“Energy medicine is medicine based on the appreciation that living systems have energy fields inside of them and around them and that these fields play important roles in physiology, regulatory biology and regulating processes that are going on inside the organism,” says Dr. Jim Oschman MD. Though he’s a practitioner of Western style medicine, Dr. Oschman recently authored a book about the scientific basis of energy medicines. He talks about alternative therapies like Chinese acupuncture and other complementary therapies that improve human performance.

These days, there’s an increasing trend for Western doctors to look to ancient Chinese medicines to treat some of their patients who aren’t responding to traditional medicines and treatments. Finding the scientific root of lethargy, for example, can be terribly tricky, but doctors from the school of Chinese medicine say that chronic fatigue is a symptom of the body being out of harmony in one way or another.

By examining the patient’s external environment, dietary habits, attitude and other symptoms, specialists in energy medicines are able to prescribe a healthier lifestyle, which many patients find more advantageous in the long run.

Energy medicine encompasses many different processes from qigong (martial arts and yoga) to Chinese acupuncture. One form is called “Reiki,” which is a form of Chinese massage. Practitioners say that their energy moves through the palms to create a relaxing – but energizing – effect.

It’s believed that a Reiki Master can reach one’s life force energy through 10-20 specific positions and techniques that generally last about 90 minutes in duration. Some emphasis is given to the intention of both the practitioner and the recipient and it is said that if the recipient doesn’t truly wish to be healed, then the effects will be mitigated. While the energy may encourage healing, Reiki is not viewed as a “miraculous cure” for serious illnesses, but rather a way of stimulating the body’s natural energy centers.

American doctors have spent their entire professional careers focused on tinkering with chemicals and running clinical trials to scientifically prove the effectiveness of traditional medicines. So naturally there will be some resistance and attempts to subvert traditional Chinese practices.

Energy medicine is not intended to be a cure-all. In the school of Chinese medicine, doctors recommend lifestyle modifications that include exercise, meditation and dietary alterations. For serious ailments, they say emergency medical treatment can’t be denied, but for long-term problems, such as chronic fatigue, why not try non-invasive Chinese energy medicines? After all, starting your day off with a massage or cup of herbal tea isn’t so bad, is it?

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