Episode 05: The Energy Experience
On our six-part Netflix series, The goop Lab, we explored six wellness topics. If you’re here, you’ve found one of them: We’ve gathered our best podcasts, Q&A’s, and articles as a resource for the deeply curious. The series is designed to entertain and inform—not provide medical advice. You should always consult your doctor when it comes to personal health and before you start treatment.
There are not double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials on energy healing. And: We’ve had energy healing sessions—and loved them.
The general idea of it—which is simply that there are many subtle ways to release tension, emotion, and trauma that have become stuck in the body—isn’t something limited to the realm of energy healers. Some of the most effective ways of releasing energy are the things we seek and already know to be effective: movement, yoga, dancing, singing.
“There is a source energy that runs through all of us that animates us,” says Jill Blakeway, acupuncturist and author of Energy Medicine. Blakeway joins Elise Loehnen for an episode of The goop Podcast to talk about the integration of Eastern and Western medicine and what she’s come to understand about the power of acupuncture and different forms of energy healing.
How do energy healers approach stress and pain in the body?
Chiropractor John Amaral and body-alignment specialist Lauren Roxburgh came together to chat with our chief content officer about how energy moves through the body, where and why it gets blocked, and how we can release stored stress, pain, and trauma.
Roxburgh teamed up with intuitive Jill Willard here for a how-to on releasing stress stuck in the body.
To learn more about the kinds of release we’ve found on his table, we asked Amaral to try to describe how he works—and why he thinks it works.
Can I do energy work on myself?
“One effective way to work with energy—and my personal favorite—is to ‘run energy’ through the chakras,” writes energy healer Jakki Smith-Leonardini. She takes us through an eight-step meditation to clear out old energy and ground ourselves in the present.
What is Reiki?
Reiki, the healing therapy developed by a Japanese Buddhist named Mikao Usui over a hundred years ago, is based on a simple spiritual principle: We’re all guided by the same invisible life force, and it controls our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When the energy flows freely, we can tap into unknown reserves of power. When it runs into blockages (often said to be caused by negative thinking, unhealed trauma, or stress overload), we function at a suboptimal level. Many describe Reiki sessions—a combination of light touch and above-the-body energy sweeping—as calming or grounding. For others, it feels more like an emotional realignment. Reiki masters, like Kelsey Patel, train for years to understand and navigate subtle energy shifts, but Patel says anyone can learn (quickly) to work with energy and impact the flow of others.
Separate from energy healing: What do psychologists and MDs say about unlocking trauma in the body?
“The survivor of sexual trauma may not have cognitive awareness of the experience, although their body has retained the memory and implicit feeling,” says psychologist Stephen Porges. “Trauma therapies try to create a dynamic interaction between the more diffuse implicit bodily feelings and the more explicit memories, with a goal of shifting the client’s personal narrative to one of greater self-understanding and self-compassion.”
Porges developed the polyvagal theory, which he uses to examine how the autonomic nervous system affects the behavior of people who have experienced trauma. Sexual trauma, Porges has found, becomes locked in the body, suggesting that a way toward healing for many may lie with therapies that focus at least in part on the body.
On The goop Podcast, psychiatrist James Gordon, MD, tells us about his work redefining the way we think of trauma, which affects everyone over the course of a lifetime—physically, mentally, emotionally. Gordon takes us through a variety of healing techniques, and he shares the joy of what happens when we allow ourselves to cry, to laugh, to dance.
Fascia is the connective tissue in our bodies that covers all of our muscles. At its worst, says Roxburgh, it bonds together to create knots, pain, tension, and thickness, impeding our body’s ability to exercise its full range of motion, and then enforcing the body’s tendencies to restrict itself and shorten.
Try these four stretches to relieve fascia tightness after sitting all day.
Some of the best kinds of emotional release are the ones we know, intuitively, to be effective—and research backs up many. Singing. Moving. Dancing.
Singing is a form of vocalization, which, as yoga teacher Eddie Stern put it to us, is basically a strengthening exercise for the vagus nerve, which is toned around the larynx.
In addition to soft-belly breathing, Gordon practices a form of expressive meditation he calls “shaking and dancing” for releasing tension in the body and bringing suppressed emotions to the surface. Here’s how to do it: Stand up with your knees slightly bent and begin to shake from your feet up through your knees, chest, shoulders, and head. Let your whole body go. Do it for five or six minutes. Then stop, relax, and breathe for a couple of minutes. Then let your body move to music that inspires and energizes you for three to five minutes.
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MORE ABOUT THE GOOP LAB: EPISODE 05
The goop team gets on the tables with John Amaral, DC, who can seemingly manipulate energy fields like a puppeteer—with eerie and powerful results. Back at goop HQ, Gwyneth and Elise sit with Amaral and Apostolos Lekkos, DO, to try to understand how energy impacts healing.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.