Across Cultures and Centuries

Article Index

Hebrew texts describe this force as manna. In humans manna is said to have three levels, which also reflect three aspects of the soul - nefesh, ruah and neshamah.  In Hawaii, this energy is called mana and ka, and, as in India, cosmic ka at the level of the human body becomes transformed into more than one aspect: mana, mana mana and loa energy. Mana or Ka is used in healing and self-regulating practices. Masters of energy in Hawaii are called Kahunas.

In Latin American countries, shamans are working with an energy called sha. Shaman comes directly from the word "shams," which means "sun" in the ancient Egyptian, Hebrew and Arabic languages. The sun was worshiped in many ancient cultures as a bringer of energy to the Earth.

Modem names for this life energy include od or odyle (Karl von Reichenbach), orgon (Wilhelm Reich), bioenergy (Prof. Zdenek Rejdak of Charles University in Prague, the Czech Republic). One more term -bioplasm --has been introduced in the former Soviet Union ever since Kirlian started to experiment with photography, an activity that is still continued by many scientists who research this topic.

Today's popular techniques, such as the polarity approach of Dr. Randolph Stone and the cranial-sacral work of Dr. John Upledger a methods based on the concept of energy flow and energy fields, are more and more frequently being offered in physician's offices. The Therapeutic Touch method, an energy work system developed by Professor Dolores Krieger and Quantum Touch by Bob Rasmusson are popular among nurses in the United States, as in many other countries. Bioenergy, already quite well known in Europe, is also spreading in the United States. The Far East's martial arts (the practice of movement and energy) such as aikido, tai chi, kung fu and karate, are known all over the world. Acupressure and massage shiatsu, both of which are based on the pressure of energy points on the body, are setting records of popularity in spas and beauty salons. Chi gong escaped the Chinese restrictions and now flourishes in both the East and in the West.

Should these approaches be regarded as medical practices? According to the contemporary definition of medical practice, the answer is no. Do they have therapeutic benefits? Judging by the results, they certainly do. Gradually, it is becoming obvious that conventional medicine is missing something here.