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Energy Therapies - Old & New

Energy Therapies - Old & New

Chi Kung’s profound heritage and wisdom provides the New Meridian Energy Techniques with gravitas and a working model of energy that has not been surpassed for thousands of years. Meridian Energy Therapies provide Chi Kung with a new context and practical relevance. This is a powerful alliance with much potential.

"All truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally is it accepted as self-evident."

Chi Kung’s profound heritage and wisdom provides the New Meridian Energy Techniques with gravitas and a working model of energy that has not been surpassed for thousands of years. Meridian Energy Therapies provide Chi Kung with a new context and practical relevance. This is a powerful alliance with much potential.

The new breed of energy techniques known collectively as Meridian Energy Therapies (EFT, TFT, TAT Emotrance et al), attract as much controversy as they do plaudits. There are evangelical claims for instant cures from deep seated issues that have eluded other therapies and that these will work where nothing else will. In addition, a successful treatment does not rely on prior knowledge of subtle energy maps such as chakras, or meridian channels for successful outcomes. Understandably, some have viewed them with deep suspicion as either quackery, nonsense or dangerous.

Yet there is an imperative for therapists to remain open and creative to what can really deliver the goods. If Meridian Energy Therapies (METs) are re-examined in the light of what they really are - a development of deeply respected energy practices that encompass the universal laws of energy flow, many could benefit from integrating these extraordinary power-tools into their core practice. These next generation energy techniques focus on alleviating the negative feelings and emotions that drain the body’s stress coping mechanisms, namely the central nervous and immune systems.

METs owe a great deal to the ancient practice of Chi Kung (Qigong). Emotional Freedom
Techniques (EFT) and its many variants rely essentially on the tapping of major entry and exit points on the meridian energy system whilst simultaneously verbally acknowledging the source of pain. Tapping points on the meridian system features in Dao-in, Nei-Dan and Iron Shirt Chi Kung practices. Silvia Hartmann’s Emotrance is based on the premise that stress is caused by the way that energy is handled in our energy system rather than the negative feelings themselves. The release is achieved though identifying the energetic blocks at a somatic level and softening them though intention. Such practices have been part of Chi Kung internal alchemy for many thousands of years which has always emphasised the mind - body connection through soft intention, presence and balanced awareness.

METs are Chi Kung adhere to the principle that energy is designed to flow through our energy system and stagnant energy eventually turns into disease patterns. METs would benefit from including some Chi Kung practices to enrich the treatment and provide the client with a means of developing their own energy. Using METs exclusively can be draining for recipient. The shifts in cognition and stuck emotions from long standing issues happen very rapidly which can leave clients feeling disoriented and de-stabilised. Introducing specific Chi Kung forms can counter balance this effect and bring the whole energy system back into a balanced state.

Chi Kung’s fundamental objective is to develop our life force energy or “chi” by working with the body’s own innate wisdom through breath-work, intention, special forms and static postures. Chi Kung’s Taoist, Confucius and Buddhist roots have developed thousands of forms over the centuries influencing martial arts and TCM.

All Chi Kung forms, regardless of lineage, share a common set of guiding principles and the anatomy and physiology of the meridian energy system as their foundation. This system informs Chi Kung and acupuncture and therefore by default also METs. It provides an outstanding framework of reference for understanding how emotions impact physical health. Within this system are the 12 twelve organ meridians, the extraordinary channels and special power centres or dan-tiens that house the energy of our ancestors (jing), life force, (chi) and spirit (shen). In addition there are energetic circuit breakers that distribute our power internally (the micro cosmic orbit) and externally (the macro- cosmic orbit).

The five elemental energies of water, wood, earth, metal and fire are mapped out onto the 12 meridian channels. Each meridian represents a visceral organ with distinct emotional profile. Chi Kung forms directly influence the state of energy in each of these channels. Softening and strengthening the wood energy of the liver and gall bladder meridians diffuses anger and frustration and transform those energies into decision making, optimism and pro-activity. Harnessing the fire energy of the heart and small intestine liberates expression, joy and creativity. Regulating the metal energy of the lung and large intestine enables us to communicate clearly and let go of grief and the past. Calming or stimulating the earth energy of the spleen and stomach releases worry and obsessive thoughts. Developing the water energy of the kidney and bladder channels releases deeply held fears, and promotes gentleness and self acceptance.

The extraordinary channels contain our energetic reservoirs. Connection to the extraordinary vessels informs us where we need to focus our work and whether we need to stimulate, sedate our energy levels to bring the system back into balance. The central or “extraordinary channels” run vertically through the very centre of our being and are anchored by the belt channel.  An exercise such as “Parting the Clouds” is an excellent way of starting and concluding an energetic treatment. In this exercise the client connects with the energy of the earth while taking an in breath and slowly raises hands thorough the centre of the body to above the head and then parts the hands and brings them down to waist level whilst breathing out. This exercise stimulates energy in the Dong Mai channel which in turn  releasies energy into whole system. A MET treatment can conclude with this exercise in reverse to calm down the central nervous system which is especially necessary after much emotional release.

The following examples illustrate how the synergy of METs and Chi Kung lend themselves to clinical practice.

Using METs and Chi Kung forms to Re-establish Trust and Intimacy
Martha felt out of touch with her emotions. A romantic involvement left her with the legacy of being unable to trust others or connect fully in a relationship. She realised that this inability to connect would sabotage her chances of creating a fulfilling and intimate bond.  During treatment, rounds of EFT released layers of emotional stagnancy connected to her fear of intimacy which enabled her to work at a deeper level. Despite this release she still felt a barrier between herself and allowing intimacy into her life. She illustrated this by placing one palm in front of her left lung and one palm over her heart.

Two sets of Chi Kung forms were introduced, one to open the heart and the other to cleanse and release the grief attached to the lungs.  The treatment concluded with a Chi Kung heart visualisation where she stood in a posture with palms cupped around the heart allowing the energy of the heart to flow into all the cells of her body. These forms were recommended post treatment to develop a strong connection to the heart and her expand her communicative boundaries.

METs and Chi Kung and Addictions
Chi Kung and METs work well with addictions and eating disorders as they are skills which  can be transferred to the client. Many who suffer from these follow familiar patterns characterised by low self worth and a lack of personal power and entitlement. The feeling of “not enough-ness” fuels a voracious need to consume to fill this emotional void and anaesthetise the anxiety caused by fear, anger worry or powerlessness. EFT can be used directly on the cravings and also address the covenant of negative core beliefs at the root of the addiction. Simple EFT protocols can also be taught so the client can manage craving and anxiety as they occur. Chi Kung forms like the one described below enables the client to get a sense of their own energy field and also develop sensitivity and awareness.

This exercise can be completed sitting, lying of standing. Focus is placed on the lower dan-tien a spot about six cm below the naval. This point happens to correspond to the centre of gravity of the human body and developing a strong power centre is an important theme in Chi Kung practice. Clients place the right palm on the lower abdomen so that the centre of the palm (Lao gong point) is exactly covering the dan-tien and then place the left hand on top so that the lao gong points are on top of one another.  Women place the right hand on the abdomen because the polarity is different. With the in breath energy is drawn into the palms whilst expanding the lower abdomen and the abdomen is contracted with the out breath.  This exercise can be varied into a standing mediation such as “Standing Like A Tree” or into a gentle form. Concentrating energy into the dan-tien, makes us more stable balanced and clear.

Catherine Dixon
020 8896 3978

Article first published in Positive Health magazine, 2006


The Roots of Chinese QiGong. Dr Yang, Jwing-Ming, YMMA Publication Center ISBN 1-886969 -50-7 1997

The Chi Kung Way, James MacRitchie Thorsons ISBN 0-7225-3025-0 1997

The Promise of Energy Psychology Fienstein, Eden, Craig Penguin ISBN 1-58542-442-0

The Way of Qigong Kenneth S Cohen ISBN 0-345-42109-4 Warner Books 1995

The Advanced Patterns of EFT. Slivia Hartmann, DragonRising ISBN 1873 483 686 2003

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