I sing the body electric.
Walt Whitman, 1855
The plane from Charlotte to Baltimore seemed inclined to land. Lovejoy braced himself. Landing wasn't as much fun as take-off, especially in these smaller planes. Soon however, he was on the second leg of his trip to Boston and was ready for his favorite part of flying.
Perhaps it was the speed demon in him that reveled in the acceleration for take-off. This time he imagined that there was no plane around him and all the air particles were flashing past him at increasing speeds. More than that he imagined himself as a sieve with the air blowing right through every corner of his cramped body; rinsing him. It was a refreshing image and it worked. Lovejoy relaxed and decided to be a little more sociable than he usually was on airplane rides. He needed to step out of his self absorption for awhile.
The gentleman next to him in the window seat was looking out and down. But not just casually. He was intently sketching something outside. His pad looked like a pile of pick-up sticks.
"Excuse me." Lovejoy said in a casual tone. "Can I ask what you see outside?"
At first the gentleman didn't seem to hear. When Lovejoy repeated himself, his neighbor started a little, then smiled.
"I'm looking for 'Ley" lines."
"What's that?" Lovejoy asked.
"In Europe they call them Ley lines; other places use other names. They're lines of force at the Earth's surface."
"How can you see them?"
"I can't. But often the old roads or cow paths will follow them and they'll converge at a single power point."
"How do you know which are just roads and which are lines of force?"
"You have to go down and visit the place. Often you can feel the force. But the best way is just to ask people. There will be stories about how the ancestors used to speak of unusual events at power places. In Europe, of course, the verbal tradition goes back much further than in America. Unless you can get some information about the Indians' lore. In Europe, all the churches are built on top of old pagan temples, which are built on top of old Dolmen sites. The religions change, but the power locations stay the same."
"Why are there power locations?"
"The Earth generates magnetic and electrical fields just like the body does. Some rocks are magnetized. Solar flares send ions to the earth which get channeled by the earth's magnetic field to produce the Aurora Borealis. Well, a magnetic field exists below the Earth's surface too. And it gets channeled by the specifics of which types of rocks are where, the fault lines big and small, and underground sources of water which conduct electricity. These special zones in the Earth's field have been noted by animals before humans. And animals have areas they prefer and other areas they tend to avoid."
"What makes you think animals can sense magnetic fields?"
"Actually we know that. Some birds use magnetic fields to help them migrate long distances and in the dark. Fish sense magnetism for migration too. Electricity is used by some fish to communicate, even to detect and stun prey. It's not just a higher animal function. Certain protozoans orient themselves in line with magnetic fields."
"How about us? Can we sense such fields?"
"Have you ever heard of acupuncture?"
"Sure. I've seen the pictures of people with lines running from head to toe with points along them."
"Kind of like Ley lines. Those charts of lines you've seen are the maps of the body's electromagnetic fields; at least at the body's surface. It doesn't show the whole field; inside and also extending away from the body. But the body's surface is where we can try to influence the field with needles."
"So you're an acupuncturist?"
"Yes. Victor at your service." He said introducing himself.
"Will Lovejoy." Holding out his hand.
"Actually I come from a long line of acupuncturists. My father practiced before me. And his father."
"How far back does it go?"
"You mean acupuncture or my family's practice of it?"
"Well, there are bone needles going back to 8000 BCE. Bronze needles back to 2000 BCE. And the first text about acupuncture, Huang Ti Nei Ching Su Wen, describes an already completely developed system of medicine. It was supposedly dates back to 250 CE. So you can pick your date."
"Does it hurt?"
"Want to have it done?"
"What? Right here?
"Sure. Just one."
"Where would you put it?"
Victor grabbed Lovejoy's right hand and pointed to the fleshy spot between the thumb and the forefinger. "Right there."
A shiny, tiny needle appeared from nowhere.
"Do you carry these with you for emergencies?"
"Actually I use them on airplanes for motion sickness but I haven't used this one yet. Are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be." Lovejoy shut his eyes and surrendered to the moment. He felt what he thought was Victor touching the point.
"You doing OK?" was Victor's question.
"Ready." Lovejoy declared.
"It's already in."
Lovejoy didn't believe it. He opened his eyes.
"Now what do you feel?"
Lovejoy started to feel a funny bone type sensation in his thumb. Then a feeling like the whole hand was getting larger. No real pain. As the sensation started to move up his forearm, he just blurted out, "It's weird!"
"That's 'de Chi'."
"What do you mean?"
"That fullness. It happens when I make a connection with the body's energy. The Chinese call it 'Chi'. It's that special energy of the body which both moves all over the body and supports the cells in their function."
"Why did you pick that point?"
"It's an important point. Almost everyone needs some treatment there."
"Well, I'm getting a runny nose and itchy eyes."
"Sorry. Do you have a history of allergies?"
"I can get rid of that with one more point."
"One point to fix another."
"Yes." Victor got out another needle. He had them in a special package in his shirtpocket.
As he started looking at Lovejoy's ear, Lovejoy said, "Not in my ear!"
"If you want me to get rid of your hives, we must."
Lovejoy looked at his forearm. He was developing red blotches. "OK. Will this hurt?"
"Not any more than the last."
"But last time you triggered my allergies'" Lovejoy started. However, by that time Victor had deftly needled the back part of Lovejoy's ear. He felt as if something popped. The itching went away and his nose stopped running.
"How'd you do that?"
"Do you have any idea how it works?"
"It moves Chi."
"But what's Chi?"
"Someday science will discover the importance of the electromagnetic field of the body. It's like another organ system. Only because it's not localized in one place, like a beating heart or a liver, we have difficulty conceiving of it."
"However the blood system and the immune systems are spread all over the body, and we think of them as organ systems." Lovejoy pointed out.
"Precisely. And look how long it's taken us to appreciate the immune system. Electromagnetic fields are produced by every nerve cell that fires. Every ion that is secreted in a gland, and every muscle that contracts creates an EM field. In fact the muscles, by their sheer volume, are the largest builder of the body's EM field."
"That's fine. I'm a physician. I know the body makes EM fields. After all we do electrocardiograms to record the heart's EM field all the time."
"Don't forget EEG's for the brain and EMG's for muscles."
"But do we have evidence that the body's EM field influences its daily functioning?"
"Tons! Basically every cell is a battery which requires an electrical charge in order to function properly. EM fields can change enzymatic activity; how much calcium crosses a cell wall and whether or not hormones will deliver their message to their target cells. For example, hormone receptors on some cell surfaces can change their sensitivity one thousand fold depending on EM fields. And they are sensitive only to strengths in a narrow window of magnitude which are the same as those generated by the body."
"You mean you think these receptors are designed to be affected by EM fields."
"Yes, I think these windows are just another part of our EM physiology."
"How come I don't know about it then? I mean I have to treat people all the time."
"You'll know it when medicine gets past its current infatuation with genes. Maybe another 10 years."
"Why do you say that?"
"The science in Medicine goes in phases. First there was the plumbing. That's what I call the Anatomy Phase, with Vesalius and Michelangelo breaking ground by actually looking at dead people to make their drawings accurate. Applying this approach down to the microscopic detail brought us into the Microbiology Phase with van Leeuwenhoek and Pasteur. When we actually found some substance that could kill bacteria, an antibiotic, this moved us into the Chemistry Phase. We're still deep into that now. And genes are the most fundamental starting point for biochemistry. So its natural that we're going into the Gene Project. That will occupy us for some time. But everything in science is accelerating at an accelerating rate. Eventually when we start understanding not only what the genes are, but what turns them on and turns them off, research money will finally move into the study of the body's EM fields."
"You think EM fields affect genes?"
"Electromagnetic fields can change the way an embryo grows. They begin by determining the polarity of the body when its a few cells old."
"I didn't realize they were so important."
"Look outside. Do you see the wind?"
"Only if there are clouds around."
"EM fields are like that. They're everywhere, yet they're invisible. Just as we can't tell if we'll hit a microburst and plunge down 300 feet unless we have Doppler radar, we also don't know what the EM environment is unless we measure it. We live in an ocean of electromagnetic fields. And we are basically oblivious to them."
Lovejoy thought again of himself as a sieve; this time with lines of energy flowing through him.
Soltrey@humanmind.net is copyrighted July 2000. All rights reserved B.T. Brian Brown.