In the past few years, the field of energy healing has pretty much exploded—but there’s a ton of confusion around it, too. What is it, exactly? Are there credible studies on it? And isn’t it just a little bit…woo-woo?
Let’s start with the definition: Energy medicine (or biofield therapies) is the act of channeling and manipulating the energy that courses through your body in order to heal it. This can be done with hands-on practices, such as acupuncture and Reiki, as well as sensory-based experiences, like the use of crystals, sound baths, and aromatherapy.
Once derided as too mystical, energy medicine is becoming more common—trendy, even. Adele reportedly said that she performs better when she holds crystals. Kim Kardashian West visited a local energy healer while on vacation in Bali. And some elite athletes in the NFL and NBA now bring Reiki masters on the road. Increasingly, scientists are starting to take energy medicine seriously too.
The medical theory
Energy practitioners believe that your body is instilled with a subtle energy, or animating life force, the flow of which must be balanced for good health. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, this force is called qi (pronounced “chee”); in Ayurvedic medicine, which originated in India, it’s represented in the doshas, three energies (vata, pitta, and kapha) that provide every person’s makeup. The basis of energy medicine is removing blocks in your body’s energetic field that can cause poor health.