What is Energy Healing?
Energy healing is becoming a popular form of complementary medicine. But how does it work? Everything is made of energy. Everything that moves has vibration. Human beings are composed of molecules vibrating at various frequencies. Blockages in our energy field can manifest as pain or disease. Energy can become blocked due to trauma, toxins in our environment or prolonged stress. Energy healing like Reiki or sound therapy can help to release this energy.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), energy medicine (or biofield therapies) is the act of channeling and manipulating the energy that courses through your body in order to heal it. This can reportedly be done with hands-on practices, such as acupuncture and Reiki, as well as sensory-based experiences, like the use of crystals, sound baths, and aromatherapy.
Unfortunately, the field of energy healing is mostly unregulated, aside from Acupuncture, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between quackery and those who have truly studied and completed their training in techniques such as Reiki and Sound Healing.
Let’s take a brief look at how these 2 therapies work.
Sound healing works largely through the process of sympathetic resonance and entrainment. Sympathetic resonance is a harmonic phenomenon where a passive string or vibratory body responds to external vibrations to which it has a harmonic likeness. Entrainment is the tendency for two oscillating bodies to lock into phase so that they vibrate in harmony. Sound healing is a process of synchronizing vibrations in the body to the sound vibrations. Because about 60% of the body is made of water, which is a great conductor of sound vibration, the vibrations move through the body and effect our cells, organs, nerves and tissues.
Brainwave entrainment can be used to induce deep states of relaxation.
Sound healing has been used by various cultures for centuries. From singing healing songs to drumming to the use of singing bowls, gongs and tuning forks. Sound vibration can help to rebalance the nervous system, increase immunity, reduce inflammation, induce a state of calm and aid in sleeping.
Reiki healing is a method of hands-on healing that was codified by Mikao Usui in Japan in the late 1800’s. There are other traditions that also use the act of laying hands on a patient to relieve pain. In Reiki therapy, the person who is attuned as a Reiki healer has had their body’s energy channels opened and cleared of obstructions by the Reiki attunements of a Reiki Master. Reiki means “universal life force energy”.
It is said that Mikao Usui sought the origins of the healing methods that both Jesus and the Buddha (Gautama Siddhartha) used, and he studied the esoteric teachings of ancient India. There is also a form of hands on healing that is part of Yoga and Ayurveda involving balancing the chakras that is very similar to Reiki but without the use of the symbols. I have not done the research, but I imagine these systems are related. I use both the Reiki symbols and my knowledge of the chakras and nadis from my training as a yoga therapist and Ayurvedic specialist when I perform Reiki on a client.
In my experience with both Reiki and sound therapy, I have found them to be exceptionally helpful in releasing stuck mental/emotional pain and also in helping the body and mind to relax. Relaxation is essential for the body to heal from physical trauma. Releasing mental & emotional trauma trapped in the body can also bring about healing on many levels.
Yoga Therapy uses the Pancha Kosha model of the body – or 5 Sheaths of the body when assessing a client. These are the physical body, the energetic body, the mind/emotions, the wisdom sheath or higher intellectual mind, and the bliss body. Certainly Reiki and Sound healing can have an effect on all of these sheaths of the body. Meditation and Yoga Nidra work in a very similar way to effect healing. But that is a story for another day!
Another important element in energy healing is the idea of “intention”. The person doing the healing is essentially a channel for healing to move through – especially in Reiki. They should be clear about the intention of the session, and an open channel to receive this life force energy. The practitioner should have knowledge of the energy field of the body – especially the chakra system. Like many healing modalities adapted from other cultures, this system has been oversimplified and adapted to fit a Western psychology model, and I find few Westerners that truly understand the energy sheath of the human body.
A sound healer should also be trained in both healing and in music and understand how sound vibration works. It is also essential that they have their own spiritual practice – that they are working in their daily lives to cleanse and purify themselves to be a clear channel for healing. None of us are perfect, but if we are not taking the steps to be a clear channel for healing before a session with a client, it is possible the session can have negative effects. One of the most obvious examples is healers who take advantage of their clients. Sadly – this exists in all fields – even in modern medicine. I’ve certainly had my share of bad experiences with trained doctors in Western Medicine. If you are interested in learning more about how Reiki or Sound Therapy might be able to help you, please feel free to contact me! Before booking an appointment, just like with any other therapy it’s a good idea to do your homework and check into the background of the practitioner, their lineage (if it is known) and experience.