Working Toward Good Health: Energy Systems and Practices

By Marie-Christine Lochot, LMT
March 12, 2014

Working Toward Good Health: Energy Systems and Practices

By Marie-Christine Lochot, LMT
March 12, 2014

For thousands of years our ancestors have developed systems explaining how subtle energies are organized, how they function and how to work with them for good health. What is subtle energy? It is an energy that cannot be measured. This is our life force. The Chinese call it Qi, the Japanese Ki, the Hindu Prana. Energy has power and intelligence; it connects all things in all dimensions. Its movement nourishes and sustains life. When energy stagnates, it promotes diseases, emotional imbalances and various ailments.

Modern science is starting to bring proof that those subtle energies do exist, confirming the intuition of our ancestors. The physicist Albert Einstein with his famous equation E=mc2 introduced the concept that matter and energy are interchangeable as they are two forms of the same thing. If matter and energy are different forms of the same thing then we can say that ultimately everything is energy. "Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter." Albert Einstein

There is a lot of literature regarding human energy systems. Opinions vary about how many systems there are. Three main systems though are mentioned by the wide majority of texts: the Meridians, the Chakras and the Aura. So, for the purpose of clarity and simplicity, we will focus on them.

The meridians are energy pathways which run throughout the body, invisible to most eyes, connecting to each other and to every structure of the body – atom, cell, organ, bone, tendon, skin. There are twelve major meridians that run on each side of the body, on the chest, back, arms or legs. Ten meridians correspond to an internal organ: stomach, spleen, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, liver, gall bladder, lung and large intestine. The last two, Triple Warmer and Pericardium are somewhat different. Triple Warmer distributes Qi to various body parts. Pericardium works closely with the Heart Meridian and helps protect the heart.

The meridians carry energy, blood and information. It is the meridians that send signals for body functions, the regulation of emotions and the maintenance of homeostasis. Energy in the meridians is accessed through acupuncture points. All meridians are grouped in pair of yin and yang partners. Each pair is associated with a specific elemental force. The meridian system is one of the major foundations of Traditional Chinese Medicine and its healing practices, acupuncture, acupressure, Tuina and Qigong. Good health is attained by ensuring that Qi is flowing freely through the meridians and that organs work in harmony.

According to most researchers, the chakra system started in India some 4000 thousand years ago. The Sanskrit translation of the word chakra is wheel of light. They are usually shown as vortices of energy coming out from the front and back of the body. Many traditions across the world use chakra systems: Hindu, Tibetan, Kundalini, Tantric, Chinese, Maya, Inca, Cherokee and Sufi to name a few. The differences between systems are usually number and locations of the chakras. Most systems, including the modern western derivative system, acknowledge seven major ones, placed at the same locations and with the same color coupled with them. The seven chakras are associated with a nerve plexus, an area of the body and an endocrine system. They are located in ascending order from the pubic bone up to the head:

  1. Root Chakra in the groin area, red.
  2. Sacral or Womb Chakra in the abdomen, orange.
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra, yellow.
  4. Heart Chakra, emerald green.
  5. Throat Chakra, cobalt blue.
  6. Third eye Chakra, indigo.
  7. Crown Chakra at the top of the head, violet but often seen as white.

Donna Eden, energy healer, reports seeing different colors in chakras for different people. The chakras are like power stations which at the same time transmit information into the universe and are attuned to larger energies from the universe. The chakras are also affiliated with the various aspects of being human: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. Energy practices that work with chakras for better health "clear them" by using hands, magnets, crystals, sounds and other means. They include Reiki, Healing Touch, Pranic healing, Brennan Healing Science and Energy Medicine.

The Aura is a field of light that surrounds not only people and animals but also plants and objects. It acts as a protective atmosphere around one's body but also connects the physical, emotional and spiritual being to the outer world. The aura is magnetic in nature, but also has some electro-magnetic component to it. As with chakras many traditions have known the aura, and science has been studying it since the 1800s. Many cultures and authors describe the auric field as having seven layers, with the first layer close to the body and the seventh the furthest away. Colors are associated with each layer, but depending on aura readers there are variations. The auric layers are:

  • First - the etheric or physical layer.
  • Second - the emotional layer.
  • Third - the mental layer.
  • Fourth - the astral layer.
  • Fifth - the etheric template layer.
  • Sixth - the celestial light layer.
  • Seventh - the ketheric or casual layer.

The aura changes size, shape, color and density depending on one's health, state of emotions and activity. The seven bands of the aura attach to the seven chakras. When the aura filters out or attracts energy, it does so through the chakras.

Clearing the aura is good for our physical health but also supports emotional and spiritual identity. A variety of energy practices offer techniques to do so. Even if Meridians, Chakras and Aura are separate energy systems, they interact with each other in a dance as subtle as energy itself. Energy vibrations are received and filtered by the aura, then fed into the chakras. The chakras in turn distribute that energy/information into the meridian system which passes it along to all the elements of our bodies from organs to cells. That transmission of energy and information goes both ways. Chakras collect information from the meridians and send it outward through the aura transmitting the imprint of our being to the outer world.

As massage therapists and bodyworkers, energy is part of our work whether it is ours or the client's or the entwinement of those two. Being aware of it is a key component to a deeper understanding of what we do.