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Energy Medicine – Eastern and Western Perspectives

Prana, Ki, and Chi

Now I am going to go totally Eastern and talk about Prana, Ki and Chi. The first is Ayuervedic (Indian). The second is Japanese and the third is Chinese. Three different "traditions" and names, but all referring to the same thing: the "life force" that flows through the "energetic" pathways of the body. It is the basis for acupuncture, acupressure, shiatsu, polarity, etc. It is the energy that flows through the meridians (Japan/China) and chakras (India).

There are different types of energy or Chi. There is original Chi (that which we are born with which resides in the Kidneys – what you start with is what you have to last your whole life – you don’t get any more. Use it wisely.) Then there is energy or Chi we get from food, water, air, and associations with those around us, etc. These can be and are replenished as they are used. Before you start scoffing at the concept of deriving energy from food, water and air, what do you think your body is doing every time it takes a breath, swallows a bite of food, or takes a drink of water? Energy from those around us? How up does it make you feel being with a harmonious group of family or friends? How down does it make you feel to be around a bunch of complainers and gripers? In an Eastern sense, all of this can be thought of as converting “something” into Chi, into energy. In a Western sense, think of it as converting one form of matter into another, breaking food, water and air down into essential nutrients. But however you choose to visualize it you are in fact providing “energy” for your body. There is nothing at all mystical about this part – it is pure hard science, basic chemistry and physics.

Speaking as a practitioner, I discussed or referred to five body rhythms: pulse, lymph, respiration, cranial and chi. There are others but these are the ones I deal/work with. My ability to physically feel or sense these rhythms are largely just a matter of training and practice – up to a point. As long as I have my hands “on-body” I consider it to be just a heightened extension of my physical sense of touch, developed by training and practice. There are, however, times when my hands just go someplace, by themselves. This is a product of intuition. From the very beginning of my training, we were taught to trust our intuition, to trust our hands, to “listen” to the body we are working on.

This starts creating awareness beyond the standard five senses. In addition, there are times when I will work “off-body” – where I am not even touching the person. For the five rhythms, I can not only sense every one of them off-body, I can influence them off-body. And I am by no means unique in this regard. Anyone trained beyond the beginning levels of Craniosacral, myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, or pure energy modalities can do the same.

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