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energy medicine - revolution or revival?

It has been more than a decade since Dr. Oz declared, in a 2007 episode of the Oprah show,

“The next big frontier in medicine is energy medicine.” 

Yet today energy medicine remains controversial and confusing, and there are still more skeptics than believers. But when you take a deeper look, you will wonder why it isn’t more embraced. 

So what exactly is energy medicine?  If you google search it, you will get an array of answers that range from the spiritual to the scientific.  On the spiritual side the definitions, usually pre-dating the westernized method of scientific study, tend to focus on balancing the body’s energy system or “life force” in order to heal disease and improve health. Every ancient culture has their own name for this life force -  chi, prana, pneuma, ki, orgone, mana, ether, odyle, élan vital, and bio-cosmic energy to name a few. The current scientific definition of energy medicine, on the other hand, states that diseases and disorders result from the altered electromagnetic properties of molecules, cells, tissues and organs. Energy medicine, from this standpoint, is said to reorganize the impaired energy patterns to improve the vitality of organs, cells, and psyche. 

When I think about which definition is correct, I realize that it depends on whether I am using my right or left brain to evaluate it. When I’m in my right brain, energy healing feels magical. It embraces all the wisdom contained in a variety of ancient healing traditions, including Acupuncture, Shamanism, Reiki, Healing Touch, Aromatherapy, Chromotherapy, and Reflexology.  It doesn’t require a prescription, it heals from the inside out, it doesn’t create any side effects, and it flows from the balance and harmony of mind and body. It feels magical because it suggests total transformation, and because people report using these same energy healing modalities that have been used for thousands of years to heal from conditions that Western medicine says are impossible or improbable.

My left-brain exploration of healing requires logic, order, and a need to “see” what is happening to create results. My left brain is reluctant to take the purely experiential into account, preferring randomized, controlled studies. It doesn’t know what to make of the many, many accounts of energetic and/or spontaneous healing documented in Western medicine journals for decades. While energy healing has been around for millenia, a lack of scientific research means it is still considered pseudo-science at best and quackery at worst. Fueled by left-brained thinking, my own mind says “Balancing my chi improves my health?  Really?  What the heck is “chi” anyway? How can I balance something I can’t even see? Is healing really that simple?”

Yet science acknowledges that electromagnetic fields exist within the body.  For example, an electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) tests the electrical activity of your heart through small electrode patches attached to the skin of your chest, arms, and legs. Our cardiovascular system, like all our bodily systems, runs on electromagnetic energy. Eastern medicine has just defined that energetic system in a more structured, holistic way. Meridians (energy pathways), chakras (energy centers), and the aura or biofield (the body’s own electromagnetic field) are all ways of classifying anatomical energy fields that emit light and electromagnetic energy.[1] It’s therefore not that far of a stretch to believe that if you have a health problem, you have an energy problem.

Scientists have recognized the importance of your energetic health.  Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist that discovered vitamin C, said in 1960, “In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy”. Norm Shealy, M.D., founding president of the American Holistic Medical Association, states, “Energy medicine is the future of all medicine.”

 Fortunately today, more than one scientist is conducting research in order to bridge the gap between science and spirituality. Dr. Bruce Lipton, a cell biologist and researcher, reaffirms in his books, lectures and workshops, that everything in the body works on energy - every cell, organism, thought and feeling - and when you alter the energy of the body by changing your thoughts, you make it inhospitable to the disease:

The cells of your body are merely following instructions given by the nervous system, by the brain. The nervous system does the interpretation. You can easily see this when you see two people reacting to the same stimulus with very different reactions, one positive and one negative. As your perception changes, you change the message that your nervous system communicates to the cells of your body. Your mind controls your biology. That’s what the placebo effect is about; the mind believes the pill will work and so it does.

Dr. Joseph Dispenza, a doctor of chiropractic, researcher and author is conducting fascinating neuroscientific research through week-long workshops that are producing mind-blowing results. In these workshops, he teaches people to create their own “mind movies” - basically a movie that showcases the selves they want to be. For example, a person with cancer might create a mind movie in which they are cancer-free. He then instructs his clients on how to tap directly into their subconscious and while in a state of light trance, to run their mind movies over and over again, creating change at the cellular level. In his book “Becoming Supernatural” he produces stories of miraculous healing from things like brain tumors, seizures, blindness, deafness and other conditions that Western medicine had so far failed to heal.

 While energy medicine is most certainly a revival of ancient wisdom that has been used successfully to treat disease for thousands of years, it is also a revolution because we now have the science to actually understand how it works and the technology to make it even more accessible. I think it is safe to say that energy medicine is going to blow the lid off of our current understanding of how we heal from disease. Lee Carroll, who channels Kryon, said in a February 2019 channeled message,

The diseases of today will not be the diseases of tomorrow. We gave you that potential before, and the reasons are far different from what you expect. Do you realize what happens when cellular structures start to vibrate higher because of the consciousness of the individual? The answer is that old energy disease cannot attach itself to a higher, vibrating corporeal structure. Therefore, some of the diseases that are wiping you out today won't even exist tomorrow. This is because they can't get in. That's good news.

In future posts the topic of energy medicine will be explored through different modalities, practices and how-to use it in every day living.  Stay tuned as science, technology and spirituality are converging to unfold deeper understandings about ourselves.

[1] Eden D. Energy Medicine. Balancing your body’s energies for optimal health, joy and vitality. California: Tarcher/Penguin, 2008

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