Energy medicine involves the manipulation of various energy fields, which may or may not be measurable by scientists.
Veritable energy therapies include practices based on objectively measurable forms of energy such as electromagnetic fields, for example, neurofeedback training, transcranial direct-current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Please see separate section on Assistive and Adaptive Technology for details of these interventions.
Putative energy therapies describe practices based on yet-to-be measured energy fields (also called biofields). These therapies generally reflect the concept that human beings are infused with subtle forms of energy, including spiritual energy. Putative energy practices include qigong, reiki and tai chi.
Please see the Mind-Body Medicine for details of these interventions.
There have been various claims made for energy medicine. For example, Silva et al (2011) reported: ‘Treatment of young children with autism with kai qiao tuina/ qigong sensory training resulted in a decrease in sensory and self-regulatory impairment and a reduction in severity of measures of autism.’
Determining the benefits of energy medicine for autistic people is difficult because it includes such a wide range of practices. We must wait for further research of sufficiently high quality to be completed.
No significant risks appear to be associated with putative energy practices, such as qigong. Some risks are associated with some veritable energy practices, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. For example, there have been reports of seizures, painful scalp sensations, facial twitching and hearing problems due to the loud clicking noise emitted by the TMS machine.