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Of all of the principles of Rubenfeld Synergy, this is the one I have the most trouble explaining. There are few subjects that set some of my friends off more than a discussion of “energy,” as it evokes a wifty, woo-woo concept that has no scientific basis.

All of that being said, I have too much personal experience with this phenomenon to discount it myself, and as far as this principle, I simply need to go forward and explain the way I experience the energy field and life force, and how they apply when doing this work. I’ve had skeptical friends tell me they’ve done Reiki or Acupuncture, and had it work for them even though they “don’t believe in it.” On the one hand, belief plays a big role in things like the placebo effect. But on the other, if something works, and seems to have a mysterious component…sometimes you just have to go with it. If an improvement occurs due to your belief that it something will help…to me that’s a pretty big indicator of the power of our minds. (Is there, after all, such a thing as a “purely psychological” effect?) If an improvement occurs even if you don’t believe in it…well then, that seems an even more compelling argument for a treatment’s efficacy.

All of this aside, here’s how I conceive of this principle.

Our bodies have a certain field around them: call it electromagnetism, call it what you will. Whatever it is, it’s clear that just as we might not be comfortable with a stranger touching us, we also tend not to be comfortable with them standing too close. We tend to call this “personal space.” This is the simplest way of thinking about the body’s energy field without getting too esoteric.

But my further experience of it reveals that there are other things going on: eddies, currents, pulsations, tinglings, and other phenomena that can help cue me in, when I’m in contact with someone’s body, as to what they might be experiencing. Because our systems are so interconnected, it can be hard to pin down whether what I’m feeling is muscle tension, a nervous twitch, a softening, an opening, a closing. But the sensations are there, and my clients often experience and describe them at the same time as I am feeling them in my hands and keeping silent about it.

There are many systems, Eastern and Western, for understanding “energy” and “life force;” they all seem to me to be useful metaphors for the way aliveness, or electricity, or whatever it is, moves through the body. The same way you can feel the way a living thing breathes, one can also feel the way something’s life force is moving.

Even at a distance, the body’s energies and emotions can have reverberations. Ever walk into a room and feel tension you could cut with a knife? Or overwhelming sadness? Or welcome and joy? Ever run into someone at a party and feel immediately that they could use a hug, or want to be left alone?  There are many things that human beings do with body language and facial expression that give us these cues, but sometimes even in the first seconds entering a room where a conversation has been happening, we can feel the energy of the emotions present.

Whatever you call it – chi, energy, ki, prana, life force, mana – it is what animates us, and sensitivity to its shifting currents can be healing when a client is moving through changes. And helping a client become aware of, and be able to listen to, his or her own energy can be yet another resource to call upon for safety in difficult situations, or extra power in challenges.  It helps a person to know where his or her boundaries are, how and when he’s “throwing off” emotions that are affecting others, and how to better read other people.

While Rubenfeld Synergy Method doesn’t concern itself chiefly with energy work – as something like, say, Reiki does, awareness of an interaction with the energy field and life force is an important component of the work, giving practitioners another dimension by which to know their clients.

Next: Touch is a viable system of communication.

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