The New Energy Healing: How Science Is Making Traditional Practices Mainstream

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Energy healing is receiving a revamp. Science is making old-school traditional energy healing practices such as shamanism and sound healing conventional.

Say “energy healing” and most people think of practices like reiki, qigong, and sound baths. However, two of the oldest wellness traditions in the world are grounded in the belief that the body has unique energy vibrations. These are called “qi” in Traditional Chinese Medicine and “doshas” in Ayurveda.

When these energies are disrupted, our bodies succumb to illness; by manipulating our energy patterns with the teachings of these two ancient practices, we can fix the issue. This is a markedly different approach to healing from the West, which focuses on healing by treating the body’s physical anatomy and biochemical make-up.

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Photo: Courtesy of Michael Walk


We’re at an exciting point in the history of energy healing. These practices are being validated by science and technology is improving faster than ever, creating enhanced energy healing solutions that blend Eastern beliefs with Western knowledge. We’re seeing technological advances that use light, sound, and electromagnetic intervention to boost energy healing – and this has huge implications for the medical and wellness industries.

“Quantum physics explains the theory behind energy healing from indigenous people through the Higgs field, bosons, and particles that are so small that they don’t fall under our Newtonian physics,” says Anna Bjurstam, Vice-President of Spas and Wellness at Six Senses Resorts. “Indigenous energy healing has not needed science, but us westerners that have been told that science is the only true religion are now seeing proof behind these practices.”


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Photo: Courtesy of Zoltan Tasi


If you took high school biology, you’ll remember that mitochondria are basically the basis of life. Each cell contains thousands of these microscopic organelles that generate all the chemical energy our bodies need – so they’re pretty important for healing. After World War II, a NASA scientist found that exposing tissue to a particular pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) increased mitochondria by 300%, allowing for more aerobic capacity – and, by extension, healing. Since then, PEMF therapy has had over 60 years of clinical success and was approved by the FDA in 1979. Now, it’s regularly used to treat things like inflammation, non-union fractures, and even depression.


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This particular therapy uses light to control neurons in the body. These nerve cells send messages around the body to manage different processes, so being able to manipulate neurons is useful for treating different conditions. Optogenetics uses a combination of optic and genetic techniques to target neurons and change biochemical pathways in the body. Now, neurobiologists are quickly developing new optogenetic tools, which they hope to use to treat everything from pain and blindness to epilepsy and depression.


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These devices treat conditions with electrical impulses – and, they’ve been around for a while. Pacemakers are commonly used for heart conditions, while cochlear implants have long been a solution for hearing loss, and these are just a few examples of electroceuticals that have been used for decades. These devices work by sending signals to the vagus nerve, which in turn sends impulses to organs in the body to trigger certain actions.

Technological advances mean electroceuticals are becoming more sophisticated, allowing them to encourage healing with wirelessly-triggered treatment and remotely-activated medication delivery. Imagine a world where tiny devices monitor your body and automatically send signals to trigger insulin production to treat diabetes, or correct smooth-muscle tone to manage hypertension – it could soon be reality.


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Highlighted as a wellness trend by the Global Wellness Summit, energy healing is receiving a makeover. Despite polar-opposite approaches, traditional medicine and “ancient wellness” are now finding some common ground.

Shamanism, Energy Medicine, Sound Healing, Meditation, Breathwork, grounding and connecting with nature, and Sacred Geometry are all growing trends,” says Bjurstam. “In terms of sacred geometry, it makes up the mathematical equations and shapes that explain our universe, or as Plato said ‘mathematics is God’s language’ and through Phi, Fibonacci sequences, the five platonic solids and so forth, there are mathematical and geometrical explanations to all life on earth that we can make use of to increase our frequencies and also avoid certain frequencies by learning about Sacred Geometry.”

As we can see, more and more people are starting to have a desire to understand all of these modalities that have been forgotten for several centuries but have always been here since the beginning of mankind. Furthermore, more people are undertaking pilgrimages to sacred sites around the world, all which have been built based on sacred geometry, such as pyramids, Machu Pichu, and so on. 


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Photo: Courtesy of Post Ranch Inn


An ancient practice, Shamanism sees practitioners alter their state of consciousness to interact with the “spirit world” and channel these energies into this world, often for healing. In many cases, Shamanism involves the use of psychoactive substances, music or rituals like ecstatic dancing and fasting to induce a trance.

Now though, a new approach is combining aspects of Shamanism with modern medicine and technology in a therapy that’s being called Neoshamanism. Six Senses Resorts is a leader in this field, recently creating a unique program with Dr. Alberto Villoldo. “The ‘Grow a New Body’ program includes energy medicine treatments by Shamans, as well as other therapies to detox the body,” says Bjurstam. “The results are spectacular…all 25 people on a recent retreat with this program experienced astounding improvements to their health. For me the most impactful results were on my energetic body, where we store emotions, attachments and traumas that impact us negatively. And to get cleansed of these is quite life changing.”

The program uses doctor-led energy medicine evaluations, light therapies, IV infusions, and oxygen therapy in combination with Shamanic approaches like fasting, plant medicine, and intensive spiritual work.


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Photo: Six Senses New York / Courtesy of Six Senses


It’s clear that the ancient traditions of energy healing are morphing into an exciting new wellness trend. Much of this can be attributed to leaps in scientific understanding of how energy fields affect the body and technological advances that can manipulate these.

And then there are pioneers like Six Senses Resorts, whose soon-to-open urban sanctuary in New York City combines the amenities of a wellness resort and membership club in a concept that will offer PEMF therapy, light therapy, and vibrational plates on its extensive menu of wellness treatments.

All of this points to one thing: a better understanding of our body’s energy patterns is resulting in different – more effective – ways of treating the body.


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