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Biofield Physiology: A Framework for an Emerging Discipline
Biofield physiology is proposed as an overarching descriptor for the electromagnetic, biophotonic, and other types of spatially-distributed fields that living systems generate and respond to as integral aspects of cellular, tissue, and whole organism self-regulation and organization. Medical physiology, cell biology, and biophysics provide the framework within which evidence for biofields, their proposed receptors, and functions is presented. As such, biofields can be viewed as affecting physiological regulatory systems in a manner that complements the more familiar molecularbased mechanisms. Examples of clinically relevant biofields are the electrical and magnetic fields generated by arrays of heart cells and neurons that are detected, respectively, as electrocardiograms (ECGs) or magnetocardiograms (MCGs) and electroencephalograms (EEGs) or magnetoencephalograms (MEGs). At a basic physiology level, electromagnetic activity of neural assemblies appears to modulate neuronal synchronization and circadian rhythmicity. Numerous nonneural electrical fields have been detected and analyzed, including those arising from patterns of resting membrane potentials that guide development and regeneration, and from slowly-varying transepithelial direct current fields that initiate cellular responses to tissue damage. Another biofield phenomenon is the coherent, ultraweak photon emissions (UPE), detected from cell cultures and from the body surface. A physiological role for biophotons is consistent with observations that fluctuations in UPE correlate with cerebral blood flow, cerebral energy metabolism, and EEG activity. Biofield receptors are reviewed in 3 categories: molecular-level receptors, charge flux sites, and endogenously generated electric or electromagnetic fields. In summary, sufficient evidence has accrued to consider biofield physiology as a viable scientific discipline. Directions for future research are proposed.