Let’s talk about the next level of self-care that accompanies any form of healing: energy. As a holistic healer, you are well versed in your healing techniques. You’ve learned self care procedures, how to protect your body from fatigue, what posture to adopt during a long treatment, and how to communicate effectively with your clients. But are you preserving your own energy and creating healthy boundaries between yourself and your patients?
Do you ever come away from a treatment feeling drained?
Are there patients you work with that are particularly negative to be around?
Do you feel like you carry your patients’ emotions home with you?
Each of these scenarios is natural for holistic healers to feel from time to time. But there is a way to prevent feeling like this often. With mindful energy techniques, you can best serve your patients without sacrificing your own well-being.
Donna Eden writes in her book Energy Medicine: Balancing Your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality (Tarcher, 2009), “By focusing on your body as a living system of energy, you begin to realize that the technology for powerful energy interventions is already inherent in your hands and in your being.” In fact, acupuncture is one of the oldest known medical practices to acknowledge that healing begins in the energetic body.
As an acupuncturist or Asian bodywork therapist, you are already working with energy. In his book Your Hands Can Heal You (Atria, 2004), Master Stephen Co writes about “energetic hygiene”, defining it as “The practice of keeping your energy body as clean and charged up as possible.” If you’re a holistic healer, working with energy comes naturally to you whether or not you look at it as ‘energy work’. And it can only benefit you to become mindful of your own energy and boundaries.
The better your ‘energetic hygiene’, the better you feel—and the more refreshed and ‘charged’ you’ll become. Take your work with qi to the next level and explore your own energy in your practice. By creating an energetic boundary between yourself and each patient, you are not only protecting yourself from becoming easily drained—you will also become fully engaged in each appointment, delivering the best treatment possible.
The single most important thing you can do to maintain a healthy energy balance is to be mindful of your energy as well as the patient’s. Become aware of how you feel before and after each treatment: are those your own emotions or your patient’s that you’re feeling? Do you feel uplifted or withdrawn after a treatment? How much of an effect does each patient have on you and is it an effect you’re comfortable with?
Take a look below for an easy-to-use practice to promote your wellbeing as a healer:
*Try this before each treatment (and feel free to do it more often than that!):
· Remove your shoes.
· Sit in a chair with the soles of your feet firmly on the ground (no crossed legs).
· Close your eyes.
· Take a deep breath and continue to focus on your breathing.
· Notice how your feet feel on the ground. Feel the ground on your soles.
· Take note of how your body feels in the chair: what do you feel on your legs, your back, and your arms?
· Now that you are conscious of your body sitting in the chair, imagine a line of light flowing through the top of your head all the way down your spine.
· Imagine the line of light continuing through the base of your spine into the Earth.
· Once you have it firmly in mind that the line is traveling through your body and into the ground, take a moment to imagine it traveling deep down, all the way to the Earth’s center.
· Once you can see in your mind’s eye that it’s reached the Earth’s center, imagine that the line grows to be the full width of your hips.
· Imagine this line is a cord and it is strong and anchored, taut with the Earth.
· Return your focus to your breathing.
· Slowly wiggle your toes and your fingers.
· Open your eyes—you are fully present!
You can also use your “grounding cord” to release negative emotions back into the Earth. After completing the steps above, imagine any unwanted feelings or energies flowing through the cord into the Earth and out of your body. Simply let them go.
Once you’re grounded, you are more in control of your space and energy. You’ll be more aware of emotional ties to patients and situations.
You will also be a fully present healer, working in the moment with your full energetic capability.
Quick Tips to Energetically Close a Treatment:
· Wash your hands with salt under running water. Throughout history, salt has been thought to absorb and cleanse energy. Running water symbolizes washing off others’ emotional and energetic impact on you.
· Burn palo santo or sage in your office or treatment room. This Native American technique is thought to clear a space of negative energies and restore it to balance. Do this at the end of each treatment or at the end of each day to clear the energies of that day’s patients from your office.
· At the end of your day, take a few moments to visualize cords between your patients and your solar plexus area (the area between your ribs and below the sternum). Imagine a pair of scissors cutting these cords and setting you free from any undesirable connections or emotions.
Remember: energy flows where attention goes. You often give your attention to patients—don’t forget to attend to your own needs as well!
If you liked this article, you will love these books. Here is our recommended reading list:
The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy by Cyndi Dale (Sounds True, 2009)
Energetic Boundaries: How to Stay Protected and Connected in Work, Love, and Life by Cyndi Dale (Sounds True, 2011)
Energy Medicine: Balancing the Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality by Donna Eden and David Feinstein (Tarcher, 2008)
Your Hands Can Heal You: Pranic Healing Energy Remedies to Boost Vitality and Speed Recovery from Common Health Problems by Master Stephen Co (Atria Books, 2004)
These books and many more are catalogued on our Pinterest board “Books to Check Out!” Don’t miss it!