Double-blind, placebo-controlled experimental orgone-acupuncture study (72 subjects)
This experiment formed part of my MSc dissertation (University of Wales 2002) and was reported in an extended article in the European Journal of Oriental Medicine.
In the study a box-shaped orgone accumulating device was used. This accumulator had been specially developed for use with acupuncture needles. Internally, the device has a wire umbrella with which to collect the orgone energy. The umbrella then connects externally to a wire that attaches to an inserted acupuncture needle.
In the experiment the effects of the orgone-acupuncture box were compared to a placebo box. The placebo was identical in appearance and weight. Volunteers were drawn, in roughly equal proportions, from three populations (teachers, laboratory staff and massage therapists) and were selected at random. Allocation to orgone or Placebo group was also randomised via a computer programme.
There were three main researchers involved in conducting the study - the acupuncturist and two assistants. The assistants dealt with volunteer assigning, randomisation and appointments. Contact time between the researchers and subjects was kept to a minimum via written information sheets. Each of the 72 subjects had one application of a needle. A statistical analysis of the comparative groups (orgone and placebo) and subgroup statistical analyses were conducted using the Minitab Version 12 computer programme.
To minimise problems of subtle influence, the double-blind study method was used.
Double blind, placebo-controlled, experimental study using the independent subjects design
(N = 72, Females - 54, Males - 18, Average Age - 44).
Will introducing the possible orgone energy into an acupuncture point have an effect?
The orgone device will not result in an increase in acupuncture sensation.
In the experimental procedure, the randomly selected healthy subjects were randomly allocated to either the orgone or placebo group via a computerised randomisation programme. The subject had LI 4 he gu (L) needled and de-qi was obtained. The needle was then attached for ten minutes to either the orgone or placebo box according to standard double-blind procedures (neither researchers nor subjects knew which procedure was being carried out). The procedure time was very short but this decision was taken in order to maximise the number of subjects able to participate.
After the procedure the subject completed a response form. There were two main measurements used.
A) 10cm Visual Analogue Scale. The ends of this scale were marked 'No Sensation' and 'Strong Sensation'. Subjects marked level of sensation. This gave a Sensation Intensity score.
B) Body Diagram. Subjects circled body areas affected by sensation. This gave a Sensation Area score.
The Null hypothesis was rejected by the Sensation Area score which was significantly higher statistically in the orgone group (P < 0. 03). In plain English this means the study indicated that a real effect was taking place upon the acupuncture process due to the orgone equipment.
The cormparative analysis (orgone versus placebo groups) revealed that although there was an increase in the average scores of the orgone group, the Sensation Intensity score alone did not cause a rejection of the Null hypothesis (P<0. 17). This could be due to the size of the study or other factors as the mean average scores were higher in the orgone group and were consistent with other significant findings. With present knowledge, much stronger orgone apparatus and more sensitive populations (younger, female, more active/physical) could easily be selected in order in increase the sensitivity of a study still further. Still the study achieved statistical significance despite the shortcomings of my knowledge base at the time.
Sub-group statistical analysis according to age, occupation and gender also revealed that significant changes occurred in the orgone group that were absent from the placebo group. Younger people and certain occupational groups were more sensitive to the orgone device but not to the placebo device. For example, the orgone group scores vary significantly according to age (P < 0.001) and according to occupation (P < 0.004). This further supports the conclusion that the orgone-acupuncture device is having a real effect. Other statistical analyses and a separate subject's verbal description showed significant increases.
The MSc dissertation suggested the existence of parallels between TCM and Reichian theory. Parallels were posited in terms of common significance ascribed to certain shapes, colours, movements and functions. Certain differences, particularly regarding the root of energetic stagnation and the existence of a pleasure-pain concept have also been forwarded.
The dissertation examined whether parallels might also extend to the practical applications of the two theories. The experimental study suggested an objective effect on the acupuncture process by orgone energy interventions with a significant Confidence Level of P < 0. 03. The author considers that with the knowledge gained over recent years of more sensitive populations, improvements in acupuncture accumulator design, and more exact measurement methods, higher Confidence Levels could be achieved.
The existence of theoretical parallels and a relationship between the practical interventions of Chinese and Reichian medicine raises certain issues.
Are qi and orgone the same energy?
Could qi or orgone have a scientific reality?
What effects could possible parallels have on Chinese or Reichian medicine?
The dissertation explored the above questions to an extent. In-depth discussion of these issues is also beyond our scope here. Suffice to note that in relation to the question of scientific evidence (for qi or orgone), there are possible problems with the dismissal of the related concept of aether (meaning universal background energy) within modern science. Michelson and Morley are generally credited with thoroughly disproving the concept of 'aether' in 1887 and paving the way for the 'empty space' theories of Relativity physics and Quantum mechanics. However, the scientist Demeo (2002), in an extended re-appraisal study has highlighted the possibly insubstantial foundation of the Michelson and Morley claim. Demeo has also brought to attention the extensive and highly controlled light refraction work of Michelson's student, Miller (1933) which does support the concept of a dynamic, earth-entrained aether. For a full discussion of the scientific evidence for the existence of aether please consult the work of Demeo (2002 b).
The work of scientists such as Demeo (1996) Gebauer and Muschenich (1987) and Miller (1933) amongst others, whose findings support the TCM and Reichian views on universal biological energy are contrasted with more conventional scientific views in the dissertation. An appendix detailing scientists whose work supports TCM and Reichian views is listed here or alternatively consult the work of Demeo (1989 a).
To conclude, there is now some evidence for asserting that qi and orgone are in fact the same energy (Senf, 1989; Inza 2001; Southgate 2002).
At the end of the references section (or see left hand menu) there is a list of links/articles on reappraising aether and on bions/spontaneous generation. None of these issues are in a way settled if the truth would be known.
The most current orgone-acupuncture device is a double box shape. The top box is a 6 ply orgone accumulating device. This has twice the layers used in the experimental study and is one third larger. It has an internal metal umbrella that collects the orgone and connects via external leads to pads or needles on an acupuncture point. The bottom orgone removal, or Dor-buster box, contains moving water and a metal fan that is partly submerged. (As mentioned previously, Dor is Reich's term for negative or stagnant orgone.) This box also connects via external leads to pads or needles. The lower box allows orgone energy to be removed from the acupuncture point. A pleasant cooling sensation is usually felt when the lower box device is connected to needles. The principle behind the lower Dor-buster box is that water has the greatest affinity for orgone and therefore creates a potential movement of orgone away from the body toward the water device. The lower acupuncture Dor-buster box was not included in the author's study.
For more information on our current work with the devices see my joint site with Kevin Gleave who co-developed the devices with me.
Other Current orgone and Acupuncture Research
Nearly two decades of practical orgone-acupuncture work and extensive bio-electrical studies have been conducted by Dr Inza (Inza, 2001) in Argentina. See also here or left hand menu for synopsis English article on Dr inza's work.
Dr Inza measures the bio-electrical readings of 31 key acupuncture points to assess the relative energetic qualities within each of the seven Reichian body rings (from the ocular to the pelvic). These are the segmental body areas in which Reich thought the Armouring manifests itself. Inza also uses a TCM diagnosis. Eventually a clinical picture of excess or deficiency of biological energy in each of the seven Reichian body rings or segments is ascertained. Acupuncture combined with orgone energising tubes and orgone withdrawal tubes (Medical Dor-busters), are used to correct the imbalances. Inza has found that Ren 6 qi hai is the most effective point for orgone energising (I would like to add that I have found this the strongest point for energising too - in fact so strong one has to be careful not to overcharge the Heart energy - the Ren channel flows upwards connecting to the Heart meridian). The treatment method used by Dr Inza differs to the methods used by myself and Kevin Gleave but are essentially the same process of orgone tonification and DOR-busting directed toward acupuncture points.
The South Korean researchers, Kong and Kim (2002), have confirmed the little-known North Korean scholar, Bong Han Kim's discovery that there are physical anatomical pathways for the meridian system (Bongham Duct System). These pathways contain a fluid (Sanal Fluid) which itself contains Bion-like vesicles - bions being the miniature proto-cells which led Reich to discover orgone.