A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies | View All


If someone is eating a disharmonic diet then there is no harmony in the bioenergy.--Linda Townsend

If [non-physical] bioenergetic fields exist, then some two hundred years of physics, chemistry, and biology has to be re-evaluated.--Victor J. Stenger

Bioharmonics is one in a long line of so-called vibrational medicine therapies begun by Royal Rife. Linda Townsend claims she invented bioharmics, which she describes as "the science that studies bioenergy motions and interactions with other energy sources."

Bioharmonics is one of many "energy" medicines to have emerged in recent years. All have in common the belief in energies distinct from heat, electromagnetic, nuclear, and other measurable energies. New Age energy is not detectable by modern scientific equipment, though some advocates employ useless gadgets touted as scientific machinery capable of harnessing, collecting, distributing, etc. some mysterious energy. Some are also fond of jargon and attempt to relate this energy to quantum physics. These energies are either indistinguishable from or related to chi or prana or chakras. Some claim they can feel this energy (therapeutic touch). Some claim they can see it (auras) and that it can be photographed (Kirlian photography). Some have claimed they could harness energy and promote healing or sexual prowess (Reich). Many have claimed that these energies are related to the spirit world.

bioharmonics and bioenergy

Townsend's writing indicates that she does not understand bioenergy the way biochemists do. In conventional biochemistry, bioenergy refers to "the readily measurable exchanges of energy within organisms, and between them and their environment, which occur by normal physical and chemical processes." She writes:

In my personal research with bioenergy testing, I always find an irregularity that seems to be related to the physical condition whatever that condition may be. This has raised some questions about bioenergy being an expression of biochemistry. Therefore, if bioenergy and biochemistry have a mutual influence on each other, correcting bioenergy irregularities may also effect balancing the biochemistry.

This gibberish indicates Townsend's level of understanding.

Townsend never quite defines 'bioenergy,' but her theory is that it needs to be "harmonized." She will even sell you a Harmonizer for $1,295, which will help "to retune those weaken [sic] disharmonious areas of the body commonly found over sites of illnesses." [In 2005, Alan Townsend was issued a warning by the FDA that the Harmonizer was a medical device marketed to be used for "cancer, circulation problems, neurological disorders, respiratory ailments, urinary tract disorders, blood clots, male disorders, sinusitis, skin conditions, digestive tract disorders, female disorders, eye conditions, ear problems, colon disorders, breast problems, and many others." By law the device needed marketing clearance from the FDA. Soon afterward, the Townsends seem to have vaporized from the Internet.] She also recommends polarizers ($80-$120) and magnets. The polarizers are "non-magnetic devices filled with kelp, other plant life and minerals specifically chosen for their ability to attract cosmic light energy, also called 'chi' or 'life force' energy." How she knows kelp attracts chi is not clear.

While Townsend does not define 'bioenergy', she does claim that there are three layers of bioenergy fields: the outer layer, the mid layer, and the inner layer.

The outer layer of the bioenergy field of a healthy person begins about six inches or more out from the body. The left side would be an overall counterclockwise motion and the right would be clockwise motion with a one way motion pulling another non-magnetic energy up the vertical mid lines in the front and back of the body. This is the same pattern as found over a bipolar magnet. This layer revels [sic] the overall bioenergy health condition which is categorized into the bioenergy stages.

The mid bioenergy layer begins about two inches from the body and extends to the outer layer. It reveals the one way motions of main meridian line systems or what some might call "chi" flows at the hands and feet. In a healthy person this one-way energy motion comes into the left side and out the right. This is the layer that tends to show the most abnormalities found over organs and tissues.

The inner bioenergy layer reveals the one way motions of the lesser meridian line systems. It also reveals the unique patterns of energy stored in bone marrow, where physical regeneration and healing begin.

Ms. Townsend hasn't published any studies but she implies that the Harmonizer can "help" with many ailments, including cancer, diabetes, heart conditions, Parkinson's disease and paralysis. She says she has testimonials to back up these claims, though she is careful to disclaim any medical benefit for her products:

We do not claim that any medical conditions have been improved by BioHarmonics; we only have seen that bioenergy imbalances can be improved....This research is not medically related in any way and should not be considered in any matter to be beneficial for medical conditions....There are no guarantees offered expressed or implied.

Presumably, she thinks such disclaimers protect her from lawsuits or from being criminally charged with practicing medicine without a license. She does claim, however, that

Frequency in BioHarmonics is merely a catalyst that influences energy motions. In my research, it is the bioenergy motion reactions to other energy sources that is the most important part...there is no one frequency that will work on every person with the same disease....What is really needed is the missing harmonics of bioenergy motions for the individual person because it is this weakness that hinders natural healing.

She also claims that her Harmonizer is better than others because her harmonics are in twos and other devices are in threes and "the main harmonics of the bioenergy of the body are in twos." How she knows this, or what it even means, is not clear.

Townsend makes numerous unsubstantiated, meaningless, or inane claims such as the color blue "dominates the left side of a healthy body in the outer bioenergy layer and is found in the blood bioenergy. It is also found at the nerve branches of several vertebra in the spine." And, "Red dominates the right side of the body in the outer bioenergy layer. It is opposite and attracting to Blue." She seems to have derived these notions from one of the great American quacks, Dinshah P. Ghadiali, who invented Spectro-Chrome Therapy. She claims he influenced her early theories.

On the side, Ms. Townsend sells organic dog food, apparently to enhance canine bioharmonics. She also will be selling vitamins, minerals, flower essences, and homeopathics soon.

The danger, of course, of all such energy medicine is that people with real and treatable diseases will not get proper care. It is true that alternative practitioners can help some people by the placebo effect and by providing attention, love and care. However, there is no evidence that any of these energy medicines or quack medical devices has cured anyone's arthritis, cancer or other serious disorder.

update Dec 2007/Jan 2009: the bioharmonics.com website has vanished, but the practice has not been muted or toned down at the Wisdom of Sound. If anything, the claims have amplified:

BioHarmonics is a "non-invasive" technology using sound to strengthen the body, boost the immune system, restore vital energy, return to health and maintain wellness. This alternative form of healing compares the frequencies of the human body to the many instruments of an orchestra, which has the purpose of producing a glorious and harmonious symphony. Even one instrument out of tune, however, will throw the whole symphony into discord.

The claim has the ubiquitous New Age promise of "boosting the immune system" (as if that piece of gibberish were meaningful). The only thing lacking in this piece of hyperbolic promotion is the claim that "they" have been keeping this information from us until "we" exposed it.

See also acupuncture, "alternative" health practice, chi, chakra, crystal power, magnet therapy, reiki, therapeutic touch, and Energy Healing: Looking in All the Wrong Places by Robert Todd Carroll.

reader comments

further reading

Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work by Barry L. Beyerstein

The Energy Fields of Life by Victor J. Stenger

Quantum Metaphysics by Victor J. Stenger

Bioenergetic Fields by Victor J. Stenger

Museum of Questionable Medical Devices 

Quackwatch : A Skeptical Look at VoiceBio

Last updated 21-Jan-2014

© Copyright 1994-2014 Robert T. Carroll * This page was designed by Cristian Popa.