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Energy Medicine and Not Paying Attention in School

Updated: Feb 18

When I was in massage school, we had a class called Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM for short.

Many holistic or alternative therapies are based in Chinese Medicine beliefs. It is one of the oldest forms of “medicine” known. Acupuncture, for example, uses the belief that your life force energy (called chi) gets blocked or stuck in its energy channel (referred to as a meridian) and by inserting a tiny needle into that blockage, you can restore the flow of energy and eliminate a problem.

“Meridians” and “chi” are ideas used in ancient Chinese culture and still hold weight today. Herbalists are also often well-versed in Chinese Medicine.

Though we are most familiar with “Swedish Massage,” China (and other ancient cultures) practiced massage for healing purposes long before Per Henrik Ling was credited for “inventing” it.

Chinese Medicine is very focused on the energetic aspect of the body. Our class was no exception.

During one particular day, I witnessed a very potent energy transfer.

One classmate, Jenny * (names are changed to protect identity) was partnered with Amy* to practice reading energy fields. It was Amy’s turn to do the feeling, and when she placed her hands within the field of energy surrounding Jenny’s heart, Amy burst into tears. There was such a heavy, deep sadness there that Amy absorbed it. They were soon both crying as Jenny shared her story. A very close, childhood friend had died two days before in a car accident. Being a transplant from several states away, Jenny was unable to make it to the funeral that was being held that morning.

This was jut one example of the many times I witnessed, and even experienced, the obvious truths about energy awareness and transfer, but still ignored it. I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t interested in pursuing it.

I was very focused on the concrete, scientific, deep tissue release that made me feel strong and powerful. The energetic aspect was foreign to me. It felt icky, because I didn't understand it. I tried to pretend I could do my work without it.

But the longer I practiced, received, and learned about bodies, the more I felt like something was missing.

I began to pay more attention. I began to notice the change in demeanor of my clients as they laid on my table. I felt them melt on a level different than the physical, muscle softening that massage creates. I noticed how, after certain people visited, I felt drained, or sometimes angry or sad.

I felt deep love for each person I saw, but I also felt heaviness in my heart. People were coming to me for physical relief, but often shared so much more because they felt safe. I longed to help them on a deeper than physical level…

Then I found yoga… Or maybe it found me.

Janu sirsasana
(photo credit: Katya Seymour)

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