How the ancient art of Chinese energetics can help in healing past trauma

Ancient cultures in China, Japan, India and Africa have immense knowledge in traditional healing and many remedies are relevant even today

By Delna Mistry Anand

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Published: Fri 22 Mar 2024, 6:00 AM

Way back in history, people knew months in advance if a disease was imminent. So grounded and intuitive were they that they’d feel it in their energy. And this would manifest in the weakening of their emotional resolve too. Hence the approach to healing was always an integrated one, where equal emphasis was placed on both the mind and body. While herbs, touch and/or sound therapy were used on the body, prayer, penitence and Divine intervention was called upon for the spiritual and emotional recovery. Our ancestors knew one wasn’t complete without the other.

Ancient cultures in China, Japan, India and Africa have immense knowledge in traditional healing and many remedies are relevant even today. The common belief that binds all these modalities is that ‘everything is energy’, and there is a life force that runs through us. Some call it ‘prana’, some call it ‘qi’, either way they are all spokes of the same wheel; the fundamental idea is that energy plays an important role in our overall well-being, and by circulating this energy, it is possible to promote harmony and healing. Illness or disease grows when there is too little or too much qi in one of the body's energy pathways, called meridians, or when the flow of qi is blocked.

Trauma, painful or even stressful life experiences can block the flow of life force. When you have an overwhelming experience, though the logical mind might feel over it, the body remembers. In his 2014 book The Body Keeps the Score, trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, talks about how trauma affects not just our minds but our bodies, too. The body can remember trauma even if we’re unaware of it.

With the right support, healing is possible. Therapies that connect the body and mind can help you process trauma held in your body.

“My health challenges were not amenable to solutions offered by modern medicine, and through study and learning, I discovered that the root causes of my pains were unexpressed emotions and a sense of unfulfillment from a life predominantly driven by professional success, and this prompted reevaluation of my path,” says Martial Nesselbusch, an expert in Chinese energetics and bodywork healing, hailing from Strasbourg, France. “This introspection led to a significant life change, embracing the principles of Taoist meditation, Qi Gong, and martial arts as daily practices for personal healing and growth”, he continues. Martial's journey highlights a deep commitment to exploring and balancing the interplay between physical health, emotional wellness, and life's purpose.

“Chinese energetics helped me discover the sacred bond between mind and body, allowing me to tap into my intuition and navigate life’s challenges with ease”.

Chinese energetics is a discipline related to Chinese medicine, specifically focusing on the study of energy, and the liberation of stagnation of emotions. When we face trauma or a negative emotion, our cells hold that painful memory in the physical body. And till we are able to release this block and mobilise the energy, it would stay stagnant. With the soft healing hand-techniques of Chinese energetics that uses the energetical capacity of a person to make its own energy flow, the person is able to release its physical pains, emotional agitations, mental overactivity, thus to reconnect mentally, emotionally, and physically as a whole.

How does Chinese energetics work?

Martial explains, “Our physical bodies are composed of organs, tissues, and systems, which are responsible for different functions such as digestion, respiration, and circulation of fluids. We also have an energetic body, which is composed of a network of channels called meridians. These meridians are highways through which energy, the qi, flows. The energetic body of a person is composed of 12 energetic meridians. The acupuncture points act as gates on these meridians. These gates can close due to over-tensions: physical traumas, past emotional burdens, present stress, and fears about the future. Closed gates create imbalances or blockages in the meridians leading to physical, emotional, or disease symptoms.

For each closed gate, there lies a key within the person's own body.

During the practice, the practitioner seeks the key for each closed gate.

By connecting the key with the gate, Chinese energetics techniques stimulate the body's own intelligence and utilise its capacity to open these gates and self-release physical tensions, emotional burdens, and mental overload”.

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