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lifeflame's avatar

Energy healers - how would you explain what you do to the average person?

Asked by lifeflame (5907points) February 24th, 2012

I’ve practised a form of hands on healing for years now (akin to reiki, but much simpler form) but it’s always been a somewhat private practice, akin to prayer or meditation. I go to place where we practice together every week, and sometimes I bring my friends there too.

I volunteered to teach hands-on-healing at the “free school” the Occupy movement here in Hong Kong has set up, and for the first time, I’m having to articulate this practice to people who may not be so familiar with this form.

The point here is not to convince people whether the healing can “work” or not, for me that really isn’t the point. Rather, it is to share the experience of letting them know that we all have this capacity to access our qi / prana… that it’s a dimension of ourselves that we—if we wish to—can get in touch with and share with others.

So for the jellies who heal here—how do you explain what you do to those around you, in a way that makes it accessible to them?

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jazmina88's avatar

I have talents in crystals and stones. I give folks rocks.
I am not formally trained either and frustrated because we could do so much more if we open up to the possibilities.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@lifeflame Great question, and I really wish I had an answer for you, but I can’t find the right words to explain it. I go to a fabulous lady who is a craniosacral therapist and a reiki therapist, and I know a few of the techniques that I’ve used when giving massage. I just can’t find the words to describe how it works.

Just so you know, Fluther is an amazing website with amazing people, but 99% of the members are complete skeptics (and sometimes just downright rude as hell) when it comes to energy healing/homeopathy and other natural treatments. You won’t get a real answer to questions regarding those subjects here.

rebbel's avatar

If it works, and if so, how, I have no idea, but I can do one thing: when my girlfriend has a headache I put my hand on the crown of her head.
I start with slightly touching her hair (with a spread hand), after which I increase pressure very slowly (this takes two to three minutes).
At the maximum level of pressure (I make sure my hand as well as my fingers apply pressure) I go the reversed route; I slowly decrease pressure (again, in a few minutes time period) untill I lose contact with her head/hair.
She (says that she) got rid of the ache.
My hand and arm are very heavy and ‘loaded’ for a couple of minutes (this could very well be lactid acid, I am aware).

Pandora's avatar

Are you trying to describe what it does. I like to read a lot about this kind of stuff. Never really went to a healers or anything but I think to sum it up, its releasing blocked energy. I kind of agree with the main principals of healing. Our bodies certainly hold a lot of energy in it. If anyone doubts just show them how we are able to release electricity from our bodies using static electricity.
We are bodies that have nerves that run from top to bottom. All constantly connected. I like to think of nerves like live cable wires. To much activity somewhere and there is this terrible backlash that can either interupt activity somewhere or overcharge an area. Now this can either be from an ill organ or thyroid or any other part or the nerves can cause the illness. Either way one effects the other.
So the whole healing part is getting these blockages open and have your highway of nerves back on track doing what they are meant to do. At least that is my interpetation of reiki.
I won’t dispute what I never experienced myself but I see it has worked great for hundreds of years. I just think it has a very real physical reason that it does work for many. Of course in the end if people truly doubt something as working, than they will never find it helps them. First course of any healing is to let go of stress. If you doubt something working than stress becomes the chinese wall.

gorillapaws's avatar

I would explain to them how the Placebo effect works. That’s what’s actually happening, so in the interest of being open and honest with your patients by providing them accurate information so they can make an informed consent, explaining the Placebo is the only ethical option. To convince them otherwise would be a deliberate fraud, and would put you in the same category as medical con men.

elbanditoroso's avatar

You’re going to have a heck of a time. The issue is that to a lot of people, energy healing is a scam.

So you have the double whammy – trying to explain that what you do is real and legitimate, and THEN describing in a few words how YOU fit into the big picture. Together that is a hard slog, because you’re having to climb two different hills to get there.

In the world we live in now, people don’t want to hear an explanation or a long speech; they want a quick answer that is simple. And it’s hard to put your description into a 10 word explanation that is meaningful.

Good luck, I hope you find the words, but it won’t be easy.

dabbler's avatar

Balance and Flow. Causal body healing involves promoting energy flows where there may be build-ups or deficits, and unblocking crystalizations/blockages, getting the flow going.
Visualizations can be employed as well as statement of explicit intentions, always in positive terms.
A good chakra tune-up can complement causal-body healing, emphasizing the bija mantras of the chakras and either their astral body colors (rainbow ROYGBI,gold/white from root to crown) or the causal-body chakra colors (more subtle). This process visits each of the major energy centers (chakras) and welcomes the natural harmonies of each of them in turn. A good channeler can sense blockage or overactivity in any of them and apply more tuning or unblocking methods as required.

mattbrowne's avatar

Energy healing is harmless when people are not seriously sick. It might feel good because touch releases oxytocin and the social bonding that is involved is beneficial too. The fancy terminology of prana, meridians, auras, and chakras can give people some hope. But the effect of the whole thing is small.

If people are seriously sick, relying on energy healing – like homeopathy – can become downright dangerous, because it does practically nothing to deal with the actual sickness. In this case giving people false hope is fraud. It can even get people killed.

In short: energy healing is pseudoscience. Here’s a scientific article dealing with the phenomenon:

So energy healing cannot be explained to the skeptical average person.

lifeflame's avatar

Wow – I had no idea that this question would be so polarising (or so modded)...

It seems like what a lot of people are getting stuck on is whether it “works” (a.k.a – whether it is able to heal sick people).

But what if we thought of it like meditation, prayer or tai chi, and focused instead on the experience of exchanging energy, rather than the result?

Because I’m not even trying to “heal” people per se, any more than tai chi is specifically designed to heal people. (In fact, if you ran to me bleeding I would go get a first aid kit) Certainly, people may benefit physically, emotionally, spiritually as a result, but frankly, if that happens, great. It seems to me that the actual experience of accessing that calm and balance—for both practitioner and person receiving —to be a good thing.

Anyway, I’m particularly curious to hear from people who actually practice or have experienced it.

p.s. @Pandora : this is the first time I’ve heard of the expression “Chinese wall”. Being Chinese myself I find it pretty funny.

LostInParadise's avatar

Touch is our most intimate sense. Just think about the effects of hugging or being tickled. I remember reading about an experiment with monkeys that showed the importance of physical contact between mother and newborn infant. I doubt that any of this can be explained in terms of conscious reactions. It would be a good idea to subject energy healing to a proper scientific study to determine its strengths and limitations.

gorillapaws's avatar

@lifeflame The concern is about informed consent. There is an ethical requirement of medical practitioners that require them to fully inform patients of the nature of the procedure, the risks, alternatives and their efficacy so they can consent to the procedure with the best possible information. There is no question that patients will experience some benefit from any treatment (even sugar pills), but in order to be a useful treatment, it needs to demonstrate that it perform better than fake treatments. I have no doubt that “it works” but that it’s working via the placebo effect.

The only ethical method of fully informing your patients “explaining what you do” would be to explain how the placebo effect works (because research in the field indicates this is the mechanism). Furthermore, I believe if you’re limiting your claims to “emotional and spiritual” healing, then none of this really applies (I’ll back you up 100%). I fully believe that meditation, relaxation and other similar techniques are very helpful for many people (including myself). It’s only when you’re making claims that you’re treating actual medical diseases, disorders or conditions when informed consent becomes an issue. I know many energy healers have made these claims in the past, and thus my response above.

I have no interest in debating the facts with you (that’s not the intent of your question), I’m simply answering your question that you are ethically obligated to fully inform your patients of these issues (depending on the nature of the claims you’re making).

mattbrowne's avatar

@lifeflame – If you see it as a form of meditation, I’m fine with it. There are numerous scientific studies showing the benefits of good meditation. If you interpret the term energy as some kind of symbol in a meditation I’m fine too. Just don’t pretend you are able to treat patients. You are not. Concepts like creating vibrating sub-atomic particles, biofields and astral bodies are scientific nonsense. This has nothing to do with real medicine.

wilma's avatar

A “healing touch” of course is very real in the sense that it can help a person produce oxytocin, endorphins and relax, among other things. All of these that are helpful in healing. When used on it’s own, it can be very helpful in curing minor discomforts. When used in conjunction with more traditional forms of medical treatment, more serious ailments can be treated more effectively.

mattbrowne's avatar

@wilma – Yes, but no one has to become an energy healer. Any kind, warm, caring and empathic person can do it without pranas, meridians, auras, and chakras. Just observe any caring mother and father who are comforting their sick child.

wilma's avatar

I agree @mattbrowne, we all have the power, some are just better at using it than others are. Many people don’t even recognize that they are using a healing touch, it is instinct to them.

dabbler's avatar

@mattbrowne “Yes, but no one has to become an energy healer.”
That’s true. You already are one, at least you have everything you need.

“Any kind, warm, caring and empathic person can do it without pranas, meridians, auras, and chakras.” This is not true. You simply don’t know what you’re talking about.
Did you mean : without knowing they are using pranas, meridians, auras, and chakras? Sure, that’s true. We are all innate energy healers.

Unbroken's avatar

My reiki healer explained it to me as energy. There is potential energy all around us she gathers it and focuses it through her hands it doesn’t come from her she just transfers it. I was slightly skeptical but I gave it a go. What I found was my body relaxing knots twitching and loosening that would have been a painful and intense massage. But there was more then a muscular response. There was energy and lightness I found my frontal lobe also responding it felt like it was activating. She also added music brain wave or mind entrainment that I often use at home now.

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