A Comprehensive Guide to Energy Healing
This book is dedicated to the healers, sages, and seers
who have carried the torch of hope through the centuries.
We face the extraordinary possibility of fashioning a health
care system that emphasizes life instead of death, and unity
and oneness instead of fragmentation, darkness, and
LARRY DOSSEY, MD
hether licensed or layperson, we are all healers. Our roles shift and change depending
on a myriad of factors, such as our state of health, the health of those around us, the
season of our lives, and whether we have chosen healing as a vocation. But at one
time or another, each of us takes our turn as healer and self-healer, as practitioner and patient.
Looking deeper, we can observe that we are all self-healers all the time. Even when we are
helping others under the aegis of being a trained practitioner, every training program and each client
session is another opportunity to work on ourselves, to detoxify and rebuild in body, mind, and spirit
so that we might be clearer conduits for subtle energies.
It was this understanding that led to the writing and publication of The Subtle Body: An
Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, my compendium outlining the subtle energy anatomy. A
detailed accounting of the invisible energies that underpin physical reality and our physical bodies,
The Subtle Body is a comprehensive resource from which healers of all persuasions and experience
levels can build a strong knowledge base. It lays a solid foundation for comprehending the intricacies
of subtle energy medicine and understanding the modalities and tools that are used around the world
to evoke our innate healing abilities.
This book, The Subtle Body Practice Manual, is the natural extension of that original resource
guide—a hands-on companion about putting subtle energy medicine to work with ease, elegance, and
effectiveness. You can use it alone or in conjunction with The Subtle Body. The Subtle Body provides
you with the what, and The Subtle Body Practice Manual provides you with the how. And because
The Subtle Body is so rich with scientific and spiritual research, I have limited such discourse here in
The Subtle Body Practice Manual. Unless otherwise noted, references to research and scientific data
can be found in The Subtle Body.
Every day, our human family contends with minor ailments, major illnesses, emotional distress,
mental upsets, and sometimes the need for a simple energy boost. There are many ways to address our
issues when we get off balance. This book’s carefully chosen tools and techniques can be
immediately useful to both the self-healer and the experienced healing professional. As healing is the
purpose and goal of this information, it is useful to examine what healing really is, especially when
it’s viewed through the lens of subtle energy practices.
WHAT DOES HEALING MEAN?
“What is the true nature of healing?” is one of the most important questions we can contemplate as
practitioners or self-healers working with subtle energy. In effect, all practitioners, whether their
approach is conventional or holistic, are energy healers, and so we must all ask this question at some
point. The answer will prove to be our North Star, guiding the way through all kinds of terrain along
the healing journey (whether that journey is a one-hour session or a years-long partnership between
healer and client).
As we venture into the subtler realms, one of the most important distinctions we can make is
between healing and curing. To cure is to focus on the eradication of symptoms, whereas to heal is to
emphasize and support a person’s inherent state of wholeness. The subtle energy practitioner starts
from the premise that a person is always whole at the deepest level, no matter what—even if they are
missing a limb, wrestling with depression or cancer, or trying to shake off a nasty cold. A practitioner
of any type who is focused on curing is likely to place an emphasis on diagnostics and relieving
symptoms. A subtle energy practitioner, on the other hand, will work with a person to gain relief—
and possibly release—from the cause of their symptoms.
Subtle energy healers work to help themselves or others recognize and embrace their innate
wholeness, regardless of appearances or even the outcome of treatment. Instead of achieving
wholeness, healing is a matter of remembering and recovering the wholeness that already is. Whether
we are working with others or on ourselves, it is incumbent upon us that we not attempt to make all
supposed frailties disappear. Subtle energy tools and techniques are far more effective when we
understand that wholeness doesn’t equal perfection. I have been fortunate to see with my own eyes the
remarkable shifts that can take place—the movement toward wellness—when people feel supported
in an environment of compassion and acceptance.
Understanding and believing in wholeness is a deeply optimistic state, one that we may encounter
with our podiatrist or our reflexologist, and one we seek to acknowledge within ourselves. The trust
in our natural ability to return to balance just may be the invisible bridge (the subtle energy bridge)
that connects the best of allopathic medicine with the brilliant field of healing that used to be called,
not so very long ago, “alternative.”
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: COLLABORATIVE AND
COMPLEMENTARY METHODS OF HEALING
An acupuncturist steps back and nods his head. “Your problem is caused by an energy block in the
liver,” he says, pointing out the “stagnant liver chi” in your toe.
A physician peers at the x-ray and nods her head. “See what’s going on here?” She points to the
picture of the organ just under your ribs. “That’s your liver. That’s where your issue lies.”
Who is right? Is it the acupuncturist, whose perspective of the liver is linked to an intricate flow
of energy throughout your body, one that somehow mysteriously involves your toes? Or is it the
conventional doctor, who views your liver as a single organ unto itself, one that sits quietly beneath
your ribs, minding its own business?
Well, both of them are right. Our organs—in fact, many parts of us—anchor somewhere
physically. But they are also energetic, which means that they connect to other parts of ourselves in
ways that are hard to measure, see, or prove. The subtle aspects of our organs are part of the energy
anatomy that we will explore in
, a complex set of the fast-moving energy channels, organs, and
fields that compose what I think of as the “you underneath or around yourself,” the energies that
establish the rules and foundation for physical health and wellbeing. This energy anatomy and its
systems are the basis of subtle energy medicine. And while subtle energy practitioners often work
with energy systems that transform sensory or physical energy into subtle energy (and vice versa),
one of the subjects of
, they can also work with concrete systems, like those in the physical
Because of our Western cultural conditioning, most people don’t typically think of their general
practitioner, gynecologist, or dermatologist as subtle energy practitioners. (The doctors may not think
of themselves this way either.) Contrary to popular opinion, allopathic medicine—or what we often
call Western medicine or conventional medicine—is actually an energy-based practice. Surgery and
prescription medicines work on our physical energy systems, while x-rays and ECGs
(electrocardiograms) measure the energetic patterns present in our bodies. Since our bodies are made
up of energy, any practice or method that involves the body is a subtle energy practice. Subtle energy
medicine can’t be claimed by holistic practitioners, naturopathic doctors, and “alternative” healers
alone. Therefore, we in the helping and healing professions can officially let go of the “us and them,”
dualistic perspective and join forces. Knowing that all medicine is really subtle energy medicine can
result in greater benefits and brighter outcomes for everyone concerned—practitioners, physicians,
healers, patients, clients, and those who love them.
When it comes to healing modalities and types of practitioners, there is an overflowing
cornucopia of options available. The following is a list of broad categories and how they’re typically
Allopathic medicine, also known as Western or conventional medicine, is absolutely necessary
for critical or chronic care, diagnostic needs, surgery, physical intervention, trauma, physical
therapy, prescription medicine, or if you are ever in any doubt about a situation.
Mental health therapy is often essential for treating depression, anxiety, stress, emotional
trauma, or abuse.
Meridian-based therapies, such as acupuncture, acupressure, and Eastern massage styles, are
ideal for stress or pain, addictions, emotional issues, and broad physical categories like ear,
nose, and throat conditions; heart-related issues; muscle problems; common ailments like
infections; skin conditions; and more. (See
Chakra-based therapies aid in physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual issues of all sorts.
.) They are typically recommended as a complement to allopathic care or other
subtle energy practices.
Field-based therapies assist in resolving physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual issues of all
varieties. They are also recommended for issues involving boundaries, for protection, and for
environmental sensitivities. (See
.) They are typically recommended as an adjunct to
allopathic care or other subtle energy practices. Examples include aura clearing and balancing,
aromatherapy, and sound healing.
Natural healing supports allopathic care, in addition to balancing body, mind, and soul through
low-impact treatments. The use of herbal medicine, supplements, hands-on healing, spiritual
healing, homeopathy, aromatherapy, flower essences, Ayurveda, guided imagery, holistic
dentistry, diet/nutritional medicine, exercise, and other forms of natural care all bring about
healing. (See all chapters in
Bodywork reduces stress and alleviates bodily pain from chronic conditions, as well as
supporting allopathic care. Massage, chiropractic treatments, osteopathy, colon therapy, and
reflexology are all forms of bodywork. (See
for specific hands-on healing
Certain forms of subtle energy medicine, such as Healing Touch, Reiki, color healing, and sound
healing, fall into several categories. For instance, Healing Touch and Reiki use the hands to clear,
balance, and energize the energy system, but they also achieve the same results as bodywork. Color
and sound healing can effectively calm the nerves and therefore be adjuncts for mental health therapy,
but they also shift the energetic field. You’ll discover that many types of subtle energy medicine
achieve several goals.
There are so many ways that modalities from the different categories can—and do—complement
each other. For example, a person going through an extended period of anxiety and depression may
work with a massage therapist and a psychiatrist. At one point in their process, they might also add
the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, see
) to their healing plan. A pregnant woman, in
addition to seeing her obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) and midwife, might discover that working
with a healer who specializes in aromatherapy (see
) and sound healing (see
exponentially increases her energy level and sense of emotional equilibrium.
Undoubtedly, you are someone who mixes and matches some of the best of both worlds yourself.
I know that I do. I eat organic, whole foods; walk daily; and utilize my own energy balancing and
healing techniques in one way or another just about every day. And I also employ the services of
allopathic practitioners and medicines when I deem necessary. I believe it’s important to not rely on a
single modality. We are complex beings, and our health needs are complex as well. I suggest that you
select modalities and therapies as part of an overall wellness plan that supports your highest goals.
Because our needs change over time, it’s also important to “never say never” or dismiss a modality
out of hand—especially allopathic modalities. A broken bone will require allopathic care;
homeopathy won’t hold that bone in place. Serious depression can be treated in many ways; you don’t
want to rule out prescription medicine. All medicine is energy medicine and, if properly dispensed,
can boost and bolster your health.
TOPICS IN THIS BOOK
This book gives you a wealth of information about subtle energy healing. In
, you will learn
about energy medicine and the energetic anatomy, which is made of energy fields, channels, and
Subtle energy practitioners have special considerations that self-healers do not, and we cover
these unique concerns in
. For instance, in order to build and maintain a thriving practice as a