Practices such as “Reiki”, therapeutic touch, healing touch, and external “Qigong” have been regarded as some form of “energy medicine” or “biofield therapy”. The biofield concept has been studied and debated by researchers of distinct areas of expertise, and although the phenomenon was sometimes described as physically related to electromagnetics, other factors such as “subtle energy” and focused intention might be involved. These nonconventional practices integrate contact and non-contact techniques, and those dealing with so-called distant healing interventions are perhaps the most difficult to understand and accept. Practitioners describe these so-called nonlocal interventions as involving intentional factors and particular states of consciousness. With a spiritual mindset and a particular state of awareness, compassion is said to work out as a catalyst to produce physiological and physical changes through mechanisms that are still unknown. At the body level, these vegetative changes might be related to individual self-perception variations as part of the body neurovegetative feedback system of regulation. Further mechanisms are difficult to document and measure, and might be more accessible to research by using physical signal detectors, chemical dynamics methods, detectors using biological materials, detectors using living sensors, and detectors using the human body. The growing interest in these practices and the considerable amount of research exploring their effects and clinical applications encouraged this narrative review, which aims to provide an easy to consult partial overview of the history, theory and findings of quantitative research strategies exploring non-contact biofield-based practices. This work also aims to stimulate the reader’s mind with the raised hypotheses, catalyzing further research on the subject to confirm or deny the reported outcomes.
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