Here we glow
We've never been more obsessed with the state of our health. Thanks to the wonder of medical technology, we can figure out whether we're likely to develop breast cancer, osteoporosis, dementia or coronary heart disease - and prevent it ahead of time. We're lucky to have access to sophisticated screening methods such as genetic marker testing or total body scanning.
But speak to any of the practitioners who qualify as 'energy readers' and they'll tell you the ability to predict and remedy physical and mental problems has been practised for centuries. Whether it's acupuncturists using fine needles, pranic healers with crystals, or Yuen method practitioners using their minds, energy readers use perception and intuition to tune into the body's energy and clear blockages.
'We all have an energy body, which is a blueprint for the physical,' says pranic healer Roger McCaughey.
'If you have something in your energy body that's messed up, or something has upset you, eventually it will manifest itself in your physical body. This is why it's often said that much disease and sickness comes from the mind. By cleansing the energy body you're doing a certain amount of preventative work, which transfers to the physical body.'
So what exactly does this energy body look like? Artists have always depicted it as auras, halos and coronas around the heads of saints and holy deities, ranging from Jesus to Buddha. Scientists and photographers such as Semyon Kirlian have tried to capture images of the energy field with varying success. Scientists may have decried its existence, but energy readers insist they have always instinctively felt and seen the body's energy field in the form of vibrations, intense heat, light, colour and sometimes words or messages.
Jane Middleton sought help from a Yuen method practitioner to get over an acrimonious divorce. 'Anger had poisoned my whole life; I had become a sour and unhappy person. A naturopath suggested that I try the Yuen method, a type of energy healing and I was initially very sceptical.
'So no one was more surprised than me that simply sitting in front of someone who focused on my energy and muttered at me under his breath was able to make my anger somehow melt away. It was a turning point for me and I haven't looked back.'
Kam Yuen, founder of the Yuen method, believes the body is like a computer which can be reprogrammed to function more effectively by identifying what weakens someone's energy.
'We look at a person's energy direction to determine what is going on and resolve the weaknesses we find. We find the true causes this way. People don't usually know the truth, but energy pinpoints the reason for their problems. Once you find the weakness, it's automatically corrected. It's all about perception, intuition and feeling.'
Founder of Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT), Sharon Weiselfish-Giammatteo says her technique is based on the assumption that most health problems are caused by blockages in the body. She says IMT practitioners 'listen' by gently placing their hands on the patient's body.
'The therapist's hands should rest quietly, if they don't it means they are being moved by the tissue, and there is an underlying problem. We call this inhibiting the listening.'
Thanks to advances in technology, it's possible for anybody to see their own energetic body. Retired professional sportsman and scientist, Professor John Rogerson, has developed computer images that capture the flow of energy in and around the body on screen.
The Intra Spectral Imaging System (ISIS) gives a snapshot of blocked and free-flowing energy within the body, highlighting potential problems. Rogerson says the system marries several technologies, including a computer, infrared, colour filters and a full spectrum light: 'Assess and evaluate, it's an easy visual system to see a mass of low energy in an area and then work out why it's there.'
ISIS entails standing in front of a white wall while a video camera is focused on your body. You can see an image of yourself on a colour monitor. But it's no ordinary image. Your body is divided into a series of swirling patterns and colours. Rogerson then explains what the picture tells him about your general health, issues and lifestyle.
ISIS can also be used as a benchmark to see the effects of a healing session or a massage. Pictures taken before and after show big improvements in the flow of energy.
Rogerson says he helps people understand their health problems and lifestyle and points them in the right direction, whether it's dietary and exercise change, or complementary therapy such as acupuncture, reiki or yoga.
'It's the cohesion between practitioners that makes people better, from health and beauty therapists right through to complementary practitioners, the yoga teacher talking to the nutritionist and making a collective team.'