True wellness begins at the energetic level. With Energy Healing, integrative physician Dr. Ann Marie Chiasson offers a complete online training course in medically sound practices for energetic self-care. Drawing from the material she teaches at Dr. Andrew Weil's Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Chiasson presents six teaching sessions of hands-on training movement, meditation, breathing, and touch-based techniques to improve your health and enhance your vitality.
Your seven chakras are the blueprint of your soul.
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With the Chakra Activation on-demand course, this internationally recognized expert on the body's subtle energy system shows you how to energize and fine-tune every dimension of your chakras.
Over 20 years ago, a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon and researcher named Norman Shealy was introduced to a young woman with a special gift: She could see illness in other people with only her intuition to guide her. After extensive testing, Dr. Shealy concluded that her ability to diagnose illness even from remote distances was 93 percent accurate. Today that medical intuitive Caroline Myss is a legend in the field of intuition and energy healing, with three New York Times bestsellers ...
The following frequently asked questions have been answered by energy healer and bestselling author Cyndi Dale, author of the landmark The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy (Sounds True, 2009). For more information about this groundbreaking book and the work of Cyndi Dale visit cyndidale.com
Energy healers understand that physical reality—including the body—is built on subtle energies. An energetic practitioner can peer through the physical energy of body tissue and see the world beneath—the swirling layers of subtle energies, often called qi or life energy, which form our life force and subtle energetic anatomy. Energy healing involves uncovering, manipulating, and releasing the energy behind sickness or disease. It also involves inviting energy that promotes wellness.
There are two types of energy: physical and subtle. Either type can cause—or heal—disease or other problems. Physical or sensory energy is measurable. Physicians and “allopathic” (Western-trained) health-care providers specialize in physical energy. Harmful physical energies include germs, chemical toxins, energetic fields (such as x-rays), and forces from traumatic events such as car accidents. Typical physical treatments include prescription medication, surgery, mechanical diagnostic equipment (such as MRIs and EKGs), and physical therapy.
Subtle or invisible energy is less measurable than physical energy. This subtle energy is the specialty of the energy healer. Disease-provoking subtle energies include troublesome emotions, negative attitudes, and alterations in the various “invisible” fields that lie inside and outside of our physical body. Subtle healing often includes the manipulation of the subtle energies, but it may also include organic and natural remedies and behavioral changes.
This energetic anatomy is composed of three basic types of energetic structures that operate much like our physical systems. There are energetic channels, including the meridians; energetic centers, such as the chakras; and energy fields, including the auric field. Most energy specialists tap into at least one of these subtle structures to see what’s really going on and alter a problem at its source. As stated, energy healers also work with physical energies as well, usually recommending natural solutions to support the body in regaining health. These might include diet changes; exercise; natural supplements and medicines; and treatments such as acupuncture, spinal manipulation, hands-on healing, and bodywork.
Should I see an energy healer instead of a doctor?
Energy healing is not a replacement for Western medicine; rather, the two traditions complement one another. Western medicine is well-equipped for diagnosing and treating many diseases and health conditions.
That said, many conditions are caused by problems that can’t easily be identified or treated by allopathic means alone. For example, most doctors don’t search for the negative thoughts, emotions, or “stuck energies” underlying a disease, and few prescribe natural treatments to support our body’s normal healing processes. How many Western doctors have suggested yoga or qigong to restore your energy flow, or asked you about events in your past that might be creating today’s dissatisfactions?
We turn to energy specialists for this level of treatment—to get “under our skin” so we can alter the subtle energies that underlie physical reality. These healers can help you change the energy creating a physical problem, thereby changing your reality.
There are so many different kinds of energy healing. How do I know which one to try first?
The best approach is to begin with analyzing your own system. Typically, I tell people who are considering energy healing, especially if they haven’t done it before, to sit down and spend some time with themselves.
Write down your symptoms and carefully note how they affect your life. Then, write down what kind of changes you’d like to see, what you’d like to be different.
For example, let’s say you are experiencing chronic pain. First, I would suggest that you look closely at your symptoms and how these affect your day-to-day life. Perhaps it makes you depressed, makes you feel bad about yourself. Maybe it inhibits your activities; you cannot play with their kids; or you cry a lot or cannot engage in the hobbies you love.
So be as thorough and holistic as you can—look into all areas of your life, including the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. What’s so beautiful about energy healing is that you can actually tap into different kinds of modalities or practitioners to deal with all of the various components of your life.
Next, I would suggest that you prioritize. It would be understandable, staying with our example of chronic pain, if your first priority would be for the pain to decrease. But perhaps the second priority is to be able to spend more time with your kids or your friends, or to concentrate better at work, or to get back to your garden.
So once you get a sense of your top two or three priorities, you can then start to search for the right type of energy medicine for you.
For example, pain relief is often effectively treated with acupuncture or with chiropractic care. There is a tremendous amount of statistical evidence showing that these two modalities are highly effective in treating chronic pain. Or, a technique such as hands-on healing. So you can start to zoom-in on what’s going to provide the specific results that you are looking for.
Then you might look at the hobbies, the life changes, or the support pieces you need in order to respond to the depression or grief that you are experiencing. This exploration might take you into a second arena, or category. Perhaps you will look for a reiki healer or someone who works energetically as a therapist or a life coach.
I think the most important thing to do is to start with your own self analysis, create a set of priorities, and then match those priorities with the different kinds of energy specialties that are available in the area where you live.
I got some energy work done, and I didn’t feel anything. How do I know that it’s working?
While some people will feel physical sensations or a shift in energy during or immediately following a healing session, many people feel nothing at all. This is completely normal. Have you ever taken a prescription medicine and found it takes a few days (or longer) for the symptoms to improve? Energy medicine can work the same way. You might feel something—or nothing. The experience of energy healing is very personal.
Some people are highly sensitive to energetic changes; others only feel them when they occur physically. Because of this, people report a variety of reactions during and after an energy session. These most frequently include changes in body temperature, emotional release, striking thoughts, memory recall and flashbacks, an abating or activation of symptoms, and sometimes a “healing crisis,” or a bout of emotional and physical challenges, including illness. This crisis is usually short-lived and indicates that the emotions, beliefs, spiritual misperceptions, or physical energy that has caused the problem is being released through the body.
Should I tell my doctor I am seeing an energy healer?
I feel it’s very important that we are able to communicate genuinely and honestly with any healthcare practitioner in our lives, energy-based or otherwise. If we’re embarrassed or ashamed about what we’re doing in our life, that’s really not the best sign. If we’re embarrassed to tell our doctor, for example, that we’re taking vitamins or supplements or getting an acupuncture treatment, we need to look inward to see if we ourselves believe in what we’re doing. If we do, and if this is not workable in relationship with your primary medical caregiver, it is worth considering a change.
I have personally found that more and more allopathic (traditional Western medical) professionals are quite open to at least some types of energy healing, or holistic practice. Give it a try; you might be surprised.
Another reason it’s important to have a doctor with whom you can speak openly is that there are some sorts of holistic care that can compromise traditional care. For example, let’s say you are scheduled for surgery and you’re currently working with a naturopath or a nutritionist. It is imperative that your doctor know this. You may be taking certain vitamins or supplements, or be on a certain type of diet, that could potentially affect the surgery.
For your own safety, it is best that you have the kind of doctor that you can be completely honest with.
Will my insurance pay for energy healing?
It depends and varies state by state. Some states, such as Washington, the home of Bastyr University, are really open. Some states do in fact have plans that provide various forms of reimbursement for some types of energy healing. In general, the more you can work within the mainstream process, the more likely you are to have energy healing covered as part of your care.
For example, if you work through a mainstream medical doctor in the treatment of chronic pain or an accident or something like alcoholism, you can often get certain types of alternative care covered. Physical therapy, biofeedback, acupuncture, bodywork, or even naturopathy may be covered, if they come as a referral from your primary physician.
What’s interesting is that approximately a third more monies are now spent annually, in the US, on holistic, un-reimbursed expenses, than are on traditional expenses. So the trend is to pay for what we need rather than worry if we’re going to get paid back for what we need.
Can I take my child to see an energy healer? What about my pet?
Absolutely. In fact, many practitioners, including myself, have found that children and animals are often more receptive and shift quicker and more gently than adults as their issues aren’t so entrenched.
In Minneapolis, where I live, we have several holistic vets, and I know a lot of mainstream people who take their animals there. What they are discovering is that the animals are able to receive an expanded version of care rather than just surgery or a pill.
Children’s issues are not as entrenched as our adult issues. Many symptoms, and there is science to substantiate this, are caused or locked into the physical body by emotions, especially long-held emotions. There are studies that show that emotion can get trapped in the body and create an actual, physical block because of the tension that results. As a result, the part of the body housing this blockage is more inclined to develop cancer, muscle strain, bone problems, arthritis, or other various conditions. What has been discovered is that these conditions can in fact be healed or at least positively shifted by getting more energy, both physical and subtle, moving through the part of the body in question.
Children, because their emotional issues haven’t gestated as long, are better able than adults, in many cases, to process and heal stuck energy that is causing unwanted symptoms.
In sum, both children and animals respond quite well to energy healing.
When should I see a regular doctor instead of an energy healer?
I believe that if you have any concern that is affecting the vital components of your body and life, you should see a mainstream doctor.
If you believe you may have a core illness or disease—pain related, heart related, cancer, or auto-immune, it’s very important that you work with a mainstream specialist. They are very good at diagnosing, which is helpful even if you’re going to springboard into and/or supplement with energy healing. Also, there are techniques and methods that mainstream medicine can provide which energy healing cannot, for example surgery.
Along with core physical concerns, mainstream medicine can be very helpful when it comes to even emotional and mental conditions. Sometimes emotional issues or so-called mental issues are really bio-chemical in nature and the only way we can really affect a change is to use mainstream methods.
All this being said, I usually recommend that people use energy healing as at least an adjunct to the mainstream care they receive, even in more serious situations. Energy healing can help you to look at the underlying causes of your condition, which are not usually addressed in mainstream care. For example, there may be certain beliefs that are contributing to your situation, or emotional or spiritual factors which are involved.
There are studies that show, for instance, with cancer, that patients who join support groups, that look at their beliefs, that unlock their long-held memories, live longer and have a higher success rate when using conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
Is there proof that energy healing works?
There is an increasing amount of statistically viable evidence that energy healing works, both in terms of cures and healing as well as providing emotional support so that we’re better able to cope with the diseases and conditions that we do have.
Please see our section on Science and Energy Healing for a wealth of information detailing scientific research on energy healing.
Are there any problematic side effects of energy medicine that I should be aware of before I start treatment?
Yes. First and foremost there is the side effect that I would call a “healing crisis.” When we engage in energy healing work, we will often go through a detoxification process where toxins on all levels—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—will be released into our awareness. During such process, some people report feeling worse. For a time, they may experience very strong or even unpleasant emotions or remember painful childhood memories. What’s in the way has to come out. And so it’s not atypical to experience a healing crisis as we engage with energy work.
The other major side effect is the simple fact that energy healing can bring about real change in our lives, and, while many of us want change, change can also be painful and disruptive. Somebody getting energetically treated for alcoholism, for example, may initially have some physical detoxification occur—some emotions and some long-held memories might come up. But all of a sudden that person looks around and sees what’s not working in their life and that requires change in response. Perhaps they are being called to relate to people differently or to look at their life purpose and work in a different way. We’re often called to action as a result of the healing process and that can be stressful.
But the positive and upside is that energy healing ultimately leads to positive change. As stressful as it can be to do the internal and the external work, our lives will improve. So that’s the ultimate side effect.
Are energy healers regulated and licensed? How do I know if I've found a good one?
There are some types of energy healing that require licensure and are somewhat regulated, if not fully regulated. But many branches are not. For example, chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy all involve institutions that regulate, grant licensure, and provide an ongoing training process in the form of Continuing Education Units.
However, many types of energy healing and energy healers operate at a completely unlicensed level. And then many function at some level in between. For example, reiki practitioners follow a certain protocol and are trained in an organized, systemized way, however are not regulated, per se, or licensed by the state of federal government. Other modalities, such as chakra or aura healing, are not licensed at all.
The key here is to use your common sense and your own intuition when choosing a modality and/or practitioner. This goes for choosing an energy healer or a conventional doctor. Ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations. If you see a practitioner of any kind and you feel funny about that person, they may not be the right person for you to work with.
Please see the final question in this Section for more information about how to choose an energy healer and what questions you might ask before you begin treatment.
Is all of energy medicine really just the placebo effect?
Studying the placebo effect is very interesting. Oftentimes someone is given a placebo, a benign substance with no known healing properties, but genuinely believes that the substance is going to help them. In these situations, we sometimes see better results than if the patient simply took a course of conventional pharmaceutical drugs.
We are all made of energy. In my experience, I would say that even allopathic (conventional Western) medicine is a form of energy healing. Surgery tends to work whether somebody believes the surgery is going to work or not. And that logic carries over into energy healing. If we are in fact made of energy, both physical and subtle, then certain procedures just will work, because they work.
In sum, the data shows, through numerous studies, that energy healing makes a positive difference in our well-being and in our physical condition.
Please see our What Does Science Say section for a wealth of information detailing scientific research on energy healing
Has anyone actually seen the chakras, or is this just religious mythology? Why do some systems identify seven chakras while others work with eight, nine, or twelve?
In terms of the scientific validity of the chakras, I refer most people to research conducted by Dr. Valerie Hunt at UCLA, and additionally to studies done by Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama in Japan. Through this and other pioneering research, we have “recordings” of the chakras, which point to different vibratory bands existing at the various parts of the body. When stimulated, these centers of energy have been shown to have the same kind of effects on the body, mind, and emotions that have been recorded by practitioners around the world for thousands of years.
In terms of the number of chakras, it is important to note that there are hundreds of chakra systems, reported cross-culturally over thousands of years. Each culture has its own way of understanding subtle energy and presenting the details of the various energetic systems. The Hindu tradition is probably the most well known when it comes to identifying and discussing the chakras; it is from this culture that we get the word “chakra,” literally meaning “wheel.” Even within the Hindu culture there is much debate as to how many energy centers there are.
I’m a proponent of a 12-chakra system, along with various other practitioners, which allows for working with not only chakras within the physical body, but also outside it. One of the most exciting discoveries in science is the proof that we’re not just closed systems, i.e., we don’t end at the skin. Our energy, our being, and our personality, in fact, extend beyond the skin into the electromagnetic fields that surround the body. And so these energy centers called the chakras, which are just prisms able to convert fast energy to slow energy and vice versa, also extend beyond the body.
So, in my view, the question really isn’t: how many chakras are there. But is a practitioner desiring to or willing to work with the energy centers that are outside the physical body as well as those inside.
Please see our What Does Science Say section for more information.
I listen to really good music all the time and in some ways it makes me feel better. Is this sound healing?
It is! It absolutely is. Healing in the broadest sense simply means to be whole, or to recognize the wholeness that we already have. So feeling better—isn’t that what healing ends up being all about?
There are two basic kinds of energies that affect us: electromagnetic (some of which is measurable and some of which is not) and mechanical energy, such as sound. We are just as affected—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually—by mechanical energy, as in sound or sonic waves, as we are by light, which is what electromagnetic energy is all about.
Of course, the converse is also true. Music that’s jarring to someone, or doesn’t suit their own personal energetic makeup, can be harmful or disturbing to their sense of well-being.
I’ve heard that energy healers can see an aura around my body, which can tell them if I am healthy or not. Is there any scientific proof for this?
There actually is. There is some statistical evidence and research, as well as visual research, that’s showing, for instance, that a disease actually starts to penetrate this auric field before it hits the body. And in somebody that’s sick there’s a different set of vibrations or colors that are coming off the body.
Please see our What Does Science Say section for a wealth of information detailing scientific research on energy healing
I’ve heard that guided imagery, visualization, and self-hypnosis are just using your imagination. How can this really heal my body?
Our imagination can affect us both positively and negatively. There is a lot of statistical evidence showing that people who believe they are sick have a greater chance of getting sick. That’s some of the principle underlying the nocebo effect, which states that if you think a substance is harmful for you, it can actually create a condition or disturbance in the physical body. So our imagination is a powerful tool for helping us get sick, but also in making us well.
The imagination is really just an extension of the mind. Since the 1970s, quite a bit of statistical evidence has shown that we truly operate on mind over matter—that what we think, what we perceive, and how we view ourselves and other people is actually what then becomes real, concrete and tangible in our experience.
So I don’t decry the imagination as something bad or somehow “unreal” or irrelevant. But in order to really effect change in healing, we need to join imagination with both belief and action—imagination alone isn’t going to do the trick, guided imagery alone isn’t necessarily going to heal us. In addition to the application of these powerful techniques, we have to believe that we’re worth healing and that it’s important to take the action steps to help ourselves or to help another human being. So there are a number of factors, along with the focused use of imagination, that intersect to create healing.
What does a medical intuitive do?
A medical intuitive is an intuitive person who works with one or many forms of intuition to perceive the presence of a disease, the basis or the cause of a disease or a condition, and some potential solutions.
There are various types of intuition. For example, one medical intuitive might work with more a sensing or a knowing or get feelings in his or her body. Another might be more visual and get pictures that describe what’s going on, metaphorically or literally. And yet another may be more verbal and hear or sense messages from somebody else’s body that can indicate the presence of a disease, what might be causing it, and what might help it.
Can I practice energy medicine on myself, or do I have to visit a practitioner?
Yes, you can certainly practice energy medicine on yourself, but, like anything, there is a skill involved which requires practice and the learning of a certain set of principles. You can go out and drive a car, for example, but you usually have to take a course to figure out how to do it in a safe and effective manner—to learn what a stop sign is and what the speed limit is, and how to avoid getting stopped for a traffic offense. Energy healing works the same way.
Does energy healing work at a distance or must I be physically present with the healer to receive benefit?
Statistically and anecdotally, it has been seen and demonstrated that many types of energy healing can be just as effective on an absentee or distant basis as when the practitioner is present with the patient or the client.
Please see our What Does Science Say section for a wealth of information detailing scientific research on energy healing
Can energy healing help me to relieve stress and to relax?
Yes, absolutely. The ability of energy healing to reduce stress is probably the most supported and statistically evidenced benefit that it has to offer. It’s terrific in encouraging what Dr. Herbert Benson termed “the Relaxation Response.” The truth is that we will heal quicker and experience more joy in our lives the more relaxed we are.
How does energy healing define “health”? How is this definition different, if at all, from the definition given by conventional care?
The field of energy healing defines “health” using the word “whole.” So in energy healing, you’re considered “healthy” if you’re able to embrace and believe in your own essential wholeness. Somebody can be whole and have a body part that’s not working, or have cancer or have heart disease and still be whole, because the essence of who we are is that we’re whole human beings.
And therefore an energy healer approaches the body holistically, meaning that they’re going to look at the variety of components that create a good and a solid life—not only one arena, such as the physical.
Traditional, or Western, allopathic medicine tends to be very mechanistic and will look primarily, if not exclusively, at the physical condition—physical symptoms and physical cures. Here, health is defined as the decrease or the disappearance of certain symptoms. But, according to energy healers, you can have the disappearance of a particular set of symptoms without a resultant state of “health.”
For example, say you injured your knee and underwent surgery in response to the pain you were experiencing. As a result, the pain has gone away. Are you now whole? Are you now “healthy”? Western medicine may say yes. But Eastern medicine, or an energy healer, may not be so quick to say. They may ask—“Okay, are you now able to walk more? Are you now able to play with your grandkids and have more joy in your life?” etc.
What training opportunities are available for me to learn energy healing?
There are many opportunities and it really depends on which type of energy healing practice you are interested in. Something as regulated as acupuncture or chiropractic is going to take, frankly, as much study as going to medical school. Similarly, becoming a certain type of therapeutic practitioner, for example an emotional therapeutic practitioner, might take as long as becoming a traditional psychologist.
On the other hand, there are many shorter courses that you can take to learn various types of energy healing, such as therapeutic touch, homeopathy, hands-on healing, and many others.
The most important thing is to figure out what you want to learn and then see if that’s really possible for you, given your time and resources.
What’s the difference between “energy healing” and “spiritual” healing such as prayer or the laying on of hands?
Spiritual healing is one type of energy healing. Energy healing is an umbrella; it substantiates itself with the belief that everything is made out of energy, and that you need to work at the subtle level of an energetic disturbance as well as at the physical or the apparent level, in order to bring about true healing.
Spiritual healing, in particular, concentrates on what’s happening inside of our spirit, or our soul, and how we work energetically through spiritual issues, through issues of self-love or our connection to the Divine.
Prayer, for instance, is concerned with recognizing and establishing, or re-establishing, a connection between the self and our higher power—the Divine, or God. Different types of energy healing specialists may not look at these types of issues at all.
How do I know that energy fields, which cannot be measured, really exist?
There’s an ever expanding wealth of statistical evidence that energy fields exist; not only relative to human beings, but for animals, plants, and for all living objects. Decades ago, science first took pictures of energy fields around plants which could be disturbed if, for instance, the plant was cut. Scientists have been exploring these fields ever since.
Must I subscribe to the worldviews of traditional cultures to benefit from their energy-healing techniques?
No, absolutely not. Even though most energy modalities are organized around a certain set of principles or philosophies, this is one of the cases where you can truly save the baby while throwing out the bath water. You can go to an acupuncturist, for example, and receive the many benefits without believing in all the principles that that acupuncturist or practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine subscribes to.
Is prayer a form of energy healing? Is there any evidence that it’s effective as a form of healing?
Yes it is a form of spiritual healing, which is one of the categories of energy healing. Frankly speaking, the studies are mixed on the healing effects of prayer by itself. There is quite a bit of research, for instance see the work of Dr. Larry Dossey, which show that prayer has effected change in people, animals, and even plants.
Many of the studies have also noted that people who pray are more likely to be a part of a spiritual community. Those in spiritual community have been shown to live longer and have healthier lives than people who aren’t.
So prayer itself may be part of the healing or the curative, but we have to also look at the type of person who prays. People who pray tend to be in a position of being less lonely, which does have medical consequences. They tend to be more connected with others and therefore more apt to have healthier behaviors than people who aren’t in those kinds of communities.
So, yes, prayer does function as a form of energy healing and many studies have demonstrated its positive effects in the lives of those who pray.
Are yoga and meditation forms of energy healing?
Yes, they are. The various types of yoga are based in knowledge of the energetic anatomy—specifically, the chakra system. And so yoga is just as much an energy-healing or a spiritual-healing process as it is any sort of physical exercise. Many yogic practices work directly to bring about awareness of and transformation within the subtle body.
We see similar effects with meditation. Over the last few decades, hundreds of scientific studies have been published that demonstrate the many varied benefits of meditation on the physical, mental, and emotional lives of meditators.
As with other forms of energy healing, meditators don’t need to believe in a certain set of principles or a certain religion, or a certain way of looking at God or the Divine, to receive the benefits of the practice. There’s substantial proof that meditation alone, especially when conducted over a long time period, has beneficial physical effects, calmative effects, and positive emotional effects as well.
How about food, nutrition, and exercise? Are these forms of energy healing?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, food/nutrition and exercise are really two of the main medicines in all holistic practices. Most energy healers, from all disciplines of energy practice, will tend to recommend healthy eating and some form of movement.
Eating properly and exercising the physical body is perhaps the most practical and functional way to receive energy healing. Anyone can do this.
Can energy healing be effective with treating serious, potentially terminal conditions such as cancer or AIDS? Shouldn’t I just stick with the traditional approach in very serious situations such as these?
I heartily recommend to all of my clients that they undergo mainstream diagnosis and the exploration of mainstream solutions in serious situations such as these. Statistical research has shown that energy healing, when used as an adjunct or support to conventional treatment, can make a huge difference in recovery and in the ability to cope with the stressors involved in treating these kinds of major diseases and conditions. Also, in some cases, the energy treatments themselves scientifically have been shown to be curative themselves.
Along with being supportive in the recovery from major illness, disease, or surgery, the various methods of energy healing also help to discover the various, multi-faceted causes of these conditions, which often underlie the disease. These deeper level causes are often overlooked by mainstream medicine.