No scientific basis exists for the notion of special vital forces or energy fields associated with living organisms. Medical journals should follow the lead of most scientific journals and not publish extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence. One of the primary assumptions within Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is that living things possess a special energy field, linked to the cosmos, which I will call the bio-energetic field. "Pure energy" is viewed as a biophysical substance separate from and superseding matter. Electromagnetic fields are presented as examples of pure energy and are identified with the bio-energetic field. Newtonian
mechanistic, reductionistic physics is reported to be refuted by modern physics.
Quantum physics is called upon to back the assertion that the universe is one
continuous, interconnected whole of which human consciousness is a part, thus allowing the mind to control reality. While generally applied to human therapies, much of CAM has appears to have found its way into veterinary medicine (Schoen 2000). Most lay people believe that the universe is made of two kinds of stuff:
1. Matter, which includes the bodies of living organisms and the other material stuff of the universe. They have heard that matter is composed of particulate atoms, and
associate material objects with notions of discreteness and scientific reductionism.
2. Energy, which is associated in the lay mind with spirit or soul. The common belief is that living things possess some special quality that makes them alive, an élan vital, or vital force, of living energy. CAM theorists often identify this bio-energetic field with physical electromagnetic fields, which still appear mysterious to many more than a century after their discovery. These energy fields are associated with notions of continuity and holism that are said to oppose the discreteness and reductionism of "cold" physical science.
However, these beliefs do not reflect developments in either the physical or
biological sciences of several centuries. Prior to twentieth century, most scientists held
to the following picture: Energy and matter indeed were regarded as separate and
distinct substances. On the other hand, while...