Can energy healing really cure what ails you? Before you scoff at this ancient medicinal practice, keep in mind that you’ve probably engaged in some modalities without even realizing it. That’s right: if you’ve practiced yoga or gotten a massage, you’ve taken part in energy healing.
Confused? You’re not alone. Most people think of energy healing as practices like reiki, meditation, crystal healing or even witchcraft—which can all be forms of energy healing—but yoga, acupuncture and massage fall under the category, too.
Energy healing is the broad, holistic idea that the body is made up of different energy systems. When a part of that system is blocked, physical or emotional maladies result. Unblocking that energy—whether through physical stretching, acupuncture needles or letting someone channel healing energy into your body—will help the body to heal.
It might sound off the wall, but there is some science behind it. Here’s what you need to know about energy healing before you queue up your next YouTube yoga session.
1. Science actually plays a part in energy healing
Think back to your high school physics class, where you learned that everything is made out of molecules, which are constantly vibrating. In fact, you can see the body’s energy field in an EKG or an MRI—and no one turns their nose up at that.
Our bodies give off electrical energy, which is scientifically measurable. Energy healing just takes it a step further. For example, in Chinese medicine, the body’s energy field (qi) also includes the internal intelligence and communication that allows your body to self-heal. If you’ve ever joked about feeling good or bad “vibes” from someone or something, you might just be picking up on its energy field.
2. Many cultures and religions have some form of energy healing
Chinese medicine has explored the concept of qi and meridians for millennia, while chakras were first described in ancient Hindu texts. The Japanese energy healing practice reiki has been around since the late 19th century. Energy healing is everywhere, including massage. Physically manipulating the muscles of the body promotes a state of deep relaxation and encourages the flow of lymph throughout the body, so it can heal. Reiki and chakra clearing might do the same thing, without physical touch.
3. Energy healing works with Western medicine, not in place of it
Don’t worry: if you try an energy healing session, you don’t need to give up your medications and dentist appointments, buy a yoga mat and live in a yurt on a remote farm. Anyone is welcome to try it, and there’s no requirement that “you must be this enlightened to heal this energy.”
It’s supposed to complement traditional methods—no one is going to try to energy heal your splinter away when there’s a perfectly good pair of tweezers nearby. If you’re feeling pretty miserable or the wound isn’t healing quickly, however, energy healing might help.
4. There are plenty of different modalities to try
If you’ve already given yoga and massage a try, consider stepping it up a notch and trying a different practice. Acupuncture is a popular practice where needles are used on the body’s meridians, which is thought to stimulate the flow of energy to heal specific ailments. When searching for a practitioner, do your research and ask them plenty of questions. It’s important you not only find someone with whom you are comfortable, but who also gets good reviews from others. If you know anyone who is into alternative medicine, ask them for recommendations.
5. You can energetically heal yourself
You don’t need a professional energy healer to start feeling the benefits of energy healing. Native American tribes and other cultures routinely burn sage to clear low or negative energies, while other people swear crystals and salt baths lighten their spirits. Reiki practitioners are encouraged to direct healing energy toward themselves, and yoga helps balance the chakras. There’s plenty you can do to start feeling better right at home—which is where most of us are spending our time these days, anyway.
Whether energy healing really works isn’t scientifically proven yet—but there is some scientific research that looks interesting. In the end, if you try one of these modalities and it doesn’t do anything for you, at least you have an open mind. But if you come out of it feeling more relaxed, happier or in a better state of mind, isn’t it worth a try?