If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles, you probably noticed a whole lot of”alternative” going on. By that we mean strong evidence everywhere you turn that the mind-body-spirit connection is still very much alive and well.
Of course that makes total sense…there’s really no doubt that L.A. is the where you’ll find the highest concentration of mind-body-spirit adherents anywhere in the the world. It’s not by chance that Los Angelenos are more likely than New Yorkers to consult an astrologist, seek the services of a holistic facialist, or meet friends at a green-juice bar instead of a cafe.
Amidst a Sea of Alternatives, One Stands Out
There are myriad pathways to enlightenment, well-being, and healthy living and it seems there are new variations every day (vegan cleanse, anyone?). However, if there’s one manifestation of the mind-body-spirit connection which seems to have appealed to almost everyone in L.A., it’s energy healing. Not any particular form, either…just “energy healing”, non-specific. It’s the newest way to speak about all the various alternative healing techniques you might encounter on any given day in L.A. It’s the newest, old approach to well being!
You just can’t seem to talk to anyone in L.A. without hearing about their energy healer. Even the chicest shops are adorned with crystals…the healing kind, not the tiny bejeweled type that’s used in jewelry. These are healing crystals, and they seem to be everywhere.
That leads us to one question…
What is Energy Healing?
First, let it be known that the term “energy healing” is a general term, encompassing many sub-divisions of alternative healing techniques. You’ve heard of “chakras”? They’re part of the energy healing system (more on them later). You may have had a massage sometime in the past..well that’s even considered a form of energy healing.
What all the different types of energy healing have in common are the following principles:
- conventional medicine omits the power of the mental and spiritual realms on the physical healing process (in other words, fails to recognize the mind-body-spirit connection)
- the mind the body can work together to promote healing
- there is something known as healing energy
- this healing energy can be channeled, manipulated, or balanced to promote healthy things to occur in the body
The Many Forms of Energy Healing
Energy healing can be as simple a concept as the idea that a massage feels good and anything that feels good makes you healthier.
It can also be as complicated as the seven chakras, which represent seven different areas of the body, each associated with an organ (e.g. the first chakra is at the base of your spine, and balance of this chakra promotes healing in the adrenals, spine and kidneys). There’s also a primary color associated with each chakra ( in case you were wondering, the first chakra’s color is red). Then, there are five more chakras on the head, which correspond to spiritual healing.
Whew, that’s a lot to take in! Since a complete lesson on chakras would take pages and pages to cover, let’s not do that right here. We’re mainly concerned that you understand the basics of energy healing. However, see a form of energy healing you’d like to delve into, then go for it!
Energy healing can be done by touch…or not. When there’s no touch involved, it’s called “hands-off” or “distant” healing. It’s usually accepted that anyone can learn to practice energy healing. Practitioners actually draw healing energy into a person’s body either by touch or the hands-off methods mentioned above. For distant healing, the practitioner and “patient” don’t even have to be in the same room.
Is Energy Healing Backed by Science?
Advocates of energy healing claim it heals everything from stress to cancer. That’s a lot of area to cover, scientifically, so you have to break it down into subdivisions. While it may work for insomnia, it may not work for a tumor.
I was prescribed Ambien (Zolpidem) by a neurologist, as there were lingering problems with falling asleep. The course lasts 4-5 days with one or half a pill at night. I try to take it only in extreme cases when I understand that I will not fall asleep (you understand what I’m talking about if you faced insomnia).
Scientific evidence has always been thin, but in recent years more is coming out bit by bit to support some claims. A 2013 study found that 10 minutes of energy healing did as much good as physical therapy when it came to improving range of motion.
Deepak Chopra, one of the most influential doctors in the world, says we are only beginning to understand how energy healing works. There is something called homeostatis in your own healing system. This tells the body how to respond to problems, in short. Energy healing can trigger your homeostatis system, thereby promoting healing.
In any case, researchers are keeping an eye on energy healing and the seemingly magical effect it has on some conditions.
Some Energy Healing Techniques You’ve Probably Heard Of
Finally, we come to some of the more widely-practiced energy healing techniques:
- Massage Therapy. Massage is not just about a good rub-down, if you adhere to the beliefs of energy healing. During a proper massage, toxins are released in the body, leading to a healing of sorts.
- Reiki. To just look at Reiki in practice, it appears to be the simplest technique in the world. It’s simply a placing of hands on (or just above) various parts of the body in order to redistribute healing energy. It’s actually a form of meditation, one which you can apply to yourself. It’s also supposed to be effective on both physical and emotional levels.
- Reflexology. Usually we think of foot diagrams when we think of Reflexology. True, it’s about pressure points in the feet, but that’s only part of the story. Other parts of the body are also subjected to slight finger pressure in order to promote healing. The hands, face and ears also contain pressure points which correspond to organs and specific parts of the body (the fingertips are connected to the sinuses, for example).
- Acupressure & Acupuncture. These two forms of energy healing attempt to redirect qi, which is another word for “energy” in the body. The object is to rebalance the qi in order to relieve pain or pressure, or to promote general health.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, energy healing takes on so many forms it’s almost a misnomer to talk about it in such a general way. This is, however, the way folks are now viewing energy healing: a general idea that seems to work…maybe we borrow a little from reflexology, a bit from acupressure, mix in a little massage therapy and voila…it’s the new energy healing, updated for today’s proponents. Hey, if it works, then why not?