There are no shortage of demands for our time between child-raising, staying connected with our spouse or partner, pursuing worthy professional ventures, and trying to achieve a semblance of balance. To harness or get back into the right flow, many women are turning to ancient energy healing and holistic practices — an approach that is experiencing a renaissance as more people investigate alternative modalities for everything from pain management to psychological support. In fact, Grand View Research, Inc. released a report in late 2018 that the global complementary and alternative medicine market is expected to reach $196.9 billion by 2025.
“We, as women, are looking for an alternative way. Going away from norms that have been put on us by society or put on us by judgement. We’re opening ourselves up to more exciting, more holistic things that we can do in our home. We can use energy healing for ourselves, for our kids, for our pets, for our home clearings, and we can bless our food,” says Susan Bakken, LMT, Reiki Master, Reflexologist and owner of her own private practice. “(These things) are so empowering because you are doing it with just intent. You don’t need any extra tools, you don’t need someone to be there with you. You can do it on your own.”
Bakken says by tapping into your intuition, you have all of the power and inner resources needed to stimulate healing in yourself. This knowledge can be transformational and empowering, and it’s not just woo-woo mysticism, many medical professionals acknowledge that it is a way to treat and prevent symptoms of pain.
A Proven Way to Improve Happiness and Help Release Pain
Restorative energy healing, such as reiki or other practices of channeling energy through touch, is widely regarded as an effective method for addressing short- and long-term pain.
“Evidence for it in the literature right now is that it definitely decreases pain,” says Dr. Ann Marie Chiasson, MD, MPH, and Interim Director of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. “We know that pain is blocked energy, and there is enough data there that is Level I, which is the best evidence we have, that pain does better with energy healing.”
Chiasson emphasizes that chronic pain and pain prevention can often be addressed through forms of energy healing. “The thing we know about energy healing is that it moves the energy, but we also know now that there’s quite a bit of evidence that touch, and it depends on the quality of touch, but good quality touch, kind touch, loving touch, compassionate touch increases oxytocin in the body,” explains Chiasson. “Oxytocin does a whole bunch of different things. Oxytocin is a big part of the placebo response, which we all want more of, and it creates feelings of trust. (It) has all these wonderful effects — it is stimulated through good quality touch and psychological support.”
In addition to pain relief, energetic healing can also assist with emotional and mental health aspects, such as stress management, creating healthy boundaries, letting go of certain psychological patterns, and more. Bakken says that she sees in her clients an immediate relief with them leaving “lighter and brighter” after receiving reiki and reflexology services. The long term effects she sees in her clients is a greater self-awareness that leads to empowered self-healing.
If you are interested in booking a session with a reiki healer or practitioner that offers energy healing services, Chiasson recommends finding someone within your price range that has preferably three years or more of experience; referrals from friends or people you trust also are a great way to find an energy healer. Different practitioners offer different modalities and areas of expertise, which is why most healing sessions are preceded by an in-depth consultation that goes into areas that you want to most work on.
If you are ready to activate your own healing, here are three easy ways to get started.
First, connect to your inner wisdom of touch, says Chiasson. “This is women’s wisdom. We know about touch, we just do. Anyone that has a kid or has been around children knows it’s a very nurturing aspect.”
For practical purposes, you can use good quality touch for either restorative energy healing or for addressing more targeted areas of pain. Chiasson recommends cradling your face for five to 10 minutes a day to take advantage of the high amount of receptors there, or to place one hand on your “high heart” (an energy healing term for the place between your collarbone and breast, right above where your heart is located) and the other hand on your solar plexus for an immediate soothing effect. Chiasson says you can easily do these subtle channeling practices even when you’re not at home, such as sitting in traffic, waiting in line at the grocery store, hanging out a soccer game, or working at your office desk.
The key to effectively moving energy is to touch yourself with unconditional love and gratitude, much like the way you would hold a newborn or comfort a child who had just stubbed their toe. You can also use quality touch for more concentrated, targeted healing. For example, if you’re having knee pain, Chiasson recommends placing your hands on the thigh or hip area and seeing if you notice an increase in pain, which is an indicator that you should move your hands to another place. The key is to get the energy flowing to the area. If you are experiencing belly pain, you can lay down on your back and put your hands on your belly with the focus of channeling quality loving touch directly into the area.
For psychological support, stroking touch also produces benefit with light massage working quite well, much like you would get from a massage therapist.
Chiasson says when you practice the art of running energy on your own body, the benefits are immediate. “One thing that women do is they stop their own opinions, and their own thoughts and feelings, especially all the parenting advice and ‘you should do this’ and ‘you should do this’ and ‘that’s cuckoo.’ Women carry imposter syndrome that they’re not good at things, and we don’t trust ourselves to be good at things. So I like the idea that we’re not just changing the energy in our body, which is very healing, but we’re also creating more self-trust.”
From free form dance to breath of fire to bouncing up and down in time to drumbeat music, moving your body and breath is another way to easily unblock energy that is residually stored in the body.
Chiasson says a great way to quickly realign yourself is by something she calls “shaking the bones.” Start by bowing the head (without bouncing your neck), allow your arms to stay loosely by your sides, and jump up and down to music for five minutes. “If you look at all the cultures and animal world, this happens all of the time. It’s clearing the body,” says Chiasson, citing traditional dances like sundancing, Sufi dancing, and African trance dancing.
This type of active realignment is excellent for resetting, especially in cases where you are feeling startled, upset or mentally stuck. “You have to reset your autonomic nervous system and add a good influx of energy and re-balance to the body constantly. We used to do this when we lived outside. If you look at your kid, kids and babies are doing this without being told, but we sit still for so long that we lose the ability,” says Chiasson.
With the simple act of restorative breathing, you have the ability to erase a lot of the worry and overthinking-ness that seems to consume each day — replacing it with an aspect of calm and clear-headed consciousness. Bakken recommends doing this by turning simple, small tasks into mindful moments using tools like meditative breathing and adding intention with crystals.
“Meditation is where you are turning yourself mindful for just a few moments, turning to gratitude,” says Bakken. “Meditation doesn’t have to be a top of the mountain type of thing, it can be just this quick, fast way to tune in throughout your day.”
Mindful breathing can happen anywhere at anytime. “(You) don’t even have to go quiet, just breathe,” says Bakken. “Breathe in and out in a rhythmic way, and if there is a disturbance, look at whatever is happening or what has come into your mind and just acknowledge that – give it whatever it needs. When you return back to the breathing, slip back into the meditating. Breathe into the moment.”
By giving yourself one to two minutes regularly (ideally, 10 times a day) you can easily create a sustainable practice. Bakken suggests setting a timer on your phone or watch to remind yourself to take a minute for mindful breathing.
Making time, whether it’s three extra minutes in the morning before your alarm goes off or practicing guided mediations with your children has benefits. “Don’t beat yourself up about the time. Be glad you did it for the moment. It doesn’t have to be perfect,” says Bakken.
If you want to add in extra power to your meditation, Bakken recommends using something like a crystal. “Hold the crystal and put in the intention […] It gives a tangible object to an intangible thought. So that you can just grab it and hold it and be with whatever you need to be with for those few moments.”
For more tips on how to take care of yourself energetically as a mom, read 5 Self-Care Practices That Help You Tackle Your Hectic Life.
Find more from Lacy at lacybrunnette.com.