What is “Energy Healing?”

“My own awareness of mind suffices for all the books and teachings.” Milarepa

Mandala, JVV 1995

This is a longer version of a post on “Energy Healing” that I wrote one year ago.  After more than half a lifetime of studying and practicing acupuncture and allied healing modalities, it felt like the right time to write my own unique signature to an ancient art.  Language is fraught with misinterpretation though – so let’s clear up one potential misconception.  I don’t consider myself a “healer”, except when referencing my own mind-body self-care practices.  No person, pill or needle, can heal someone else in the final analysis. At best, I can facilitate healing in another, but you do the work and it is my humble honor and privilege to support you.

You set the intention and repeatedly choose lifestyle practices which support the direction you want to travel. My role, as I see it, is to mirror back to you the innate healing potential manifest in all life, allowing your energy system or chi to align with that, utilizing the various mind-body tools and techniques that I have studied over the years.

What does an energy healing session look like in practical terms? It begins with an invitation to lie face up on a comfortable massage table, in a private room that opens towards the Olympic Mountain range. You are fully clothed, with your legs exposed up to your knees and arms exposed to your elbows, collar open so that I can access the top of your shoulders. There is ambient music or silence as you choose.  Room temperature is customized to your comfort.  I begin by placing acupuncture needles according to the treatment goals you’ve shared and then I sit on a chair at your feet, lightly touching the outside of your ankles. After several minutes, I switch to a chair at the opposite end of the table, and lightly touch the top of your shoulders. Sometimes, I lightly grasp your ear lobes or your temples or jaw. I then switch to either side of the table, with one hand lightly touching the outside of your arm and the other hand lightly touching your leg. In this way, I gently connect with your energy field from all four sides.

What am I doing when I touch your body? What is an energy field?  There are many ways to discuss energy in the context of healing. The Chinese acupuncture system is one of the oldest, based on the mapping of the body’s energy pathways by Taoist sages, ultimately refined over millennia into the points and channels that are used by acupuncturists today. In ancient India and Tibet, meditation practitioners also mapped pathways through which the subtle energy “winds” flowed, interconnected via wheels or knots of energy called chakras. Probably other ancient cultures developed an understanding of the body’s subtle internal architecture. There are varying descriptions of the location of chakras, their colors and shape.  Knowledge is all relative. None of these different descriptions is necessarily right or wrong.  The focus of this article is to share how I learned about energy movement in the mind-body and how it guides my practice today.

In 1975, as a 16-year-old, I began practicing TM (transcendental meditation). Parts of the initiation ritual felt a bit

India – 2001

weird and cultish, but the calm I experienced in the 20 minutes each morning and evening softened the tensions of my adolescent angst at a time when the Soviet-US nuclear arms race threatened to crush my emerging identity. I meditated regularly for a year or two, but then life events and karma conspired such that I dropped the practice, not to pick it up for 12 years in my late 20s when I was going through a rough life patch.  I knew there was more to the spiritual path than simply reciting a Sanskrit mantra, so I kept searching until I started reading Buddhist teachings, particularly the Lam Rim (gradual path to enlightenment genre), and teachings on the four noble truths. (Note: I offer free Buddhist meditation classes on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. at my house).

I began attending regular silent meditation retreats, noticing that when tension in the body is released, subtle layers of the body and mind become more apparent. On longer retreats, I noticed that as the days passed, my body needed less food and sleep.  Increasingly, a sense of well-being and peace suffused my entire being. But what brought the deepest taste of freedom was gaining tiny glimpses into the nature of reality through vipassana meditation. I’ve written about meditation extensively in other blog posts.  Suffice it to say here that understanding your deepest nature and then embodying that in daily life is the highest form of healing.

Along with meditation study and training, I was fortunate to learn from other practitioners skilled in the arts of Craniosacral therapy, Shen Therapy, Reiki, and Qi Gong – and acupuncture of course. But how to put it all together in a session? What are the common ingredients to all these practices? Focused intention, sensitive awareness and touch, and deep listening. So going back to the question – “what am I doing when I work with  your energy field?” In simplest terms, I am quieting my mind and listening – listening to the craniosacral rhythm, listening to the breath, the heart beat, listening within an understanding of meditative awareness – non-separation of body and mind. That deep listening creates its own refined energy pattern or field, allowing the energy of the person on the table to attune or come into resonance with that. Here’s a 35 second YouTube video which beautifully illustrates this concept: Practitioner and patient become like tuning forks in a metaphoric sense.

I offer Energy Healing Sessions on a sliding scale – $75 to $150 for an hour long session, or a 10 treatment package for $750. For 30 minutes of the session, I work with your energy as described above. For the remaining 15-30 minutes, you are given the opportunity to integrate the healing in silence. Sometimes the work happens in intervals – e.g. 15 minutes energy healing, 15 minutes silence, 15 minutes energy healing, etc. depending on the situation.

I look forward to being of service!

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