Radiesthesia and Reiki

In the written literature, as well as online, we can find two terms that apply to the phenomenom of the location of substances, objects or people through the use of pendulums or dowsing rods. The old term is dowsing and the modern one is radiesthesia (or radioaestethics). Are they the same thing or do they refer to different concepts?

History and Etymology

Angle rodsThe origins of radiesthesia have been dated to the ancient Egyptians and Chinese, as a mystical art, as early as 7000 years ago. The term dowsing and the practical aspects of this concept were mentioned in Europe since the 15th century, as I already explained in my previous article Dowsing Basics.

In 1930 the term radiesthésie was first used by Abbé (priest) Alex Bouly in France, replacing the old terms rhabdomancie or sourcellerie. From there, the term radiesthesia was lent to English in the 1930s, where it was used in parallel with the older word dowsing.

L’ Association des Amis de la Radiesthesie was established in 1930 and the British Society of Dowsers was founded in 1933.

Dr. Solcol W. Tromp wrote about this phenomenon in his book Psychical Physics, a 534-page book published in 1949. This reference has a bibliography of over 700 titles relating to dowsing and radiesthesia.

Gerald Gardner, in his book Witchcraft Today, 1954, refers to his own anecdotal experiences with radiesthesia as evidence supporting the existence of "witch power".

These days, there are many periodicals, publications, books, societies, and even more numerous websites dedicated to radiesthesia.


Thot pendulumThe English word radiesthesia is a compound of the prefix radi(o), referring to “radiation”, which comes from the Latin radius – “ray, beam” (which in turn evolved from the ancient Greek ardio – “sharp point”), and the rare term aesthesia meaning "perception by the senses, capacity for feeling or sensation", which comes from the ancient Greek aisthēsis – "perception". In some documents we can find a variation of the same word – radioaesthetics.

Radiesthesia is the paranormal or parapsychological ability to detect radiation within the human body. The theory is based on the assumption that each animated or inanimate material emits a unique subtle radiation that characterizes it. Such intangible energies surrounding the living body are often termed an "aura".

Man is the finest measurement instrument.                    

     Johann Wolfgag von Goethe

These radiations can be measured by subjective methods using, radiesthetic (or radioaesthetic) instruments such as pendulums, rods or single-handed rods. Radiesthesia makes specific use of a man’s intuitive capabilities. By means of his reaction, the radiesthetic instrument makes it possible to amplify and to display the information, which is to be found by means of a specific line of inquiry.


Spring rodToday, there are two main streams in radiesthesia: physical radiesthesia and mental radiesthesia.

Followers of the physical theory define radiesthesia as a phenomenon that can be explained by reference to the laws of physics. They believe that everything encountered in Nature, without exception, is a vibration (i.e.: radiesthesia can be regarded as detecting this vibration (by analogy with a radio receiver), but it is the instrument used by the diviner (the rod or pendulum) and not the diviner himself who succeeds in capturing the vibration. The mental attitude of the diviner plays no part.

By contrast, mental radiesthesia bases its explanation of this phenomenon on psychic data. This theory gives a central position to the capabilities of the mind, and particularly intuition. According to the mental theory, radiesthesia is covered by the “sixth sense”. The practitioner of radiesthesia makes contact with the target object by means of his subconscious. Next, his mind simultaneously follows a conscious and an unconscious procedure that makes it possible for him to find the targeted object. By contrast with the physical theory, the mental theory places the operator in the central position.

I believe that there is truth in both theories. As I mentioned in the article The Energetic Principles of the Universe, we are composed of different levels of energy, the coarsest one being perceived as matter, and the finest one that we usually call Creator. There is no such thing as separation in the energy world. We constantly interact with everything else in the Universe at the finest levels of energy. We usually call these Higher Self to distinguish them from our Lower Self composed of physical, emotional, and mental forms of energy. This interaction allows us to access any type of information. The only thing we need is a higher sensitivity to these types of energies. Some people call this sensitivity, paranormal powers, extended senses, Extra Sensorial Perception (ESP) or Higher Sensitivity Perception (HSP).

So, the first theory is right about the ability of the instrument to detect vibrations in the targeted object, but this detection is done through the measurement of the interference between the energy (vibration) of that object and the practitioner’s energetic body. From this perspective, the radiesthetic instrument is a detector and an amplifier. But the instrument would have nothing to detect without the presence and the quality of the practitioner’s energetic body.

Some theories in the same category reffer to the resonance between the vibration of the targeted object and the practitioner’s energy or intention. This is almost the same thing as detecting interference, since resonance is a specific type of interference, when the two interfering energies are in sync.

The second theory is right about the central role of the practitioner in the radiesthetic process. But, instead of talking in terms of energy and interference, it talks about the sixth sense and the subconscious mind. This is only a way to say that the practitioner is able to filter down other energy vibrations and look up for the interference with a specific energy generated by the targeted object.

To better understand the process, imagine that we are a radio receptor and we constantly receive a multitude of signals, with different magnitude, on different frequencies. In order to be able to listen to a certain radio station, we will have to filter down all the other signals. The same thing happens when we have to connect to our Higher Self, for dowsing or any other reason: we have to filter down the energies corresponding to our physical emotional, and mental levels, which are much stronger than the energies we are interested in sensing. In order to filter only the signals or energies we want to perceive, we have to reach this complete detachment, or enter a meditative state of mind. In this state it is easy to connect to our Higher Self levels of energy and access the answer to our question. This is the same thing like saying that, in this state of mind, our subconscious mind connects with the Universal Consciousness and can access any information.

We can look at this process from two different perspectives: energetic and informational. From energetic point of view, radiesthesy is a process of detection of the interference between the energy field of the target and the practitioner’s. From informational point of view, radiesthesy is a process in which the practitioner, at subconscious level, is accessing information available in the Universal Consciousness, by entering a special state of mind. Both points of view are valid!

In a similar way, there are theories that treat light as waves, and theories that treat light as particles (photons). Both of them are useful in the study of the different properties of the light.

Dowsing may be explained as the interaction of subtle energies and information perceived by one’s extended senses with the focused rational mind, through the use of a device, tool and or learned response.

Fields of application

Angle rodsRadiesthesia is traditionally associated with the location of water sources and precious minerals.

In modern times there are different areas of interest for the practitioners of radiesthesia:

  • locate underground water, oil, minerals
  • find lost articles, missing persons
  • locate archaeological sites, tombs
  • locate geopathic interference zones and harmful geological radiations
  • pick the best location for a house or for an important building
  • choose the most suitable soil for plants
  • test foods for purity, quality, and nutritional value
  • test homeopathic or allopathic medicines, or natural supplements for compatibility in medicinal radiesthesia
  • measure the bio-energetic field and charka function of a person in Reiki and other energy healing modalities
  • detect the cause or the area of illness in some alternative and holistic health therapies
  • determine compatibility for companies and partnerships
  • find items remotely, or by using a map

This list is not limiting. We can use the radiesthetic process in almost any decision that is based on unknown factors.

Believers and Skeptics

Spheric pendulumAlthough there are many unexplained accounts of the successful use of radiesthesia, or dowsing, the practice is still the target of much ridicule and even contempt from some areas of the allopathic medical profession.

Believers and detractors both cite empirical evidence proving and disproving the credibility of radiesthesia, usually reaching conclusions in line with their own philosophical preconceptions.

There is considerable literature on the subject of radiesthesia and much of it endorses the reliability of the phenomena.

However, it should be noted that no well-controlled test has confirmed the effectiveness of radiesthesia. More than this, some scientific tests by establishment figures claim to disprove the effectiveness of radiesthesia, although the scientific method itself usually negates the effects of subjectively based phenomena.

Einstein, however, was convinced of the authenticity of dowsing.

I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as they do astrology, as a type of ancient superstition. According to my conviction this is unjustified. The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the uncanny reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors unknown to us at this time.

     Albert Einstein

Due to the skepticism of the medical and scientific personnel, radiesthesia is officially considered a pseudo-science and remains associated with the metaphysical arts.


American Society of Dowsers
British Society of Dowsers
Canadian Society of Dowsers
Canadian Society of Questers
Dowsers Society of New South Wales – Australia
International Society of Dowsers
L’Association des Sourciers, Géobiologistes et Radiesthésistes du Québec


Spring rodLet’s begin by saying that radiesthesia is the present day term for the ancient art of dowsing. We can also notice that dowsing refers more to the practical aspect of the phenomenon, while radiesthesia refers to the energetic aspect of the same phenomenon.

Although dowsing and radiesthesia have become virtually identical terms, dowsing has been associated mostly with discovering hidden water, metals, and minerals using rods or dowsing sticks, while radiesthesia has been associated more often with finding missing persons, determine medical diagnosis, and prescribing treatments using a pendulum.

All societies for dowsers encourage people to learn more about the science and to participate in all of its areas. Anybody can try it, but this does not mean that everybody would be equally successful. After a little practice, anybody will be able to perform interference zone measurements, or food compatibility measurements. The most difficult part for most beginners is to enter and maintain that state of mind of complete relaxation and focus on the target at the same time.

Since radiesthesia is considered an art, it is an acquired art more than a discipline that can be learned. However, there are Radiesthesia and Radionics Institutes that offer various courses and workshops.

We can use this technique in any healing art, like Reiki, for two main resons: to detect the cause or the area of the health problem, or to help solving that problem. But more about this in in a future article…

Related article:
Dowsing Basics

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