Whether you realize it or not, you have energy that flows through you and extends to fields all around you. These forces are measurable and are intimately connected to all aspects of your wellbeing—a truth that is the foundation of energy healing. Practitioners can sense this energy and may feel or see your energy fields. With this awareness, they work to manipulate your energy—using one of several techniques—to encourage overall wellness. Many who have received these treatments speak to the very real impact they feel they had on them.
Your energy field, or biofield, is usually egg-shaped and emanates a couple of feet around you. It interconnects with meridians, energy channels in the body, as well as energy centers (chakras), which are located in all organs, joints and areas where many nerves come together. All play a role in your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing, and any presence of energy disturbance may relate to a variety of issues such as pain, sadness and more. Energy healing therapies adjust, unblock or rebalance your energy flow, as needed, to help soothe and heal you in all of these facets of your health.
There are thousands of years of anecdotal evidence—some of which you might have heard firsthand—to speak to energy healing’s effects. Research has also shown positive effects of energy modalities such as Healing Touch, Reiki and others on patients, although the exact mechanism at play is not clearly understood. Some energy therapies are being incorporated into medical treatment settings, and quantum physicists continue to research this area.
You might consider exploring and experiencing these energy healing treatments to connect with yet another means of feeling your best:
Craniosacral therapy practitioners can feel subtle “pulses” emitted by imbalances in the fluid that circulates around the brain, which is said to cause tension, chronic pain and contribute to various health conditions.
How it’s Done: Using very light touch to the skull (including the face and mouth), spine and pelvis, your therapist monitors your flow of energy to determine where blockages in energy are located. He or she then palpates these areas to gently release them.
May Be Helpful For: The process of moving fluid is thought to benefit you from head to toe because it helps nourish all of your body’s tissues. Proponents recommend craniosacral therapy for headaches, back pain, jaw pain, chronic fatigue and issues with the central nervous and immune systems. People who have experienced this treatment report feeling a deep sense of calm, wellbeing and self-awareness.
Healing Touch is a holistic approach to healthcare. Through the use of gentle contact with their patients and work with the chakras and energy field, practitioners help align and balance mind, body and emotions, and support the body’s natural healing abilities.
How it’s Done: Your session begins with an interview to discuss your issues and reason for coming. You then lie on a massage table. An energy assessment is performed so that your practitioner can appropriately tailor the session to your needs and mutual goals. With touch and moments of hand moving above your body, he or she begins working in the energy field to facilitate flow.
May Be Helpful For: Research suggests that Healing Touch has many benefits including reducing stress, calming anxiety and depression, decreasing pain, strengthening the immune system and enhancing recovery from surgery. It can also be useful for improving acute and chronic conditions (like back and neck concerns), easing side effects of cancer treatment, increasing quality of life, deepening one’s spiritual connection and creating a greater sense of wellbeing.
This treatment uses magnets to help treat illness and promote health. Practitioners believe that interactions between the body, the earth and other electromagnetic fields cause physical and emotional changes in humans, and that the body’s electromagnetic field must be in balance to maintain good health. Magnets produce energy fields of different strengths, which proponents believe can correct imbalances and heal the afflicted systems, organs and cells.
How it’s Done: You lie down fully clothed and your practitioner places thin metal magnets—much stronger than the front-of-the-refrigerator variety—on your body. They are kept in position, often for several hours, to allow the magnets’ fields to affect your own. You may choose to wear magnetic bracelets and necklaces, or magnets attached to adhesive patches after your session ends so that you can more conveniently continue the treatment for the recommended time.
May Be Helpful For: People use magnet therapy for a wide range of health issues, such as joint problems, migraines, pain, depression, injuries and cancer. Those who have a medical device or implant with a magnetic field, such as a pacemaker, should avoid this type of therapy because magnets may interfere with its functioning. Studies on magnetic therapy have been mixed, but suggest it does no harm when combined with conventional medical treatment.
Practitioners believe that each of us pulses with a combination of negatively and positively charged life energy, creating energy currents that can be manipulated. Practitioners use touch to feel the pulsations emitted by these currents and release any blockages. The practice leans heavily on the Ayurvedic philosophy that there are five kinds of energy present in each of us—fire, air, water, earth and ether—and that each is distinguishable by its unique vibration (both the strength and pattern of the pulsing).
How it’s Done: After a discussion about your emotional and physical health, you lie down fully clothed and your practitioner gently touches different areas on your body—usually your chakras, as in other forms of energy healing—to determine where your energy lines reside and how they are behaving. To release blockages, your practitioner will employ a variety of techniques: He may use deep pressure (akin to massage), gently rock your body or hold your cranium at the neck, for example.
May Be Helpful For: Polarity therapy is used for an array of illnesses, including chronic pain, fatigue, migraines and depression. Practitioners also report the practice can help relieve emotional distress, such as anger, sadness and anxiety.
Reiki, with methods rooted in eastern spirituality, manipulates energy flow in your body and promotes restoration and rejuvenation. Energy flows between the practitioner and receiver of the treatment and promotes more efficient natural healing processes.
How it’s Done: You lie down fully clothed on a table. Your practitioner places his hands over your chakras and gently touches your head, chest, abdomen and back. He can sense where his energy is needed and will leave his hands above that area for several seconds or minutes to allow energy to flow from him and into you to release blockages.
May Be Helpful For: Research continues on the health benefits of Reiki, but people use it to decrease pain, ease muscle tension, speed healing and improve sleep. Some people who have undergone chemotherapy treatment said they felt better and had less nausea after a Reiki treatment. Many people who receive Reiki say they experience a refreshed spirit and an increase in general wellbeing.
Developed in the early 1970s, this touch therapy aims to facilitate the healthy relationship between energy and the structures of your body by pinpointing tension.
How it’s Done: You lie down fully clothed on a table. Your practitioner uses finger pressure and gentle traction on areas of tension in your bones, joints and soft tissue to create points of balance around which the body can relax and reorganize. Zero balancing focuses on parts of your skeleton that conduct and balance forces of gravity, and maintain posture and movement, such as the arches of your feet, the joints where the ribs meet your spine, your neck, hips and sacrum.
May Be Helpful For: By manipulating the deepest and densest tissues of the body, along with soft tissue and energy fields, zero balancing may help clear blockages in the body’s energy flow to boost energy, reduce pain and improve your postural alignment.