ARTICLESEnergy Medicine: What Is It, How Does It Work, and What Place Does It Have in Orthopedics?Prestwood, Karen M. M.D. Author Information From the Center on Aging, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut, USA. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Karen M. Prestwood, MD, Center on Aging, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030-5215 USA; e-mail: [email protected] Techniques in Orthopaedics 18(1):p 46-53, March 2003. Buy Abstract Summary Energy medicine is a field of complementary therapy based on the interactions of the human energy field with other energy fields (human or other). The human body is surrounded by and emits various kinds of energy: electrical, magnetic, light, and subtle. Health and disease appear to be related to the flow or lack of flow of our energetic systems. Modern quantum physics provides the framework for energy medicine. Einstein demonstrated that matter and energy are interchangeable and therefore our bodies are energy. Matter, then, does not exist in certain places with certainty, but shows tendencies to exist. A particle can also act as a wave, which becomes a probability wave, and the interactions between waves (particles) are probabilities of interconnections. In this view, the universe becomes a dynamic web of inseparable energy patterns, and the classic idea of analyzing the world by separate, independent parts becomes less plausible. Therapeutic touch, healing touch, Reiki are probably the most commonly used energy healing modalities, and all of these involve a practitioner who assesses the client’s energy field and then rebalances it using a variety of techniques. A form of energy medicine has been used for many years in orthopaedics for healing nonunion fractures: the pulsed electromagnetic field. This device creates an external magnetic field that induces an electrical current in bone that has a similar waveform as the piezoelectric current induced in bone with mechanical stimulation. Data also support the emission of a biomagnetic field from the hands of therapeutic touch and QiGong practitioners. These fields are similar in magnitude and quality to pulsated electromagnetic fields that have been used to heal chronic nonunion fractures. There is evidence for the use of energy medicine in ligament and tendon injuries and for wound healing. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.