The Varieties of Energy Healing Modalities
To those who have looked into energy healing, it is easy to get overwhelmed and confused given the many modalities that exist. And since many healers learn multiple modalities, it can be confusing even talking to just one practitioner.
So here’s an overview of the types of energy healing. It explains the similarities and differences among modalities and hopefully brings clarity to a sometimes bewildering topic.
Chi-based Energy HealingChi is the vital energy that unites body, mind and spirit, according to traditional Chinese medicine. Chi-based energy healing methods work directly with the body’s bioenergetic field, or aura, which extends out about four feet from our bodies. When there is an illness or an issue in the body, there is usually a distortion or disturbance in the body’s energy field that energy healing practitioners can perceive. Chronic pain, for example, can appear to practitioners as a bluish grey, dense or mottled-looking blob in the aura. Chi-based healing methods strive to clear those imbalances so the body can heal itself more easily.
Chi-based approaches can be further categorized into two groups: chakra-based approaches and meridian-based approaches. Both work with the body’s energy fields to restore balance.
Chakra-based methodsScientists are just now gaining the ability to measure the seven primary energy centers of the body, the chakras. Chakra-based healing methods channel chi energy to release blockages or to clear stagnant energies in the body’s energy system. When one chakra is blocked or out of alignment with the others, people can experience feelings of discomfort. Clearing and aligning the chakras often brings about a deep release of energies and emotions that have been held in the body for a long time.
Chakra-based systems are often helpful when people are unable to express what they are feeling, physically or emotionally. After a session, people often report feeling clearer, more comfortable in their bodies and better able to deal with life’s challenges. “Brain fog” often lifts, pain is reduced and concentration improves. It often helps people healing from injuries and/or recovering from surgeries. Sometimes people feel warmth and tingling or fall asleep during this process.
Chakra-based healing methods include Reiki, Qi-Gong, Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, Quantum Touch, Energetic Unwinding, Emotrance and Cranio-sacral Therapy.
Reiki, a modality that’s enjoyed a lot of popularity lately, offers a way to work with energy without a specific intent. In Reiki, the practitioner channels nondirected universal energy through the hands into the client. In contrast, Energetic Unwinding is a more directed approach and an excellent way to relieve pain from energetic blockages in the back and joints. The healer follows the body's natural energetic movement with a lot of gentle focus. Qi-Gong involves gentle physical movement and mindful breath work; practitioners do not expend any energy themselves. Some forms of yoga incorporate chakra consciousness into poses and movements.
Meridian-based methodsMeridian-based methods work with the energy meridians of the body rather than the chakras. Energy meridians are like rivers of energy that run through the body. An illness in the body might be seen as a rock in the river that needs to be removed. The directional flow and the balance of one meridian with the others are attended to. These methods help the body reset its natural patterns.
Since many meridian-based methods stem from the ancient science of acupuncture, they tend to be a bit technical. Methods include acupuncture, EFT, Eden Energy Medicine and Touch For Health kinesiology. Due to the ups and downs of life, meridians can get overtaxed, hyperactive, weakened or even stagnant. The body can have difficulty resetting back to its optimal state. Meridian-based work helps rebalance the systems of the body.
Meridian work is pain free and fairly quick, and it often works when chakra work has reached its limit. And vice versa—the two are complementary approaches. People often report feeling a big sense of relief as the body relaxes.
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) often goes the extra step to address the emotional roots of certain health conditions. EFT helps people move through the overwhelm, stress and anxiousness that is now part of modern life, and it is often used as part of personal development work because it can get to the root of problems. It helps people create new belief patterns so they can move ahead to create more fulfilling lives. [Editor’s Note: We will be featuring an article on EFT in an upcoming issue.]
Regardless of whether a practitioner uses a chakra-based or a meridian-based approach, the goal is the same: to restore balance to the energy systems of the body. Emotional issues can be cleared, and as a result, the body is able to optimize its natural healing ability. Sleep, which is so important for the healing process, is often greatly improved. Many people have become used to living with chronic poor sleep; their bodies are always depleted and unable to fully heal.
Non-Chi-Based Energy HealingNon-chi-based modalities don’t focus on the meridians or the chakra system of the body directly. Often less well-known than their counterparts, they can be quite powerful in affecting change. Some focus on consciousness; others are more vibrational in nature. Examples of these methods include shamanic work, Matrix Energetics, sound healing, flower essences, angelic healing, crystal healing, dream work and spiritual inquiry.
This body of work often gets assistance from unseen realms and focuses on opening up possibilities for personal transformation. This is the realm of the angels and the Divine. The work involves consciousness development on the soul level as well as support for physical issues that are up for healing, since the two are often related. Issues that use this type of work include depression, anxiety and people’s sense of feeling cut off from the flow of life.
Some methods, such as Matrix Energetics, offer specific ways of finding, inviting and connecting new possibilities into the current reality. Some of their principles borrow from quantum physics—they access unseen and future states to help manifest a change. For the same reason, healing often occurs faster than expected compared to conventional medicine. In quantum time, there is no concept of how long healing from an illness “should” take. By opening up the possibilities of what could happen through an energetic bridge, surprising results can occur.
A recent client had knee-replacement surgery. When she first came in, she could barely walk, her pain level was very high and she had to take pain-killing medications just to get by. Her physicians told her she would take several months to recover. My approach was to create a different reality for her than they presented. Since quantum physics dictates that time and reality are elastic, the possibilities were vast. As we started working together, her recovery rate began to accelerate markedly. In her case, some chi-based work to address the heat in the knee was mixed with some gentle inquiry and conversation about how she felt about her healing journey. With each visit, she improved more. Her pain stopped, and her sleep got better because she needed fewer drugs. As a result, the physical therapy she was doing was very successful because she had less pain and stress. She’s now walking very well.
Non-chi-based methods are also helpful at clearing “psychic clutter” from people’s fields. People who are more sensitive can be prone to picking up energetic debris from the environment that does not benefit them. The cumulative effect of this can leave people feeling drained and irritable. Simple shamanic techniques can clear this debris so that people can feel more themselves again. Sound healing is another effective approach: Because sound amplifies the intent of the healer, it can be fast and simple. Listening to music or nature sounds can do something similar.
This is a high-level view of some of the different kinds of energy work that are available. Energy healing is a fascinating field and holds much potential for people’s well-being.
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