The Magic of Subtle Energy Work
Lately, I've been relishing the magic of subtle energy medicine. Throughout ages and cultures, humans have developed methodologies and practices around the transmission of invisible healing currents from one person to another, often through the laying on of hands. While this type of work is not traditionally part of psychotherapy, more and more mental health clinicians are incorporating subtle energy medicine into their practices.
Traditionally, psychotherapy was an entirely cognitive experience, focused on thoughts, behaviors and the verbal exploration of emotions. More recently, psychology has remembered the body, and now it is more common for therapists to integrate felt-sense experiences, movement and breathwork into talk therapy sessions. The cutting edge, or the next frontier, is work with the subtle body.
Subtle energy medicine works to open up blocked energy so that you have access to greater choice, range of emotion and creative potential in your life. The freeing up of blocked or stagnant energy, be that physical, emotional, mental or subtle, is crucial in the treatment of psychological distress.
I am both a somatically trained psychotherapist and a Reiki practitioner. Sometimes these two identities live separately, and sometimes they work together in service of my clients' healing. Reiki is a hands on healing modality that works on imbalances and disturbances in the individual's energy field. It is a Japanese technique that has been used in America since 1937 to treat physical, emotional and spiritual problems. Reiki is a spiritually guided form of ki, the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese concept of Chi, meaning the life force energy. Practitioners do not direct the energy, we simply allow it to flow. Reiki can be done with touch or without and works equally well either way. One becomes a practitioner of Reiki through an attunement process in which the ability to channel Reiki is transmitted to the student by a Reiki Master.
Reiki is beginning to be understood and validated by the western scientific community, with research studies demonstrating the benefits of Reiki in hospital settings. Reiki has been proven effective in speeding recovery from surgery, reducing pain, improving sleep, minimizing the negative effects of medication and improving the mental attitudes of patients.
Practitioners of Reiki, as well as other subtle energy healing modalities, use touch or proximity and intention to facilitate healing within the what is called the Human Energy Field (HEF). Psychotherapist, energy healer and former research scientist for NASA, Barbara Brennan (1987) describes the HEF as follows,
All fields are emanations from the human body, including many well-known components that have been measured in the laboratory, including the electrostatic, magnetic, electromagnetic, sonic, thermal and visual components of the human energy field. All these measurements are consistent with normal physiological processes of the body and go beyond them to provide a vehicle for psychosomatic functioning.
Components of the HEF are detectable and measurable by a number of different means. The electrocardiogram, commonly employed in hospitals for diagnosis of medical conditions, is able to measure the electrical current of the heart from any position on the body. Scientists are also
able to measure the magnetic field produced by the heart's electricity, and have discovered that this energy field extends up to fifteen feet in front of and behind the physical body. Kirlian photography is a technique used to make visible the unseen energy patterns around the human body by placing film between the individual and an electrode in a high frequency electrical field. This method has been used to show the energy emanating from the palms of Reiki practitioners and it is believed what is being illuminated is the etheric aura of the practitioner's hands, in other words, their subtle energy field.
Reiki and other forms of subtle energy therapy are certainly not a necessary part of psychotherapy. But they can be a supportive supplement to more traditional or widely accepted methods. In my practice, I've utilized Reiki with clients to promote calm and well-being, facilitate nervous system integration and create a shift in mindset that allows for deeper exploration of core themes. If you'd like to explore how Reiki can support you're healing process, send me a message!