Energy Medicine? Really?
According to Dr. Jim Oschman, a leader in the field of energy medicine, modern research science is beginning to shed light on the role of natural “energy forces” within the human body that were previously thought to be inexplicable. He reports, “Energy medicine is medicine based on the appreciation that living systems have energy fields inside of them and around them and that these fields play important roles in physiology, regulatory biology [and] regulating processes that are going on inside the organism,”
C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, a neurosurgeon, psychologist, and founding president of the American Holistic Medical Association says, “Energy Medicine is the future of health.” For over three decades, he has been at the forefront of alternative medicine and alternative health care.
And to quote Dr. Mehmet Oz, “Energy medicine is the future of all medicine. We’re beginning now to understand things that we know in our hearts are true but we could never measure. As we get better at understanding how little we know about the body, we begin to realize that the next big frontier in medicine is energy medicine. It’s not the mechanistic part of the joints moving. It’s not the chemistry of our body – it’s understanding for the first time how energy influences how we feel.”
Because of these modern day leaders and their very public endorsements new opportunities now abound in the rapidly growing alternative health care market place, and yet it still takes courage to create a sign, or a website, or a business card that reveals, “I do Energy Medicine”
The good news is that it can be done, and if you have a license to practice a form of health care it may very well fall under your scope of practice.
For licensed massage therapists, for example, it says in the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (www.mtbok.org) in the section named Therapy Definition and Scope of Practice Statement that “massage therapy includes: treatment through the manipulation of … energy fields, …balancing energy… and energy work, which includes treatment of the energy field through the use of touch or through the use of non-contact techniques.”
As a student for 40 plus years, and a professional practitioner in the field of Energy Medicine for more than 20 years I have been amazed to see the progress that has allowed it to become almost a household word.
My formative years that laid the foundation for a life of natural healing studies partially revealed.
My path of non-traditional medicine began when, in 1957 at the age of 4, I declared to my mother while leaving the doctor’s office, “That man can’t help me!” You can imagine her astonishment.
I had a keen interest in fitness as a young boy and was exercising with Jack Lalanne watching his TV show by 1960 at the age of 7, and was impressed early on that health and well-being was a choice, not happenstance. So I began doing the Royal Canadian Air Force exercise regimen daily as a child in the 60s as well.
Around 1968 I picked up a copy of Arnold Ehret’s book and was inspired by his description of how he had cured every disease known to man by applying his knowledge of vitalism and dietetics through fasting in Europe. The book was written around 1920 and I remember thinking, “this makes so much sense, why doesn’t everyone know about this?” Unbeknownst to my family I began fasting regularly and enjoying the energy levels that came from what now is known as detoxing.
In 1975 I began practicing yoga and took my health and energy to new heights as I learned the ancient wisdom of asana and pranayama, how to move the body and breath together to energize and heal.
My personal journey into Energy Medicine unfolds.
My interest in natural health accelerated in 1976 when Michael Blate published G-Jo The Natural Healer’s Acupressure Handbook. G-Jo could be understood as a kind of acupuncture, but without the needles. Tiny spots, or acupoints, on the body are triggered in a deep massage for a few seconds when a person is suffering from headache, back pain, or another common complaint. In most cases, relief follows instantly. I mostly used G-Jo to treat myself but would also care for my mother who suffered with pain from standing long hours as a checkout at the local grocery store while raising four kids.
Around the same time I discovered a book on Shiatsu. Like acupuncture, shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”) through the body. Shiatsu therapists use finger and palm pressure to energetic pathways, called meridians to improve the flow of qi.
Not ever imagining that this could become a professional endeavor I was content to work on myself anytime I got sick or injured myself working out or practicing martial arts. And when I began my family in 1981 it became a standard method of care in the home.
Fast forward to 1991 when everything changed! I began to discover that I was not the only one in the seemingly conservative Midwest that was being guided to explore and share Energy Medicine.
I soon found myself in my first class in Touch for Health with Norma Harnack. Touch for Health was created by John F. Thie, DC, and Norma was rapidly becoming known throughout the world as one of Dr. Thie’s closest associates and finest instructors. His first manual published in 1973 launched a worldwide movement in this holistic approach to health that I found simply amazing for restoring energies of the human body to facilitate natural healing. This is accomplished by using acupressure, touch and massage to improve postural balance and reduce physical and mental pain and tension. I quickly studied all I could from Norma completing Levels One, Two, and Three within no time.
Tom Goode and Judith Kravitz had just formed the Cosmic Breath Institute and when I saw the power of directed breath in the form of Transformational Breathing, well, I had to become certified, was there any other choice?
On a roll now, not ever turning back, I soon enrolled in the Healing Arts Center’s first massage class and realized that massage therapy, as yet an unlicensed profession, would allow me to get into a more acceptable and rapidly growing health care field where I would be able to apply my now 15 plus years of study in natural healing.
The Universe was on my side now, propelling me forward into unknown territory. So when my friend Ellen who had told me about Carole Madsen and the Healing Arts Center just happened to mention one day that she had taken a class in Reiki I didn’t know what it was but something in my heart was attracted to it immediately. I had to have it. It was what I was thirsting for.
Unlike today where Reiki Master/Teachers are a dime a dozen, there were only two Reiki Master/Teachers in St. Louis in 1991 and I was soon enrolled in classes at the Whole Human Center in Maplewood, MO learning from Richard Cayce and Arthur Maines.
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes natural healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that a usually unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive and is the driving force behind the bodies ability to heal itself.
Somewhat different for me challenges arose because there was no pressure applied and Reiki required me to cultivate the ability to be present and instead of a state of “doing” it was coming from a state of “being” in the here and now. Within 2½ years I had completed the Reiki Master/ Teacher level, sought out other teachers nationwide to study with, and was now ready to teach and share with others what was now forming into my life path of Energy Medicine and natural healing.
Around 1994, while teaching massage therapy classes for Carole at the new Healing Arts Center for Education school, two students insisted that I attend an upcoming Pranic Healing class to be taught by Stephen Co in St. Louis for the first time.
Pranic Healing is a highly evolved and tested system of energy medicine developed by Grand Master Choa Kok Sui that utilizes prana to balance, harmonize and transform the body’s energy processes. Prana is a Sanskrit word that means life-force. This invisible bio-energy or vital energy keeps the body alive and maintains a state of good health. In acupuncture, the Chinese refer to this subtle energy as Chi. It is also called Ruach or the Breath of Life in Hebrew.
Pranic Healing was described like acupuncture without needles and without touching the body, only working on the chakras and the energy field surrounding the body.
Insatiable in my desire for more knowledge, wisdom and understanding I immersed myself in every class developed by Grand Master Choa Kok Sui, attending them repeatedly.
By now, perhaps like you, I was beginning to see a pattern, like a golden thread of ancient wisdom, that flowed through and somehow connected all of these amazing modalities that were exploding into our culture like a field of flowers blooming where once there were none.
And even now I am happy to say that the Healing Arts Center, which Carole handed to me in 1996 to steward and nurture and grow, is “The House That Reiki Built!”
And imagine me, small town Crystal City boy, with only a high school diploma in traditional education, being asked to educate on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) at Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes Jewish Hospital, St. John’s Mercy Hospital, Injury Specialists Drs. Barry and Rachel Feinberg’s renowned Pain Clinic, and Jewish Hospital College of Nursing and Allied Health, just to name a few. It seemed unreal until people told me that I have earned what could certainly be called a “Doctorate in Complementary and Alternative Medicine” if there had been one.
And even though my current practice is primarily an expression of Dr. Robert Boyd’s Bio Craniopathy, known worldwide as a pioneering physical structural modality, my background allows me to be fully aware of its implications for my clients’ energy structure as well.
So when professionals and laypersons alike ask me where do I suggest they begin to learn Energy Medicine, for home or office, I most often reply, “it doesn’t matter where, just start, now!”
And there is no need for you to study them all like I did. You can find the one or ones that speak to you at a deep level and meet your needs.
Some modalities like Reiki are more Yin, receptive and allowing. Pranic Healing is more Yang, active and dynamic. Touch for Health I see as a balance of both. Breathwork can be an expression of either, depending on what the client needs.
In my opinion they are all good and have their place. A place in your family and professional life, a place in our culture, and a place in modern health care.
Because, you see, the time is indeed now. There is no turning back for our culture, because rapidly it is being recognized, researched and proven that everything is energy and this means that anything is possible!
And in the future we may all be able to look back and see that the experts were correct, as prophetic seers of what was to come. Energy Medicine was indeed the medicine of the future!
Energy Medicine? Really? I’d bet my life on it!