What is Energy Medicine?

How to tune in, restore and balance your own energy.

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Recognising that energy is a vital, living, moving force that stimulates the body’s own ability to heal itself, energy medicine promotes health, balance and relaxation. The Japanese developed a system of healing called Reiki, Hindu texts described Yoga and the chakra systems and traditional Chinese medicine has identified energy channels they call Meridians.

How does it work? -Energy medicine is a very subtle holistic practice that activates the body’s own energy systems to remove any blockages that may be getting in the way of the body healing itself. The Chinese view is that energy, known as chi or qui, not only flows through your body but also surrounds and engulfs you. Therefore, if you can harmonise your energy system you can put your body into the best possible position to heal itself on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level.

As a holistic practitioner, I have embraced Japanese Reiki, Chinese Qi gong and the Ayurvedic healing system from India.  Because energy work is not tangible I am often met with curiosity and a certain amount of scepticism.  There is very little to see during treatments, although the energy changes are often felt immediately and in the following days. After studying and training to be a Qi gong instructor, I wanted to share how wonderful it is.

What is Qi gong? -  Originating from traditional Chinese medicine Qi gong is a holistic system of co-ordinated body posture and movement together with breathing exercise and meditation, often used for health, spirituality and martial arts training. Qi signifies life-force energy and gong means skill so Qi gong is the skilful practice of gathering, circulating and applying life-force energy. The human body consists of layers of energy that once understood can be balanced, harmonised and strengthened.

It is great for everyone irrespective of age and fitness levels, but especially suited to our older generation as the exercises can be adapted and is more commonly forming part of the care plan for the elderly. Offering an efficient and powerful way to maintain health with gentle minimum impact, it’s easy on the joints, can be done by people who cannot access other forms of aerobic exercise or yoga.

By increasing the supply and flow of energy throughout the body, it harmonises, strengthens and heals internal organs.  Qi gong claims to have rejuvenating effects on the body and is believed to increase longevity of life as well as inducing calm emotional states. The movements focus on gently opening and stretching the joints and muscles of the body therefore releasing tension while increasing the flow of blood and energy and nourishing all parts of the body.

Basic energy exercise to try on your own:

  • Rub your hands together to cause friction
  • Slowly move your hands apart to feel the energy you have created

Basic energy exercise to try with a partner:

  • Sit or stand two arms-length away facing each other
  • Ask your partner to close their eyes and take a deep breath
  • Relax your shoulders and back muscles
  • Imagine chi rising from the earth into your body
  • When you sense this energy, ask your partner to extend an arm towards you with the palm facing downward
  • Slowly raise your own arm until your palm is within a few inches of their palm
  • Using your mind, direct the chi through your body until it passes along your arms and out of your fingertips to theirs
  • You should both have a sense of the energy passing through, it may feel tingly

The intention with energy techniques is that if you can harmonise your energy system you are putting your body in the best possible position to heal itself on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. The Chinese view is that ‘chi’ or ‘qi’ (energy) not only flows through your body but surrounds and engulfs you. If you can find a class near you I would thoroughly recommend going along and seeing for yourself!

This blog is an excerpt from my upcoming book 'The Gateway - A journey to re-claim your power from stress and anxiety'. www.gaildonnan.com

Thanks for reading.



Gail Donnan

Interdisciplinary Psychologist, Trauma-informed EMDR Psychotherapist, Director and Practice Lead, The Trauma Centre - Ripon

I have been working in the wellness industry since 1995. I have a Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Psychology (Leeds), I am a trauma-informed EMDR psychotherapist, Director and Practice Lead of the Trauma Centre, Ripon which is a community interest company.  I am a qualified teacher, assessor and IQA. I am a trained Meditation Teacher, Bach Flower Essence Practitioner, Qi Gong Instructor and Reiki Master Teacher Practitioner.  I specialise in mental health issues arising from trauma, anxiety, depression and am the published author of two books -"The Gateway - A journey to re-claim your power from Stress and Anxiety" and The Gateway Junior Edition - children's mental health. I have a huge interest in somatic psychotherapy and have an interdisciplinary approach to mental health.