Review of Audio Acupuncture™Research
It seems most useful to do this review of the research on the Audio Acupuncture™Vibrational Energy Tapes by taking two perspectives: first, as someone who knows the tapes fairly well, having used them regularly since August, 2003; and, second, as someone who is, herself, a researcher, but who will take the position of the uninitiated, previously uninformed reader of the web-based report on which the information about the research can be found.
Both positions are not mutually exclusive - in fact, the first informs the second by highlighting the advantage an informed reader would have vs. the previously uninformed reader. I've chosen this stance because this research and the work of the Foundation with the Audio Acupuncture™Vibrational Energy Tapes is very important and will, I believe, have great benefit to many, many people. These tapes don't just heal what needs healing. They are also consciousness expanders; they help bring about emotional and psychological breakthroughs that even years of good counseling therapy don't always accomplish; and, they can help individuals get to a point where they know what it is to feel the positive, to experience what it is to be uplifted, so that from then on, there is a concrete comparison with what "can be" when there is a return to what "was" which, given where we are, still seems inevitable at this stage in our growth. How the work of the Foundation with these tapes is reported, is then, quite critical.
As the informed, initiated reader, I found the report informative and, of course, fascinating. However, I was able to "fill in the gaps" that are there. The gaps arise because of the limited narrative around the presentation of the data (both the collapsed and analyzed data, and the raw data). Since the report is easily accessible on the website, anyone who knows how to go onto the internet could, potentially, be a reader of the report - something worth keeping in mind.
As with any research project, presenting findings is best done with a number of audiences potentially in mind: e.g., the already-knowledgeable reader who is, him/herself a practitioner in the field of vibrational healing; first, the already-knowledgeable reader who, although not a practitioner, knows about "vibrational" medicine and may have used the tapes, and who doesn't therefore, required additional information about them; second, the less informed reader who knows something about non-traditional healing, is curious, but does not have knowledge about these particular vibrational tapes, the aura-energy photography and readings, and the Aurastar testing methods; third, the uninitiated, although knowledgeable and possibly expert reader who may be well-informed about other scientific practices - e.g., allopathic medicine, physics, etc., and wishes to learn something from this scientific study; and fourth, the uninitiated, non-expert reader who is curious and wants to know "what this stuff is all about." Depending on which audience(s) is/are the intended reader/s, the material is best presented accordingly and will, then, be regarded as informative or not - also accordingly.
Overall, the site is easy to navigate and thus, allows one to move back and forth between its sections. I do think that a narrative introduction in which the Foundation summarizes the results and interprets them for all the readers identified above, would be most useful and beneficial for the Foundation as well as readers. This particular gap can have an impact on how the results are received. Informed, initiated readers can, to a large extent, interpret the results themselves because they have experienced the tapes (in this case, Love to Heal and Good Chi) and can interpret what those lovely charts and numbers represent because they will have felt the shifts in energy and increases in the energy levels with each tape. Uninitiated readers, expert of not, will have a lot more trouble figuring that out on the basis of the tables presented. Granted, there is also a chart of the charkas provided. However, for those who don't know much of anything about this field of healing, it's quite laborious to go back and forth and make the connections. I think pre-empting this potential source of confusion and possible frustration will only help the Foundation disseminate its work to its best advantage.
The photographic galleries are an excellent inclusion because they make concrete what is in the tables and also provide compelling evidence that "something" has changed even within the quite short time period when the tapes are first played to the second playing of the tapes 45 minutes later.
What the Results as Presented Tell Us
In both the raw data tables and the grouped results graphs of the readings taken before, after, and 45 minutes later, it's clear even to the uninformed reader that what I'll call "energy levels" (vibrational rates) are elevated overall as well as with individual charkas, some more than others, with the most dramatic increases generally occurring after the initial playing of the tapes. It seems that the 45 minute later reading is more like a consolidation of the initial effects. The explanation that the initially very low readings (pre-tape) for the heart charkas of certain individuals may be due to their being smokers is likely though that would need to be confirmed, for in one instance I do know that at least one of these individuals has never touched a cigarette in her life.
Again, although the general indications are that "60" is the "perfect number" for the Aurastar reading of any charka and that above and below that number is an indication that either an issue needs to be worked on (a below 60 reading), or that there is some imbalance (an above 60 reading), the uninitiated reader may become overly concerned and fixated with the number itself unless there is some discussion of the relative value of these numbers. I find this culture to be very fixated on perfectability (the "perfect score") or the perfect aura, and so on. So, I'd suggest some contextual discussion is given - sensitive to growth and to understanding that this is not just another way of comparing oneself to some independent measure, or to others' 'scores.'
The graphs are great ways (especially the bar graphs) of collapsing the raw data and are a great way of visually presenting changes. I would suggest that they are titled each time so that one doesn't need to flip back to a preceding page to remember what each graph represents. Sometimes they are titled (.e.g., the Love to Heal graph and the Good Chi graph), although in graphs representing the combined sessions, the titles of the graphs have been omitted. I would also change the yellow line (eg, 45 minutes later line) to a different color - it's not that clearly visible). Finally, it would be helpful to indicate what the figures mean on the left-hand side of the frequency graphs (00-90) represent. For the uninitiated reader (and perhaps even for the initiated reader), these figures could mean % or leave them wondering. The more concrete the explanations and guides, the more comprehensible the effects.
Suggestions for Future Research
Any form of research, particularly that involving living beings, has its limits in being able to convey what "is." It can only be a means of representing effects. The richer the information and the more multi-faceted it is, the more accessible it is to those who are not "experts" in a given field. This research lends itself to the inclusion of self-report and or interview which can also be analyzed and categorized. Similarly, longitudinal results are always compelling, and building in a longitudinal component would increase the value of this research.
It's difficult to do double-bind studies in an ethical way; however, this research also needs some element of that in order to be convincing to those who are skeptical. For instance, some subjects could be given placebo tapes and others receive the energy tapes. For this to work, however, neither group should be allowed to know which of the tapes they are experiencing. Going into such a project would require deceiving participants in order to conduct the "true" double-bind study. Is this spiritually ethical? Do the ends justify the means? The only way in which one could ethically conduct this kind of research would be to inform all participants that some will receive a placebo and others will receive the authentic tapes. That already creates anticipation. However, participants could then participate, knowing that their participation is for the greater good.
In conclusion, it seems that a mixed methodology approach is more appropriate for this kind of research. The figures tell part of the story but not the whole story. For that, we need to find out from the participants what they actually felt at the time of experiencing the tapes and more important, what transformations occurred over time. Similarly, the Foundation should repeat the initial experiment with original participants, although it would also be important to request that no other energy tapes be used during the period of repeated experiments. It would also be important to know what other modalities participants are using prior to the first experiment and documenting that information as well as continued use of other modalities (e.g., meditation, Reiki, flower essences, etc) which also affect energy levels and work on energy blockages, etc). Despite all of these possibly influencing effects, the baseline data (what modalities are in use, whether regular or incidental) is necessary to determine whether they are significant influences or not over subsequent experiments with the same subjects.
Credentials and Experience of the Reviewer
It's important to note that I have had extensive experience as a user of the tapes over the past 14 months since I came to know Susan Young and her very significant work. It's also important to state that I've benefited enormously from them and have provided the Foundation with the notes that I've taken while using them. Having been an initially skeptical yet open-minded user of the tapes, has resulted in a desire to track changes and to understand and interpret the effects of the tapes. As well as my academic work, I have done a fair amount of continuous work in a variety of modalities in energy-based healing since 1996 when I began with the Bach Flower Essences (and others) and became a certified practitioner through the Nelson Bach Foundation. This was followed by becoming a second-degree Reiki practitioner. I have also done extensive reading and practicing of various thought-related energy practices and am convinced of the relationships between language/thought and reality. In addition, I have been working for the past 5 years with Kay Frain, healer and psychic who has been tremendously influential in teaching me to understand energy, and I am affiliated with the Ginger Rose Farm and Columbus Psychic Awareness Center. I have approached these and other practices dually - my analytic left-brain wants to know, to analyze and to interpret and explain; my right-brain wants to experience. I am an academic in a traditional field of inquiry (language and literacy in education) and, at the same time, I'm a believer and practitioner of mind-body-spirit practices which form the cornerstone of my spirituality.