Mysterious Energies

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					                                                      The Skeptics SA guide to

                                                      Mysterious Energies
When it was announced in July 1999 that              However, what this does illustrate is that           it was widely accepted that the air, or wind,
the New York cyclotron RHIC (Relativistic            energy, in its various all its forms, tends to be    or breath, was the source of all forms of life.
Heavy-Ion Collider) was to be used to ‘recre-        a difficult subject for most people to properly      Remnants of this belief persist in the saying,
ate’ the big-bang scenario, it led to hysteri-       comprehend. As a result, from earliest times,        ‘There is something in the air.’
cal headlines claiming that if the test ‘got out     humans have conceived strange, fanciful ideas
                                                                                                          Many cultures believed that the gods had cre-
of control’ it could create a black hole which       about ‘energy’: especially as a life-giving force.
                                                                                                          ated humans from some inanimate material,
would suck in the entire Earth. From a scien-
                                                     From earliest times there appears to have been       and then, after breathing their mystical energy
tific perspective, such a claim is totally ridicu-
                                                     a belief in some form of spiritual life, a genera-   into that material, life had sprung from the
lous. As was pointed out, the tests involved
                                                     tive energy that inhabited human, animal and         lifeless substance. This idea is expressed in
single atoms, and the amount of energy in-
                                                     plant life. They appear to have even attributed      Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed a man
volved was similar to that expended when a
                                                     life-energy to the rocks and even the Earth          from the dust of the ground and breathed into
mosquito lands on a screen door.
                                                     itself, an idea that and recently reemerged as       his nostrils the breath of life.” This ancient
While such dramatic claims show the journal-         the Gaia theory.                                     term, ‘the breath of life’ is still used.
ist’s great level of ignorance, even worse was
                                                     One of the earliest forms in which this ‘energy’     In time, other ideas evolved concerning the
the fact that many people believed him. What
                                                     was conceived was as blood. Early hunters see-       many forms of this ‘breath of life.’ To the an-
this revealed was the deep level of public igno-
                                                     ing blood escaping from the body of a wound-         cient Greeks it was Nous, Apeiron or Pneuma.
rance about science, for it was obvious to any-
                                                     ed animal or a fellow tribesman, then seeing         Nous was the purest, most powerful substance
one, even with the smallest understanding of
                                                     the death, came to believe that the blood            in the cosmos, possessing universal knowl-
scientific principles, that such an event would
                                                     contained some form of ‘life-energy’ and that        edge, it had power over all living things. Even
have been impossible. The amount of energy
                                                     when it escaped from the body, the person, or        today we talk of people having Nous. Apeiron
in a black hole is beyond human comprehen-
                                                     the animal, died.                                    was the fifth element, a force able to take any
sion. It requires the energy generated when
a massive star collapses to generate a black         Another source of perceived energy was the           shape, and to take on the properties of any
hole. Such an amount of energy is far beyond         air or the wind. In primitive times air was a        substance. It was this substance which gave
our scientific capabilities, and indeed, it seems    mysterious force. Although invisible, people         life to the cosmos, to, all the heavens and the
very unlikely that humans could ever possess         were aware of its existence, able to feel its        worlds within them. [Anaximander]. The Lo-
the technology, or enough power to create a          ever-changing aspects, from balmy breezes            gos, or Pneuma, (literally meaning, the ‘breath
black hole. Thus, the idea that it could be done     to howling winds. Seeing the wind moving             of life’), the substance mentioned in the NT
with our present technology, even accidentally,      trees, they came to believe that the wind had        at John 1, was believed to be a universal sub-
is completely absurd.                                some strange power, and, in ancient times            stance that animated the whole universe.
  Skeptics SA                                                                                                               Mysterious Energies Page 1
There was an ancient concept, summed up             of forms. Indeed the number of these bogus           • Pranic Healing: using the hands to detect and
in the phrase, ‘As above, so below’: the idea       ‘therapies’ has even increased in recent years.        ‘sealing’ holes from which the prana, the life
that all things that existed in the heavens, (the   The following is a list of some of the major           force of the body, is escaping
Macrocosm) were paralleled on Earth, (the           forms of pseudo-treatments; there are others,        • Qi Gong: treating blockages in the flow of Qi
Microcosm). Thus, since they believed that          less well known that have not been included:
these strange energies existed in the cosmos,                                                            • Radiance Therapy: touching and brushing
the believed they also existed in all humans        • Absent Diagnosis and Healing: scanning pa-           and laying on of hands. Similar to Pranic
and sometimes in other forms of life.                 tients from a distance, and projecting “cures”       Healing
To the Hindus and Buddhists this energy was         • Acupuncture: treatment to release blockages        • Reiki: balancing and strengthening the
called Prana, a form of breath or a life-current.     of ch’i in the channels or meridians                 body’s energy, to increase healing
The air itself merely conducts this subtle          • Amma: relaxation involving ch’i                    • Shiatsu: a form of finger-acupressure, pur-
energy, and as we breathe, we draw this force                                                              ports to stimulate the flow of energy through
into our body.                                      • Astara: New Age healing using crystals and
                                                      magnetic energy                                      the meridians and autonomic nervous sys-
To the Chinese this mysterious energy was                                                                  tem
known as Qi, or ch’i, a substance connected         • Aura Cleansing: flicking away bad vibes
                                                                                                         • Spiritual healing: various techniques of
with an ancient belief that ‘evil influences’ or    • Aurasomatherapy: using coloured bottles to           projecting energy or healing power, often
demons, caused illness in humans. Early texts         revitalize the patient’s aura                        through prayer
such as the Ma-wang-tui, mention eleven mo          • Ayurvedic Medicine: claims the energy with-
or body vessels, which were believed to con-                                                             • Therapeutic Touch: an updated version of the
                                                      in the body must be kept balanced                    practice of laying on of hands, but without
tain blood and ch’i.
                                                    • Bioplasma Reading: practitioners claim to be         making actual contact with the body
The Chinese claimed that ch’i travels through-        able to detect the ‘bioplasmic’ (the life-force)
out the human body in channels, or, ‘merid-                                                              • Toning: releasing the ‘god-energy’ when we
                                                      field, and interpret it
ians’; this energy flow, the sheng or ko cycles,                                                           become attuned to the music of the spheres
controlled health. Good health was attributed       • Chakra Balancing: balancing your chakras
                                                                                                         None of these ‘energies’ or ‘therapies’ has any
to a regular flow of ch’i, while physical and         to ensure proper reception of a universal life
                                                                                                         scientific basis. They all claim to utilize various
mental disorders were blamed upon excesses            force
                                                                                                         energy forms to produce physical and mental
or deficiencies in ch’i. Some illnesses were        • Etheric Surgery: aura balancing and psychic        healing. However, despite numerous claims,
‘caused’ by blockages of the flow of ch’i in          surgery, without touching the body                 apart from magnetism, none have been able
various meridians. Treatment involved insert-                                                            to produce evidence of such energies. Genuine
ing needles into certain acupuncture points to      • Jin Shin Jyutsu: form of Shiatsu, designed to
                                                      free blocked energy channels                       forms of energy have been known and studied
remove the blockages, and to restore the flow                                                            extensively for hundreds of years; yet even
of ch’i in and out of the holes in the skin where   • Magnetic Therapy: using magnets to stimu-          with the most sophisticated modern instru-
the ch’i ‘lived.’                                     late blood flow and ‘accelerate’ healing           ments scientists have been unable to locate
Many of these primitive claims of mysterious        • Polarity therapy, which claims to release en-      any of these ‘mysterious energies’. The reason
‘healing energies’ have survived in a variety         ergy blockages and restore energy balance          for this is simple: they do not exist! They are
  Skeptics SA                                                                                                             Mysterious Energies Page 2
merely the ploys of disreputable con-mer-
chants, or by deluded individuals.
It is a travesty of modern health legislation
that such charlatans are permitted to call
themselves therapists and to practice, without
having any training or qualifications whatso-
Reports from their patients reveal the most
profound ignorance of even the most basic
concepts of medicine.                              Skeptics SA
The greatest danger is that these practitioners,   The South Australian branch of the
                                                   Australian Skeptics
for fear of being exposed as charlatans, dis-
courage patients from seeing proper doctors.       For further information on the Australian
As a result serious health problems may go un-     Skeptics and the journal, the Skeptic, contact:
detected. People are well advised to avoid such      Email: <>
swindlers and their mysterious energies!             Web site: <>
                                Laurie Eddie

 Skeptics SA                                                      Mysterious Energies Page 3