Here are excerpts from an article by Jeffrey Bland, PhD.
When we think of energy in medicine we often jump quickly to metabolic or physiological energy. This is the energy to move, grow, heal, create, defend, repair, and reproduce. It is energy produced through metabolic conversion of our food to potential energy to do work found in the high energy mitochondrial intermediates ATP, NADH, and FADH. These substances carry the energy that has been liberated from our food through intermediary metabolism to the place in the cell, tissue, organ, or organ system where it is needed to power form and function.
Energy is a very complex term. A word that everyone uses, but for which there are many meanings. A person can feel low or high energy and it may have little to do with the immediacy of their metabolism. It may be related to their environment and social structure. Are they appreciated, do they feel safe, are they loved, do they have a positive self-image? All of these factors influence how we interpret “energy” in the broader context.
In healthcare training, we learn of energy as the electromagnetic spectrum going from cosmic energy to radio waves. We learn that substances interact with various components of the electromagnetic spectrum depending upon how much commonality they share in their “resonance” or “harmonics.” This is like a tuning fork that is tuned to the sound of middle C on a piano. When this key is struck, the tuning fork will start to oscillate at the same frequency. Other keys on the piano will not do this. Only the middle C key will work for the tuning fork that resonates with the note middle C.
This metaphor for the energy spectrum has many important applications to the understanding of health and disease. It helps us understand why one size can’t fit all in medicine. Each individual is a unique “tuning fork” in the orchestration of the human race. As such, different types of energy are required for each individual to favorably interact with the health care system. Similarly, no single therapeutic approach is aligned to everyone’s needs. The therapeutic encounter asks the practitioner to deliver energy in the form of communication, therapeutic advice, or specific interventions in a way that can be efficiently received by the patient.
This concept applies very directly to radiology where different regions of the electromagnetic energy spectrum are used to evaluate different functions within the body. We use X-radiation to view the skeleton, ultrasound to view the soft tissue, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy to look at nerves and connective tissue. Each one of these forms of energy interacts with a different structure of the body resulting in resonance or harmonics that we use for diagnosis.
In thinking about the purpose of medicine at a macro level it is recognized that medicine is there to understand altered energy flow and to provide therapies to restore proper energy flow and balance. This concept is shared by all medical traditions throughout the world, from traditional Chinese medicine to Ayurvedic medicine to Western medicine. All of these traditions were developed to provide solutions to energy-related conditions that we have termed “illnesses” or “diseases.”
Using this view of disease, as an issue related to altered energy flow, it is easy to see why health care is more than drugs, surgery, and radiation. Each of these modalities has its own intrinsic energy, but they are not inclusive in meeting the needs associated with the patient’s healing. The energy of the therapeutic encounter, the energy inherent in the food they eat, the energy of the activities they are involved in, the energy provided by their social support system, and the energy of the environment all contribute to the “resonance” of healing.
In thinking about this broader context of energy in medicine, the physiology of the cell’s energy powerhouse, the mitochondrion, comes to mind. The most simplistic explanation of mitochondrial energy production is to think of this organelle in the cell as being like a furnace that “burns” food and produces energy. The more realistic view of the mitochondrion is to see it as a magical converter of food energy to the quantum mechanical flow of electrons and hydrogen ions that creates the potential for order to succeed over disorder, for health to prosper over disease, for form and function to be aligned. In this context all factors in the life of the person can be seen as influencing this flow of energy. It is for this reason that Functional Medicine is patient centered, individualized in its delivery, and focused on the gene-environment relationship for each patient. The art that accompanies the science of Functional Medicine is in the development of an individualized program for each patient that matches their energy spectrum with that of their environment to produce the resonance of health and healing.
The complete article is available here:
Additional information about functional medicine is also available here:
Academy of Functional Medicine and Genomics