As part of my psychotherapy practice, I may incorporate, as is appropriate, methodologies that appear to have promising mental health benefits but have yet to be fully researched by the academic community. Research studies are now being conducted by some of the most prestigous universities and learning institutions worldwide. The premise of Energy Psychology is that the flow and balance of the body's electromagnetic and more subtle energies are important for physical and emotional health, and there are energy-based methods that help in fostering that well-being.
The relevance and interactive effect among your emotions, thoughts, beliefs, Biochemistry, behaviors, bodily sensations, and electromagnetic and subtle energies has been researched from the Western scientific perspective, except for the role of subtle energy. You may have heard of subtle energy through such terms as "life force", "chi", "meridians", "chakras", "biofields", or "auras". These energies are called "subtle" because they are not easily detectable and scientists have not been able to develop instruments to reliably measure them. However, many people for centuries and across cultures have described seeing or feeling subtle energies to varying degrees.
Measurable energies are the fabric of our existence. Electrical, chemical, and nuclear energies are some of the more common forms of measurable energy with which we are familiar. For example, doctors measure electromagnetic fields or energies of the body through the use of EKG's, EEG's, and MRI's. These measurable energies are clearly an important part of our everyday health and well-being.
Subtle energy is one of those forms of energy still being explored. It can be considered part of the ever-present energy from which all matter is derived. Some scientists believe our physical bodies emerge from a field of subtle energies. And, in many healing traditions, the "life force" that distinguishes life from death is understood as involving the presences of subtle energies. Energy Psychology suggests that by promoting balance and flow in these fields of subtle energy, the health of the body is enhanced.
Despite not fully understanding the nature of subtle energy, there are numerous methods designed to influence these energy systems such as acupuncture, yoga, acupressure, Reiki, and tai chi, to name a few. Many Asian cultures have studied these energies and methods for centuries and have successfully applied them to both physical and emotional health (e.g. Deadman et.al., 1998). Subtle energy is being taken much more seriously in this country as many hospitals in the United States now include methods such as Reiki and acupuncture to help with the healing of a variety of medical conditions. Another example of the increased professional interest in subtle energy is the formation of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP), whose annual conference brings in hundreds of therapists from around the world. Their web site for more information is www.energypsych.org.