Explaining Energy Work

In our “fix-me” culture, supporting wellness might seem like a soft target. It might seem less powerful or important than fixing disease. But in fact, helping a person to balance and strengthen their system can be very powerful, for healing and for prevention.

What we do is not a substitute for medical care. Reiki and other forms of energy work are often referred to as complementary care, holistic care, or wellness practices. We work alongside health care providers. A client with a health condition should be seen by an appropriate medical professional. A completely healthy client should at least receive regular check-ups.

Although we are not medical professionals, experienced energy work practitioners understand that what we do can have profound healing effects. I’ve seen clients and students reduce or eliminate the need for medications, greatly decrease symptoms, and heal rapidly from injury or disease.

We help clients heal by working to increase balance and wellness in the body, mind, and spirit. We support the whole system and the healing process.

Energy workers never “treat” any particular condition. We do take our clients’ conditions into account when considering how to work with them. For example, if I am giving Reiki to a person who has an active case of pneumonia, I will probably spend extra time in the area of the lungs and the axillary lymph nodes. But this is not because I am “treating” pneumonia. It is because the lungs and lymph system probably need extra support, since pneumonia is present.

Similarly, if I am providing shamanic sessions for a person who is dealing with cancer, I might consult with colleagues about what types of energy imbalances they have seen occurring with cancer. I might do a bit of research to find out more about the form of cancer, so I can understand which body systems are most affected. I want to be as prepared as possible to help the client. This doesn’t mean that I’m treating the cancer, but rather that I am viewing the cancer as a clue to the person’s energetic imbalances.

In other words, a client’s health conditions help us to assess underlying energetic issues. We assist the person to transform their energetic issues. The client is then in a better position to heal any conditions that have manifested.

I find that clients and students are often confused about what energy workers do. For many, it’s a new way to think about health. They aren’t accustomed to thinking proactively. They aren’t accustomed to thinking holistically. They aren’t accustomed to thinking about deep causes. For some, to even consider subtle energy patterns is a complete paradigmatic shift. And our clients are often under stress and feeling desperate – which doesn’t help any of us to think clearly or assimilate new ideas!

Sometimes I need to explain repeatedly what I am and am not doing, and why it could be helpful. I often wonder if I’m failing to communicate clearly, but in fact, it’s not surprising that repetition is required. For all of us in US culture, and probably in all Western cultures, it is a big stretch to think about health in ways that are proactive, holistic, and deep.

Those of us who do energy work are at the forefront of that stretch. So we need to take a deep breath, and explain energy work as clearly as we can to each other, to our clients, and to our society. By doing so, we can help our clients, and we can also help our society grow out of an approach towards health that has, in many ways, become superficial, narrowly utilitarian, and alienating.

Health care practitioners have an absolutely essential role to play, and so do we. We help our clients and students to access their natural healing abilities. We carry the much-needed message of balance, deep wellness, and personal power.

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