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Powered Down: My Pointless Night with Energy Healing

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Leon casino, By Kyle Nazario

Ever had one of those “What the hell am I doing here?” moments?

There I was, holding hands with a circle of 29 strangers, saying “ohm” for as long as I could. We did it three times to send as much energy into the center of the circle as possible.

Looking around at the serious faces scrunched up in prayer, I kept wondering why I had decided to come to a run-down church on the south side of Houston.

I couldn’t help it. I had to see energy healing.

So How Does This Work?

You try odd things when you’re bored and in a new city. An hour of digging through Houston events revealed a monthly meetup of people dedicated to “energy healing.”

The name alone caught my eye. Energy healing sounds like something from Star Wars. I had to see it.

(For the sake of politeness, I’ve omitted the last names of everyone involved.)

No one could answer my biggest question, which is what energy healing actually is.

“I don’t know,” said Mary, a nurse who praises its transformative powers. “I’ve never had to explain it to anybody.”

Mary was nice enough to show me a diagram of my chakras on her iPhone. Apparently mine were clogged, and energy healing was the only way to clear them. I still don’t understand what a chakra is, except that Aang had to clear his chakras to master his avatar powers in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Nobody seemed to understand how energy healing worked, despite my persistent questions.

“I’m not clear either, I don’t know how to describe it,” the guy to my left said.

A two-page introductory packet from Juan, the healer running the event, cited “bad energy,” not chakras, as the cause of many problems.

Apparently our auras suffer around electromagnetic radiation, pollution, illness and negativity. Considering that electromagnetic radiation includes radio waves, microwaves and visible light, my aura must have been in awful shape.

The Healing Process

Energy healing is bizarre. People sat on wooden stools in the center of the room while healers stood next to them and did their thing.

One woman looked like she was doing interpretive dance. Another guy was making a motion like he was dumping salt from a giant salt shaker above his healee’s head. Most people just held their hands a foot away from their subject and concentrated.

The whole thing looked surreal. You normally don’t see this level of hoverhand outside of a middle school dance.

I had to try it.

Feel the Power

I grabbed a stool when they switched out the healees. My healer was a thirtysomething guy named Brian. He asked me if I felt any pain. Couldn’t say I did, other than the lingering agony of Community‘s cancellation.

The next 15 minutes were uncomfortable. I sat there and tried not to slouch while Brian waved his hands around my shoulders.

He moved around me, holding his hands a foot away from me. His inhalations were the kind of deep, slow breathing you hear from someone fast asleep or seconds away from stabbing you. It was weird.

At the end, he touched my shoulder and asked if I felt any pain in my spine. Nothing other than a lifetime of slouching.

I took inventory of myself after experiencing energy healing. Sure enough, I felt exactly the same, just stiffer from sitting on a backless hard wooden stool. Energy healing did nothing for me.

Is It Real?

Energy healing has dubious effectiveness from a scientific perspective.

“There is currently no conclusive evidence that energy healing is more effective than placebo,” Dr. Val Jones wrote for Science-Based Medicine. “Furthermore, there’s no known mechanism whereby an unmeasurable energy could be manipulated to improve one’s health.”

Jones credits success in alternative medicines like energy healing to emotional support and placebo.

Placebo, for those of you who slept through science class, is when you give a patient fake medicine and tell them it’s the real thing. Some people get better simply from believing the medicine will work. That’s energy healing in a nutshell. Its legitimate, scientific value is imaginary at best.

Sure, energy healing could make you feel better, but you’re better off skipping the whole thing and taking some sugar pills. It’s the same thing in the end.

(image credits)

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