Basic Principles of Energy Healing lists principles of energy healing which are common to all types of energy healing. On this page, we discuss how systems differ. Various modalities have different philosophies, types of training, techniques used, models of the energy field and types of energy addressed.
How Systems Differ
Many forms of energy healing therapies already exist, and more are being developed all the time. The field of energy healing or “energy work” has a very wide range of programs and focuses. This is partly due to the fact that healers have a wide variety of backgrounds and natural gifts. Everyone has a different “energetic makeup”, and healing will be expressed differently through different people. When a healer starts to teach others, different techniques, structures and methods of teaching emerge.
TRAINING: APPRENTICESHIP VS. STANDARDIZED PROGRAM
Traditionally, healing was learned in an apprenticeship. Many people today still learn healing through an apprenticeship with an experienced healer. There are now, however, many programs which have been developed with a standardized kind of method or curriculum, so that the training does not necessarily occur with the originator of the program. Each way of learning has its value.
Standardized programs allow for large numbers of people to be trained in a particular style, which can create a pool of healers using the same technique for the sake of research. With a large group of people involved, organizations can be formed for development of standards of practice, study and certification of healers. A successful program can lead to public recognition and education about energy therapy. Those trained in a particular method are brought into association with others who speak a common language.
There are advantages also to learning as an apprentice. Study in an apprenticeship involves a one-to-one relationship with the teacher allowing for a depth of learning that may not be possible in a standardized curriculum. The learning can be tailored to the apprentice’s specific strengths and weaknesses, and can take into account the apprentice’s unique gifts. This can create a greater opportunity for intuitive development. An apprenticeship also allows the student to come into more intimate contact with and knowledge of the healer/teacher’s work.
SCIENTIFIC VS. SPIRITUAL UNDERPINNINGS
Some energy healing programs emerged from a more spiritual tradition, and some were born from a more scientific approach. Often they have more in common than they differ, despite the theoretical underpinnings. Even those which evolved within the nursing profession with a strong scientific base, such as Healing Touch and Therapeutic Touch, include reference to the spiritual levels of life. Most programs recognize “spiritual layers” of the energy field. Energy healing actually provides an arena where science and spirituality clearly meet.
Some energy healing systems have been created by healers with backgrounds in conventional medicine. These programs have a structure and language which makes them easy to integrate into the conventional medical system. There are also energy healing programs which have little to do with the conventional medical system, and may even have a very different focus, such as a focus on spiritual development or planetary healing.
A very obvious difference between programs is the actual techniques which are used. Many programs use similar techniques, while some are quite unique. The Basic Principles of Energy Healing describes the essential principles of how energy healing works and what the techniques do, but the mechanics and form of the techniques themselves can differ considerably. Techniques which involve the use of the hands are the most easy to recognize and describe as they involve actual positions and movements which can be seen. Energy healing can be accomplished through many avenues, however. Since it always involves the interaction of the energy field of the healer and healee, the work can be done without the use of hands.
In a sense, techniques are the most superficial aspect of an energy healing training. The development of consciousness and qualities of presence of the healer, as well as the healer’s energy field as an instrument of healing, is more essential and cannot be captured in the description of a technique. Energy healing programs will usually include specific techniques, but also training which develops the basic capacities of the healer.
Some programs include “attunements”. Reiki, which is probably the most common form of energy healing, has attunements as part of its training. Attunements are meant to open the student to healing energies, increase alignment with the “universal mind” and make touch more potent.
While some people feel receiving attunements has been a vital part of developing the capacity to heal, many people achieve equally satisfactory results without ever receiving any kind of formal attunement. The majority of programs do not involve attunements, but there will be some sort of process in the training which helps a person to increase sensitivity to energies and open up to greater energetic flow and higher energetic “vibrations”. This may simply happen as one automatically “resonates” with the energy field of the teacher, or it may be facilitated by meditative processes which enable one to enter a more centered and receptive state. Learning in a group setting amplifies the energy of individuals, and there a innumerable other ways that the expansion of healing capacity can occur.
TYPES OF ENERGY UTILIZED
Most programs make reference to some sort of universal life energy which has been recognized in various cultures and traditions throughout time as “chi”, “prana”, shakti, etc. “Reiki”, in fact, is often translated as “universal life energy”. Energy healing commonly involves increasing the flow and quantity of energy. Although this is an important part of energy healing, it is only one aspect. What occurs is actually a lot more complex, and hasn’t been fully understood or described by anyone at this time.
What can be said is that energy healing does not involve just one kind of energy or energetic frequency. The writings of Alice Bailey describe a number of energies which comprise the energy field, and two major categories of healing – “magnetic” in which “prana” (defined as “vital planetary fluid) is channeled through the hands and “radiatory” which involves a radiation of “soul energy”. This is only one example of the many kinds of energy which may be involved in healing. Different programs may involve both different energetic “qualities” or “frequencies” as well as varying techniques for using them in the service of healing.
Note: In addition, energy healing is not just a matter of increasing quantity and flow of energy. It can also involve balancing energies, which in some cases may be decreasing the energy in some areas of the energy field while increasing it in others. It can also involve re-patterning the flow of energy, as energy does flow in specific patterns and these can be enhanced or restructured. Various models have been proposed to describe the structure of the energy field (read below).
VARIATIONS IN MODELS OF ENERGY FIELD
Programs may have completely different models of the energy field with which they work. Many programs use depictions of the energy field which have had a long history, such as the chakra system. Others descriptions of the energy field have evolved more recently. Barbara Brennan’s elaborate description of the human energy field in Hands of Light has been adopted by many healers. Her model combines ancient understandings with her own observations.
There are many other descriptions which are highly unique and it is possible some represent structures of the field which are newly coming into being as a result of evolution or which are simply not observed by most people due to the limitations of their perceptions. (It requires development of the observer’s energy field to form a basis for what is observed!) Peggy DuBro, founder of EMF balancing, for example, describes a grid of energies which is unique.
Although not formally an energy healing program, the work of Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer (in the Awakening Your Lightbody course), works with “vibrational energy body” and “lightbody” centers which are described as being more subtle than, and in a sense underlying, the functioning of the chakras. Working with these centers does evoke a higher vibratory quality and seems to create coherence in the field more readily than working with the chakras. Some programs make reference to higher, newer frequencies that are becoming revealed or structured in the human energy field as well as that of the planet itself.
The qualities of the energy field of the healer will add a lot of variation to the actual effect of any particular healing, as there is much that is not accounted for by the models described in different healing programs.
ASPECTS OF ENERGY FIELD ADDRESSED
Modalities and programs vary in terms of which aspects of the energy field are addressed. Different techniques may be directed to different aspects of the energy anatomy, for example, meridians, chakras, various layers of the field. The healing may work with any of the following.
- Chakras — major and minor, as traditionally described
- Chakras — those which are “newly emerging” or being discovered
- “Etheric” (often said to be the first layer of the field, like an energetic blueprint)
- Emotional energy body
- Mental energy body
- Astral layer (defined differently by various healers)
- Causal body
- Spiritual layers of energy field — specifically the following 3 named by Barbara Brennan in Hands of Light:
- 5th layer – “etheric template”
- 6th layer – “celestial”
- 7th layer – “ketheric template”
- Lightbody and vibrational energy bodies as described by Packer and Roman
- Universal calibration lattice as described by Dubro
- Various other models associated with diverse techniques