Maybe you’ve heard the term “energy medicine” before, but I bet you rolled your eyes a little when your heard it, right? I admit, the term sounds a little, well, out there. The words energy and medicine don’t seem like a natural fit at first glance. It kinda sounds like the marriage of one “woo woo” term and another “ultra scientific” one. Seems an odd partnering. So what is energy medicine? Energy medicine refers to a wide variety of healing modalities, but it’s really just a category of alternative medicine focused on the energy of living beings. This energy is often described as the “life force” that promotes self-healing.
Now, before you decide that you’ve never experienced this “life force” thing, stay with me for just a sec. I understand why it’s not easy to believe energy healing is a real thing- after all, most people believe they can’t see, hear, feel, or touch energy…. So, for the most part, energy healing has been dismissed by Western medicine, which relies on proven, scientific, generally tangible methodologies. So why does this energy medicine thing continue to stick around?
Many ancient world cultures identified energy vortices and channels throughout the human body, and used them to promote the body’s ability to self-heal. The idea that change in the physical body can occur by manipulating other levels of consciousness- the emotional, mental and energetic parts of ourselves- has gained traction in recent years. Here’s why.
Not too long ago, something else that was invisible- and therefore not real according to Western medicine- was completely discredited as being able to harm us physically: stress. Doctors literally laughed patients right out of their offices when they claimed that stress was the reason they were sick. These patients were prescribed antidepressants or cognitive therapy because they were deemed to be weak or have mental issues. The only “scientific” explanation was that the crazy patient was either imagining their symptoms or lying. A lot of truly sick people were labeled hypochondriacs, mentally disordered, or liars. It just wasn’t believed that physical symptoms could be a manifestation of mental or emotional stress.
But eventually science caught up. The cascade of events that stress causes in the body- both physical and mental or emotional- is now well-researched and proven. Check out this video to see what I mean:
This scientific framework for how stress manifests began to unravel a few things.
Today, it’s generally understood that stress can be incredibly destructive to both our emotional/mental and physical states. The connection between these states is known as the mind-body connection. You’ve experienced it in many ways, big and small. You know how you get all sweaty and feel like throwing up just before speaking to an auditorium full of people? You don’t feel that way because of a virus or food poisoning. It’s simply a physical manifestation of the state of your mind- which just happens to be chock full of anxiety in that moment. This mental stress is translated into physical symptoms (sweating, nausea, quickened heart rate, maybe stomach cramps) via the mind-body connection.
Just how does that happen? Your energetic state has a role in “carrying” change initiated by the emotional or mental body to the physical body, and vice versa. Someone standing next to you before you took the stage to give your speech would have sensed or felt your anxiety, even if their eyes were closed and they were wearing earplugs. They’d sense your nervous energy. Or at least they could if they were attuned to it. Animals and children are especially good at this. It doesn’t occur to them to discount their ability to “speak” energy.
So today we better understand that our energy can greatly influence our physical, emotional, and mental health. Each of these states closely impacts the other and collectively forms what we know as the sum of the human being. We can’t ignore our energetic capacity for healing, any more than we can our emotional or psychological capacity for healing, simply because it often seems “invisible.”
Still, energy medicine is still not without its detractors- some forms are more accepted than others. Those of us who work with the body’s healing energies have most certainly been called “quacks” at some point. But hey! These are exciting times for us quacks! That’s because science is beginning to prove the efficacy of some energy healing modalities.
For instance, the existence of a sophisticated network of energy channels in the human body, usually called meridians or nadis, has finally been scientifically confirmed. Many ancient cultures knew it existed thousands of years ago. They didn’t exactly feel the need to wait for science to proclaim it to be so. Science now calls this energy network the “primo-vascular” system. Acupuncture is just one modality based on the energy coursing through these meridians. Once maligned as mere quackery, acupuncture is now covered by many mainstream insurance companies and the American College of Physicians has formally given acupuncture a “strong recommendation” for the treatment of back pain. Acupuncture is opening up the floodgates: there are many other modalities using this same highway system of energy.
But most energy medicine modalities are still considered scientifically “unproven,” so why are they still around? Because they get results!
The first time I experienced my favorite energy medicine modality- BodyTalk- it was with a healthy dose of skepticism. I had no rational understanding about how it worked at first. But. There were these results. Fantastic ones. I experienced real change- emotionally, energetically and physically. So about six seconds later, I signed up for my first practitioner training. Since then, I’ve found true passion in helping others find their health in the most holistic, natural way possible. Yeah, energy medicine is kinda weird if you’re accustomed to conventional medical standards of practice. The human energy system, and the many ways it affects us, isn’t very easily explainable.
But I’m choosing to think of it like the ancients did. It works and I don’t really need to know more than that. I’m my very own science experiment. And I’m not waiting around for someone to label something that I see helping people every single day as “scientifically proven” before I benefit from it and confidently share it with others.
So there. (Quack.Quack.)