The concept of a "life energy" can be found in many cultures in the present time, as well as in past eras reaching back to the ancients. Variously called qi (chi), ki, the "four humors,"prana, "archaeus,""cosmic aether,""universal fluid,""animal magnetism," and "odic force," among other names, this purported biofield is beginning to yield its properties and interactions to the scientific method. Subtle energy is the term used in this chapter, which traces the recent history of subtle energy studies from Harold Saxton Burr and Björn Nordenström to Jim Oschman and Jacques Benveniste. This work takes signaling in living systems from the chemical/molecular to the physical/atomic level of communication. Effects on heart rate variability, stress response, inflammation, and the vagus nerve have been demonstrated and raise the question--Can the power of subtle energies be harnessed for health enhancement? It is fully accepted that good health depends on good communication both within the organism and between the organism and its environment. Sophisticated imaging procedures brought to bear on telomere, stem cell, and genetic research are confirming the ability of meditation and some other traditional practices to promote optimal health through stress reduction.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 Aug;1172:297-311. Rosch PJ. The American Institute of Stress, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York Medical College, Yonkers, New York, USA. email@example.com