For many, the idea of “energy healing” sounds foreign… and, quite honestly, hard to believe. How are we supposed to trust it if we can’t see it with our own eyes? How do we know this so-called “energy” is even real?
What is energy healing and how does it work?
We all contain within us an energetic body, which is recognized even in modern medicine. Some may claim that because we can’t see it with the human eye, our energy body doesn’t exist.
However, when answering the question of “What is energy healing?”, the “energy” we speak of is measurable within the body and has been well researched by allopathic medicine in recent years. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
In the yogic tradition, it is believed that our bodies also contain subtle energetic anatomy, which contains a series of seven “chakras.” Beginning from the base of the spine and traveling up to the crown of the head, they represent the center of the body in which wheels of energy run through. Each chakra corresponds to physical, mental, and emotional attributes and is represented by particular traits.
For example, the root chakra, or the Muladhara, is located at the base of the spine and represents feelings of survival, groundedness, and our connection to the material world. When we are balanced in this chakra, we feel rooted and secure. When out of balance we may experience feelings of insecurity or turn to emotional eating for comfort.
We then have the sacral chakra or the Svadhisthana located in the lower abdomen, which deals with sensuality and creativity.
The solar plexus chakra or Manipura represents our will and power.
The heart chakra or Anahata represents our ability to love and practice compassion.
The throat chakra, or the vishuddah, denotes our ability to communicate.
Our third eye chakra, otherwise known as the Ajna, represents our intuition and perception.
Finally, the crown chakra, Sahaswara, at the top of the head, is connected to our spiritual consciousness.
So what then is energy healing? What is it and how does it work?
Energy healing seeks to restore balance in the body by activating the subtle energy body. Most, if not all of us, experience some form of physical pain in response to emotional stress and anxiety. We store trauma and traumatic experiences in the body and energy healing assists in releasing these blockages so that the body can heal itself and return to a state of balance and vitality.
As new-age as it may sound, energy healing has been around for hundreds and even thousands of years, and there are various therapeutic modalities. It’s an increasingly growing industry that many are turning to in search of a more holistic approach to healing. Even hospitals are using it as a form of alternative healing in conjunction with standard medical treatment.
Let’s take a look at a few healing modalities and uncover the answer to “What is energy healing?” and how they might be useful in your own wellness journey.
Reiki is a modality of energy therapy where a practitioner transfers healing energy into another’s body. It is believed that this transfer can restore the body’s energetic balance and vitality while removing energetic stagnation. Reiki channels “ki,” the same universal energy that is used in practices like tai chi and qi gong that is referred to as “qi.” In the yogic tradition, this energy is called “prana.” When exploring the question “ What is energy healing?”, it’s important to note that even if the name varies across different cultures they all represent an energetic lifeforce in the body. Reiki can also be done from a distance, where the practitioner will send Reiki energy to a patient that may be hundreds of miles away.
One of the oldest energy medicines in existence, it wouldn’t be right to ask “What is energy healing?” without discussing acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used to treat a myriad of symptoms and health issues for thousands of years ranging from muscle spasms to hormonal issues. Thin needles are penetrated into the body to break up energetic blocks using the body’s meridian pathways, the energy channels that run through the body and correlate to the body’s organs. Over 300 different meridian points are located in the body and are used in both acupuncture and acupressure to release any stuck energy in the body and to maintain proper qi flow. While little scientific research exists to support information surrounding these meridian points, acupuncture has been used since around 100 B.C. and is widely regarded as a powerful alternative healing modality that is often used in tangent with traditional treatments.
3. Healing Touch
Developed by a registered nurse, healing touch is an energy medicine where a practitioner uses their hands to transfer healing energy by hovering over or lightly touching the body. This modality can be found in many hospitals around the U.S. and is used along with traditional medical treatment for illness and the emotional stress that often accompanies illness. According to the Healing Touch Program website, practitioners use their hands in a “heart-centered and intentional” way to restore balance in the energetic body.
4. Qi Gong and Tai Chi
These martial art practices combine gentle movements with intentional breathing to increase self-awareness and enhance overall immunity. The fluid-like motions build flexibility and stamina, while also improving joint function. It’s low impact so even people who have injuries or physical limitations can practice. Combined with a calm meditative breath, these two ancient Chinese techniques aim at cultivating “qi” in the body.
The regenerative motions develop energy within the hands, allowing the healing life force energy to come from within. It can also help with balance and physical strength. Even Harvard Medical School supports its benefits and has done extensive research on these modalities.
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