Energy Healing: What It Is and How To Explore It

energy healing hands

I didn’t think practitioners of energy healing were mystical at all. I thought what they did was a joke.

That was before I went to a therapeutic touch seminar in the mid-90s.

For me, going to the seminar was more about spending some time out of town with my wife. Back then, we were always busy with work, school, and our son. To me, the idea of waving your hands above someone to affect their energy field was ridiculous. My impression of the proponents was even more so. They seemed like hippie holdovers from the 1960s. Not bad. Just weird and given to eccentric fancies.

My wife was a wannabe nurse back then, still working on her prerequisites to get into a program. Our interests aligned in things like healing and health. Why the heck not learn about that mysterious diagnosis “energy field disturbance?”

When you go to nursing school, you learn to approach the process through a nursing diagnosis system. Back in the 1990s, therapeutic touch was one of the topics in the field gaining some momentum. It had its own nursing diagnosis: energy field disturbance. It was the nursing diagnosis my nursing instructors in the Army would never talk about.

“Yep, that’s a thing,” one of my instructors had said matter-of-factly. “Don’t worry about it. Focus on the main ones.”

At the seminar, my wife and I learned to intuitively “unruffle” our energy field. We practiced on each other. Yes, I felt the energy field coming off of her. She felt the energy field coming off of me. We did notice a change after unruffling, the term for smoothing out the field.

When she’d get these headaches, you could feel this ball of energy over her head—the same thing with joint pain and energy over her joints.

Still, I don’t know if the effect of therapeutic touch is powerful enough. Despite being recognized by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, it’s an idea that wasn’t really adopted almost 30 years later, though the diagnosis is now known as “imbalanced energy field.” Health care exists in a market, and people vote with their dollars. Therapeutic touch never really caught on as a treatment modality. Few are willing to pay for it.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t something to the idea of an energy field getting blocked up even though you generally can’t see it. Some people claim they can see auras. I’ll take them at their word.

When you think about it, practices like yoga, tai chi, a series of stretches, massage, and other things of that nature unblock these energy fields. So, too, does rubbing in Ben Gay or Tiger Balm.

When you unruffle someone’s energy field, you’re waving your hands above them. You look like you might be a grifting con artist. You’re not actually providing a substance to them.

Yes, there are demonstrated physical effects to therapeutic touch and energy healing. There’s even an association that promotes it, Therapeutic Touch International. On TTI’s website, they note that it has been shown the treatment increases the level of hemoglobin in the body. Besides, therapeutic touch increases the level of chlorophyll in plants. This shows that the energy field is a thing.

So what?

We already know the energy field (and consequently the energy body) is a thing. How the heck else would you get an electrocardiogram or a thermal imaging scan otherwise. And so what if therapeutic touch increases the level of hemoglobin in the body?

Hemoglobin is the part of the blood that carries oxygen. Fine and dandy if you’re having trouble breathing. If you’re not, does it matter? All that’s showing is that therapeutic touch has some effect.

Some of the videos for therapeutic touch have over a million views on YouTube. Other searches are relatively uncommon. The video searches are probably for an assignment in nursing school. It is an approved diagnosis, after all. That means hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to the idea, which doesn’t really catch on and doesn’t go mainstream.

It’s been 25 years since it was really promoted. Its time has passed. It won’t catch on either as a professional treatment modality.

  • Insurance isn’t going to reimburse a TT provider. The less insurance companies pay out, the higher their profit.
  • Skeptics have supposedly demonstrated it’s hokum. This deters people. I understand their reasoning but I’d say skeptics think about energy healing and therapeutic touch in the wrong way. First and foremost, a cure from a placebo is still a cure.
  • Subjectively, it looks weird. Whether or not we like to admit it, how something looks to others is a big factor in whether it catches on. A lot of people are focused on appearances. It ties in with their self-image, and they don’t want to look weird.
  • Further, other treatments are more efficient. With massage therapy, for example, you’re working out kinks in your muscles and your energy field at the same time. In yoga, you’re developing flexibility and improving your body’s energy flow, to take another example. This is because your physical body, energy body, spirit are all tied together.
  • This is the age of #Metoo. Nobody is exactly excited to do anything that’s touch-centered. Many practitioners don’t want to do anything that involves touch without a chaperone in health care, even if it’s on someone of the same sex. Whatever problem you might have, someone will recommend another treatment modality first, even if they know how to do therapeutic touch.

Yet energy healing is a thing. It can help you sleep, relieve pain, and fix many other things ailing you.

If you’re going to experiment with it, what’s the best way to approach it?

Realize the energy body exists even if you can’t see it

It’s part of how acupuncture works, and it’s part of the way massage makes you feel better. Your energy body is difficult to measure. While electrocardiograms measure and map your heart’s functioning, many of the other ways of measuring the energy body aren’t possible. The best you can do is feel a disturbance, a block in the field of some kind.

Many factors affect the energy body

There are too many ways to list here. There are quite a few. Chiropractors work on it. Massage therapists work on it. Yoga instructors work on it.

Doing the same task repetitively hurts flow. Getting too stressed out about a deadline blocks it too. Sitting too long in one place causes a block in it too, just as it affects your body tissues.

It’s rare to hear about it, but cuddling with someone else would affect your energy body, just as you’d affect theirs. Saying that people in a happy relationship are happier than those who are not is not really a stretch, but cuddling would affect and compliment someone’s energy flow. Generally, whatever improves the flow of energy is good.

When you’ve been sitting too long, getting up and stretching helps your skeleton, body tissues, and energy body.

Your spirit and energy body are intertwined

The energy body and spirit or soul seem to be the same but they’re not. The only thing they have in common is you can’t see either one. For example, healing your energy body should not directly necessarily affect the state of your soul. Though it could.

Say you were behaving terribly toward others because you were in pain, and it was making you mean. You made no effort to control your behavior or apologize for acting awfully, even going so far as rather enjoying being sadistic.

That kind of thing would affect your soul. People might excuse your behavior, saying that you couldn’t help it. Only God and you would know the truth.

Say you started to control your pain by work on your energy body. That could lead you to acknowledge your behavior and seek forgiveness from others whom you’ve hurt.

These concepts (for that’s what they are – neither are physical) affect your body, and your body affects these areas. If you have trouble with addictions, for example, they’re going to affect your physical body because addiction will make your spirit sick. You’ll feel the lack of control you have over your actions, and that will frighten you.

Work on your energy body for self-improvement

Whatever you want to improve and work on yourself, you can work on it through work on your energy body. Want to be less frazzled? Consider your energy body. Want to feel less anxious? Consider your energy body. Want to be stronger? Consider your energy body. It’s the part of you that you can’t see but is very real. It’s part of the process of self-care.

That means, too, that when you consider your energy body, you want to set aside a little time each day to work on it and do it intentionally.

Remember that there are all kinds of ways to work on your energy body: stretching, contemplative walks, meditation, doing something fun to take your mind off of your problems, massage; the list can go on. It can be play, too—something fun. People don’t think of that as energy work. Yet it is. It all affects the flow of energy in and around your body.