September 23, 2016

Beyond Muscle & Bone: Healing through Shamanic Touch.


There is more to touch than the physical contact of skin, muscle and bone. Energetic connection is equally important, yet often misunderstood.

I use this connection to touch people in a deeper, richer way, opening them to their own ability to heal. Everyone possesses these skills; with practice we can all become more adept at using them—and improving the world.

I was one of those shy, quiet kids who felt overwhelmed by so much information bombarding my senses. I would hide in my room and talk to my “imaginary” friend. I could pick up on subtle language people used; words almost seemed unnecessary. I also knew, without a doubt, that everything was alive. Chairs, tables, clothes, toys—they all had feelings.

While other kids were watching T.V., I was practicing how to move objects with the power of my mind and making sure my Barbie doll was not in an uncomfortable position. It was a shock when I discovered that other people did not share my perception of the world. I was quickly shamed out of my “weird” behavior and “taught” how to fit in.

It would be 30 years before I found someone else who was the same sort of “weird.”

The first time I met a Tai Chi master, I understood that I was not strange. For the first time in my life, I could feel someone at all levels of perception. Someone was communicating with me in my own language, touching me with their energy.

I knew I had finally found home. I was no longer an outcast; I belonged somewhere.

For the first time, someone looked into my eyes and saw all of me. When we communicated, I could feel a warm glow in my heart and stomach. My body was alive, and our energy, the essence of who we were, danced and played and exploded in the space between us like multicolored ribbons tumbling together in the air.

I spent the next 10 years learning about my energy body—how to express energy, use it to heal, and harness it to defend myself. I learned how to open up, how to close down, how to stay rooted and how to move energy around my body. I became more confident and stopped hiding in my room and pretending to be like everyone else. I was no longer afraid to let my weirdness show.

I learned that the very energy that created life, the chi that my master used to throw people across the room, was the same energy that could be used to heal someone.

I learned that, by current social standards, we are all weird. We all have an energy body, it just happens to be underdeveloped.

If everyone could become aware and gain mastery over their life force, life would be so much richer. With instruction and practice, everyone can learn to interact this way. Imagine a world where you can connect with others in a profound way, able to understand and communicate, hold space and heal each other. Imagine living with a deep awareness of your connection to your environment—living fully, through all of your senses. These are the skills I use to touch and heal.

Shamanic healing is using this unseen energy to remove the things that don’t belong with you and return the things that do, as well as removing energy that has found a home in your body and does not belong.

Some people think I’m a body worker and just work with skin and muscle, but for Shamanic healers there is also a subtle level where deep healing takes place. We sense how the energy body connects to others. Energy threads extend from our bodies and reach into the world, like tendrils of smooth ribbon, searching, connecting and bringing information back. When there is a blockage in our world, our energy threads can become tangled, losing their ease of movement. Smoothing them is a bit like running fingers gently through tangled hair.

When I touch a client, I move my energy from my heart, down my arm and into my fingers. When they feel me, it’s not just the physical sensation of touch on their skin, but the essence of who I am and my loving, healing intention.

During the massage, our energy fields communicate, my energetic ribbons extending from my body and gently touching theirs, silently asking questions:

How are you feeling in this moment? What do you need? How do you want to be touched? Where is the pain?

As I continue to work I might ask:

How do you show up in the world? What is holding you back? How do you relate to the people around you? How do you connect to your environment? What has hurt you? What do you need to heal?

I can feel their response—my client’s nonverbal, energetic communication tells me what is blocked in their lives and how it’s affecting their physical body. I sense their answers as a knowing in my body. This is in addition to the physical feedback I receive from touching tense, hard muscle with my hands and fingers.

As I work to release the blocks in their muscles and joints, I’m also working to unblock the energy in their lives, for one mirrors the other. As I soften muscles with my hands, I’m also running along the meridians, the energy pathways in their body, following the ribbons of energy extending from their body into the world. I’m untangling conflict and the places they feel stuck. Uncovering the emotion or belief they need to release, in order to unlock their life and move forward.

People need to be heard. It can take many sessions of talking before people overcome their fear or shame of telling me what is wrong and what they need. At the soul and energetic levels, there is no ego or shame, just honest communication. I use this information to respond to their needs. At the surface level, I can use old-fashioned verbal communication to check that I have understood and listened, confirm boundaries and ask for permission.

It’s not just rubbing and kneading sore muscles. So much happens unseen in this world, but it does exist. This is how we heal deeply, from the soul all the way through to the physical body.

If you would like to communicate and connect at a deeper level, learning Tai Chi or Reiki can unlock this gift. It can open you to abilities you never knew you had—ways to communicate, heal and connect with each other. Unblock your life and move forward; discover the unseen energy that exists in everyday life.


Author: Julia Williamson

Image: lostintheredwoods/Flickr

Editor: Toby Israel


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