by Michael J. Santangelo, ND, PhD, LMT
In another post, I explained a bit about this therapeutic approach. Here, I hope to introduce you to a few of the techniques I employ when in session. The list is not exhaustive, and the techniques are presented in no particular order.
Hara Line Alignment
This is the intervention I use to begin virtually every session. The Hara Line is a line of energy that connects each of us to Heavenly and Earthly energies. It comes from the Above, and runs through the body from the top of the head to between the feet, exiting the trunk through the perineum (the space between the genitals and the anus), and connects us to the Below. It runs mid-line, just in front of the spinal column and is about the width of one’s thumb. The term “hara” comes from Japanese medicine and refers to the abdomen, also known as the Sea of Qi (Ki in Japanese). I have always found the choice of this word unfortunate, as it can be confused from one use (abdomen) to another (entire line from Heaven to Earth). But that’s what we got, so that’s what we work with.
To align the energy, I scan it from top to bottom and perform an energetic correction to any segments I find amiss. We all have some askew segments, and they reflect any stressors, physical ills, or emotional upsets we are undergoing at the time. Fortunately, the energy in this line, being the most subtle in our constitution, corrects quite easily. Once the hara line is running smoothly, it provides a solid base for any subsequent work.
This is another great technique for the beginning of a session. Chakras are assessed and those that need assistance are brought back into alignment through the use of tuning forks. The group of forks I use for this is tuned to perfect Pythagorean intervals, using middle C as the tonic. As is made clear from the illustration at left, the chakras arise from the hara line. In this way, the treatment begins by moving from the more abstract (hara line) to the less so (chakras). One significant difference from the illustration is that, in PsychoSpiritual Energetics, the color sequence of the Western Mystery tradition is used, rather than the Hindu, follow-the-rainbow sequence most people are familiar with. A fuller treatment of the chakras in PsychoSpritual Energetics can be found here.
The preceding two techniques are used to prepare a base for the treatment. Any energetic techniques then used will build on this base and more precisely approach the focus of the session, rather than being dissipated by a “leaky” energy system. Additionally, the pattern of strengths and weaknesses exhibited during the assessment can give direction and refinement to the rest of the session.
Given the pattern of the hara line and the chakras, as well as the presenting problems of an individual, particular Chinese energy meridians are balanced through tonification or sedation. The Chinese meridian system is a complex subject, and an exhaustive explanation is beyond the scope of this post. However, for those interested, a fuller treatment can be found here or here.
Working with meridians in PsychoSpiritual Energetics utilizes stimulation of specific acupuncture points. This stimulation can be achieved through finger pressure, sound vibration, or the use of colored light. (Of course, needles such as those used in traditional acupuncture an be used, but I am not an acupuncturist. Nevertheless, my training in Asian bodywork and Chinese herbalism gives me expertise and familiarity in working with the points.) The most common meridians used are the Heart, Spleen, Lung, Kidney, and Liver meridians. These are used because they are the producers and users of Qi, or vital energy. They also have specific physiological responsibilities and emotional associations (Heart – Ruler of emotion, affected by Joy; Spleen – Ruler of digestion and Qi extraction from food, affected by Pensiveness or obsession; Lung – Ruler of Qi extraction from air and of Qi dispersal throughout the body, affected by Grief; Kidney- Ruler of maturation and storehouse of Qi, affected by Fear; and Liver- Ruler of biological and emotional cycles, affected by Anger). The method uses a Five Element approach to these organ energies. Five Element (or Five Phase) theory is another complicated concept. Suffice it to say that it is an approach where each organ has a relationship with every other organ and serves to modulate other organ functions by the addition or control of vital energy. In my approach, a combination of points is used with the specific purpose of addressing a person’s concerns. Sound and color can be used in this process too, as each meridian is especially sensitive to a certain tone or color.
Just as meridians have their color sensitivities, so do chakras. The technique of Color Breathing is a deceptively simple, but immensely powerful way of fortifying chakra energies and the interconnections among them. I go into more detail about chakras and PsychoSpiritual Energetics in another post, so here I will be brief. Using the color associated with a given chakra (via the Western Mystery tradition’s assignment of chakra color), a person is asked to imagine balls of the appropriate colored lights in the areas of the chakras to be worked with. This really isn’t as difficult as it might sound, and it actually seems sufficient to be able to “know” that the balls of light are in their proper positions. Coordinating with breathing, the person is then asked to imagine a beam of light flowing from one chakra to the other. Note that the two chakras being worked with do not have to be adjacent. In this way, a veritable string of chakras can be worked with simultaneously, using only the end points of the string. This is an easy exercise to be assigned as homework, augmenting the effects achieved during an office session.
Energetic Stimulation of the Chakras
In cases where there are chakra imbalances, and especially when this imbalance is apparent in more than one of the spheres of existence (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, also known as PEMS), Healing Touch techniques such as unruffling and smoothing of charka energy are used. Often, energy is also placed into the affected chakra via Reiki (see below). As a result of this stimulation, the affected chakra can resume its regular role in the energetic system. Over time, this can support the body in correcting physical imbalances, as well as allowing the flow between energy levels and between chakras to normalize.
Opening the Wind Gates
This abdominal massage technique comes from an approach called Chi Nei Tsang, and uses hara (in the abdominal sense) diagnosis to assess and remedy Organ energy imbalances. In this technique, the practitioner uses reflex points on the abdomen to stimulate and balance each Organ system. As with many Asian bodywork techniques, Opening the Wind Gates is both an assessment and treatment tool, with both roles being fulfilled simultaneously. This technique is usually used early in the treatment process to provide another baseline. It is sometimes used throughout the treatment process, if indicated, by repeated imbalances of Organ energies. Other techniques from Chi Nei Tsang are also used in PsychoSpiritual Energetics as the need arises.
This system of energy healing is well known in the alternative healthcare community. Originating in Japan in the late 19th century, a practitioner attuned to this energy by a Master/Teacher can channel Reiki through his or her body and out the hands. Reiki is a great adjunct to other healing modalities, and is quite effective in its own right. Reiki techniques can be used to ease pain, facilitate the healing process, assist in delivering affirmations, and bring a deep sense of relaxation. It can even be used for distance healing. I am usually channeling Reiki when I do many of these other techniques, to add a synergistic component to what I do. A most important thing to understand is that it is not the practitioner’s own energy that is being used. Rather, it is a universal healing energy brought through the practitioner from an inexhaustible Source. In fact, Reiki can be used by anyone who has been attuned, either lay or professional. It is a simple, powerful gift from a loving Universe. As an added plus, Reiki can be used to treat oneself as well as others.
This technique evolved from a system of medical intuition that I learned years ago. In Hemispheric Resynchronization, the person’s head is cradled bilaterally while energetic corrections are sent to various parts of the brain. It is a relatively brief technique, and is very useful when someone is over-thinking a problem, or is obsessing. Basically, it is a good technique to use whenever someone is “too much in their head.” I also used a similar approach when I determine that the endocrine system needs assistance in resetting itself. It has proven helpful in cases of adrenal fatigue, thyroid disturbances, or in recovery from a prolonged period of stress.
Visualization, Relaxation, Meditation, and Hypnosis
These techniques are central to the idea of PsychoSpiritual Energetics. The ultimate aim of my approach is to change the individual at a fundamental level, so that painful conditions or maladaptive patterns are no longer needed, and dissolve in the face of that fundamental change. Visualization, relaxation, and meditation are old healing techniques that have taken many forms in different cultures. Hypnosis, on the other hand, has been scientifically formalized only over the last 200 years or so. They all spring from the same source, however — the ability humans have to change their consciousness. This ability is capitalized upon to assist individuals in changing patterns and perceptions that are not in their best interests. This same ability also becomes a powerful and empowering tool in self-healing. Often used as homework as well as in session, these inter-related techniques become a key intervention along a person’s road to healing.
Although better known as a divination device, Tarot is seen in the Western Mystery Tradition as a road map to human consciousness. This is particularly true in the case of the 22 cards of the so-called Major Arcana. Each of the Majors is intimately associated with an archetype or energy contained within the psyche of every one of us. Meditation on a particular card causes stimulation of the associated energy, allowing its fuller expression. These forces can be strong allies on our path to wholeness. For example, there is a card associated with each of the seven chakras, and therefore with the processes, abilities, and physical structures they govern. (Go here for a fuller exploration of the chakras in PsychoSpiritual Energetics). Meditation/contemplation of one or more of the cards of Tarot’s Major Arcana is a common homework assignment in this system, as long as the person being treated is agreeable to it. (In other words, while a very useful technique, Tarot meditation is not a requirement for being treated with PsychoSpiritual Energetics.)
Sound has a profound impact on our energy fields. The human voice is the oldest instrument, and the toning of specific vowel sounds can be extremely relaxing and healing. During PsychoSpiritual Energetics sessions, I use music chosen specifically for its healing effect. This isn’t just New Age feel-good music, but compositions that mix and over-dub the human voice and combinations of compatible frequencies. The results in an environment quite accommodating to the healing process.
Additionally, there are particular sounds that help restore the chakras, support the energetic Organs of the body, or assist in the normalization of certain bodily processes. The sounds may be delivered by voice or tuning forks. When indicated, these are used to augment the treatment or to be used as homework. As an example, sounds of the Organs are used in Opening the Wind Gates, above.
Reintegration of the Tree of Life
It has been said many times that the map is not the territory. But the Tree of Life is quite a map. Structurally, the Tree is a figure with ten spheres on it (the sephirah), connected by 22 paths. It seems as if virtually any process can be hung upon it, and the structure of human consciousness is no exception. Simply stated, the Tree is a glyph that originated in the Jewish mystical tradition of Qabalah. It explains the descent of the Divine into Matter. It has been borrowed by the Western mysteries to assist with personal development, measure personal growth, and bring understanding to esoteric topics. I won’t go into a detailed exploration of the Tree in this post, as it has been done so many times by so many and is an incredibly deep subject (see my posts about it here and here.).
Of relevance here is that the Tree can be mapped over the body, over the psyche, and over energetic processes. Using this information, I have devised an energy treatment that is applicable to a dizzying variety of situations. Briefly, the spheres are activated in the treatment, along with a number of the paths. The number of paths activated depends on the situation. The base treatment session, 14 paths are used. Other paths are added depending upon their relevance to the person’s situation. The results have been very heartening, and people report a deep sense of relaxation and peace, as well as a strong diminishing of feelings of anxiety and depression. Repeated application of this treatment over time augment and increase the length of relief.
Several of these techniques are employed in each session of PsychoSpiritual Energetics. The choice of technique is dependent on the specific needs of the individual (based on their treatment plan), as well as the specific needs of the person on that day. In other words, this is no cookie-cutter approach to psychotherapy. As a result, the treatment process remains vibrant and fresh — and the results speak for themselves.