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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 23, 2003

Visualizing your energy is getting medical scrutiny

By Katherine Nichols
Special to The Advertiser

With his hand in a machine that is said to read his energy field, Patrik Daintry, left, is shown a printout of it by Honolulu massage therapist Bodil Anderson.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

As a psychiatric nurse, Sheri Abreu has always been interested in the connection between moods and health. Two years ago, she attended a seminar on a device that creates images of the human energy field — and found a tool for analyzing her own health and examining how emotions affect well-being.

The instrument used on Abreu, a gaseous discharge visualization device, is in use throughout the country by physicians, psychologists and alternative health practitioners. There is only one in Hawai'i, but mainstream health care providers are becoming more interested in the method.

Abreu recalls crying when she saw her analysis. Knee and stomach pain had become chronic in the 55-year-old Honolulu resident, and she was beginning to suffer from gallstones. Through this technique, she began to understand the emotional history contributing to these physical problems. She had been too focused on caring for others before thinking about herself, and she knew that something had to change.

"I consider myself very conscious, and I think I'm aware of how my thoughts affect my body," said Abreu. "However, when you see it in a visual form of what your thoughts have done to your body, it's kind of awesome, and it's kind of sad."

The holes in the picture, she said, are "like a hole in the body. If you want to poo-poo it, you can. But if you want to be open, it's a way to break the cycle."

Developed by Russian biophysicist Konstantin Korotkov, the technique analyzes emotional health and how it impacts physical health using the human energy field, popularly known as the aura, as a gauge. The technique combines science-based medicine and methods drawn from traditional Chinese medicine for a startlingly accurate description of your physical state — and anything that might be interfering with it.

It works like an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CAT (computed axial tomography) scan. You put your fingers one at a time into the high-tech GDV camera, which photographs the energy around your fingers, each of which is connected to an organ in your body, according to Chinese medicine. Computer software produces a printout of your personal energy field at that moment. A practitioner with appropriate training then interprets the pictures.

Advocates for the technique say a skilled interpreter can identify current physical problems as well as health risks from the printout, and even target the emotional issues, family history and stress that may trigger them. Scientific observers are interested in the applications of the GDV (gas discharge visualization) device.

"It still is going to require a lot of scrutiny and testing, but it's a beginning," said Rosanne Harrigan, director of complementary and alternative health, a division at the University of Hawai'i's John A. Burns School of Medicine. "Its findings are replicable in the hands of multiple persons using the equipment. Once you're taught to do it, different operators will get the same results."

Honolulu massage therapist Bodil Anderson is the only person in Hawai'i using the GDV device, at a cost of about $120 per analysis. She sees herself as a guide to point people the right direction for optimal health, often giving people otherwise undetected information before visiting a doctor.

"When we have aches and pains, we usually go to the physical right away," said Anderson, who ran the Plantation Spa in Honolulu for nine years, and now operates a day spa, The Villa at Diamond Head. "But it's often emotional in origin."

Anderson was motivated to learn the technique and buy the camera after struggling with heart palpitations and insomnia.

"I had a big gap in my emotional heart area — typical of people who take more care of others than themselves," said Anderson, who immediately starting receiving massages once a week instead of only giving them.

Korotkov, a physics professor at St. Petersburg State Technical University, will give a free lecture, "Introduction to the GDV and the Human Energy Field," 7-9 p.m. Friday at the medical school, Bio-Med B 103, followed by a two-day workshop: "Scientific Analysis of the Human Energy Field Using the GDV," 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, also in Bio-Med B 103. The workshop costs $250. Registration: 922-3775

The seminar is not linked to the UH medical school. But Harrigan said UH is exploring acquiring a machine for research.

Research "is the only way we're going to know what it's doing," said Harrigan, who holds doctoral degrees in nursing and education. "It needs to be calibrated against a standard measure. And I have a Ph.D student ready to do this with hypertension."