In 2006, I did a series of experiments with healer/researcher, Dr. William Bengston, looking at the effects of hands-on healing and distant healing on tumors in mice. One of the areas I wanted to study was magnetic field (MF) activity during energy healing. I was intrigued by the results of two studies, namely Zimmerman (1985) and Seto et al., (1992), which showed MF changes during energy healing. In a preliminary study using a SQUID detector in a magnetically shielded room, Zimmerman (1985) observed MF variations in the range of 7-8Hz adjacent to the hands of a Therapeutic Touch practitioner. Seto et al. (1992) reported magnetic field oscillations adjacent to the hands of 3 out of 32 Qigong practitioners. So, in the experiments with Dr. Bengston, I wanted to see if we could detect any magnetic field oscillations, and possibly replicate the Zimmerman and/or Seto results.
The trick, of course, was finding the right magnetometer (also called a gaussmeter) to measure the MF activity, and then, finding a recorder and software to record MF activity continuously, like an EKG (electrocardiogram). Seto and colleagues reported that the MF activity was in the low milligauss range, which helped narrow the search to “sensitive” magnetometers able to measure low-intensity fields. The extra low frequency of the magnetic field oscillations (i.e., 7 -8 Hz) narrowed the search still further, as most commercially available magnetometers filter out frequencies below 20Hz. Another key requirement was being able to connect the magnetometer to a computer (“recorder output”), so that I could record the MF activity continuously. Searching online, I found a sensitive “geomagnetometer” at Integrity Design & Research Corporation, which met all of my requirements.
To measure the magnetic field activity continuously, I hooked up the geomagnetometer (Integrity Design & Research, IDR-321) to a data recorder (iWorx IX-214) attached to a computer laptop with recording software (Labscribe 1, iWorx). I tried a less expensive data recorder and software, but the time-response characteristics were not good enough to faithfully represent the MF changes. iWorx specializes in equipment and software for physiology experiments and teaching, including EEG and EKG, so the quality of the recording is good for low frequency signals. In the majority of my experiments, the magnetometers are located in the room where energy healing is occurring, and the data recorder and laptop are located outside the room to minimize electronic noise in the recording. To that end, I also use high-quality shielded BNC cables between the magnetometers and data recorder.
We initially tried recording MF activity adjacent to Dr. Bengston’s hands and head as he gave hands-on healing to the mice with tumors, but we saw no magnetic field oscillations when the magnetometer probe was located close to his body. While watching Dr. Bengston give healing to some mice in a plastic mouse cage, I got the idea to put the magnetometer probe next to the mouse cage, where his healing intent was focused, and sure enough, there were the magnetic field oscillations! The magnetic field oscillations appeared in waves that resembled symmetrical “chirp waves”, with a decrease in frequency of the oscillations followed by an increase in frequency.
Later, after Dr. Bengston had returned to New York, we scheduled a distant healing session with him, during which he would send healing to our mice in Indiana. We placed the magnetometer probe in the middle of the mouse cages, wondering if we could detect magnetic field oscillations as he sent distant healing to the mice. I had two students working in my lab at the time, Danny LaPlante and Charlie Cochran, and a lab technician, Dan Zhou. The four of us sat watching the MF activity, and shortly after the healing session began, magnetic field oscillations appeared on the screen. After the session was over, Dr. Bengston called us on a cell phone, telling us that he had felt energy move at the same time (within a minute or two) that we had seen the magnetic field oscillations. It was very exciting, but the question immediately arose as to whether these oscillations were specific to this room, or if they occurred randomly everywhere.
I immediately ordered three more magnetometers, so that we could test other rooms at the same time. The tumors in the mice were shrinking rapidly at this point, so there was not much time. In one experiment, we recorded MF activity in 4 different rooms at the same time. One room was designated, Blue1, which contained the mice Dr. Bengston was treating; another room, White, contained normal mice (with no tumors); room Blue2 contained mice with tumors, but no treatment by Dr. Bengston; and the fourth room, Office, contained no mice. During this experiment, we recorded MF activity continuously for approximately 3 hours.
From 12:15 to 12:45 pm, Dr. Bengston sent distant healing to mice in Blue1. The magnetic field oscillations in Blue1 occurred just before, during and after the time he sent healing, whereas MF oscillations in the other 3 rooms were not as frequent and were not associated with the healing session (Moga and Bengston, 2010). Our results, although preliminary, suggested a possible connection between MF oscillations and energy healing. As further support for this hypothesis, the oscillations in our experiments closely resembled the magnetic field oscillations described by Zimmerman (1985), which are illustrated in Oschman (2000).
A key observation in our study (Moga and Bengston, 2010) was that the magnetic field oscillations were easiest to detect, and of highest magnitude, adjacent to the mice but not the healer. In other words, where the healer was focusing his intent (i.e., the mice) was where we detected the magnetic field oscillations. Another key finding was that the magnetic field activity observed during distant healing was identical to that observed during hands-on healing (on-site), suggesting a common mechanism for both types of healing.