiety and back troubles persist for years.
When questioned, each of the three describes an experience of shock after the initial impact of the accident. The term “shock” is interesting in that one definition of the word has an energetic or electrical connotation. The word is also commonly used to indicate a stunned state of confusion and bewilderment, as if one were jarred or jolted out of one’s everyday state of normal waking consciousness. This kind of shock can last for seconds, minutes, or even days, and can sometimes linger indefinitely. Many motor vehicle accident victims develop a type of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their trauma. Such traumas can lead to a lifetime of suffering for some.
When we become cognizant of the physics of the situation, it is no longer possible to attribute the injuries and illnesses sustained to physical trauma alone. We must also take into account the exchange of energy that has taken place as a contributing factor. It becomes clear that each individual, to greater or lesser extent, is a recipient of an energy transfer that is now manifesting in a variety of physical (broken leg, headaches, back pain), mental (confusion, shock), and emotional (anxiety) symptoms. In addition to the physical and emotional trauma, it can be said that each individual now carries a bioenergetic “scar” acquired from the traumatic event. Some of the kinetic energy that existed prior to impact has become lodged as potential energy in each of the passengers.
A number of questions and issues arise when we contemplate the above. If an insult is of an energetic nature, is a chemical (painkiller, muscle relaxant, anxiolytic, etc) or structural therapy alone (setting a bone, surgery) sufficient to provide lasting and satisfactory relief? What if X-rays indicate that the broken leg has mended flawlessly but the same leg still aches every time it rains? Is it possible that the remaining unaddressed energetic scar may lead to the subsequent development of arthritis some day? Although the concussion may resolve completely to the satisfaction of the physician, and a painkiller is prescribed for the recurring headaches, why can’t regular medicine eliminate the headaches completely, and why does it have nothing to offer for the episodes of confusion that remain? While the person with chronic back pain may respond up to a point to physical therapy, why aren’t additional therapies that may be of benefit, such as chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, or yoga offered to the patient? And surely there must be something more that can be prescribed for the person with anxiety other than the standard sedatives or antidepressants that are offered by default because medicine is unwilling to consider other therapeutic possibilities of a non-pharmaceutical nature.
There are plenty more questions that can be asked but I think you get my drift. The reality is that there is an energetic component to all illness. It is usually not as evident as in the case of a motor vehicle accident but it is always there. In fact, since the body-heart-mind-soul is an indivisible unity, the distinction between biological, chemical, and energetic levels is an artificial construct that does not do justice to holistic reality. While conventional medicine does offer a physical and a chemical approach to illness, it fails to acknowledge the energetic reality that lies behind all health problems. For this reason, its treatments tend to be incomplete and often fall short of a thorough and satisfactory solution, especially when dealing with chronic disease. In the next installment, we will continue to explore the role that energy plays in health and illness.
Robert O. Becker, M.D. and Gary Selden, The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life, Harper Paperbacks, 1998.
Richard Gerber, MD, A Practical Guide to Vibrational Medicine: Energy Healing and Spiritual Transformation, Harper Paperbacks, NY, 2001.
Malerba, DO, Larry, Green Medicine: Challenging the Assumptions of Conventional Health Care. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2010.
Larry Malerba, DO, DHt is a physician and educator whose mission is to build bridges between holistic healing, conventional medicine, and spirituality. He is the author of Metaphysics & Medicine: Restoring Freedom of Thought to the Art and Science of Healing and Green Medicine: Challenging the Assumptions of Conventional Health Care. He writes for Huffington Post, Natural News, and the American Holistic Medical Association. Dr. Malerba is board certified in Homeotherapeutics, is Clinical Assistant Professor at New York Medical College, and past president of the Homeopathic Medical Society of the State of New York. He is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Ireland. Website: SpiritScienceHealing.com