What is Integrative Healing?
Integrative Healing focuses on the body’s natural wisdom and capacity to heal. It works hand-in-hand with conventional medicine to support health and well-being.
Benefits of Integrative Healing Modalities can:
Foster self-acceptance and empowerment for our changing bodies, minds, emotions & circumstances
Reduce stress and worry
Diminish pain perception, aches, and side-effects of treatments and interventions
Reinforce feelings of well-being
Increase energy and stamina
Improve mental clarity & emotional state
Promote a calm, focused and centered sense of being
Induce a state of relaxation and teach strategies to minimize anxiety
Decrease the length of hospital stays
Increase compliance with physician recommendations and medication management
Helps us gently navigate disappointment and feelings of loss
During the final stages of life, IHMs are highly effective, compassionate tools for providing comfort, reducing fear and easing transition for loved ones.
Mind-Body healing modalities are most definitely a thing. The field of psychoneuroimmunology - and yes, that is a mouthful- identifies a direct, active relationship between the mind and the body.
The Central Nervous System (CNS) is the physical seat of the mind distributed throughout the body. It serves as the home base for thought, memory & emotion. Mind-Body techniques - such as meditation, guided imagery and mindfulness approaches - most literally strengthen the communication between the mind and the body, and are invaluable tools for promoting stress reduction and relaxation while enhancing the body’s natural ability to heal. But it can work in reverse, too: negative thoughts, feelings and traumatic events can affect your physical comfort as well.
Efficacious research has shown that:
Meditation literally rebuilds the brain’s grey matter (Harvard University study, 2015)
“Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day...changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.” -(Sara Lazar, MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program)
"It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life. Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.”
(Britta Holzel, Giessen University, Germany)
How much stress is too much?
Stress can serve as a very positive
influence in our lives. The stress
response sends our body into survival
mode, triggering biological changes
that stimulate our fight, flight or fawn
reactions. I think we can all agree that
survival is pretty important. However...
ACUTE STRESS causes the primal part of
the brain to dominate and block the flow
of energy to the limbic (emotional) and
neocortex (memory, problem solving)
areas of our brain.
EMOTIONAL STRESS & WORRY may
cause energy to get "stuck", leading to
chronic attitudes of worry and fear.
PHYSICAL STRESS OF ILLNESS may
contribute to compromised energy flow through the pathways that energize
I've heard of fight, flight and freeze, but what is "fawn"?
Fawning is a trauma response in which a person reverts to
PEOPLE-PLEASING to diffuse conflict & re-establish a sense of safety (healthline.com, 2020).
As explained by Dr. Mariel Buque', our systems become re-wired under severe stress, refocusing our shift into survival mode. In this case, by engaging in the fawn response, you
not only sacrifice your needs for another in fear of triggering conflict, but increase your stress. In her own words, "It's an exhausting way to live."
When we go about changing our coping mechanisms - actions that gave us a sense of control over danger, albeit falsely or at significant cost - we are essentially asking our brains to let go of something we believed kept us (relatively) safe. It's fragile territory to explore, and I CAN'T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH how important it is to engage in meaningful, professional assistance from a licensed counselor.
That said, Integrative approaches used in addition to psychological supports can help:
lessen the stress and heightened sensations associated with this process;
empower you to initiate and welcome a calm interior;
assist in breaking up and releasing old patterns; and
fill that space with new habits or methods that scaffold you to just be in that place more calmly and peacefully
I'm too busy taking care of, well, everyone...
Of course you are...you are filled with Compassion.
Much stronger than empathy, compassion is the emotion triggered when we recognize and acknowledge that our others are in pain. It reminds us of the sensations, feelings and emotions we've experienced when in tough situations, and it stimulates our desire to actively help them alleviate their suffering.
But it can be difficult to distinguish between our personal experiences and the reactions of those around us, especially when we're living in tight quarters and distanced from friends and family.
When we unconsciously internalize and freeze these negative emotions in our body, we find ourselves in a state of Overwhelm and Burnout. In professional care providers this is called Compassion Fatigue.
It most certainly takes a village to hold each other up and support one another through difficult times. No one can do it alone, despite isolation protocols and unprecedented times.
The human spirit is strong. Nevertheless, we're not built to
process continuous bursts of
internal and external input,
at high doses, in a short amount
of time, over long periods. That
only leaves us running on fumes,
left with emotional and cognitive
gunk stuck behind, stored in
our cellular memory.
Incorporating Energy Healing approaches in your efforts for self-care and well-being, learning methods for managing stressful situations, and considering yourself an equal priority in the process of caring for all the people you love goes a long way for easing stress - not to mention the ability to be fully present and support your peeps.
What are my choices?
You are killing it with the important questions here!
There are actually several options for moving stuck energy, held as emotions and negative thoughts and bodily discomfort, including:
Integrative Energy Healing sessions
Yes, you read that correctly : ENERGY HEALING. It's not
as woo-woo as you might think.
If you've ever had
your heart function
tested with an
(ECG), your brain
with an EEG
taken with a thermometer (assessing heat levels), an X-ray or any other scans (e.g., MRI, PET scan, ultrasound), you have already participated in energy assessment of your bodily function. Medical professionals engage with various forms of energy in your body (electrical, heat, sound, magnetic, etc.) for information about how your body's systems are working. In the case of EEG's, including the use of both electrical and/or magnetic energy, neurologists and neurosurgeons can identify which specific areas of your brain are vital in remembering words, processing emotions, and problem-solving, to identify if they are working properly (magnetoencephalogram). This magnetic energy can also affect brain function, too..
That makes us all walking, talking conductors and receivers of various forms of energy.
Let's use electricity as an example:
We do what all conductors of electricity do: emit a pulsed Electromagnetic Field (pEMF) around us. Healthcare has long been using electrical energy to assess and treat our bodies, as well as other measurable forms of energy. Whether it involves sound waves to break up kidney stones, pEMF devices to assist in difficult-to-heal bone fractures, magnetics to improve cell proliferation, or using a defibrillator to re-start or re-adjust one's heart rhythm, the balanced flow of energy is vital to bodily function.
As a matter of fact, studies show that our energy fields interact with each other. If you and I sit in a room together, my heart activity (ECG) would register in your brain activity (EEG), and my brain activity would register in your heart activity. AND, vice versa: your body would do the same thing. This is one very powerful example of Human Energy Fields (HEF) in action.
If you've ever walked into a room and felt the tension was "so thick you could cut it with a knife"; met a person and just "clicked"; or just as easily "couldn't get on the same wavelength", you've felt what interactive energies are like. And just like when your loved one calls you at the EXACT MOMENT that you were thinking about him or her, our energy is not limited to physical location: Distant interaction, and in this case distance healing approaches, engage without boundaries, if accepted by the emitter and the receiver.
In other words, you've been using your energy as part of your interaction with others for a LONG time. You just didn't know how to name the experience.
But how does it all work?
That answer is WAY above my pay grade.
Integrative Energy Practitioners who are certified in any one (or more) Healing Arts modalities are taught how to actively connect with Universal Life Energy - that which animates all life - and act as a conduit for providing this pure energy to clients. Our intention in doing so is to act as a means to an end: if you are open to receiving, your body will connect and use this energy as only its own natural wisdom can. I can't choose what the outcome will be - that's most literally out of my hands. Universal Energy can not be used to "remove" or "extinguish" another's energy - also not under my control. I don't come close to yielding that kind of power, nor do I ever want to.
And this is VERY IMPORTANT: We can't do it without YOUR permission. Think of it as the body's built-in security system.
Practitioners don't "heal" clients. Healing is an interactive sport in which the client - the recipient, s/he in pursuit of healing - opens him/herself to the interaction and accepts the process as Universal Energy does its thing. Integrative Energy Practitioners are just the plumbing: we turn on the spigot, monitor the energy and follow the flow. Your body takes it from there.
That said, practitioners are skillfully trained to identify when a client's
system would like the energy to linger a little longer at a specific energy
center, if it wants to move on, or if a body doesn't want it at all. We "listen"
and follow direction. We are unable to give you "our" energy
and we are unable to "take" yours. We can't make Universal Energy "do"
anything TO you. We connect, put aside our respective egos and
personalities, share with the intention of letting the energy follow its
route, and guide you on your path as you learn how to interact with it.
You, as the recipient, have all the control. If you want to stop, we stop. If you want to continue, we continue. If you're unsure, we talk about it, and you make the decisions. No questions asked, no pressure. This is a no-judgment zone.
If we're worth our weight in salt, practitioners are also extensively educated, tested on our knowledge and skills, and achieve mastery and/or certification when it comes to matters of professionalism, ethics, scope of practice, and referring clients to more appropriate resources if/when what you need is not within our skill set. Remember: IT TAKES A VILLAGE - that principle applies to every aspect of caring for ourselves and others. Any good practitioner knows his or her limits.
Reiki Research demonstartes that gamma radiation levels decrease during energy sessions in 100% of every body- site tested..
But how? And why?
The theory is that Potassium 40 (K40) represents a self-regulation of energy within the body and the surrounding electromagnetic field (EMF).
It has been suggested that the body's energy adjustment results in part from the increased pEMFs surrounding the hands of the healer.
Integrative Energy Healing Approaches are non-invasive. They can't hurt you. There is nothing inherently good or bad about them, as they all spring from pure, unsullied energy...kind of like fresh water from a stream high up in the Rockies.
Where does this energy come from? Well, we're all made of the stuff of stars and earth - we are actual real-life rock stars. I imagine it works similarly to how light or sound or the magnetic pull of the earth inform our systems when to sleep and when to rise, suggests a deep knowing that a storm is coming, and likely how birds know to fly south for the winter (and which direction is south). But this is just a guess on my part...as I said before, it's above my pay-grade.
Every healing tradition across cultures has its own system and explanation. What they all have in common is the acceptance of "life energy" as "all knowing" or perhaps "nature's wisdom" - whatever name you use or which construct makes sense to you is all that matters. Integrative Energy Modalities aren't about religion, dogma or a belief system. And it's not up to us to decide what it "should" do - that's not within our understanding. However, appropriately and responsibly trained practitioners do know how to tap into and share it, how to listen to the energy system that receives it, and how to safely guide you with the trust that what is in the interest of your highest good is what will follow.