An overview of biofield devices

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AbstrAct Advances in biophysics, biology, functional genom-ics, neuroscience, psychology, psychoneuroimmunolo-gy, and other fields suggest the existence of a subtle sys-tem of " biofield " interactions that organize biological processes from the subatomic, atomic, molecular, cellu-lar, and organismic to the interpersonal and cosmic lev-els. Biofield interactions may bring about regulation of biochemical, cellular, and neurological processes through means related to electromagnetism, quantum fields, and perhaps other means of modulating biologi-cal activity and information flow. The biofield paradigm, in contrast to a reductionist, chemistry-centered view-point, emphasizes the informational content of biologi-cal processes; biofield interactions are thought to oper-ate in part via low-energy or " subtle " processes such as weak, nonthermal electromagnetic fields (EMFs) or pro-cesses potentially related to consciousness and nonlocal-ity. Biofield interactions may also operate through or be reflected in more well-understood informational pro-cesses found in electroencephalographic (EEG) and elec-trocardiographic (ECG) data. Recent advances have led to the development of a wide variety of therapeutic and diagnostic biofield devices, defined as physical instru-ments best understood from the viewpoint of a biofield paradigm. Here, we provide a broad overview of biofield devices, with emphasis on those devices for which solid, peer-reviewed evidence exists. A subset of these devices, such as EEG-and ECG-based heart rate variability, func-tion via mechanisms that are well understood and are widely employed in clinical settings. Other devices, such a gas discharge visualization and biophoton emission, appear to operate through incompletely understood mechanisms and have unclear clinical significance. Device modes of operation include EMF-light, EMF-heat, EMF-nonthermal, electrical current, vibration and sound, physical and mechanical, intentionality and non-locality, gas and plasma, and other (mode of operation not well-understood). Methodological issues in device development and interfaces for future interdisciplinary research are discussed. Devices play prominent cultural and scientific roles in our society, and it is likely that device technologies will be one of the most influential access points for the furthering of biofield research and the dissemination of biofield concepts. This developing field of study presents new areas of research that have many important implications for both basic science and clinical medicine.

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