Energy is part of our minds, bodies, and environments. We each have our own energy fields surrounding us. Sometimes, it also penetrates our physical being. So, when it comes to healing, there is no denying that energy plays a critical role in our health.
Today, energy-healing therapies offer a complementary approach to conventional health care methods. This technique is beneficial for older adults dealing with chronic and degenerative illnesses. Read this article to learn more about the impact of energy therapy on eldercare.
What Is Energy Therapy
Energetic healing practices are part of alternative medicine. The term “energy therapy” refers to various movement-based therapies aiming to balance one’s energy. Generally, these practices aim to bring energy into a patient and balance it. Eventually, as the sessions progress, individuals gain therapeutic effects from this adjustment.
Practitioners of energy therapy believe that the body has an invisible energy field. When the flow of energy or “chi” is blocked or unbalanced, it can make an individual ill or sick. Hence, balancing energies helps promote healing and well-being.
Energy therapies have multiple types. Some treatments use light, sound, and magnets. Further, these techniques have been used for more than 2,000 years already. Modern energy therapies are derived from shamanistic practices and Asian traditions. For some Asian healers, life energies are important in maintaining the overall health of a person.
Today, acupuncture, yoga, and other meditative techniques integrate energy therapies and practices. Some therapies requiring a “healing touch” are also derived from the same principle. Read further to learn more about some popular energy-balancing therapies.
Popular Energy-Balancing Therapies
Energy healing practices aim to assist the physical and emotional states. Over time, the use of energy therapy allowed people to have an increased sense of well-being—additionally, this alternative and integrative healing promise low risk for patients. Although there are numerous energy-based therapies, the most popular ones are Reiki, tai chi, and qigong.
Reiki is an energy therapy known to have originated in Japan. The word “Reiki” is derived from the Japanese words “rei” and “ki.” The former means universal, while the latter means life energy. During the 20th century, this energy healing practice was introduced in the United States. Since then, the number of Reiki practitioners has increased.
In a typical Reiki session, the practitioner will lightly place their hands on or over specific areas of the body. These areas may include the head, limbs, and torso. The practitioner will use different hand positions to transfer energy onto the body for 2 to 5 minutes. They will hold the hand position until they sense that the energy has stopped flowing.
People who have received Reiki therapy have reported experiencing a relaxing and therapeutic feeling. Some feel warmer and more comfortable. Other patients may sleep peacefully during the sessions.
Qigong is a Chinese healing practice using a combination of movement, breathing, and concentration. In this type of therapy, there is an internal process of balancing one’s chi. Additionally, the practitioner balances the energy of the other person in an external process.
The practice of qigong typically involves a few minutes of exercise. Some movements can be very gentle, while some are more vigorous. It aims to strengthen the body and improve its various systems. Qigong also helps in healing a large variety of chronic and acute diseases.
According to some literature, qigong has been used primarily as an antidepressant. Some studies show that qigong can reduce pain and stress for regular clients and patients. It can leave immediate but short-term therapeutic effects as well. These benefits include the reduction of:
- fatigue, and
In a modern review of its effects on the body, qigong was found to improve bone and cardiopulmonary health. It has also been concluded to heighten feelings of self-efficacy and contribute to overall fitness health.
Similar to qigong, tai chi has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. The practice dates back to as early as the 13th century. Tai chi involves fluid and graceful movements. Typically, this is also combined with controlled breathing and mental concentration.
Tai chi is composed of low-impact and gentle physical exercises, which are noncompetitive. The movements flow into the next without pause. This smooth transition ensures that the body is in constant motion. With this, minimal stress is placed on the muscles and joints. Tai chi is especially beneficial for older adults who are not fit for doing strenuous physical exercise.
When performed correctly and regularly, tai chi can have positive effects on overall health. These may include:
- an improved mood,
- increased stamina,
- enhanced quality of sleep,
- enhanced muscle strength, and
- lowered blood pressure.
Energy Therapy For The Senior Community
For senior patients, traditional medicine may not suffice. That’s because most of their cases are degenerative, chronic, and low in prognosis. Some of them may not be good candidates for surgery and other high-risk procedures guaranteeing lasting effects. That’s why one of the goals of energy therapies for elders is to improve the mind and body.
Based on studies, energy therapies integrated into eldercare have shown positive results. The use of techniques has enhanced their mind’s capacity, which affects their symptoms and function. Some positive effects of energy therapy include:
- increased memory and retention capabilities,
- increased relaxation,
- reduced feelings of anxiety,
- decreased agitated behavior,
- decreased fatigue, and
- promoted longevity.
Moreover, energy therapy also improves physical abilities. A randomized study for seniors with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease has shown that energy healing promotes better mobility. Participants engaging in tai chi have better postural control with resistance training. Additionally, energy therapy also prevents the likelihood of falls in older adults. It helps in improving flexibility, balance, and lower extremity strength.
Although there is criticism from the scientific community, energy therapy shows promising results when integrated into eldercare. Combining these techniques with conventional medicine is safe, effective, and beneficial for older adults. They will experience a new level of healing and balance once they try these therapies for themselves.