Energy medicine recognizes energy as a vital, living, moving force that determines much about health and happiness. In energy medicine, energy is the medicine, and energy is also the patient. You heal the body by activating its natural healing energies; you also heal the body by restoring energies that have become weak, disturbed, or out of balance. Energy medicine is both a complement to other approaches to medical care and a complete system for self-care and self-help. It can address physical illness and emotional or mental disorders, and can also promote high- level wellness and peak performance. The essential principles of energy medicine include:
- Energies—both electromagnetic energies and more subtle energies—form the dynamic infrastructure of the physical body.
- The health of those energies–in terms of flow, balance, and harmony–is reflected in the health of the body.
- Conversely, when the body is not healthy, corresponding disturbances in its energies can be identified and treated.
- To overcome illness and maintain vibrant health, the body needs its energies to:
- Move and have space to continue to move—energies may become blocked due to toxins, muscular or other constriction, prolonged stress, or interference from other energies.
- Move in specific patterns—generally in harmony with the physical structures and functions that the energies animate and support. “Flow follows function.”
- Cross over—at all levels, from the microlevel of the double helix of DNA, extending to the macrolevel where the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side to the left.
- Maintain a balance with other energies—the energies may lose their natural balance due to prolonged stress or other conditions that keep specific energy systems in a survival mode.
- Flow, balance, and harmony can be non-invasively restored and maintained within an energy system by:
- tapping, massaging, pinching, twisting, or connecting specific energy points on the skin
- tracing or swirling the hand over the skin along specific energy pathways
- exercises or postures designed for specific energetic effects
- focused use of the mind to move specific energies
- surrounding an area with healing energies (one person’s energies impacts another’s)
THE EIGHT PRIMARY ENERGY SYSTEMS
People who “see energy” can describe with some precision the anatomy of the energy body, and their descriptions tend to corroborate one another. These descriptions are now backed by electromagnetic measurements, and they also correlate with descriptions of subtle energies found throughout the world, understood in each culture’s own terms and concepts. The meridians, chakras, and aura are three terms that have entered our language, but other energy systems have been identified as well. One of the individuals known for being able to “see” or clairvoyantly read the body’s energies, Donna Eden, describes eight energy systems that impact body and mind. The eight systems include: Meridians, Chakras, Aura, The Basic Grid, Celtic weave, The Five Rhythms, Triple Warmer, and Radiant Circuits.
1) The Meridians: In the way an artery carries blood, a meridian carries energy. As the body’s energy bloodstream, the meridian system brings vitality and balance, removes blockages, adjusts metabolism, and even determines the speed and form of cellular change. The flow of the meridian energy pathways is as critical as the flow of blood. No energy, no life. Meridians affect every organ and every physiological system, including the immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular, and lymphatic systems. Each system is fed by at least one meridian. If a meridian’s energy is obstructed or unregulated, the system it feeds is jeopardized. The meridians include fourteen tangible channels that carry energy into, through, and out of your body. Your meridian pathways also connect hundreds of tiny, distinct reservoirs of heat and electromagnetic energy along the surface of the skin. These are your acupuncture points, and they can be stimulated with needles or physical pressure to release or redistribute energy along the meridian pathway.
2) The Chakras: The word chakra translates from the Sanskrit as disk, vortex, or wheel. The chakras are concentrated centers of energy. Each major chakra in the human body is a center of swirling energy positioned at one of seven points, from the base of your spine to the top of your head. Where the meridians deliver their energy to the organs, the chakras bathe the organs in their energies. Each chakra supplies energy to specific organs, corresponds to a distinct aspect of your personality, and resonates (respectively, from the bottom to the top chakra) with one of seven universal principles having to do with survival, creativity, identity, love, expression, comprehension, or transcendence. Your chakras also code your experiences in their energies, just as memories are chemically coded in your neurons. An imprint of every emotionally significant event you have experienced is believed to be recorded in your chakra energies. A sensitive practitioner’s hand held over a chakra may resonate with pain in a related organ, congestion in a lymph node, subtle abnormalities in heat or pulsing, areas of emotional turmoil, or even tune into a stored memory that might be addressed as part of the healing process.
3) The Aura: Your aura is a multi-layered shell of energy that emanates from your body and interacts with the energies of your environment. It is itself a protective atmosphere that surrounds you, filtering out many of the energies you encounter and drawing in others that you need. Like a space suit, your aura protects you from harmful energies. Like a radio antenna, it brings in energies with which it resonates. The aura is a conduit, a two-way antenna that brings in energy from the environment to your chakras and that sends energy from your chakras outward. When you feel happy, attractive, and spirited, your aura may fill an entire room. When you are sad, despondent, and somber, your aura crashes in on you, forming an energetic shell that isolates you from the world. Some people’s auras characteristically reach out and embrace you. Others keep you out like an electric fence. A study conducted by Valerie Hunt, a neurophysiologist at UCLA’s Energy Fields Laboratory, compared “aura readings” with neurophysiological measures. The auras seen by eight practitioners not only corresponded with one another, they correlated with wave patterns picked up by electrodes on the skin at the spot that was being observed.
4) The Basic Grid: The basic grid is your body’s foundational energy. Like the chassis of a car, all the other energy systems ride on the energy of the basic grid. For instance, when you are lying down, it would appear to a seer, such as Donna, that each of your chakras sits upon this foundational energy. Grid energy is sturdy and fundamental. But severe trauma can damage and deform the grid, and when this occurs, it does not usually repair itself spontaneously. Rather, the other energy systems adjust themselves to the damaged grid, much as a personality may be formed around early traumatic experiences. Repairing a person’s basic grid is one of the most advanced and intense forms of energy therapy. If a grid’s structure or a car’s chassis is sound, you never notice it is there; if it is damaged, nothing else is quite right.
5) The Celtic Weave: The body’s energies spin, spiral, curve, twist, crisscross, and weave themselves into patterns of magnificent beauty. The equilibrium of this kaleidoscope of colors and shapes is maintained by an energy system known by different names to energy healers throughout the world. In the East, it has been called the “Tibetan energy ring.” In yoga tradition, it is represented by two curved lines that cross seven times, symbolically encasing the seven chakras. In the West, it is seen in the caduceus, the intertwined serpents-also crossing seven times-found on the staff that is the symbol of the medical profession. Donna uses the term Celtic weave not only because she has a personal affinity with Celtic healing, but also because the pattern looks to her like the old Celtic drawings of a spiraling, sideways infinity sign, never beginning and never ending and sometimes forming a triple spiral. Like an invisible thread that keeps all the energy systems functioning as a single unit, the Celtic weave networks throughout and around the body in spiraling figure-eight patterns. The double helix of DNA is this pattern in microcosm. The left hemisphere’s control of the right side of the body and the right hemisphere’s control of the left side is this pattern writ large.
6) The Five Rhythms: Your meridians, chakras, aura, and other essential energies are influenced by a more pervasive energy system. Donna does not see it as a separate energy but rather as a rhythm that runs through all the others, leaving its vibratory imprint on physical attributes, health patterns, and personality traits. Mapped long ago in traditional Chinese medicine, all of life was categorized into five “elements,” “movements,” or “seasons” (there is no perfect translation-all three terms have been used, suggesting qualities of being both cyclical and substantial). These energies were considered the building blocks of the universe, providing a basis for understanding how the world works, how societies organize themselves, and what the human body needs to maintain health. Metaphors for describing these five distinct rhythms have drawn from concrete, observable elements of nature (water, wood, fire, earth, and metal) and from the seasons (winter, spring, summer, Indian summer, and autumn). Like the background music during a movie, the person’s primary rhythm, in combination with the changing rhythms of life’s seasons, directs the tone and mood of the entire energy system and sets the atmosphere of the life being lived.
7) The Triple Warmer: Triple warmer is the meridian that networks the energies of the immune system to attack an invader, and it mobilizes the body’s energies in an emergency for the fight-or-flight-or-freeze response. In carrying out these critical functions, it operates in ways that are so beyond the range of any other meridian that some consider it a system unto itself. Although the exact reasons for the term “triple warmer” are lost in antiquity, its energies work in conjunction with the hypothalamus gland, which is the body’s thermostat. The hypothalamus is also the instigator of the body’s emergency response. Like an army, triple warmer mobilizes during threat or perceived threat, coordinating all the other energy systems to activate the immune response, govern the fight/flight/freeze mechanism, and establish and maintain habitual responses to threat.
8) The Radiant Circuits: The radiant circuits function to ensure that all the other energy systems are working for the common good. They redistribute energies to where they are most needed, responding to any health challenge the body might encounter. In terms of evolution, the radiant circuits have been around longer than the meridians. Primitive organisms such as insects move their energies via the radiant circuits rather than through a meridian system, and the radiant circuits can be seen in the embryo before the meridians develop. As in the way that riverbeds are formed, it is as if radiant energies that habitually followed the same course became meridians. Where the meridians are tied to fixed pathways and specific organs, the radiant energies operate as fluid fields, embodying a distinct spontaneous intelligence. Like hyperlinks on a website, they jump instantly to wherever they are needed, bringing revitalization, joy, and spiritual connection. If triple warmer mobilizes your inner militia, the radiant circuits mobilize your inner mom, showering you with healing energy, providing life-sustaining resources, and lifting your morale.
*Reference: Energy Medicine by Donna Eden (Tarcher/Penguin Putnam, 1999).