Episode 219: The Science of Energy Medicine
with Jill Blakeway, DACM, L.Ac.
Having recently explored the biomedical aspects of acupuncture on the show, this conversation takes an interesting counterpoint to examine how this modality also walks in the world of energy medicine. In addition to the more physical facets of healing, the power of your body’s own intelligence and consciousness plays a very significant role in the process.
Dr. Jill Blakeway works with patients to ground in their physical bodies and connect to their energy field as a means to holistic healing. Her insights guide us into an exploration of ways that we can prompt our bodies to self-healing abilities.
On Today’s Episode of A Healthy Curiosity:
- How acupuncture fits into the energy medicine picture
- Why a lot of chronic diseases she sees result from miscommunication
- What role the placebo effect can play in acupuncture
- Why removing the sense of separate self is crucial to helping patients heal
- An example of a practice to help cultivate a connection with your own energy field
Jill Blakeway is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM), a licensed and board-certified acupuncturist (LAc), and clinical herbalist practicing energy healing for over 20 years. Jill founded the Yinova Center in NYC in 1999 and acts as Clinic Director. Blakeway is the co-author of Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility, the author of Sex Again: Recharging your Libido and recently published her third book Energy Medicine: The Science and Mystery of Healing. Jill was the first acupuncturist to ever give a TEDTalk, at TEDGlobal in 2012.
Connect With Jill Blakeway:
Welcome to A Healthy Curiosity. The podcast that explores what it takes to be well in a busy world with self care strategies from Chinese medicine, functional medicine, Ayurveda, neuroscience, and beyond. I’m your host, Brodie Welch, licensed acupuncturist and transformation catalyst here to support you on your journey of health, happiness, and personal evolution.
Hello, and welcome to today’s show. I’m your host Brodie. Well-child licensed acupuncturist, herbalist and holistic health strategist. And I am so grateful that you are tuning in today. Today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about the science of energy medicine with Dr. Jill Blakeway. And here on the show, we’ve been building something of a content library on the science of acupuncture and how it works from a biomedical perspective.
We’ve delved into some of those mechanisms of action and today, or taking on this notion of acupuncture as a form of energy. Before we get to the interview. I wanted to thank those of you who have written in with questions for me to answer in upcoming shows. There’s one in particular that I’m very excited about and I’m working on for next week on how to bring the energy of the five elements into our daily lives.
I hope you’ll tune into that one as well. If you’ve got a question you’d love for me to answer, there is still time to drop me a line over at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s Brodie with an “IE” and to the ch and I wanted to let you know that I’ve got room on my calendar for two coaching clients beginning in March.
If you’re working on being kinder to yourself, being more consistent with your healthy habits. If you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed and would like some compassion and smart strategy about how to get off your Bledsoe, head over to brodiewelch.com. Check out the about me page and let’s see if we’re a good fit to work together.
And if you’re new to the show, You are interested in learning more about this particular topic on the science side of Chinese medicine, I’m betting that you would dig the episodes that I’ve done recently. Ish, with mark Waylon, with Mel hopper, Koppelman and ALA Wolf to name just a few of my wonderful esteemed colleagues who have helped unpack this for everyone out there.
Okay. And now onto the interview portion. With Dr. Jill Blakeway. Welcome to A Healthy Curiosity. I’m your host, Brodie Welch, licensed acupuncturist and holistic health coach. And today we’re going to be exploring the science of energy medicine of which acupuncture. Maybe apart. My guest today has written a book on the topic and she is a widely respected and renowned colleague in the field of Chinese medicine.
Jill Blakeway is a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, a licensed and board certified acupuncturist and clinical herbalist, practicing energy healing for over 20 years. Jill founded the Nova center in New York city in 1999, where she’s the clinic director. She’s the coauthor of making babies, a proven three-month program for maximum fertility, the author of sex.
Again, recharging your libido. And recently she’s published her third book, energy medicine, the science and mystery of healing. She also has the. Distinction of being the first acupuncturist to ever give aids, head talk at Ted global in 2012, Jill Blakeway, thank you so much for joining me today. Ready.
Thank you so much for having me on your podcast. I’m excited to chat. I am delighted to talk with you. I I’ve been familiar with your work for a while now. I’ve heard you on other podcasts, which is great, cause there’s not too many of us trying to make the rounds and spread the good word about Chinese medicine.
And I’m excited to talk to you, especially because lately on the show I have been. Geeking out with many, a colleague on sort of the biomedical aspect of Chinese medicine. We’ve done a few shows about how acupuncture works from the biomedical angle, sort of that the mechanisms of action we’ve talked in depth about particular conditions and.
How Chinese medicine can treat it. And like, what is bio, biologically and biomedically happening? And I was excited to use this conversation with you as a bit of a counterpoint talking about Chinese medicine and the science of energy medicine, because really, I think that acupuncture walks in both worlds that on the one hand we live in this culture where we’re striving for legitimacy.
In a culture that’s dominated by the randomized double-blind study as the gold standard. And yet we have this rich tradition that goes back thousands of years, that’s that predates such research, but certainly acupuncture can be said to be a scientific medicine based on observation and continuous rigorous.
Ability to repeat our results over, over thousands of years. And certainly we think about the human biosphere and we think, and we think about there, the human biofield and we are our medicine. You can’t talk about our medicine without talking about energy. So I’d love to hear from your perspective, kind of like in what sense is acupuncture, energy medicine.
Well, you’re absolutely right. Bodie instantly. I think all of us have focused a lot on this sort of bio physical effects of acupuncture, and we’ve taken a somewhat Western mechanistic view of it because we wanted to be accepted within the medical community. And I was very much that kind of practitioner, I, I did my initial training.
I found it a program in a hospital I’ve done clinical research. I very much wanted to be that kind of practitioner. And yet I began to feel as if we were betraying some of the most beautiful and powerful and profound aspects of our medicine, which is why I wrote energy medicine. And it’s, as you said, it’s called the science and mystery of healing because I realized that a lot of what gets talked of as if it’s very.
Energy medicine can be measured scientifically. And I wanted to record that. And then there is a little bit of mystery that lies outside of our reach, I think. And one of the things that the place I usually start with patients is I explained what she is to the best of my ability. And she of course translates as energy, although it’s a much more profound and broader concept than that I think.
And what she is really is all the. Effects of you that aren’t skin and tissue and bone an organ. So for example, your mind is part of your key. Uh, it’s part of your, you know, your beliefs, your feelings, your intention, so all part of your achieve, but the most important when it comes to health, part of your cheek is actually your body’s internal.
And your body has a consciousness and you may not have thought about it because we all take it for granted, but bodies are extraordinarily intelligent. And what they do is they calibrate at all times trying to keep you imbalanced. So you never have to think about your thyroid. It happens completely outside.
But your body is calibrating. Your thyroid is calibrating thyroid hormone. To give you enough energy to do what you need to do. If you have a few extra drinks at dinner, as long as you don’t do it every night, your liver will detoxify and you will never have to think about it. Your organ systems coordinate and synchronize in order to keep you upright.
And every cell in fact has intelligent. Every cell knows who it is and where it is and what it’s supposed to do. And every cell can change given a prompt. And to me, that echoes the very ancient Chinese wisdom of yin and yang. Every cell is yin enough, receptive enough to understand its place in time and space.
And every cell is young enough, active enough to transform. When given a prompt and that is your cheat, an energy medicine is the art and science of giving those prompts. And some of those prompts, I have a whole chapter in energy medicine about placebo, because some of those prompts are given to your mind and placebos work for that reason.
Yeah. Behave like that enemy Brody, but of course they not bare your body’s ability to self heal. Acupuncture is another form of prompt and it’s a little electrical intervention that prompts your body to self heal in a variety of ways. It’s actually a very sophisticated system as the unit. Much more sophisticated than people understand, but you know, hands-on healing is also a prompt.
Reiki can be a prompt. And so I wanted to explore all the ways we can be prompted to self heal, all the ways we can prompt our body to do something. It already knows how to do, which is maintained balance. I love that concept of prompting the body to self healing, because, because there are certain things that are, that are very definitive unmistakable prompts that we can give it that are hard to miss.
For example, at what we, what we’re feeding ourselves, right. It’s, it’s pretty, it’s pretty gross, right? If we’re, if we’re changing our diet in the direction of more plants and more real food and less sugar. Process stuff. The body’s going to get a very distinct message about it’s going to get all kinds of information from that food versus other forms of other ways that we can prompt ourselves to heal might be incredibly subtle, like having, you know, color therapy or having a crystal around or having an essential oil or rubbing and acupoints or, you know, these ways that we can, that we can make a difference in reminding our body how to self-regulate.
But that, but that might be, there’s really nothing. That we can do or be involved with it’s completely inert. Anything can be steering us in the direction of health or steering us in the direction of disease or be perceived emulate. I think there’s very little, but it’s neutral. I think so. And I think once he start to see your body’s intelligence as a form of consciousness, then you can start to ask yourself what would support this, this mission?
You know, your body’s mission is to keep you in balance. If you do something that pushes you out of balance, your body will try and get you back into balance. And most of the chronic diseases I see are actually issues of miscommunication. Your body. Hasn’t been able to commute. Correctly. And so the self-healing mechanism has gone awry.
Sometimes it’s overactive like in auto immune diseases. Sometimes it’s under acting by sometimes it’s just miscommunication. I do a lot of fertility medicine and there is a lot of communication in the reproductive system. And sometimes people just lose their rhythm, women, lose their menstrual rhythm, and it’s a communication issue.
The hypothalamus pituitary ovarian. This is no longer communicating like it shared. And then that prompts you to ask what would help my body do what it already knows how to do. And some of those prompts can be quite subtle. I often think that the reason that we’re so good at treating hormone or problems from.
Which is one of our specialties at my practice in New York. You never is because homelands a subtle they’re in a very subtle feedback system. And so tiny amounts of herbal medicine, a gentle modality, like acupuncture, self massage, visualization. These things can be, um, can actually have a profound effect on something as delicate as hormonal.
And certainly worth trying. And one of my missions has been to teach people what prompt to choose for what is it? I am glad that you brought up hormone balance because really whether we’re talking about hormones or neurotransmitters, anything that it’s, it is all about communication in different parts of the body.
And you really can’t speak of any hormone without thinking of all of the others that, that it impacts because it’s part of this self-regulatory whole, that that is the body ends. And one of the reasons are so many. Disorders that have their roots in stress. I think that it it’s it’s so. Easy to help someone get back on track by giving them acupuncture, because it immediately downshifts us out of that sympathetic overdrive of fight or flight, and brings us back into that rest and repair rest and digest state where, where healing and.
The body is able to, to remember, oh right, this is, this is where I’m supposed to be operating most of the time. And that that’s something that, that acupuncture just gives us an incredible visceral sense of, and then we can send people home with. How to breathe, how to, how to move in ways, how to think differently, such that we are not continually biting the hook of things that stress us out and thus throw our hormones out of balance.
Yes. And you know, it just makes sense. Doesn’t it? That if your body is busy, trying to fight a war, it starts to prioritize the, trying to wait for fight a war functions. So it, you know, prioritize. This is when we see these. Overactive immune systems and inflammation and mucus and all your body’s sort of armory for fighting off a pathogen.
And yeah, we give ourselves the message that we’re at war a lot, even when we’re not. So yes. One of the ways that acupuncture works, I think is that it does downregulate and it mediates the autonomic nervous system in a way that allows us to have a respite from the fight. And when your body gets a little break, It knows what to do.
Now. Acupuncture goes a bit further than that, because then it gives instructions to the body. What to do. I think of it like Toki to the body and code. And what was interesting Friday is when I, I did a chapter on acupuncture and energy medicine. And you can imagine I really wants to get this chapter, right.
I am an acupuncturist. So I, I really wanted to think about how acupuncture works on our biofield and how it is a form of energy medicine. Places I started was acupuncture points are different to other points in the body. They’re noticeably different on MRIs. They have blood vessels that kind of hook around them.
You can spot them. And I wondered why. And I started to look at clinical research and there’s a very interesting piece of research from the university of Vermont, from a woman called Dr. Helen who. Looked at acupuncture points and why they’re specialized tissue or to see if they are specialized tissue.
And what she found is that the acupuncture points have a greater pool force. And what that means is that when you try and pull a needle out, they grip the needle more than the non acupuncture points. It’s about 20% more. So it’s not a huge amount, but. It’s measurable. And then she did research on rat abdomen and she found that when an acupuncture needle is put in place and they’re manipulated, which is how we do acupuncture, we don’t just put the needles in.
We then twist them a little bit, the connective tissue whines around the needle, like spaghetti on a fork. And when it’s stretched like that, it’s more electric conduction. So I thought that was interesting. And I began to ask myself, why would we have this electro conductive tissue in special places? And I think Brody the answer lies in embryology embryos, create the.
Electrically. They don’t have a well worked out enough and mature enough central nervous system or cardiovascular system to communicate the way the body normally communicate, which is usually through the nervous system or through the bloods. And so they create a charge and that buds off the next best of the embryo.
And they do that a bit like creating a computer system by making nodes of specialized tissues. But then bud off the next part of the body, given the correct signal. And if you overlay a map of the acupuncture points over those very electric conductive embryological nodes, they are in the same. So I think the very specialized tissue that is used to create us electrically can still be used to give us a little electrical intervention and then regulators.
And so that there are ways of measuring that these days. And if you want to go and see an embryo creating itself, electrically, there is a YouTube video called electric frog face, which is from Tufts university that shows a frog embryo with lightning and. As it creates itself with a little electrical charge.
So that was where I started to realize that the energetics were measurable and expectable yeah, that’s fascinating. I know that I’ve come across research that will even technologies like point finders, right. That the ways that that points can be located because they have a different electromagnetic charge than for example, something, a centimeter away.
They have their own special signature, which is why that is discernible. Can you, can you tell us how that works? What they do and, um, acupuncture. So usually snippy about point locators. Cause we can find them with our thinkers. We can feel them. And what we have done is over the years, I’ve done my job for over 20 years and probably a bit like you, like, you know, it’s instinctive to me, I run my hand along the Meridian and I can feel the acupuncture points.
What we’ve trained ourselves to feel is areas of slightly lower frequency. And that’s what the point locators find and then make a beep. And what we do when we do acupuncture is we raise that frequency. We manipulate the connective tissue below as Dr. Langer Benz research showed it, winds around the needle and stays that way for the whole of the treatment.
And that taught connective tissue is then much more electro conductive. And that’s how the acupuncture points work. And we can feel. That change in frequency because we touch acupuncture meridians. So often we’ve trained ourselves to, and I don’t know whether you’ve ever taught Chinese medicine, but when you start with students, they can’t feel a thing and the points are so far.
And then you watch them just in that four years. They’re in grad school game. Well, most instinctive ability to find the point. And when I was a clinical supervisor, which is a long time ago, I could tell whether the student had needled the exact point from the door. I didn’t need to go to the patient. I did go to the patient, but you could sort of tell by the way the needle was holding itself, whether it had what we would call or not, whether it was in the right place and plugged into the body’s intelligence.
I like to. Of the points as little portals of consciousness. And each of them has a particular job, right. Each of them. And that we can that different point combinations. I like to explain it to patients. It’s like, it’s like playing a chord on a piano or a guitar or a harp, you know, or, or, or even like pressing control alt delete on a keyboard.
Sending a different message than control V right? It’s a, it’s going to sound different in different combinations and we’re tapping into two different points in their specific messages for the body and in a way that sends a coherent message. And so, and that where the points are circling back to that.
It’s something that absolutely does come into practice. Like we can read an acupuncture textbook that says that a point is located using this particular landmark. And I think of those as like getting us to the right address. Not necessarily early getting us to the right street, but then like having to look around to find out, okay, well, which, which mailbox is it that we actually need to put this letter in to get the communication to work.
And that’s different that that’s, you have to tell pate, I think in order to find where is it on this individual human being? Well, there’s some interesting research by date that shows that acupunctures, who’ve been practicing it in sort of sustained. Clinical practice their brains change over time. And partly that’s because we’re trained to spot patterns rather than a specific symptom where we’re trained to spot patterns of disharmony.
And part of it is because we also have trained ourselves to do something that’s sort of physical at the same time. And so acupuncturists over time have brain changes and that will be why it’s an unusual job, but it’s what we like about it. Isn’t it. Sort of physically connected and it’s part art, part science, and we get to sort of geek out and be sciency, but we also get to live in that area of consciousness.
And you know, what is your body’s consciousness? What is your consciousness? What is your place in the world, which is also part of Chinese medicine. We, we have a concept of the Dao, the container for all of the. Variances as human beings. And, uh, you know, that, that every action we take, every thought we have causes a little ripple in the Dow and is part of our journey, but also affects other people.
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that idea that. Well, just this example that we’ve been thinking about is, is sort of a meta example of, of this topic itself. That in a sense, it, it can seem like a magic power to be able to locate an acupoint, but actually what’s happening is the brain is laying down more, really the. Our neuroplasticity by doing something over and over again, we are dedicating more real estate to the sensory part of our fingertips.
And, and it’s the kind of thing where we can, we can prove that we can discover that. Okay. Yes. This practice over time is making this change in the brain. We can sort of explain how, how that’s happening. But to the outside world, it looks like it, it looks wooo. It looks weird. Like how can you know, how is this person doing that?
And you, and I both know from touching thousands of bodies, that a lot of it’s not particularly, even subtle, you know, that, that there’s, some of it is like profoundly obvious where the point is, but it just, it comes with experience. I, um, I wanted to circle back to your point about the placebo effect and, and how.
The differences that acupuncture can make that are above and beyond the placebo effect versus how much, how we, as practitioners can harness the power of the placebo effect, because we might as well use it. It’s real and it’s an, it exists. And you know, it makes Western drugs work better if people know what they’re taking and why they’re taking it.
So getting, getting the mind on board can be, can certainly be helpful, but of course, Acupuncture we’ll work on pets who presumably don’t have a belief system one way or another around whether or not this is effective medicine. So just would love for, for you to unpack for us a little bit about, about the powerful CBO that we can use as practitioners versus that kind of what’s going on with acupuncture that is beyond.
Well, it’s, it’s a really interesting topic. I think by DM one, that acupuncture is a defensive about because we have to deal with that question. Is it just the placebo effect? And the answer is no, it isn’t a acupuncture works on pat energy medicine works on animals. And in my book, I tell the story of a professor at city university in New York.
His name is Dr. William. Bill to his fans. And bill learned an energy medicine technique from a psychic healer and decided to take it into the lab. He’s just a pure researcher. He wanted to see if it works and why it worked. And so he got mice that were specially bred to have cancer, poor mice. These mice have a happy ending.
I feel like I should tell you this now, otherwise it sounds really sad, but these are mice that are used in pharmaceutical testing. They’re a specific type of mice they’re bred to be given cancer. And that is how drugs get tested. And they never last more than 27 days. That’s, that’s how this works. And so bill got six mice to start with and did the technique and the mice look worse for a while, but then they got better and they.
They recovered completely. And what’s more when he re-injected them with the same cancer, it was a form of breast cancer. They couldn’t get it. They were immune. And then bill did what I think any scientists would do. He asked is this replicable, you know, can anyone do this? Cause science is really only useful if it’s replicable, if some special someone somewhere is doing a special thing, it’s of limited value for them.
Right. You know, But if you can’t afford to see the specialist, someone, or they have a three-year waiting list, what are you going to do? And so science should be replicable. We should all be building on each other’s knowledge in order to advance human knowledge and pass that on to the next generation. So bill taught groups of skeptical students, the technique and.
And they were all given sex mice and they all got the exact same results. And there are two things I like about this research. One, these are mice, so they had no idea they were supposed to get better and to anyone could do the technique and that I think. Uh, extraordinary and Bill’s research is ongoing.
He’s actually going to be doing some research at the Inova center. Um, with my team, we just had a lovely meeting with him and he’s, he’s based in New York and Tuesday, he’s going to come and we’re going to do some clinical research using different techniques to prompt self-healing.
Oh yes. Well, he very generously, let me write about it in the book and what it is is it’s a way of distracting. And it’s interesting Brady because I do something completely different, but have a similar effect. One of the things that I did when I was rising energy medicine was submit my body to science.
Why’d I give acupuncture. And what I found was that my heart and my brain go into internal. We put an EEG on my brain and an EKG on my hut and they, they emit the same frequency. And to do that, I sort of empty my head a bit when I’m doing acupuncture and go into a bit of a flow state. And they think that when that happens, the next thing that happens is the patient’s heart goes into the same frequency as mine.
And when, what all am missing the same frequency, it would seem that information gets passed, that the patient then uses to self heal. My job is that. Pull that difficult. So, and I spent a lot of time explaining to people, but I’m not remotely special that, you know, I have a doctor in Chinese medicine and the loss of experience at this point, but I’m, I, I’m not doing anything particularly hard.
The patient then at that, that body’s intelligence reorganizes, given this information. Now, what does this have to do with placebo? I hear you think I have, I have like four or five questions, but yeah, let’s go there. First set. The reason this is important is to say that that energy medicine techniques are not necessary.
Simply placebo, however, placebos work and PCBs work better than people think they do. It’s not just that people think they feel better. So they feel better. People make chemical changes, given a suggestion. So to give you an example at the university of Turin, they gave Parkinson’s patients. and told them it was dopamine, which is what they need.
And they produce their own dopamine in response to the suggestion, which was measurable. So the way I explain it to my patients is if your energy field is every part of you, that isn’t skin and tissue bone an organ, it includes your body’s intelligence, all of that consciousness, all of those smarts that.
In line, but it also includes your mind. And so you can direct your mind. You can use one part of the field to affect another part of the field. You can direct your mind to prompt your body’s consciousness to make a change. And I have been sitting at home on lockdown during this pandemic, like lots of people treating my patients on zoom and.
It has given me the chance to design guided meditations that are journeys into the body in order to use my knowledge of energetic anatomy, Chinese medicine, anatomy, and conventional anatomy to, to help people prompt, uh, their own body to change. And I think getting really extraordinary results just using people’s minds to in a very specific way.
Um, Quite like acupuncture, but I can get some really interesting effects by doing that and prompt self healing in the same way. So I think we shouldn’t see the placebo is the enemy at all. Uh, you know, we from now on having had this experience on zoom, when I’m back in the clinic, giving acupuncture, I will always direct my patient’s mind to where I’m going, because why would.
Exactly and really in doing so it’s almost like you’re guiding them into a cheek gong experience. You’re having them use their intention, presumably also their breath. Um, and in order to skillfully. Alter that person’s ecosystem in that direction. That’s exactly what time did we do breathing exercises together.
And we get into a little zone where that brain slows down a little bit. And then I, I give directions and prompts and I have one patient who is having 10 hot flashes a day, and we did this and nothing else. I was going to prescribe her hips, but she stopped having hot flashes. She has a menopausal patient having hot flashes and really just her mind.
And so, I mean, w was it as simple as just saying like, oh, well just tell yourself to not have no, I somehow didn’t think so. No, no. I found that doesn’t work. It’s not an over matter thing. I have to get to the root of the hub. This is where it’s helpful to know a lot of anatomy and physiology, because you have to get to the root of the hot flashes and then help your body’s intelligence.
Do what it knows how to do. So, you know, Having an understanding of pathophysiology is really important that understanding that there isn’t enough estrogen and that, that is the root of this is, is an important part of it. So it’s a little bit more complicated than that, but, you know, I’m miles away on zoom.
So clearly the patient is making the changes themselves, given a bit of direction. And I think that’s actually just really intense. You said earlier about that idea of coming into coherence with your patients or that first of all, this idea of, of coherence of the MRI, it’s the, it’s the frequencies heart rate variability and the brain that there’s electromagnetic fields that both of those organ systems create.
And it’s allowing them to be in harmony with one another. That’s exactly it. I am, uh, you know, we measure aspects of iron sheep field the whole time. And one of the that we have energy fields around all of our organs and we’re finding more and more of them actually spoke to someone the other day. Who’s in the process of mapping the biofield, which is really.
But conventional medicine uses EEG and EKG very routinely, which is just a, it’s an energy technique. It’s a, it’s a way of measuring the energy coming out of, uh, and the frequencies coming out of the brain and the. So that’s how that stat, yeah. It doesn’t really get more allopathic than an EKG. Right. And we think about like, and what they’re measuring is the function.
What they’re measuring is the energy it’s. So in a way it’s like, there really isn’t a difference between biomedicine and energy medicine. It’s just whether we’re focusing on the sack of meat or the living dynamic field of consciousness and thoughts and feelings that are, that contained with. That’s exactly it.
Good. Good. Yeah. That’s that’s the first paradigm shift I encourage my patients to make is like stop thinking of yourself as, as a machine or this meat sack, and start thinking of yourself as the field, as identifying with the empty space of who you are rather than this stuff of who you are. The question that I have about coherence.
And is that, that sort of ties into this notion of the practitioner or the quote unquote doctor as medicine, right? That, that in a sense you’re not special, but in a sense you are special because the person that you’re treating, isn’t throwing you off. They, you know, the person that you’re treating is taking on your coherence, you’re lending your coherence to them through the treatment rather than the other way around.
I’m wondering if you have, okay. And a lot of, a lot of acupuncturists are taught in school. The importance of having a meditation practice or a cheek gong or Tai Chi practice. A lot of us do yoga. A lot of us have some sort of. Self cultivation practice that allows us to keep our center instead of kind of vibing to the patient.
And I’m just curious what your thoughts are on that. Is it the kind of thing that. Practitioners need to intentionally develop or is it simply our intention to heal and being in the space of applying our craft and that sort of dynamic where the person is, where the person is there with a particular attention to surrender their authority.
Health-wise to the, to the practitioner who is essentially conducting this, this ceremony of healing. Well, I, I didn’t develop it consciously. I think it would be a nice thing to, and I’d rather like the next generation of acupuncturists to do that earlier than I did, but a bit like feeling the acupuncture points.
I, over time I learned how to get the best possible results I think. And I like. Practitioners, and I’m sure this is true for you just really cared about the patients and I wanted to help them. And I tell this story in the book because it’s partly memoir, you know, I, I desperately wants to help the patients, but one of the things that I found very early on was that I generated a palpable energy coming out of my hands so that the patients could feel, I had no idea whether that was a good, bad or neutral thing, to be honest.
And I used to ask myself, I wonder if this is just the seabed. I wonder if. Strong energy that comes out to my hands and it doesn’t really do very much, but people are impressed by it. And they’re sort of self-heal and response to it, which is PO box of the reason I write the book. But what, what I learned really early on was that if my ego got involved, it would dissipate and it would dissipate this energy in a way that the patients could feel.
So I would be there doing my job and I would start to want to direct it more. And it often from. Motives, you know, like, please let this woman who’s struggling with infertility, have a baby kind of thing. Like a prayer. The minute I did that, the patient would say, oh my God, this stopped what happened? And I go, I know what happens.
I tried to make it all about me and I needed to make myself into a bit of an empty vessel in order to do the job really efficiently. And the first person. Playing me to me was the scientist bill Bankston, who does, did the experiments on the mice because he has a different technique. He floods the brain with ego gratifying images that distract it, but it ends up being the same thing.
You have to get your sense of separate self after. And your sense of separate self is your ego. Your ego is invested in seeing you as unique and separate, and then protecting the integrity of that individuation at all costs really. And in order to do this job well, you really have to let that. And I learned to do that just by trial and error.
And then no one was more surprised than me when they didn’t EEG and EKG. And they were like, oh, you do your thing. And we can measure the thing, go into a zone and you slow your brain down and that’s what you do. And then the patient’s heart goes into. Coherence with yours. So I didn’t have some great plan, but I do.
I’m a huge believer in grounding before I treat a patient, I standard chigong stance. Um, which those of you who do tick gung well know in horse, And I li I really, really feel my connection to the earth. And there’s a way of standing with your knees, slightly bent and your back straight and your pelvis tip forward.
That just creates an alignment that is very grounding. And then I breathe. Consciously diaphragmatically for a minute or two before a, well, it’s not really matter. I bet it’s 30 seconds before I put in a needle and I’m very unshakeable in the clinic and I think that’s important if you’re going to create this kind of connection and you’re going to allow someone’s system to reignite reorganize in response to a prompt.
And maintain a clear channel and to do that, all you have to do is ground. And, uh, I never pick anything up from the patients. People always ask me. Um, but it’s not really a two way thing, uh, at all. Uh, I have good energetic boundaries at this point. And again, I just learned it on the job, that idea of universal energy.
Being the thing that is doing the healing. If I heard you correctly, that’s, that’s sort of the, the idea that, that your, when, when you made it all about you, the healing energy diminished or stopped entirely, and this idea of being this empty vessel through which this idea of, of cheap or, yeah, I don’t know, universal life force or something.
It can, can flow through us and into our patients. That really when we are even just when we’re with another person in certainly closer than, you know, close enough to touch them the field around us, in the fields, around them merge. And there really isn’t something we really are overlapping with them. We really are exchanging energy with them in a very real way.
And that, that is that’s something that the idea of creating an artificial separation. It, it does feel. Pretty impossible to do that because it’s, uh, it, you know, it may not conform to our sense of self, but really on an energetic level. It’s, it’s all the same thing. Well, you know, I started by looking at research that shows that when two people are talking together, like you and I, at the moment, one person’s heart waves start to show up in the other person’s brainwaves.
We are sort of silently collaborating with each other the whole time, another. Piece of research was from the university of Connecticut where they put two people in separate MRI’s. And when one thought about the other, their brainwaves synced up separate rooms, these are couples, right? Like the people who know each other really well.
Um, well that was a healer. At that point. So they, uh, they were having healing thoughts, uh, about the other person and their brainwave started to sink, which I think Brady is that same feeling you get when, um, you think about someone and then they text you, which happens to us all the time or people like you.
And I, we think about a patient we haven’t seen in years, and then we find them on our schedule the next week. And we’re like, oh, I guess they were thinking of that. We, so, um, uh, we are connected in ways that we are. To understand, but here’s where I ended up at the end of this book and it, it changed me. It changed everything in my life.
Actually it changed the way I saw everything. I think there isn’t a separate universal consciousness. I think we all. As in that consciousness in your body is bigger than your body. So your physical body is individuated your here, Bing you, you all Brody Ang over there and I’m jelling over here, but we are exactly the same consciousness where the, exactly the same yin and yang.
Uh, receptivity and activity, toggling away, uh, maintaining balance or attempting to maintain balance. And that is us too. And it’s, uh, there is a point of which there is no separate self and I do. No, I was going to find better when I started writing the book at all, but that’s where I entered up. That, that there is a, this, the idea of a separate self is a bit of an illusion based on our physicality and our ego and not understanding the parts we cannot see, but what getting glimpses of measurable connection, like the studies I talked to you about, like, They did with me and my clinic, um, showing how I connect with patients, we’re getting glimpses that we’re part of something much bigger.
And I think the name for that in Chinese philosophy would be the Dao that is very sensible, um, or, or the Yuan Shen, perhaps that. Yeah, it was say that I think it’s the Dow. I think it’s the container for all about it’s fair, you know, and it’s two bus. They, the Dow that can not, can be spoken of is not the real doubt.
As you know, it’s hard to talk. It’s, it’s hard to talk about. Um, but. It’s because it’s all of us, I think. And that is the area that you and I are lucky enough to dwell it, which well, in the connection rather than the separateness and that’s how we’re able to affect change. I think absolutely well. And reminding people that, that they are immune connection is the medicine for so many things, right.
And as human beings, we, one thing that we’re discovering, I think during this pandemic now more than ever is how much we need each other and how much we need to just to be around each other’s energy for the sake of our mental and physical health. And just, and a lot of times just encouraging people to feel into that interconnectedness is, is in and of itself a healing intention.
Yes. I’ve been teaching a lot of my patients sort of consciousness, expanding techniques. I touched on. With breathing exercises in the book, because I went to see as part of the boat project of this focus traveler, but I went to see an amazing Yogi on an island off the coast of Japan, the Southern coast of Japan place called for Quacker.
His name is master cower academy and master Kawakami who’s in his eighties, his appears to be impervious to pain, and he proves this quite regularly by sticking skills to his time. Doing things that are really quite scary, but what he is is someone who has a very, very expanded consciousness, which gives him control over his body.
And so at times when he’s been studied, he’s quite, well-known in Japan. Published back 40 books and he’s a beloved meditation teacher, but at times when he’s been studied, um, they’ve put him in an MRI and burnt his feet with lasers. And, um, he doesn’t register pain at all in his brain, but he’s able to flood his body with endorphins.
Well, uh, which makes him something of his own. He has control over something that most of us don’t have control over, which is his body’s self-regulating system. And he’s highly skilled and highly changed. He’s been doing this a long time, but I was profoundly changed by watching him as a healer. He’s a very humble man.
He works in a yoga studio and he has, he owns a yoga studio for blog, even though he’s published all these books and people just knock on the door and come in for his. Um, and he’s extraordinarily gifted, but I, I realized that his gift comes from his ability to access his broader consciousness. That, that kind of thing, I think, shows us the potential that we have within us, you know, that it getting back to that, it’s all just what we choose to cultivate.
I’m curious about. If there are practices that you suggest that people cultivate that help them connect with their own energy fields, or you mentioned grounding, I guess, is there something that, that you could share with people listening that they could try it out? Shall we do it together. We do five minutes dead unless you’re driving.
In which case, press pause and come back to this safe place. Don’t do this when they do this, when you’re driving or moving or red, just come back, but let’s do a little meditation together. And that sounds great. Jenny, just take some nice settling breaths.
And then imagine that you have tree roots coming out of your sacrum and the balls of your feet going into the earth and in your minds. I just see them go deeper and deeper and deeper. And let yourself feel the pull of gravity on your body. Feel how physically here you are, feel how much a part of the earth you are, how affected you are by the monthly rhythm of the moon or the annual movement of the sun and the seasons feel how much the earth nourishes you with water and oxygen and food.
You are very much a creature of the air, but it isn’t all of who you are. Every cell in your body has a life force has awareness, consciousness, intelligence. You would not be alive if it didn’t. So I want you to imagine a ball of intelligent light above your head. And this light is both yen. Receptive and young active.
It is very fast moving. It’s literally the stuff that gives you life without it, you would just be an empty body and just take that light into your head and just see your head as full of this resource. Let us support all those things that your brain does. All those decisions your brain takes completely outside of your mind.
Respiratory cardiovascular metabolic, hormonal, your body makes more than a million decisions a day. All of them without asking your mind. Take that light into your neck and your shoulders. Let it move out. Any tension in your shoulders, take it all the way down your arms to your fingertips and really feel it in your hands.
Hands are supposed to feel, feel how alive you are. Feel the vibration of that intelligence field of warp. Take it into your chest and your mid back. Let it just soften any garden in your chest that comes from having been had. And then take it to your diaphragm, which is below your lungs and above your upper digestive organs and just it’s a muscle and it gets tight.
Just see it as smoothing out any tension in that muscle. And then as you breathe, let your diaphragm move downwards to create space. And as you breathe out that it move up. Take it all the way into your abdomen, down to your pelvic floor. And this time as you breathe in, let your pelvic floor relax. And as you breathe out, let it tighten a little bit.
Your diaphragm and your pelvic floor are in a dynamic relationship. And it’s really important to your body’s ability to communicate that they’ve worked together and they often lose their connection. And then take that light from your hips, your knees, from your knees, to your ankles and into your feet and feel yourself as you really are, which is a human being on there, full of information and intelligence.
Now I want you to just put your attention on the space between your eyebrows on your forehead. Um, without straining and with your eyes closed just really your eyes up very slightly until you come upon a place that feels more spacious, it may have color or movement or shape in Eastern religions. This is called the inner temple.
I call it the internal landscape. It is your connection to our shared consciousness. That’s why it feels. So spacious. And then with your attention here, let your mind just rattle on in the background and keep bringing your attention back to this space between your eyebrows. Just breathe. And I want to draw your attention to the present moment.
It is the only thing that exists the past has gone. It does not exist. You have memories, you have information, but none of it is happening now. And the future continues to create itself over and over again from this very spacious and resource depressant. So in this place, you could start co-create, you can start to feel the movement of the doubt and create with it.
And when it feels good, you can open your eyes very gently and we’ll come back together.
That was lovely. Chill. Thank you so much for leading us through that meditation. I could see that being easy enough for people to remember and to guide themselves through on a regular basis. I love that. I feel like I could talk to you all day about this stuff. I love the work that you’re doing. It’s fascinating.
The research that you do. Um, I’ve been in conversation and I just, I’m so curious about, about all of it. And if people are interested in learning more, I will have a link to your website in the show notes firstname.lastname@example.org. And I really appreciate you being willing to jump in to this conversation with me today.
It’s been an absolute joy. It’s lovely to talk to a fellow practitioner of Chinese medicine. It’s lovely to be on the same wavelength and I’ve had some of the same experiences. So thank you. Thank you for having me on and thank you for asking such interesting questions. It’s been such a pleasure.
Thanks for listening today to check out the show notes, get on my email list or drop me a line heads ofbrodiewelch.com. That’s Brodie with an “IE” and to the ch I’d love to hear from you. If you learn something new or feel inspired to try something different in your life, I’d love for you to pay it forward.
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