Energy Medicine for Health and Well-Being

By Karin Ogren

Each one of us is a dynamic and beautiful tapestry of interwoven energy. This energy flows through and around our bodies, impacting our health and well-being, as well as connecting us to all of life. It goes by varying names such as Life Source, prana, chi, Higher Power, or Universal Energy. This is a basic tenet of all energy medicine modalities, whether Healing Touch, medical qigong, reiki, polarity therapy, Zero Balancing, or others.

Case study #1
Rebecca,* a serious runner, came to see me for sciatic pain that prevented her from running or even touching her toes—something she could do easily before being injured. She rested on the treatment table while I lightly placed my hands on her body, holding them in various positions to balance her energy for about 30 minutes. After one session with specific focus given to her lower back, she was able to bend over 4–5 inches farther than at the beginning of the session and touch her toes without pain.

Case study #2
Kaitlyn* requested Healing Touch before and after her wisdom teeth were extracted. When she returned home from the surgery, I gently placed my hands on her cheeks and also brushed my hands in a sweeping motion a few inches above her face to clear energetic congestion. The work reduced her pain to a zero (representing no pain) from a 5 on a pain scale (with 10 being highest) in a matter of minutes. She also experienced no swelling.

How are results like this possible? Energy medicine. As Albert Szent-Györgyi, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in discovering vitamin C, said, “In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy.” With training, we can influence our own or others’ energy systems in positive ways.

Body, Mind, and Spirit
The human energy system is comprised of energy centers (chakras), energy fields (auras), and meridians (energy channels). Our energy systems are influenced by the environment and our own thoughts, emotions, and actions, as well as the people around us.1 When energy becomes congested, or blocked, in any of these parts of the system, we experience “dis-ease.” This can look like physical disease or pain, emotional reactivity, mental cloudiness, or spiritual turmoil. In other words, a disruption in our energy system can affect our whole being—body, mind, and spirit. Imagine a stream flowing through the forest. When it flows unobstructed, it is a source of power and energy. But if it becomes blocked, it can form a stagnant pool, lose its strength, and even start breeding mosquitoes that carry disease.
When our energy is balanced and flowing, we feel grounded, calm, vitalized, and ready to handle whatever life throws our way. This balanced energetic state encourages self-healing. In fact, another tenet of energy medicine is that all healing is self-healing. Although a doctor may stitch up a deep cut on your arm, it is your own body that heals you, building new tissue to replace that which was damaged. You may use other tools to support the process, such as prescriptions, ointments, or other remedies, but the actual healing occurs from within the body itself. This is where energy medicine plays its most vital role—encouraging the natural healing ability of the body, mind, and spirit.
These claims of healing may sound outlandish or overinflated, but consider this: the modality Healing Touch, for example, comes out of the nursing world and, as such, places a high value on evidence-based research. Quantitative and qualitative research suggests that Healing Touch:
• Eases the effects of trauma and postraumatic stree disorder.
• Facilitates wound healing.
• Improves immune function in cancer patients.
• Improves sleep.
• Reduces anxiety, tension, and stress; fatigue; and pain.
• Reduces length of hospital stays.
• Supports illness prevention and promotes health.
These benefits do not magically happen. Skilled practitioners create the healing environment through their own “being.” They are grounded, work to foster a connection with a client, and exude a sense of unconditional love and acceptance. Energy medicine is not so much about where a practitioner places her hands, but about the healing intention behind the hand placements. This means the client-practitioner relationship is of paramount importance and finding a qualified practitioner is essential.

Health and Well-Being
To quote dance pioneer Martha Graham, “The body says what words cannot.” Because the human energy system interfaces with all aspects of our being, Healing Touch practitioners start by assessing the client’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Then, practitioners move on to assessing the energy system itself. This is done by “scanning” with their hands above the body to determine areas of energetic blockage, congestion, or depletion. They may also use a pendulum to assess the health of the energy centers. This assessment is then documented on an intake form.
Then, the work of moving and balancing the client’s energy begins. Energy healers may use light touch or place their hands above the body for various techniques that open, clear, and balance the energy system. The end goal is energy flowing freely throughout the system. A postassessment determines the effectiveness of the techniques and guides the next steps.
The more we learn about energy medicine and/or experience the results, the more we realize that energy is integral to our bodies and, therefore, is integral to our health and well-being. As such, energy medicine belongs side by side with traditional medical practices and other wellness modalities.

*Names were changed to protect clients’ privacy.

1. Cynthia Hutchison et al., Healing Touch Workbook (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2013).