I mean no disrespect to those who believe in alternative therapies, but has anyone ever thought about the mysterious 'energies' so often bandied about. Where are they, and what are they.

As a specific example, acupuncture is a typical semi-respected practice. In my opinion, the stimulation of nerve points might well relieve pain - but heal? The vague idea that energy 'flows' around the body is, at best, an analogy. Martial arts talk of moving, directing and using energy but this really refers to managing your body movements effectively. Adopting this convenient energy terminology for sticking needles in your skin is not unscientific as such (it makes few falsifiable claims) but it is inconsistent. How are the energies of Tai Chi , room rearranging and accupuncture related? Does the arrangement of furniture interact with the needles; do the needles have to be aligned to the (er) compass points?

Obviously, no one asks these sorts of questions because they have no answers. What makes me sceptical is the lack of curiosity in quasi/pseudo science. Nobody cares if the energy of gods pure love might negate the good dharma of your paintings of Tibet. Quite frankly, who would be able to tell?

Psychology and the nearest possible explanation would seem to be the thing (Although some biologist in England has a theory about morphic fields that could explain it).

Western medicine, the kind that militant skeptics adhere to, works because it treats the body as a machine, which, in a way, it is. Basic common sense is used, as in: if he pancreas controls the blood sugar level, and the patient has a problem with that level, he must have a problem with his pancreas.

Eastern medicine works more on a hiccup cure basis; someone tried it, and it worked, so they did it again and it became tradition. Acupuncture was most likely invented by a very bored man in ancient China, who, when pressed to explain why he was sticking needles into people, muttered something about that chi thing the Taoists were always going on about.

Why, in a western sense, does acupuncture work? Well, we won't know if we keep on mumbling "'s not real science" and keep walking away. For all we know, it ccould be a very good placebo, it could stimulate the nervous system a certain way, or it could be that there really are fields of energy that can be controlled with needles.

As for feng shui: it's psychology. No explanation needed.

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