everyone seeks good vibes -- butsome alt health practitioners swear they can heal with them. Start with the premise that all matter oscillates all the time, and you can see where pioneering holistic types get the idea that if they can fine-tune pulsations in your body they can heal you.
Everything in the universe, these folks believe, has its own signature frequency (speed of vibration) and wave form. That includes our organs, tissues, emotions and thoughts, all or some of which may be vibrating at a speed or shape not healthy for us. A physical ailment that won't go away regardless of allopathic or holistic therapies? Chronic emotional pain? These healers say they can restore you by delivering the right frequency via a tuning fork, aroma oil, the mysterious radionics instrument, the healer's hands, pictures of geometric patterns, properly chosen foods... you name it.
Treatments drawing on this theory include holographic repatterning, radionics, electromagnetic field balancing, and colour and sound therapy.
But is frequency healing's explanation for itself metaphor or science? Sound waves organized into music have been well studied as health aids, but overall very little research has been done to support the ideas espoused by vibrational medicine.
Physicists accuse this community of not really understanding the science they're quoting and of co-opting the language of physics to impress.
In many cases, the "waves" purportedly being worked with cannot be detected by scientific instruments. As a result, their reality is in dispute. (I should add my bias: my experience in tantra leads me to conclude subtle energy waves exist, but I'm not sure a scientist could prove what I feel is real.)
Another problem is that vibes types hold that a frequency's impact is shifted by the intent of the healer. That introduces another non-measurable variable. Then there's the placebo effect: take your problem to a frequency healer and you'll find a sympathetic ear. what the experts say
"if a tissue isn't vibrating ade-
quately at its optimum frequency, we can 'feed' it a frequency. We could say that frequency is a vitamin, but it can also harm. One frequency could be a vitamin, another could be damaging. Healers try different frequencies and see if there's an improvement in the function of the organ. If not, they try a different range. We're all unique and idiosyncratic.'
JOHN STEWART, DSc in alternative medicine
"Incorrect beliefs put you out of coherence with life-affirming frequencies. To bring a person's frequencies into phase with a positive direction, I might, for example, use tuning forks. Someone else might be more visual -- they might need to look at chakra pattern cards. I also work with aroma oils. Whatever the person's system dictates, I use."
CAROLYN WINTER, holographic repatterning practitioner
"Thoughts are electrical impulses in the brain. Brain waves are a purely physical phenomenon -- they don't go more than a millimetre from your head. The hand is made up of lots of particles. Each of those might be emitting a wave, but they don't produce a coherent wave. There's no basis for saying that you could resonate (something) with that. A lot of therapies seem to work just because of the placebo effect. One of the problems associated with this business is the very low standards of many of the studies that have been done. I caution people against falling for many of these claims until they have some basis in real science."
DR. VICTOR STENGER, professor emeritus of physics, University of Hawaii (Honolulu)
"In discussion with the client, we establish a major area of concern. Then I "connect' them up to the radionic instrument and ask where to set the dials so they receive the energy that is for their highest good at this time. My understanding is that the instrument acts like a stepdown transformer, bringing in the healing energy from the source of life itself to the person.'
NICHOLAS ASHFIELD, radionics practitioner
"The treatment for SAD is full-spectrum light. There are studies into the use of colour (different frequencies of light), but those studies are not strong. Music therapy is very established. There is emerging research around sound from Beijing's National Electroacoustics Laboratory. They have found that chi kung masters emit a very low-frequency sound wave, 100 times more powerful than the rest of us. They've created a machine to produce this kind of sound wave and claim very good results. We need more research into all these things."
TED LO, psychiatrist, assistant professor, department of psychiatry, U of T, president of FACT (Friends of Alternative and Complementary Therapies)
"Soundwork, in serious health situations, is offered as an adjunct to other treatment modalities and uses vocal or instrumental expression to diminish emotional or psychological tension. We can see evidence to suggest that a healthy life is one characterized by a rhythmical character. Cells in our body that are out of control or individuals who are out of sync with the cycles of being and doing provide examples of an arrhythmic state.'
GARY DIGGINS, director of the soundwork program at the Transformational Arts College