Energy healing is an umbrella term for holistic methods of healing that work with the body's subtle energy system, our thoughts, and our emotions. We feel at our best when we are emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually in sync. The goal of energy healing is to move toward feeling our best.
We have all woken up feeling energized and ready to take on the day, and we have all woken up and felt that sense of dread or unease. Often, we push the dread or uneasy feelings aside and trudge through our day. More and more people are feeling the impact from both of these scenarios and find life feels steady and more effortless when “energized”. They want more days feeling this kind of invigoration and find that energy healing is the answer. Getting to a state of feeling energized is where the word energy healing or energy work is based.
Some people come to energy healing as a last effort to feel better mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or physically. They may have exhausted traditional therapies and hope alternative methods can provide the healing they so desperately desire. While others are simply interested in a more holistic approach to their healthcare. Whichever reason someone has come to energy healing, most have found it to be beneficial.
There are many misunderstandings and misgivings about energy healing or energy work as some call it. Hopefully, these seven truths can help you better understand the definitions, intentions, and efficacy of energy healing and guide you if you are choosing to begin a healing journey using alternative methods.
1. There can be reasons to question or be cautious about energy healing
Some of the troubles I came across at the beginning of my journey into the energy healing world are the vocabulary and the character of some “healers”. Energy healing was a whole new world, and it took a lot of patience and being true to myself to navigate it. For example, I would hear one teacher describe moving into the light and connecting to light and another telling me to explore my dark side. As a newcomer, I had my own definitions of light and dark and was confused when someone I respected encouraged me to explore the darkness - something that sounded like the occult to me.
First and foremost, I had to get clear within myself and have the courage to move within my own compass. I had to get clear on what I was shying away from out of fear of growing and what things were not for my highest good. This journey is helpful with all new experiences.
I had to ask questions about other's definitions of things like, "what do you mean by “darkness”. Asking questions helped me relate to their answers with my own words and concepts. Exploring my dark side was more about not shutting down when discomfort arises and instead to get curious about my thoughts and feelings, and examining the parts of me I somehow believed I needed to hide. I realized they were using the word darkness where I would use the word unconscious.
I also found that some practitioners were more interested in admiration and sensation than they were interested in helping me heal. Some seemed to repackage and sell information with the intent to get gain. I had to, again, listen to my inner compass and be brave enough to follow my own inner knowing. There were times, sadly, that I had to distance myself from people. They are not bad people, and maybe they are someone else’s answer, but they were not my answer and that is always valid and a good enough reason to stay away.
2. The idea of energy healing has been around for several millennia.
Around the turn of the century in the United States, western medicine became the accepted and traditional avenue of healing. As with most of history, the story of “accepting” has a lot of complexities - some might say controversies. Many places in the world did not have these complexities and they have used methods of energy healing for a lot of their history.
Reiki is the Japanese tradition of energy healing that dates back to the 19th century but is founded on ancient principles. The word Reiki is made from two Japanese words called- 'Rei' meaning "God’s wisdom" and Ki meaning “energy”. When the United States was rebuilding Japan after World War 2, these kinds of practices were banned for their unconventionality. We looked through our own lens of healing and didn’t take the time to get curious about theirs. However, today Reiki is offered as a healing method in many US hospitals, and nurses getting trained in Reiki is encouraged by the ANA.
The chakra system, or the energy centers of the body, was first described in ancient Hindu texts for healing. Meridians, the energy highways of the body were first mentioned and recorded in documents dating a few hundred years before the Common Era. Chinese medicine used acupuncture as early as 6000 BCE. The Native Americans understood the energy that lies within all of us, the earth, and other animals. They washed and anointed themselves and all living things with oils, smoke, rhythm and dance, and hands-on touch for healing and spiritual practice.
3. Healing comes from within.
Perhaps the most misunderstood concept of energy healing is the idea that the healer magically or supernaturally causes healing. Much like a doctor sets a broken bone and applies a cast but the body does the actual healing, energy healing is done the same way. A practitioner balances the energy systems and may walk a client through a process, but the healing happens inside the client. A practitioner creates a space for healing to happen much like the doctor sets the bone.
4. Energy healing has been scientifically tested.
The subtle energy system of the body can be measured. One way to understand this is an electrocardiogram (EKG) which measures the energy field of the heart or an electroencephalogram (EEG) that measures the energy field of the brain. The health of the organ is measured and affected by these fields. Essential oils and crystals use the principle of entrainment to bring the body into sync with the energy fields of the oil and/or crystal. Many hospitals have begun offering these services to their patients.
The ACE score is a valuable tool doctors can use to predict and understand health calamities such as heart disease, cancer, depression, anxiety, and all types of auto-immune diseases. Medicine can help manage and even cure these health concerns but the principles behind energy healing can help prevent them and, in some cases, cure them as well. The doctor doesn’t prescribe a medication for stress but suggests methods to calm the stress. These methods are very much part of an energy healing session.
Studies have confirmed that Reiki, for example, demonstrated more effectiveness than a placebo in activating the parasympathetic nervous system to heal the body and mind. When breathing is rhythmic, the heartbeat is regular, and the mind is not racing or shut down the nervous system is calm and regulated. This is the state where healing happens. Calm regulation is a key part of an energy healing session.
Psychology has also adopted the idea of subtle energy and the ability to use that system for healing or calming emotional upset. EMDR and Neurofeedback are modalities used by mental health workers that use energy healing methods and concepts.
5. The meaning of the word “healing”
noun: the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.
Adjective: tending to heal; therapeutic.
The word healing is often used to define a destination when in actuality it is the journey. Healing is the process of becoming healed. Going to an energy healing session is meant to start us on the path to healing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and this can result in physical healing. Like mentioned before, when we feel energetic, we experience an overall sense of health and wellbeing.
There are instances where people claim an instant cure to their physical ailments but most of the results clients feel from an energy session are an emotional, mental, and/or spiritual healing. But, just like there can be miraculous healing within western medical treatments, it would make sense that miraculous healing can happen within alternative treatments as well.
6. There are a lot of energy healing modalities to choose from.
There are many types of energy healers and modalities You can find them easily online or by asking friends. When you're looking for an energy healer and a modality, remember that you have a right to follow your own instincts and ask questions before making an appointment for a session. Your right one is the right one.
There are many kinds of energy healing. Each one uses different tools, techniques, and intentions. Here are just a few. Some may surprise you:
Acupuncture: Acupuncture uses small needles to stimulate the flow of energy in the body. In the US many insurances pay for acupuncture services.
Reflexology: This modality, similar to the intention of acupuncture, frees up blocked energy and promotes healing by stimulating pressure points on the feet, hands, and ears.
Tapping: Tapping on certain meridian points combined with releasing negative thoughts and beliefs can create new, supportive neural pathways in the brain.
Yoga: A combination of physical and mental exercises that have been used for thousands of years. Its postures and breath can be both relaxing and rejuvenating.
Touch modalities: There are many types of touch therapies such as Reiki, Restorative Touch, Body Talk, Healing Touch, or Therapeutic Touch as a few examples. Touch is connecting and creates a sense of safety as well as aligns the energy centers.
Visualization modalities: Moving back into the sights and sounds of childhood we can understand the root of our issues and with imagery, we can begin to reframe the difficulties we might have faced as a child.
7. You can be your own energy healer.
At the beginning of the 20th century, medicine was just beginning to understand the germ theory after a sixty-year debate. People and even many doctors were unwilling to believe in something they couldn’t see. The simple act of washing hands for surgery was controversial at one time. We are repeating history once again with energy healing. Having a place of equilibrium within our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical bodies has a direct impact on our health but the effects are mostly unseen. Brushing teeth and showering were not always part of an everyday routine, but now they have become a necessary part of our day. Soon we will look at energy healing in the same way.
Meditation is a simple form of energy healing you can do on your own. Being mindful of the thoughts, emotions, and sensations you are experiencing is energy healing. Getting to the root of negative or depleting thoughts and emotions so the energy or effect is released and no longer manipulates your decisions is energy healing. Healing with essential oils uses the same principles as energy healing. Lighting a scented candle changes the feel of a space. That changing of the space is the idea behind energy healing. We are more involved with energy healing than we think.