12 Mar Energy Medicine: New Age Dogma or a Solid Science
Why do we care about the science behind energy medicine? Many of us have experienced the therapeutic value of massage and acupuncture, or even non-touch and less conventional forms of energy medicine such as sound healing, Reiki, or even prayer. Energy medicine is indeed a broad field, and at a time when it is becoming more popular as an alternative healing choice, our left-brained skeptic wants to know how it works and why allopathic medicine is beginning to welcome it into convention.
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” – Albert Einstein
What is Energy Medicine?
Energy medicine (EM) is an integrative approach to wellness that merges science and therapeutic application to the body’s energy field to assess and treat energetic imbalances. That is, it therapeutically manipulates the body’s subtle energy to restore health and wellness. In contrast to Western medicine, it takes a holistic approach by treating the entire being, not just the physical body.
EM is becoming more recognized as an effective treatment for a variety of diseases. What’s more, researchers are discovering that it may also help prevent the onset of illness. It can reduce stress, not just during the treatment, but when regularly received for a sustained therapeutic effect.
Qi Gong, Reiki, Black Pearl Technique, and even yoga are examples of the many modalities of EM that support energetic self-healing. They involve some form of therapeutic touch and/or restorative movement that interact with the body’s subtle energy field.
To understand how and why energy medicine works the way it does, we need some understanding of the human energy field, also known as the auric field, pertaining to our auras.
The Human Energy Field Explained
As you probably know, health is far more than just the state of our tissues and organs. There are aspects of well-being that extend beyond physiology and anatomy to encompass our minds and emotions. And there’s another more subtle state of health that affects every part of our experience: our human energy field (HEF) and its interaction with the environment. It’s a bit complex, so we’ll break it down.
Everything in our world, including the human body, produces, receives, and emits energy at a particular frequency. Every part of our body has a different resonant frequency too, right down to our cells, because we are, in the most complex yet simple way, a material manifestation of energy. All matter including our bodies vibrates at a subtle level we can’t see (save for some exceptional cases––some seers claim to observe energy fields or auras). Yet, we may feel it. Ever notice why some people repel you and others attract, with no obvious explanation other than a feeling, literally a vibe? Even diseases, food, and emotions operate at certain frequencies, and each one affects the body’s anatomical, physiological, and neurological health.
“All systems in the human being, from the atomic to the molecular level, are constantly in motion-creating resonance. This resonance is important to understanding how subtle energy directs and maintains health and wellness in the human being.” (1)
Now if that sounds a bit far out, consider it like this: we are much more than the flesh and bone we can touch and see. Take thoughts, for example, a series of electromagnetic impulses that impact our very real and solid bodies by way of movement and the decisions we make. Certain thoughts can cause us to feel angry, nauseous, excited, or anxious. From where do they come? While we have the propensity to conjure up certain thoughts, they are simply a manifestation of energy, and some spiritualists believe that thoughts simply visit us as objects of consciousness.
But without going too far down the rabbit hole, consider the poignant emotion common to all human beings: disappointment. You may experience a sensation just at the sight of this word. Indeed, it’s an emotion that produces a contractive state of energy, causing us to shrink or vibrate at a lower frequency. When disappointment arises, you can actually feel an energy shift in your body, the same way you feel an expansion of energy during exercise or events that spark joy.
That’s because the human energy field is a dynamic community of electrically charged particles that move in different patterns to maintain equilibrium. Any disturbance to that pattern, from sources such as stress, pollution, contractive emotions, nutrient-deficient food, and––a reality in everyone’s world––interacting with difficult people causes imbalances that can result in illness. Even repeated exposure to your kitchen appliances can, over time, have deleterious effects.
Consider this too: disruptions to the body’s energy flow may also result in a self-perpetuating cycle of challenging emotions and the exposure to such stressors. For example, how many of us, after a bad day at work, use the evening to “de-stress” with a glass of wine, junk TV, or by commiserating with a friend? Such behaviours may feel like a relief at the time, but may create further stress.
The Body Talks To Keep Us Healthy
Diving deeper into this fascinating world, each of our body systems is a channel for energy communication. This communication can affect our emotions and sense of self, as well as our physical health (1). The nervous system sends signals to the brain to interpret and communicate to other parts of the body. The brain sends information via cerebral spinal fluid to different body systems. In essence, there is a bidirectional flow of communication between the brain and the body via neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that prompt electrical impulses between nerve cells, muscles, organs, and other body tissues.
In Chinese medicine, that bi-directional communication in the body is essentially Qi, our life-sustaining energy force. Every communicative signal is an effort to maintain Qi in the interests of survival. If one system is diseased, our lifeforce energy directs its attention to restoring balance, which may compromise other systems.
This subtle energy is, essentially, the body’s intelligence, and the overall goal of this self-sustaining intelligence is to create equanimity in the body’s energy field to keep us healthy.
But it’s not an isolated intelligence. As we’ve learned, it interacts with the energy in the environment and is thus in constant flux. Unless we live in a bubble, our bodies are constantly up against threats to optimal health. But on the flip side, there are several ways in which to work with our energy to produce a positive effect. We’re also not weak creatures; the body is designed to protect itself. That’s why energy medicine is vital to our optimal health. It may help us recognize disease by locating disturbances within our energy field, and healing touch directs coherent and harmonic energy to those distortions.
So this begs the question: if the body’s energy can heal or hinder our health, why isn’t it integrated into Western medicine? Researchers at the Wake Forest Center for Integrative Medicine in North Carolina point out that while allopathic medicine relies on electromagnetic diagnostic measures such as ultrasound, MRIs, x-rays, ECGs, and other technologies, it doesn’t take advantage of energy medicine as a form of treatment. Aside from a few exceptions, we use electromagnetic energy diagnostically but not therapeutically. Hence, energy medicine is categorized as a field of alternative healing.
People who specialize in energetics can tap into our auric field using specific modalities to align the body’s resonant frequency with brain waves. In essence, it’s a “tapping in” to help you “tap out” with the goal of bringing the body into balance. While meditation, prayer, sound healing, and somatic yoga can produce similar effects, many people experience the power of healing touch to have a profound and immediate influence on whole-body health.
Choosing The Right Healer
While there are many benefits of energy medicine that science can explain, some are simply felt without any hard evidence.
Choosing an energy healer requires some insight. This information is meant to guide your basic understanding of the human energy field and how energy medicine works so you can approach therapy prepared. If you’re in the Durham region of Ontario (Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Clarington, Bowmanville, etc.) and want to learn more about how chakra balancing, Reiki, massage, or other modalities can contribute to your greater overall health, give Journey Within a shout here.
In the meantime, healthy energy begins with awareness––of your environment and its dangers, the impact of different emotions, and your interactions with others. Simply observe how you feel in different situations––anxious, frustrated, balanced, in tune?
And in case you’re wondering, the frequency of the human body is between 5-16 Hz, according to researchers at Harvard and Stanford Universities (2).
- CL Ross (2019). Energy Medicine: Current Status and Future Perspectives. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6396053/.
- The Holistic Human Optimization Show Podcast (2019). Episode 182: Sound & Vibration Healing Therapies for Optimal Health with Craig Goldberg.