Most of us, quite naturally seek relief from the physical sensation of pain. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Physical pain is a warning signal that something is wrong with our bodies that might have serious consequences. We will never eliminate pain in general, but we can and should seek to alleviate physical pain. The problem comes when what we are really seeking relief from is suffering, not pain. The pain has long since come and gone, but the suffering we are doing is causing us to cling to it and make it feel real and happening in the moment. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a good example of suffering. The traumatic event has long since come and gone, but it feels like it is happening now.

So if there is a biophysics of suffering, it would suggest that one could address constriction at any level (energetic, emotional, mental, physical). If you believe that constriction (and I’m focusing on constriction rather than expansion because we more often associate constriction with suffering) originates in the energy body, then it would make sense to seek out an energetic form of therapy. An energetic therapist ostensibly uses his or her energy body or ability to channel energy in order to balance and restore order to the energy body of another. This kind of energetic entrainment and alignment is a fact, that has been demonstrated again and again in the laboratory. What is less a fact is what the long term impact on the physical body is from these energetic treatments. Some people have claimed miraculous healings and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who was open to the possibility at all who did not “feel” better after spending time with a gifted energetic healer. There is just not a lot of consistent scientific evidence of physiological impact (and I’m not saying it can’t happen or doesn’t happen or that it isn’t useful even if physiological change doesn’t occur).

I studied Reiki and energetic healing and practiced for several years. I had really good results at alleviating pain for clients, and they felt the experience profoundly peaceful and relaxing. But, what I noticed was that the duration was not that long. I began to feel like I was administering energetic aspirin. It was helpful, it was a good thing, but it also made people dependent on me in a way that felt uncomfortable. Something I was doing was rippling through their bodies and temporarily alleviating their pain but something else was going on that I was not impacting. I now believe that this was the suffering that was intermingled with the pain. While I was able to relax the energetic constriction temporarily, the suffering they were clinging to was simply reasserting itself and it would feel like the pain was coming back.

I’ve spoken to other energetic healers over the years and find that my experience is not unique. Again, I don’t want to suggest that energetic healing is not worthwhile. I believe that energetic hygiene and energetic treatments can be very valuable, but need to be accompanied or complimented by work at the other “body levels.”

Continued in the Biophysics of Suffering: Part 3—Physical Strategies for Healing