Definitions, energy work, Uncategorized

What Are Energy Work Practices?

Author and inventor Dr. Lin Yutang wrote in his 1937 bestseller, The Importance of Living, “…[A]ll human happiness is sensuous happiness”(125).  He goes on to explain our capacity for enjoying the “positive joys of life” is inextricably tied to increased sensibility of our senses, and our full use of them.

To illustrate his point, Dr. Lin lists Chin’s Thirty-Three Happy Moments, suggesting that “the truly happy moments of human life [are those] moments in which the spirit is inextricably tied up with the senses”(130). You’re probably not surprised that I agree! (Why else would I start my post with this?)

Energy Work is Mundane Work

People often confuse energy work with something ‘beyond’ the ordinary, human experience. Or people think it’s something to ‘attain,’ or something mystical. Most often people think energy is separate from the body; and therefore consider the physical simply crude, unnecessary material they’re just waiting to shed to get back to the ‘good stuff.’

But, while energy permeates and animates physical matter, the physical experiences Spirit’s sublime nature. The physical interprets energy, and affects the world with energy. That’s potent stuff! Without the ability to sense, energy could not know itself. For this reason, while we are in the world, knowing we are not of it affords us a unique opportunity to care for and appreciate our vessel (the physical body), while experiencing Spirit in action.

Can Energywork Be Bodywork? (And Vice Versa?)

When we talk about types of energy work, some practices might fit under the category of bodywork, while others might be considered emotional release techniques, mental concentration practices, or in some cases spiritual or religious practice. At first glance someone with no background in energy work might think, “Hold on a minute, this can’t be right! Isn’t energy work stuff just ‘woo woo,’ waving hands in the air?” (I’m reminded of Christopher Walken’s trivial psychic skit….) No, it’s not. Remember, I defined energy work as any practice that works with our body’s energy; and if you understand that our spirit is inextricably tied to our body sense-experience, you’ll understand energy work in practice may involve the body, mind, and/or emotions.

A Short List of Energy Work Practices

What Are Some Energy Work Practices

There are countless practices that involve energy work I could name in this post today. Nonetheless, I’d like to introduce you to a short list so you can start to see that you’ve likely already been introduced to energy work, and perhaps have even been practicing it already. What makes the energy work a stronger aspect to physical, emotional or mental practice? Intention.

You’ll notice I slipped intention work and affirmations under perceiving energy. (Pretty much all the things on this mind map can be swapped from one side to the other.) I did this intentionally (ha!) as a reminder that sometimes we can learn things about what we really think or feel deep down when we try on a new, positive affirmation or intention. Resistance can crop up saying, “Yea, right! I don’t deserve that!” etc.

My today’s short list includes:

  • Acupuncture
  • Bowenwork
  • Dream work (including interpretation and lucid dreaming)
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • ESP (including clairvoyance, clairaudience, clairgustance, clairsentience, claircognizance, and “medical intuition”)
  • Feng Shui
  • Homeopathy (including flower, gem and environmental essences)
  • Intention work (including affirmations)
  • Journeying (including to the Akashic records, Lower World, Middle World, Upper World)
  • Meditation
  • Pranic healing
  • Psychic awareness (including psychometry)
  • Qigong
  • Reiki
  • Rosen Method
  • Shamanism (including soul retrieval)
  • Yoga

Your practice this week:

Reflect on a time in your life when you felt most alive, connected and ‘in the flow.’ How did you feel in your body? How was the state of your mind; and what were the circumstances under which you had this experience?

Has an energy work practice greatly impacted your life or growth? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!

Chinese Herbs & Supplements, Treatment Modalities, Uncategorized


Adrenal fatigue. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had people come in over the last few months complaining of adrenal fatigue. And yet, according to Mayo Clinic, a not-for-profit medical education and research organization, the condition isn’t even an “accepted” medical diagnosis. I am sure my Naturopath colleagues would have something radically different to say on the subject; but as for us Chinese medicine practitioners, we certainly understand what it means to feel bone-tired.

For everything that we do there is a give-and-take. There’s no exception here! You can’t cheat needing to give and you can’t cheat needing to get. It is just as healthy and universal a need to receive support as it is for us to contribute, and be recognized for our unique contribution. But how often do we find ourselves trying not to be ‘needy’? Trying to show we can do more with less? Trying to show we are more capable than the next guy because we can cut more corners? Our society demands almost nothing less.

We’ve started to notice a trend in our children – an inability to stay present and focused with a single task at a time. The National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) found that in just 4 years parent-reported cases [of ever having] Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children ages 3-17 increased by almost 22%. (Yowza!) Increased awareness of the issue has brought learning aid to millions of children. But what about adults?

On the job, adults are managing more information than ever. The landline rings, a colleague stops in to get an answer, the smartphone buzzes you have a new text, the computer pops up a reminder that you have a meeting; you need to get on Skype in 10 minutes to have a meeting with Japan. And forget business owners – who on top of doing their job have to then talk about doing their job on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. One thing leads to another, and Bam!  About 75% of the US adult population find themselves working over 40 hours/week (2006). And guess what else? We also start to see Attention Deficit Trait in adults. More and more people are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

In Chinese medicine, we talk about two sources of energy in the body – one is like the gas we add to a vehicle, the other like the vehicle’s battery. Our fuel is our sleep, our food, our friendships, our alone time. Our battery is our deepest resource – our fuel to be alive.  Feeling bone-tired is deeper than having too much to do. It’s about not knowing when to rest (i.e. not enough fuel); and when we don’t rest we can start to lose touch with our drive for life– a sign that we’ve fully depleted our fuel and are actually starting to drain our body’s most precious battery.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are great tools to help your body get back on track; and knowing when to ask for help is integral to the healing process. So is listening to your body’s queues: Does your stomach feel tight? Have you been experiencing more headaches? Has your heart been racing? Is it difficult for you to fall asleep? Remember, sometimes actually doing less will help you accomplish more.

Interested to read more? I love this article on how long you’ll truly be productive at work (note to self: that’s only 6 hours/day for thinkers). In fact, they’ve shown folks who consistently sleep less than 6 hours/night have shown cognitive impairment equivalent to not having slept at all for two nights.

Go team!!