Radiesthesia is dowsing by rods and pendulums in order to locate buried substances, diagnose illnesses, and the like.


Derived from the Latin radius ('spoke') and Greek aisthesia ('sensing')


The concept of radiesthesia was known to the ancient Egyptians and Chinese; their artwork bears witness to this fact. Some estimate that dowsing may date as far back as 7,000 years.

The British Society of Dowsers was formed in the 1930s. The art was given the name radiesthesia by French priest Alex Bouly, derived from the Latin words radiation and perception. However, to many people it is still called dowsing. Modern practitioners of radiesthesia claim that their art uses a “sense” that was once commonly acknowledged, but that has been lost with time. Radionics is the process of dowsing using specially designed electrical equipment


The oldest known document about radioaesthetics is a Chinese engraving from the year 147 BC. It shows the Emperor Yu (Hia dynasty, 2200 BC) holding in his hand an instrument shaped like a tuning fork.
In 1930, the term “radiesthesie” was coined by Abbe Bouly in France where the rod gave place to the small pendulum used as an indicator. L' Association de Amis de la Radiesthesie was established in 1930 and the British Society of Dowsers were founded in 1933.


The indicator, either the rod or pendulum, amplifies the person's sensitivity, and its operation and indications are essential. The reason for the replacement of the rod with small pendulums is that in many incidences they are easier to work with, especially in medical diagnosis. Usually pendulums are small balls attached to a thin string attached to the end of a stick. The string should be nonwoven preferably nylon so to register any extraneous movements of the bob.

The pendulum is held over the area in which the object is thought to be located. Then the observation of the action of the string and bob is crucial. The bob may be raised or lowered to assist in its observation by winding the string around the stick, or vice verse. Usually it gyrates or oscillates in a clockwise or anticlockwise movement.

In medical diagnosis the pendulum is first placed over the healthy portion of the body, then over an unhealthy portion. The difference of the movement of the pendulum is noted between the two areas.

The pendulum may also be used in a different manner; in a sequence where “Yes” and “No” answers are applicable. When the answer is Yes, the pendulum will rotate clockwise; when the answer is No it will rotate anticlockwise.

As with dowsing, there is also the phenomena of teleradiesthesia or superpendulism. This is the phenomena where the sensitive person does not go to the actual location of the sought after object, but a map of the location is brought to him. After placing the pendulum on the map he can tell the inquirer the information he wants to know.