Many practitioners in the complementary health field subscribe to the idea of “vibrational medicine”. This idea essentially suggests that complementary therapies such as homoeopathy and therapeutic touch, as well as other therapeutic phenomena such as the placebo effect, therapeutic contact, bedside manner, and spiritual healing, act on a subtle energetic level to achieve cure or promote wellness.

The difficulty has been that we are unable to detect this “subtle energy” and so scientific verification of this concept is difficult to achieve. However Kirlian photography, new research technology such as SQUID (“superconducting quantum interference device”), and aura imaging all offer clues to the puzzle. The yogic explanation is simple: all therapeutic modalities act in one way or another on the subtle system of chakras and kundalini.

This idea is difficult to directly verify but while doing background work and interviews for our research program a number of Sahaja Yoga practitioners described unusual sets of photographs that had been taken of Sahaja Yoga meditators. There appeared to be a wide variety of these photographs displaying, for the most part, rays and streaks of light around people. One series of photographs, which included a group of meditators sitting with the founder of the Sahaja Yoga meditation technique, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, was particularly interesting. It consisted of a series of photographs in which the “vibrational energy” emitted by the individuals was recorded in the photographs, progressively becoming more intense with each photograph. Remarkably, these photographs were allegedly taken well before the age of digital photography. Of even greater interest was that the people who owned this fascinating evidence were not particularly fussed as to whether or not it should be publicised. When I expressed my surprise at their apparent diffidence, they replied that photographic evidence was irrelevant to them as the primary goal of their technique was personal meditative experience rather than the collection of physical artefacts – no matter how remarkable.

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