When we talk about energy, we are really referring to two kinds of energy fields: veritable energy fields, which can be measured, and putative energy fields, which cannot be measured with our current technology. Veritable energy fields include things like vibrational energy (sound), and electromagnetic forces such as visible light, magnetism and monochromatic radiation (lasers).
There are many well established uses of measurable energy fields in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Some of these include: magnetic resonance imaging, laser eye correction surgery, cardiac pacemakers, radiation therapy and UV light therapies for psoriasis and seasonal affective disorder. There are also a few less researched therapies that use this type of energy. Magnetic therapy involves the use of magnets, which are placed on the body to relieve pain. Sound energy therapy (also sometimes known as vibrational therapy) involves using tuning forks to create certain healing sound frequencies that resonate with the body to promote healing. Music therapy is another type of sound energy therapy: listening to music has been shown to lower blood pressure and to reduce pain and anxiety.
Most frequently, the term energy medicine refers to techniques that involve the putative energy fields. Although it has not yet been able to be measured by conventional methods, therapists who work with this type of energy claim that they can see it with their own eyes or that they can sense it with their hands or bodies. The field of energy medicine involving putative energy fields is based on the fundamental premise that all physical objects (bodies) and psychological processes (thoughts, emotions, beliefs and attitudes) are expressions of energy. Therefore, all bodies are believed to be infused with a "subtle" energy or life force. This life force is known by a variety of terms corresponding to different traditions. In traditional Chinese medicine it is called qi (pronounced CHEE), in the Judeo-Christian tradition it is called spirit, and in Ayurvedic medicine it is represented in the doshas.
Acupuncture and acupressure