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Why women are turning to energy healing for a mind-body reboot


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Photo: Courtesy Alyson Charles
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This week on The Plus Factor, we’re exploring energy healing’s ascent to mainstream status—and why those in the know insist it’s here to stay. 

A few years ago, one might have dealt with her problems by spilling her guts to a shrink. (Or a particularly wise and patient bestie.) But today, a growing number of women are complimenting talk therapy—or replacing it altogether—by tuning their chakras, adorning themselves with crystals, or delving into past lives with a shaman.

Energy healing is gaining serious cred as the remedy for all sorts of modern woes—dating drama, work stress, family trauma, and even physical maladies like headaches.

Yes, energy healing is gaining serious cred as the remedy for all sorts of modern woes—dating drama, work stress, family trauma, and even physical maladies like headaches.

Some fans swear by hands-on therapies like acupuncture and reiki, while others are addicted to more esoteric interventions like sound baths and breathwork. But no matter which trippy practice turns you on, the end goal’s the same: to clear blocks in your body’s energetic field so that you can move past whatever’s holding you back in life.

And with a new generation of young, cool, clued-in practitioners who understand both ancient tradition and emoji, it’s never been easier to turn to energy work for a mind-body reboot.

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Mama Medicine (Photo: Instagram/@howyouglow)
Shaman Deborah Hanekamp, AKA Mama Medicine (Photo: Instagram/@howyouglow)

It’s not just hard-core spiritual types and trend-obsessed cool girls who are flocking to energy healers right now. “Medical doctors and lawyers have started coming to see me—it’s amazing,” says Deborah Hanekamp, the shaman and reiki master known as Mama Medicine. “There’s definitely a lot more receptivity to this work than there used to be.”

A big part of this is because energy healing works—there’s actual science behind many of these practices. “Energy healers tap into your electromagnetic field in a way that prompts the body’s self-healing mechanisms,” explains Jill Blakeway, the Chinese medicine doctor, acupuncturist, and energy healer who heads up New York City’s YinOva Center. (She’s currently writing a book on the science behind energy healing.)

“Medical doctors and lawyers have started coming to see me—it’s amazing.”

“There have been lots of studies [that back this up.] Some focus on how to measure healing energy. Some focus on specific techniques such as reiki, and some focus on a specific condition, such as pain,” she explains.

Even MDs are starting to wise up to the power of energetic work as a complementary therapy. Blakeway says many of her clients today are referred by traditional doctors, who are encouraged by results they’ve seen in previous patients.

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Photo: Facebook/Sara Auster
Sound healer Sara Auster (Photo: Facebook/Sara Auster)

And then there’s the fact that it’s becoming easier than ever to tap into energetic medicine as it continues to go mainstream. Brands are developing crystal-infused clothing and beauty products, major performing arts venues are hosting sound baths, and high-vibe parties are standing in for the bar scene among the spiritually curious.

“As people and the planet are waking up, we’re returning to the ancient wisdoms that have been around for hundreds of thousands of years.”

Alyson Charles (AKA Rockstar Shaman)  is one healer who’s seen her public profile skyrocket over the past year. “I regularly partner with luxury hotels and resorts, and I’ve led guided meditations for Art Basel, employees at Bloomingdale’s, and much more,” she says. (Oh, and let’s not forget she’s also writing monthly energy forecasts for Well+Good.)

And she believes that the pace is only going to pick up. “Going forward, you’ll see it becoming more and more the norm to chant, burn palo santo, have your own healer, and go to moon circles. As people and the planet are waking up, we’re returning to the ancient wisdoms that have been around for hundreds of thousands of years.”

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Photo: Courtesy Alyson Charles
Shaman Alyson Charles (Photo: Courtesy Alyson Charles)

Still not convinced? According to Hanekamp, you don’t have to spring for a pricey healing session or retreat to dabble in energy work—just buying a crystal or soaking your feet in Epsom salt may be enough to make you feel a little better.

But the deeper you go, the more profound the results. “I had a doctor come last year who was like, ‘Look, I don’t believe in anything you’re doing, but I’m coming to see what is actually happening here,’” she recalls.

You don’t have to spring for a pricey healing session to dabble in energy work—just buying a crystal may be enough to make you feel a little better.

Hanekamp then performed her signature healing ritual on him, which involves sound, crystals, and chakra balancing. “After he left, he wrote me this really beautiful letter that said, ‘That experience changed my life… I feel so open and balanced now.’”

Looks like the healer’s den really is the new therapist’s couch.

Raise your vibe in an instant by picking up these must-have crystals for every room in your home—or take it a step further by wearing one of these super-cool healing amulets