02 Feb Energy Healing
Energy healing is the general practice of healing the body through a manipulation of one’s vital energy. Usually, these energy healing methods are either directly or loosely based upon the eastern philosophical traditions of China or India and further expanded upon by modern philosophers such as Alice Bailey and Djwhal Khul.
The belief is that there is a vital, vibrational energy that flows through all living things. Many of the physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional ailments from which people suffer often root in issues that originate in the energy body. These include blockages, disruptions, and imbalances.
It is believed that there is a strong connection between our energy and nervous systems. Although each discipline has slightly different views on the effects of these issues, all seem to agree that energy-related problems cause problems and need to be fixed through some sort of energy healing method.
All disease is the result of inhibited soul life, and that is true of all forms in all kingdoms. The art of the healer consists in releasing the soul, so that its life can flow through the aggregate of organisms which constitute any particular form. It is interesting to note that the attempt of the scientist to release the energy of the atom, is of the same general nature as the work of the esotericist when he endeavors to release the energy of the soul. In this release the nature of the true art of healing is hidden.
Generally, this vital energy, sometimes referred to as qi / chi, ki, or prana, flows throughout our bodies in various pathways called nadis or meridians. These pathways intersect at different points, which are generally the sights of the primary acupoints. Within the body are major nodes where the energy centers meet called chakras.
Healers generally analyse these acupoints and chakras then manipulate the energy so it can flow unobstructed throughout the body. This is the general goal of energy healing.
Different Types of Energy Healing
Energy healing should not be viewed as a single type of healing, but a broad category of related disciplines. Although some healers do exclusively use one healing method (certification is not always cheap), many will combine different styles of energy healing as a part of their arsenal, depending on the type of problems the patients wants fixed.
Among the most popular is Reiki. The name is a combination or “rei”, which is God’s wisdom, and “ki”, which is our energy. Although it was based upon traditional beliefs in Japan, modern Reiki is usually regarded to have been developed by Mikao Usui in the early twentieth century, and is now practiced all over the world. Practitioners use a set of symbols for the energy flow and attempt to remove blockages of stale or negative energy by bombarding the patient with positive energy. Typically, a patient will lie down on a table while the healer holds their hands a few inches above the body and moves energy around. According to its practitioners, Reiki is typically a safe practice because they are only channelling positive energy instead of absorbing negative energy.
Another energy healing form that has found some traction is Pranic Healing created by Choa Kok Sui. He tried to combine some of his scientific background with his own mystical studies to create this energy healing method. The main goal of Pranic Healing is to help the body use the vital energy to cleanse itself. A typical session is composed of three main steps: scanning for imbalances, cleansing of negative energy, and finally reenergizing with fresh prana to help the body heal. Typically, this is done without touch. This is a holistic and individualistic approach to healing that also utilizes a special type of yoga, Arhatic Yoga.
Although much energy healing is done with the hands or without touch, some methods use physical objects, namely crystals. The thought is that different rocks have different vibrational energies that can have a particular effect on the various areas of the body. This has been widely believed far into antiquity, but much of the modern ideology is based upon the work of researcher Marcel Vogel, who found that quartz has the ability to store our thoughts. Crystals are also thought to have a profound effect on our chakras. There are a few ways to use crystals for energy healing. The easiest is to simply wear one or carry it with you. Also, special healers can use them to cleanse or energize by either holding them above the body or placing the stones at strategic places on the body. It is also encouraged to meditate near a crystal.
Two of the most popular Energy healing methods are Deepak Chopra’s Quantum Healing and Vianna Stibal’s Theta Healing. The first is based upon a particular interpretation of quantum theory that says that we have the unique ability to change our realities with our brains. This is a holistic approach loosely based on Ayurvedic medicine that utilizes a healthy diet plan, herbs, meditation, and actual energy healing called Quantum Touch to promote health and heal illnesses.
Theta Healing is also based upon the idea that our thoughts can influence reality and generally “the law of attraction” that positive thoughts generate positive outcomes. In a typical session, the patient is scanned for energy issues in the body. Afterwards, the patient is cleansed. Theta healing also has psychotherapy like sessions where a patient is trained to let go of their negative beliefs. It is believed that we physically hold onto negative thought patterns and these can be discovered using a muscle test. Theta healing is claimed to be instantaneous.
Much of the science and ideology of energy healing is based on the work of philosopher Brenda Johnson and her work with radar scientist Rex Riant. They were thought to have found points of light that are proof of an energy field that surrounds our body. Using this imaging, she believed that she could find congested points of energy, and with healers, could clear up this congestion. Unfortunately, there has been little evidence to back up their claims.
In general, proper science relies on repeatable results and though the findings were interesting (and not all together useless as a potential model), it has been argued that this may just be electromagnetic radiation. This has not stopped some healers from arguing that the life force may be electromagnetic radiation and some have even used it for healing purposes.
Effectiveness of Energy Healing
There have been a few studies that show that even experienced energy healers are not nearly as effective at sensing energy fields as they may say. One very famous example of such a study was actually done by an 11-year old girl, Emily Rosa, for a school science project. It was remarkable, not just because of the age of the scientist (at the time she was the youngest person ever to have had a scientific study published in a journal), but the simplicity of the study. Standing behind an opaque screen, she raised one of her two hands, chosen by a random coin toss, and had the healers attempt to identify which she had raised. According to their theories, these practitioners of energy healing should be able to recognize which hand was being held up due to a sensing of her energy. Unfortunately for the healers, their performance was no better than chance.
A lot of healers in the past have been reluctant to take part in such experiments, potentially because of fear of having similar results, but they may have been complacent due to the age of the researcher.
Not all forms of energy healing have been studied equally, but generally patients seem to regard it as a relaxing experience, which does have some benefits for stress relief, and thus can be seen as beneficial.
Among the most studied has been Reiki. Double blind clinical studies, however, have not shown many significant positive results, even on the treatment of depression and pain.
Pranic healing has shown exciting, but ultimately mixed results, much of it anecdotal.
The science behind Crystal healing has been challenged and studies with sham stones have shown that there may be nothing particularly special about the stones themselves.
Both Quantum and Theta healing are regarded to be based upon pseudoscience. Still, they are both reported, at least anecdotally, as being helpful. Vianna Stibal has found herself in legal hot water as a result of allegedly falsifying some of her claims of success.
The overall consensus of many scientists seems to be that much of the reported positive effects of energy healing are little more than a placebo. This has not been a deterrent to many healers as they believe that placebo effects can be particularly powerful. It can be argued that so many of the benefits are rooted in one’s faith in the method and science does seem to back this up.
Many of the methods described above have almost a mystical backstory and are linked to complex philosophies. This may actually increase their effectiveness as a placebo. It has been theorized that for a placebo to work, the patient needs to ascribe a meaning response to the treatment. Much like a medicine administered by a doctor may be proven more effective by the context of a lab coat or a clinic, energy healing may be more effective if the healer is seen as some sort of mystic possessed of magical powers.
In the end, energy healing remains a fascinating area of study and should not be discounted fully. Ultimately, as long as patients are willing to pay for the service and not forgo medical treatment when faced with a serious condition, there is little to suggest that energy healing does harm and it may show benefit.
38 Sources +
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