Monday, January 10, 2011

Reviewing William Bengston's "Energy Cure"

Laying on of hands at the New Age Expo, San Francisco, April 2007, by Jo Guldi/Joguldi (Landschaft) on Flickr.com, under the Creative Commoons Attribution License
By Jo Guldi/Joguldi on Flickr.com 

I may go ahead and begin calling myself a skeptic, so spiritual enthusiasts among my readers can go ahead and unfollow me.

After weeks of considering The Energy Cure by William Bengston, Ph.D, I must report I find it engaging, but no more scientific in approach than any other book -- of the MANY -- I have read about "energy" or "vibrational" healing. And I disagree with the subtitle that states the book is "unraveling the mystery of hands-on healing" at last.

Disclosing that I was provided a (free) review-copy, I wish I could recommend it more highly!

Bengston, a sociology professor, does go into intricate detail describing his efforts to study energy healing scientifically. But, as he narrates, he indicates the protocols were not followed or the experiments were terminated prematurely or data were contaminated or lost. So his coverage is, as I understand it, just as anecdotal as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) accounts usually are.

His set-ups may be useful as examples of how-to (or not-to), for others working along similar lines.

As I read I found myself wondering: Is Bengston embracing science, even as a maverick-loner, or, rather, cleverly claiming this stand as a raconteur's artful twist, to draw readers into some rather tall (and pretty entertaining) tales in later pages? Anyway, I did not find any formal experimental, or even much formal empirical, evidence that reveals measurable processes behind energy-healing successes in his account.

But because non-ordinary means "unmeasurable" by objective standards, and energy-healing is a CAM that happens in non-ordinary realms (the mysterious yet central source of the ordinary, according to those who live in faith and hope or as imagination and art), anecdotal evidence for it, considered the weakest kind for scientific purposes, is the proper kind to get, really, I opine. So, I enjoyed reading The Energy Cure as another teaching story about hands-on healing.

Also, I appreciated Bengston's how-to sections. Amazingly, he claims close to 100 percent success in practice, so why not give his methods a whirl?

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