I went to medical school at U.C. San Francisco to fulfill my dream to help people. When my father tried to commit suicide when I was five years old, it started me on a path to understand the human mind, why we suffer, get sick, and more importantly, how we can heal. But I found that medical school focused more on body parts than the whole human being and left out a whole lot about how we can prevent illness and cure the many problems facing humans during these stressful times. I dropped out of medical school and went on to get my master’s degree in social work and PhD in International Health.
I first heard about Energy Medicine from Dr. Mehmet Oz in 2000 when I was writing my book The Whole Man Program: Reinvigorating Your Body, Mind, and Spirit After 40. Dr. Oz was one of the top heart surgeons in the world, working at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia Medical Center. I wanted to find someone with the best scientific credentials to help me better understand heart disease so I could help other men. Dr. Oz was a wonderful resource. He is still one of the best surgeons in the world, but he has since expanded his view of what constitutes good medicine.
Dr. Oz is now advocating a kind of medicine that does not require a scalpel. In 2007, Dr. Oz rocked the health world by proclaiming to a worldwide television audience on the largest stage in the world, The Oprah Show, that we are entering a new era of medicine.
We’re beginning now to understand things that we know in our hearts were true but could not measure. As we get better at understanding how little we know about the body, we begin to realize that the next big frontier in medicine is energy medicine. It’s not the mechanistic parts of the joints moving. It’s not the chemistry of our bodies. It’s understanding, for the first time, how energy influences how we feel. — Dr. Mehmet Oz, November 20, 2007, The Oprah Show
The Encyclopedia of Energy Medicine by Linnie Thomas, with a foreword by James L. Oschman, PhD, author of Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis, lists more than 65 different approaches. I have found four that are simple to learn, easy to practice, and scientifically sound and can help people effectively alleviate stress which is at the root of most of our medical problems. Most doctors and other health-care practitioners don’t know about these practices. Since they are easy to learn and inexpensive, they aren’t likely to tell you about them.
Practice #1: Earthing
For millions of years, our ancestors moved across the landscape either barefoot or in moccasins made from the hides of animals. The women walked to gather food. The men walked to find animals for food. We slept connected to the Earth. But in modern times we’ve begun wearing rubber-soled shoes that keep us insulated from the healing energies of the Earth.
According to cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD, coauthor of the book Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?, “Earthing involves coupling your body to the Earth’s eternal and gentle surface energies. It means walking barefoot outside and/or sitting, working, or sleeping inside while connected to a conductive device that delivers the natural healing energy of the Earth into your body.”
In some ways, all the major problems we face today—from global warming to peak oil, from obesity to depression, from joblessness to the increase of divorce—could be helped if we were able to re-establish our connection to the Earth. Social psychologist Sam Keen put it simply: “The radical vision of the future rests on the belief that the logic that determines either our survival or our destruction is simple
- The new human vocation is to heal the Earth.
- We can only heal what we love.
- We can only love what we know.
- We can only know what we touch.
Practice #2: Heart Coherence
Heart disease is still the major killer of men and women. Millions of us are taking medications to treat or prevent heart disease. And once again, there is another choice to consider. According to David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, author of The Instinct to Heal: Curing Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy, there is an intimate connection between the heart and the emotion centers in the brain, and by learning methods that produce heart coherence, we can not only protect our hearts but the rest of the human body as well.
The Institute of HeartMath, founded in 1991 by stress researcher Doc Childre, has been doing cutting-edge research on heart coherence under the leadership of research director Rollin McCraty, PhD. Researchers found that people could maintain extended periods of physiological coherence by actively generating positive emotions.
Practice #3: Attachment Love
Attachment love is the energy essence of a successful relationship. Attachment love is based on the latest scientific findings that show we are emotionally attached to and dependent on our partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection. Most of us understand that children need a secure attachment to their parents in order to grow up be healthy and happy. But many of us believe that we outgrow these dependency needs when we become adults. Men, in particular, are taught that maturity means “standing on our own two feet” and not needing others in order to fulfill our needs.
Learning how to develop and maintain a deep attachment to a spouse or partner allows us to overcome our isolation, reduce our levels of stress, and keep our love lives growing more fully as we age.
Even practitioners who are familiar with the field of energy healing may be surprised that I view “attachment love” as an essential tool for keeping stress from killing us. But I’ve found it to be essential. Without love, we are lost, and without being securely attached to our mate, love can easily die.
Practice #4: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
EFT is a powerful new discovery that combines two well-established sciences so you can benefit from both at the same time:
- Mind/body medicine
- Acupuncture (without needles)
I learned about emotional freedom techniques (EFT) when an acupuncturist I had gone to for shoulder pain told me about EFT. I wanted help in the worst way, but I couldn’t tolerate the needles. She assured me they wouldn’t hurt (and in fact, they didn’t hurt), but I still got light-headed and nearly passed out. I faint at the sight of blood and needles. You can fully understand why I dropped out of medical school.
I was immediately drawn to EFT because the founder, Gary Craig, was a hands-on kind of guy. He says, “I am neither a psychologist nor a licensed therapist. Rather, I am a Stanford engineering graduate.” EFT has been found to be effective in treating physical as well as emotional problems.
To learn more about these practices, drop me an e-mail ([email protected]) and I’ll send you a more detailed description of each of these four practices and how you can learn to use them. My book on energy medicine for men, MenAlive: Stop Killer Stress with Simple Energy Healing Tools, will be out in June. Check out our website: www.MenAlive.com
—Photo Pink Sherbet Photography/Flickr