Energy healing is a practice that is thought to increase the wellness of those who practice it or receive it. It includes techniques such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, and Spring Forest Qigong. All with notable similarities as well as unique differences, their primary focus is on wellness. Throughout this paper, I discuss the philosophy and dynamics of energy healing, and my experiences with energy healing. I discuss the importance of energy healing for those who are experiencing disease or stressful situations that need a relaxation remedy. I also discuss the implications it has on society and in the current health care system; this paper is meant to evoke change for social justice, to bring energy healing into the forefront of the health care workers lives, as well as to increase the wellness of both patients and health care workers. This paper brings awareness to energy healing as a holistic way to enhance people’s lives. First, I define wellness. Then I touch on the dimensions that relate to wellness. I go into what energy healing is and how it works. Then I review the research about the various forms of energy healing available. I speak to the implications energy healing has in the hospital setting and how energy healing influences the body in ways that psychoneuroimmunology is prevalent. I give a critical review about energy healing on society, from my own perspective. I give information about my own experience with energy healing. I discuss the need for energy healing for diverse populations; to bring peace to people’s lives with loving-kindness, compassion, and mindfulness programs like heart math. I conclude with the impact energy healing has on peoples’ lives as a whole. First, wellness defined.
Wellness is defined by Charles Corbin as “a multidimensional state of being; it describes the existence of positive health, exemplified by quality of life and a sense of well-being.” (UOI Wellness Center, 2015). Another definition provided by The National Wellness Institute, “Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices towards, a more successful existence.” (UOI Wellness Center, 2015). It is the right to all mankind, the opportunity to feel good and experience wholeness, this is imbued in the physical practice of energy healing, as evident by its ability to maintain good health. Our lives are more than what we feel with our physical bodies. “We are spiritual beings living a human experience” as eloquently penned by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. We are a sum total of all the parts that make us whole. Therefore, each choice we make affects our wellness and alters the balance of our entire being. Next, the dimensions that make us whole.
There are seven dimensions that make us whole; they are emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual (UOI Wellness Center, 2015). Once we bring these dimensions into balance, we can experience wellness. Other researchers have found that the integration of four aspects of ourselves brings on wellness. These are spirituality, physical status, cognitive and emotional processes, and environments (Terry Cross, 2001; David Hodge, Gordon Limb, & Terry Cross, 2009). Basically, mind-body-spirit needs to be addressed for a person to be whole, healthy, and well. When all areas and dimensions of our life are in balance, we are said to be healthy. Energy healing is just one way to enhance this integration of all parts of ourselves for increased wellness. Next, energy healing described.
Energy healing promotes relaxation through centering and grounding; this can have positive implications in all areas of ones’ life. Centering may eliminate distractions, so people may focus on what is important (Michael Garret, et al., 2008). Centering also allows people to clear space for greater present moment awareness, which is a learned skill by practicing mindfulness. With centering and grounding, the subtle energy of the body can be felt. The energy healing practitioner is well trained in centering and grounding, so they can energetically influence the client to relax. The client’s natural ability to heal is reinvigorated, energy flows smoother, and potential blocks to self-healing are eliminated.
It is understood that energy healing is engaging life-force energy, otherwise known as prana, chi, and qi. This is the body’s life-force energy or spirit that moves throughout the energy pathways during the healing process. The breath is considered the life-giving force. The premise behind energy healing is that when energy pathways of the body are blocked or disturbed, a disruption occurs in the person’s holistic harmony, which may result in illness, disease, weakness, imbalance, pain, and psycho-spiritual issues (Fazzino, et al., 2010). With these blocks in the persons energy health degrades, thinking is not clear, and suffering happens. Energy healing is meant to help nature heal itself, through unblocking, releasing, and rebalancing the person’s energy (Edwards & Edwards, 2015). Energy healing practices like Reiki, Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, and Spring Forest Qigong can open energy pathways and remove blocked energy (Mary Faulkner, 2012). These practices work by centering, setting the intention to help or heal for the clients highest and greatest good, and directing healing energy to the client (Guy, McCormack, 2009). Practitioners of energy-based therapies use contact or no contact to influence the human energy field to affect all dimensions of the patient (Fazzino, et al., 2010). Practitioners need not be present with the client for the healing to work because distance healing is effective and always available to them, as is self-healing (Diane Wardell, Sue Kagel, & Lisa Anselme, 2014). We each have the ability to move this life force energy, regardless of one’s religion, we can experience it fully (Faulkner, 2012). Energy healing is rooted in the understanding that we are self-healing. It works with the energy field, affecting the whole person-body, mind, and spirit (Faulkner, 2012). Next, the importance of self-healing.
Those who are giving the Reiki should be practicing it daily to see the best results, “It is important that Reiki practitioners/healers practice self-Reiki daily; it is vital to personal growth and healing” (Faye Castellano, Ellen Butler, & Colleen Mavroulis, 2014). It is essential or vital because it promotes healing and wellness in both client and practitioner. Healing begins when people take charge of their own health, for this reason, healers must attend to their own healing to be effective healers (Faulkner, 2012). Next, I discuss the different styles of energy healing.
Spring Forest Qigong (SFQ) is a Chinese form of energy healing and in Chinese medicine, which is similar to Ayurveda medicine and other ancient cultures, energy is seen as the basis of medicine (Karin, Cooke, 2012). Master Chunyi Lin created SFQ. He teaches it in a way that is easy to understand and so people can become self-healing, Lin’s vision is “A healer in every family and a world without pain.” (Jane Coleman, 2011). “The active exercise and the meditation aspects of SFQ are effective self-care modalities for persons with perceived chronic physical pain and/or emotional distress” (Coleman, 2011). A study found that with SFQ, there was a significant decrease in the perceived pain of patients with chronic pain (Coleman, 2011). Furthermore, the clients experienced improved sleep, concentration, decision making, and reversal of loss of interest in people experiencing chronic pain (Coleman, 2011). SFQ has proven to increase relaxation in patients, has numerous health benefits, and increases well-being. Therapeutic Touch (TT) is utilized in the health care setting to promote healing in patients; it is widely used throughout hospitals, rehab centers, hospice care, and assisted living facilities for the numerous benefits such as improved sleep, immune function, increased social interactions, and improved daily functions (McCormack, 2009).
Healing touch (HT) is used for stress reduction to expedite the healing process in surgery patients. It was demonstrated that healing touch assisted in the healing of people recovering from heart surgery. The energy healing worked to alleviate the symptoms of pain, improve sleep, and reduce levels of cortisol for increased ability to heal the body after surgery (Barb MacIntyre, Jane Hamilton, Theresa Fricke, et al., 2008).
Reiki is a Japanese form of hands-on or hands-off energy healing where a certified Reiki practitioner places his or her hands on or near the client’s body in 12 designated places (Bonnie Raingruber & Carol Robinson 2007). Reiki is more passive than the other forms of energy healing (Pamela Miles, 2015). The Reiki practitioner is trained to channel universal healing energy and light from God, to redistribute stagnant energy, and facilitate the persons own natural ability to heal (Diane Stein, 1996). In a study, the researchers found that a combination of Reiki, tai chi, yoga, and meditation effectively created wellness for nurses who were stressed on the job (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). The nurses felt the amazing benefits from the energy healing practices; they could tolerate their jobs much more, and it enhanced their problem-solving abilities (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). Some people practice or receive Reiki to strengthen their wellness, help cope with their symptoms, support or integrate with their medical care for things like chronic illness and end-of-life care. Next, I give a background of the importance of relaxation and energy healing for greater wellness, as it is prevalent in psychoneuroimmunology studies.
Energy healing practices are relaxing, and there is much research done to show the numerous benefits that relaxation has; such as reducing stress hormones and increasing feel-good hormones (Jorge Daruna, 2012). There is a clear link between elevated cortisol levels from stress, circadian rhythm disruption, and our immune function (Karin Cooke, 2012). These stress hormones impair the immune system and negatively influences the patients ability to heal. With improvements in the immune system, patients can experience relaxation, less pain, and faster recovery, all signs of increased wellness. Furthermore, western medicine is a temporary fix; surgery and drugs can only attempt to treat a problem in the body, they do not solve the root cause of the problem. Whereas holistic healing goes to the Psychoneuroimmunology roots of the problem (Daruna, 2012). Mind, body, and spirit are an entity; people are whole and need to be treated as such. Energy healing allows people to deepen their connection with their bodies, minds, and spirits to understand where the problem arose. Next, I discuss the benefit of energy healing for nurses working in hospitals.
Nurses may use energy healing as a means for self-care so they may become higher functioning nurses at the hospital; experiencing positive physical sensations and enhanced mental clarity (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). By creating a sense of relaxation in their own life, they can become more aware and conscious of the subtle energetic cues from their patients (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). Nurses may experience reduction in burnout, more gratitude for their work, a calmer mind, and enhanced clinical problem-solving skills (Raingruber & Robinson, 2007). Next, I discuss my thoughts on the social implications of energy healing.
Reasons people may not use energy healing is because they have a misunderstanding that it’s against their religion, it’s not offered by insurance, not enough people know about it, and only a few volunteers are offering energy healing at hospitals, just to name a few. Energy healing is no longer a secret, more people are practicing and experiencing positive results, but it seems not enough people know about these benefits of energy healing. To be the change we want to see in the world we may spend our money more wisely. There are ethical ways to go about living our lives. People are spending money for energy healing certifications, and people are seeking out these therapies. What needs to be done is more people to request or demand our caregivers and health care workers offer holistic healing remedies. Insurance companies could begin reimbursing for these types of therapies. If energy healing went more mainstream, the society would be much more peaceful, loving, and kind towards each other. Energy healing was once taught to all persons; it was taught to all young children in grade schools until it became secretive (Stein, 1996). It would greatly benefit the masses if energy healing were taught in mainstream education, that the hands do heal. Touching is off limits and I believe this mentality is wreaking havoc on society. People are craving healthy touch and may go about seeking it in unhealthy ways. There is a missing link between children and the healing powers we all have. With energy healing, the possibilities to create positive changes and growth are infinite, and more health care centers and schools would benefit from it. Next, how heart math can positively influence children’s and everyones lives for the better.
Heart math is a practice that brings mind, body, spirit connectivity and awareness as tools for overcoming adversity. Heart math is working with children, students, and veterans, just to name a few, to reduce stress, anger, violence and replace feelings with compassion, love, and peace (The HeartMath Solution,1999; Institute of HeartMath, 2011). The program demonstrates its ability to effectively bring peace and compassion to our communities by increasing people’s emotional intelligence with mind, body, and spirit connectivity and coherence (Better Not Cry, Better Not Pout’ Institute of HeartMath, 2010). Heart math and energy healing are similar for the benefits of centering, meditating, calming the mind, to find a sense of serenity. Next, I discuss how psychologists Freud and Jung integrated energy healing into their practice.
Energy healing can be practiced in addition to psychotherapy and other health care programs, for clients and workers alike, to preserve their health and keep it in good standing while helping others heal from deeper issues. What I find very interesting is Freud, father of psychoanalysis, or the study of human behavior, had implemented energy healing into his work,
“Energy healing is a popular contemporary term for forms of healing that facilitate a natural healing process through harmonizing, rebalancing, and releasing energy flow disturbed or blocked by disease and illness. Biographical evidence indicates that Freud used physical, suggestive, and radiant forms of energy healing and that his personal life, metapsychology, and psychoanalysis were founded on dynamic, energetic experiences and conceptualizations” (Edwards & Edwards, 2015).
Carl Jung, another prominent psychologist, fathered analytical psychology, and he also incorporated spiritual and energetic philosophies into his teachings by using meditative forms of healing such as the Mandela, meaning sacred circle in Sanskrit. Tibetan Buddhist Monks and Native American Indians used mandalas as a way to evoke healing, spiritual energy, and meditation (University of New Hampshire). The Mandela brought healing into the psychological setting. Also, Jung taught about the wounded healer (Ginger, Murchison, 2012). It is important to understand what happens when people come from a society with many problems and goes to see a therapist where there is an energy transference; the health care worker could possibly burnout from this over exposure to negative energy (Trisha Dunning, 2006). Healers need to be aware of the risks of becoming wounded by their work (Dunning, 2006). To the contrary, a wounded healer can be seen as a good thing. According to Von Braschler (2015) wounded-ness is transformational and causes spiritual growth; people come out wiser, stronger, and more able to understand others suffering (p. 18). Wounded healers know how to make their lives whole again by restoring spirit, despite the wounds that don’t ever heal completely, they embrace the wounded-ness and keep carrying on (Von Braschler, 2015). To see things in a different light, to expand ones’ consciousness, and find that healing is an everyday struggle when dealing with modern day issues.
The world and its inhabitants suffer on many different levels, to become more aware and connected to our spiritual nature, and our ability to heal ourselves is the objective of energy healing. Just knowing that we can improve the world we live in with one thought or action gives the most mundane of days real meaning (Casey, 1996). We are all at risk of losing our sense of belonging and purpose with issues of separation, desolation, alienation, stress, and isolation people experience from modern day living. The collective consciousness shares its pain, and healers are working hard to raise the vibrations of love on Earth. Our gifts and healing abilities are to be realized and shared. We are all healers; not one person is more of a healer than another (Karen, Casey, 1996). Next, my experience with energy healing.
Energy healing gives me the power to take control of my health and wellness. Out of all the holistic healing modalities, I find energy healing to have the utmost importance for maintaining wellness. Energy healing is relaxing, and this brings me so much joy to be able to step back from life and to simply enjoy being alive. I am an energy healing practitioner, yoga teacher, and meditator, so I can experience relaxation and share this love for relaxation with others. I have experienced positive psychological benefits from practicing energy healing such as a calm mind, sense of surrender, and feelings of bliss. Energy healing applies to anyone who wants to experience relaxation and to heal on a deep level. Freedom from suffering is the ultimate goal for energy healing. All energy healing serves the same purpose, to create wellness by enhancing the sense of connection to something greater. A connection and oneness with the Universe and all beings, plus our innate ability to heal ourselves. It is important to know where we are in relation to all things, people, places, and experiences; otherwise we risk the chance of losing a sense of ourselves, our connection to the community, to the natural environment, and to the spiritual world. Every day is an opportunity to focus on the healing energies; to return to wholeness and wellness. From reading the different studies, I discovered the benefits energy healing has for health care workers and their clients. Nurses found solitude by practicing Reiki, people with chronic pain found pain relief, and patients recovered faster from heart surgery. These are just a few studies that have been done, despite the lack of research on this topic. Energy healing can be integrated into Western world beautifully, to help people on a deeper level to discover their true nature, and get to the root of the problems they are facing. Energy healing is the key to wellness that not everyone knows about, but should. It brings back the magic of simply being alive, to find peace and serenity. To enjoy touch, a sense of compassion, and love for all beings everywhere, can make all the difference in the world.
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