What is Energy Medicine?

What is the difference between Energy Medicine and Conventional Medicine, and when can Energy Medicine can help?

Energy Medicine
at its foundation, focuses on the energy fields of the body that organize and control the growth and repair of cells, tissue and organs.
Conventional medicine
at its foundation, focuses on the biochemistry of cells, tissue and organs.


A key concept in Energy Medicine is that the words “diagnosis” and “treatment” have a different meaning than they do in conventional medicine.  In conventional medicine you diagnose and treat an illness.  In Energy Medicine, you assess where the energy system needs attention and correct the energy disturbances.  Physical symptoms may be a clue, but they are not the focus.  For instance, the same stomach ache might trace to an imbalance in Heart meridian in one person, in Liver meridian in another and in Stomach meridian in a third.  The same physical symptoms can reflect many kinds of problems in your energy system and call for different kinds of attention.


Two Ways Energy Medicine Can Help
“Energy” is understood as the life force that feeds each organ and body system (cardiovascular, respiratory, immune system, etc.), and its proper flow and proper balance are crucial for maintaining the health of each organ and system.

There are two levels where Energy Medicine might make a difference with a health condition:

1. The first level approaches the health condition by strengthening the person’s overall energy system.  The goal is to get your body’s energies into a good flow, harmony, and balance.  While not focusing on your health issue directly, this can create within your body an energetic environment that supports your overall health, vitality and healing.

2. The second level involves an assessment of your body’s energies and the ways they are related to the condition.  Based on that assessment, individualized treatments can be designed to make your energy system more robust, specifically in the ways that will help with the health condition.


Energy Medicine is both an independent approach to self-care and a complement to medical care. It can address physical illness and emotional disorders, and it can also promote wellness and peak performance.

Anecdotal evidence for successful treatment of serious conditions such as cancer and multiple sclerosis using various forms of energy medicine is available, and research evidence of efficacy is accumulating for many of the variations, including acupressure, Applied Kinesiology, Healing Touch, medical qi gong, Reiki, Shiatsu and Therapeutic Touch.

Visit links for specific conditions. Reviewing controlled trials of acupuncture, the World Health Organization concluded in 2003 that it is effective for the treatment of 28 specific diseases, symptoms, or conditions and that substantial evidence suggests it may be effective for 68 more.


Prevalence and Variations
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (v. 280, pp. 1569–75) showed that Americans made nearly twice as many visits to practitioners of alternative and complementary medicine than to their family physicians in 1997, and more recent studies (e.g., National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2008) have shown that the use of non-conventional health care methods has continued to increase.  The various forms of Energy Medicine—acupuncture, acupressure, shiatsu, medical qi gong, Reiki, Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, Touch for Health, Applied Kinesiology, Eden Energy Medicine, the Barbara Brennan method and others—comprise a substantial portion of these visits.


To Learn More:

Popular Book:
Energy Medicine: Balancing Your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality (2ND edition) by Donna Eden (Tarcher/Penguin, 1998/2008).

Academic Book:
Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis by James Oschman (Harcourt, 2000).

Academic Paper:
Six Pillars of Energy Medicine by David Feinstein & Donna Eden (2008).

Five Rhythms Consulting