Energy therapy is an alternative medicine practice based on the idea that each person has an energy field that encloses the physical body. Practitioners of energy therapy believe that a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health depend upon the free flow of this energy throughout the body, whereas negative emotions and health issues result from blockages in this energy flow. The basic idea of energy therapy is that the removal of these blockages in the energy field will restore health to the body, mind, and spirit.
Disturbances in this energy field can result from various physical or psychological insults. These can range in severity from traumatic physical injuries to smaller insults like minor stress or even eating something that causes a temporary sickness. In general, it is believed that a person with a healthy energy flow can deal with these minor imbalances, whereas a larger issue is more likely to cause an energy blockage even in a previously healthy person. Because these energy blockages are thought to weaken a person’s ability to fight off further minor insults, a cycle of worsening negative emotions and health issues may begin.
Energy healing therapy can be defined as any type of holistic practice that aims to restore proper energy balance. Most of these practices involve healing sessions with a practitioner, such as Reiki or pranic healing. Other people consider practices such as Qigong to be a form of energy therapy because its goal is to cultivate qi, or life force energy.
Reiki is a form of touch therapy in which it is believed the practitioner acts as a channel for the universal life force by touching a patient. This universal force acts as a healing mechanism for imbalances in the patient’s energy field, leading to release from the symptoms that resulted from the energy imbalance. Pranic healing involves a similar transfer of the universal energy from practitioner to patient, but pranic healers transmit this force by focusing their concentration on the patient in the absence of touch. Both of these practices claim to help with issues as varied as stress, physical pain, or actual diseases.
In addition to healing purposes, energy therapy is also considered a potential path for spiritual development. Many energy therapy practitioners believe that people contain chakras, or centers of energy, distributed throughout the body from the base of the spine to the top of the head. These practitioners believe that spiritual development and enlightenment can only occur when the chakras are unblocked.
In energy theory, chakras can be blocked by psychological or physical traumas, resulting in various negative symptoms, depending on in which chakra the blockage has occurred. Several methods are used to clean blockages from the chakras, or balance the chakras, including recitation of mantras, meditation, the use of specific crystals or scents, or listening to certain sounds. Practicing yoga is also believed to be a method of balancing the chakras.