Richard G. Petty, MD

Energy Medicine

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene V)

–William Shakespeare (English Poet and Dramatist, 1564-1616)

There has been a lot of talk recently about energy medicine, energy psychology and even energy psychiatry.

What exactly are they, and why do we believe that these therapies only have half the answer?

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine divides energy medicine into veritable and putative. I find these terms a little clumsy. By veritable they mean energies like light, sound and electromagnetism that can be measured. They use the term putative energy fields, also known as biofields, because they have not been measured in a reproducible manner. Treatments like Reiki, Qigong, Shiatsu, Healing touch, Thought Field Therapy and perhaps prayer can all be included under the heading of energy medicines.

A note of caution here. The Scientific and Medical Network, which I had the privilege of serving for a number of years, has had a high-powered study group looking into energy medicine. At its inaugural meeting, the Nobel Prize-winning Physicist Brian Josephson made the important point that we need to be careful about our definitions. Let me clarify that, and tell you why this is such an important issue.

In my book Healing, Meaning and Purpose, I reported the stunning discovery that scientists seem to have "overlooked" more than 90 percent of the universe. This missing piece is being referred to as "dark" matter and "dark" energy. We know very little about it, but some visionary scientists are already wondering if this dark matter and dark energy may have something to do with the burgeoning evidence for the existence of "subtle" systems associated with the body. These subtle systems appear to be of many types, and in Asia have been given names like Qi (Chi) and Prana, or in the West were called the Etheric or the Fifth Element, after Earth, Fire, Air and Water. Why do I say that much that these therapies have only half the answer? I prefer to use the term subtle "systems", to be a little more precise than saying "energies", for these subtle systems are composed of the inseparable twins:

1. Subtle energies and

2. The subtle fields that carry them.

Without energy the fields could not actualize, and without the fields, there would be nothing to carry the energy.

The next point is that underlying the subtle systems is the key to healing. Before even there were the subtle systems, there was an Informational matrix. This is a very scientific and clinical term for something that we also know as the Inner Light or your Inner Divine Spark. You have it: we all do. Aging, illness and death occur when this matrix degrades. Then the subtle systems become chaotic and the biochemical and cellular systems follow. When we treat someone with acupuncture or Reiki, it is not so much that we are squirting "energy" into him or her, but that we are giving that person’s whole organism some cleaned-up information that has a positive effect on the person receiving the treatment.

"Love is the immortal flow of energy that nourishes, extends and preserves. Its eternal goal is life."

–Smiley Blanton (American Speech Pathologist, Psychoanalyst, Writer and Founder {with Norman Vincent Peale} of the American Foundation of Religion and Psychiatry, 1882-1966)

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About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.


2 Responses to “Energy Medicine”
  1. mike byfield says:

    Hi Richard

    Very good post, like the last. New reader here.

    As a non-scientist, it’s always struck me that science can supply a remarkable number of factual details and very impressive technology, which prompts laymen like me to accord these technicians great respect. Yet scientists have consistently failed to demonstrate provable answers to not just some but ALL of the fundamental questions facing humanity.

    Where did the universe come from and where is it going, what is the physical explanation of life, what is energy, what is gravity, how did creatures form, what is thought, what is love, how can we increase social harmony decisively to eliminate our species’ risk of self-annihilation, what is right and wrong.

    Many scientific theories address such questions, and often these theories are asserted with a violent dogmatism that is essentially unscientific, yet no bedrock facts emerge. Heck, we don’t even know definitively what electricity is after all of these years.

    Prediction: Examining these subtle energies will provide facts and possibly useful techniques, but the hunt will also lead to more questions rather than fundamental answers.

    In my admittedly limited experience, ultimate truth cannot be ascertained through intellectual exercise alone. Only by offering your whole being (a process which cannot be described in words or numbers) can the individual become the key that unlocks the riddle of life (however you conceive that riddle).

    God bless all

  2. Richard Petty says:

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you for your kind comments: I couldn’t have put it better myself!

    The trouble is that the whole scientific enterprise is has been stripped of value and meaning: indeed many scientists don’t even realize that the issues that you have highlighted exists! So they use one set of tools to try and do everything: to explain the whole Universe. But it is a Universe bereft of meaning, purpose, love or legacy. Because many do not think that these are legitimate concerns for science. I am reminded of the words of the psychologist Abraham Maslow:

    “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”

    Yet I am profoundly optimistic. For although MANY scientists fail to see the problem, very many more, and predominantly those on the “A-list”, are hard at work, refashioning what they are doing and coming up with organic models and methods that are far more like the real world. I don’t know if you’ve had the chance to glance over my most recent book, but I go into that in a bit of detail. I could name you scores of scientists, including those of the stature of Einstein, who felt that the Universe would NEVER be explicable in terms of mathematical theories, and even Steven Hawking at Cambridge seems to be tilting in that direction now.

    Any model, any theory, that discounts our subjective experiences, our relationships and our spirituality, will be sterile and doomed. I go yet another step beyond what you way: humans are uniquely situated to bridge the material and the divine, and that is best achieved when we overcome false dualities and see the beautiful interconnectedness of the web of life.

    And that is where all of what I am doing is designed to lead us.

    Warmest best wishes,


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