Interesting discussion. I always enjoy watching Doctor X go off on his science frenzy... (switch to decaf my friend)
The debate and the discussion is good - exposing strengths and weaknesses on both sides, and challenging one to found their beliefs on information instead of influence or prejudiced belief systems (yes - JD - you are prejudiced as well - we all are by the sum of our experiences - your experience happens to be steeped in "scientific method" - yet there IS hope for you because you actually comprehend good literature...)
It all seems to boil down to the concept of energy. Personal belief, case studies, anecdotes - whatever - bottom line for the individual is their own response to any given treatment - regardless of what can be proven or repeated in a case study. If something helps someone - then good. And if there is a response to every conventional treatment - positive or adverse or unmeasurable - then the same must go for alternative.
Here's my opinion - we are all comprised of empty space anyway. (The energy between the atoms - a la Max Planck and quantum physics - but I'm not going to get further into that) Each individual's construction is unique - and our response to ANY given treatment will be influenced by our own individual make up - or energy. (No, I'm not going on a "chi" tangent either.) This energy thing is science. We have molecules - atoms - and between those, energy. The uniqueness of each person's phsyiological, genetic, mental (are brains are pathways for energy are they not?) and emotional make up will determine our state of health, our succeptiblity to disease, our life span, and many other things. Again, that is science. Science does not however explain fully how this happens. But science does admit the influence of these factors on a given treatment. In my opinion - this determines also the effectiveness of certain "alternative" treatments - but it all again comes down to energy. If ANY treatment - medications, psychiatric treatment, accupuncture, massage, surgery - successfully "repairs" an energy deficiency in an individual, their state of health improves. (aside: there are still "bogus" treatments on both sides of the fence - and I do not advocate blindly trying any and every proposed treatment that comes along - once again we must become informed consumers of everything - including that which affects our health.)
The effect of energy seems to be the first concept that successfully trancends all barriers to discussions about health and influences upon the same. Energy is an accepted factor in science, religion, alternative medicine, and more. The fact that it is difficult to demonstrate scientific method with some treatments utilizing energy work is beyond the point. Science has always sought to explain the unexplainable - much like religion. Science chooses to demonstrate with replicable experiments. Religion takes it on faith. Science has occasionally proven many things that were originally taken on faith. Perhaps the same will result in the field of energy healing. Perhaps some things will remain out of the boundaries of finite human understanding.
Until then - I will continue to explore the field of energy healing - for my own collection of personal "anecdotes" show amazing results, increased levels of health, and therefore, I'll keep using it for myself and my family.
Peace and positive energy,
1st degree Reiki practitioner
[This message has been edited by Lori (edited 11-12-99).]