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5 Myths about energy healing that will surprise you

Gabrielle Pelicci, Ph.D. is a leading expert on Holistic Medicine. She was recently featured on MSNBC as a Know Your Value finalist.

Debunking myths about energy healing

I’ve always been super sensitive — as if I could feel what others were feeling. I used to think it was crazy to be so affected by the mood and energy of others.

In my mid-20s, I met a woman named Carol who called herself a Reiki healer; she was short and eccentric like that psychic lady from the Poltergeist movies. She invited me to her house to meet some other healers and learn about “energy.” To be honest, it scared me a little. I envisioned a coven of women chanting and conjuring spirits, like witches around a cauldron. I debated and hesitated about going, but my curiosity got the best of me.

As it turns out, my fantasies were dead wrong.

Carol was a nurse and she had been studying energy healing therapies like Reiki and Healing Touch for 20 years. She had a gentle, soothing voice and put me in a deep state of relaxation without even touching my body — she hovered her hands over my head, my heart and my limbs, and within minutes, I was floating on a soft cloud of bliss.

She invited me to give it a try. She explained how everything was made of energy — even the Earth — and I could draw that energy into my body with breathing and direct the energy to others. I was shocked to find, as I held my hands slightly above her, that I could detect different sensations and vibrations emanating from her body — hot and cold, sharp and smooth, full and depleted. All of a sudden, my “super sensitivity” made sense. Carol said I was a natural energy healer.

The term “energy healer” may invoke images of crystals and incense and angel cards, but it’s actually a legit profession now and is practiced in medical settings all over the world. Here are some myths about energy healing to watch out for:

1. Energy healing is a new-age therapy

Many people think that energy healing is a new-age therapy, but ‘chi’ and ‘prana’ have been around for thousands of years in Asia. Before there were hospitals and doctors, the local medicine woman or shaman was ‘laying on hands’ to heal illnesses and treat diseases. Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine still use energy points and channels to measure health and well-being today.

2. Energy healing is unscientific

One of the most common things I hear from people when I tell them that I practice Energy Medicine is that there is no science to back it up. The reality is that we have hundreds of research studies demonstrating the benefits of energy healing for improved immune function, reduced pain, faster recovery from surgery and dozens of other conditions.

3. Nobody is using energy healing

Many Americans — between 30 and 70 percent of adults, depending on their age — use health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western or conventional medicine. This includes energy healing therapies like acupuncture, qi gong, and Healing Touch.

4. Energy healers are hippies

You don’t have to wear prayer beads and flowing skirts to be an energy healer. In fact, most practitioners are nurses, doctors, massage therapists and other licensed professionals. I’ve taught energy medicine at several top universities like UCLA and Saybrook Graduate School.

5. Energy healing requires special talent or ability

Anyone can learn how to be an energy healer. If you have a calling to help others, if you feel at home with spiritual things, if you feel charged when you are in nature or sacred spaces, if you believe in the interconnectedness of mind-body-spirit — these are common characteristics for people who are drawn to energy healing.

If you're wondering where to start with your career in energy healing, visit my website and sign up for a free discovery session. I would love to talk to you about the career options for energy healers.

This post is part two of 10 in a blog series about integrative health therapies worth knowing. Did you miss my earlier post? You can read it here: 3 Things a celebrity massage therapist wants you to know about your body.

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