Energy medicine: myth or miracle? Can energy healing really improve wellbeing?

The term energy medicine is growing in popularity and credibility, with celebrities and scientists alike beginning to take the phenomenon more seriously.

Today’s blog tackles the vast subject of energy medicine: its potential for promoting wellbeing, how it works, and some of the techniques that are in use around the world today.

Keep reading to find out more about this incredible branch of complementary healthcare and whether it could increase your wellbeing.

Energy and the human body

Before we talk about energy medicine, let’s talk about the energy in our body. The body needs energy in order to operate – called bioelectricity. Often, when we spare a thought for how our body works, we think about the heart pumping blood and oxygen around, keeping us alive, but we fail to remember the role that energy plays in the amazing symphony of life that is the human body.

What is the heart rhythm? It’s an electrical current. Chemical interplay within the cells of the heart creates a positive charge; a current which discharges down the nerves and causes the muscles to contract, creating our heartbeat.

Likewise, the digestive system is powered by energy. The food we eat creates a chemical reaction which produces an electrical charge. What are calories? Calories are a unit of energy!

Energy means everything to brain function, too, since the brain’s primary job is to process and transmit information through electrical signals. In fact, the brain uses huge amount of energy, consuming about 20% – a fifth – of the entire body’s energy resources.

Hearing, for example, consumes a great deal of energy. As part of our survival mechanism, any delay in auditory processing could mean life or death – so the brain works hard to process electrical signals speedily and with the utmost precision, allowing you to take the appropriate action should there be a threat nearby.

Even at rest, the brain continues to process information, the neurons in constant communication. It’s our internal, ever-watchful sentry system.

In his book The Genie In Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine And The New Biology Of Intention, Dawson Church PhD, leading-edge scientist and award-winning author, says:

“A normal cell has an electrical potential of about 90 millivolts. An inflamed cell has a potential of about 120 millivolts, and a cell in a state of degeneration may drop to 30 millivolts. By entraining the electrical fields of the cells within its range to the magnetic pulses emitted by the PMS machine, cells can be brought back into a healthy range.”

What is energy medicine?

Since energy plays such a huge role in the healthy functioning of the human body, it makes sense that energy medicine is becoming a popular adjunct to traditional Western medicine.

Practitioners of energy medicine believe that our health and wellbeing is linked to the flow of energy within our bodies. The ‘New-Age’ tool works with the body’s natural energies and is thought to hold the potential not only to treat ill health but also to prevent it – although science is yet to prove this indisputably.   

The term ‘energy medicine’ is a broad description for alternative therapies such as energy psychology, Reiki, reflexology, EFT (also known as tapping), acupuncture and acupressure, and vibrational healing methods such as sound healing, crystal healing.

The ancient arts of yoga and qi gong also fall under this term, as they are rooted in the belief that energy alignment can heal the body, and their movements are designed to promote this.

How does it work?

There is growing evidence that a system of channels and vortices exist within the body which serve to transport and regulate the energy flow around our system. These have been documented for thousands of years within traditional Chinese medicine; the idea is that these channels can be accessed and the energies manipulated for the benefit of our health and wellbeing.

Many people have heard of the chakras: these are vortices of energy which form part of this network of energy. There are also meridians, which are channels through which energy flows.

Complementary therapies such as acupuncture and acupressure work on the theory that these energy flows in the body, when unimpeded, promote good health. Reiki, a Japanese healing technique, EFT etc. also work on this principle.

Western science is finally beginning to indicate that these subtle energy channels do, indeed, exist. They have now been identified and termed the ‘primo vascular system’, and research into the meridians, their functions and the validity of energy medicine continues.

Is there any proof?

Research into the efficacy of energy medicine is in its nascent stages, relatively speaking; however, there is increasing evidence around its benefits.

Only recently, a U.S. study by the Indiana University School of Medicine, in collaboration with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, showed that addressing the energy levels within the nerve fibres of people suffering from spinal cord injury could boost regeneration and functional recovery – this could have a profound impact on patients who suffer spinal cord injury in the future.  

A scientific paper published in 2010 found that biofield therapies, as energy medicine is also known as, showed strong evidence for reducing pain intensity in pain populations and moderate evidence for decreasing negative behavioural symptoms in dementia, as well as decreasing anxiety in hospitalised populations and also, potentially, in cardiovascular patients.

And a more recent 2019 trial into the large-scale effectiveness of Reiki found that there were significant improvements in depression, anxiety, pain and tiredness in subjects who received the treatment.

You can find lots of anecdotal evidence, as well as scientific papers on the subject of energy medicine on the internet.

Conclusion

We often talk of having low or no energy, feeling good or bad vibes, and of feeling “drained” (of energy).

The English language often references energy, perhaps as a reflection of our innate but long-forgotten knowledge of the significance of energy in supporting good health.

Western and Eastern views of the human body and models of healing have historically been poles apart. Now, it seems, that the chasm is beginning to close.

While we’re used to taking care of aspects of our health such as our heart and cardiovascular system; perhaps it’s time to spare a thought for the health of our energy system?

Energy medicine is a huge subject and this article only skims the surface. Donna Eden is a leading authority on energy medicine; along with her spouse, David Feinstein, PhD – a clinical psychologist – she has designed world-leading courses and a wealth of resources on the subject of energy medicine. You can find out more about the subject at her website.

Look out for more blogs in the coming weeks on energy medicine and the different modalities you could use alongside your regular healthcare practices and support your health.

Note: this is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Do refer to your GP if you have any health concerns, and seek the advice of a qualified health professional before trying any new treatments and/or if you have any doubts.

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