Inter-Rater Agreement of Biofield Tuning: Testing a Novel Health Assessment Procedure

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Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

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Objectives: Practitioners of Biofield Tuning assess health status of their clients by detecting off-the-body biofield perturbations using tuning fork (TF) vibrations. This study tested inter-rater agreement (IRA) on location of these perturbations.

Design: Three Biofield Tuning practitioners, in randomized order, identified locations of the 4–5 “strongest” perturbations along each of 4 sites for the same series of 10 research subjects.

Setting/Location: An Integrative Health and Medicine Center in La Jolla, CA.

Subjects: Adult volunteers with no serious current illness and no prior experience of a Biofield Tuning session.

Interventions: Practitioners used an activated 174 Hz unweighted TF to “comb” the same four sites per subject, located on the left and right sides of the base of the spine and the heart.

Outcome Measures: Practitioners identified and vocalized the distance from the body of perturbations along each site. Distances were recorded by a research assistant in the clinic room. No health information related to perturbation sites was discussed with the subjects.

Results: Practitioners reported 6.3 ± 0.6 (mean ± standard deviation) perturbations per combed site per subject, with no significant difference among the raters. The overall level of IRA was low based initially on a first-pass, nonstatistical, analysis of results, with “agreement” defined within a tolerance of ±2 inches. In this approach agreement was 33%. More rigorous statistical analysis, including a statistical test using a Monte Carlo approach, strongly supported the conclusion of poor IRA.

Conclusions: IRA was low despite attempts to balance the real-world practice of Biofield Tuning with the constraints of research. For example, while IRA necessitates multiple assessments of the same subject, no information exists as to whether an initial assessment may affect subsequent assessments. Our study exemplifies the challenges faced when attempting to fit interventions with incompletely understood procedures and mechanisms into conventional research designs.


Copyright 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers



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