From the view point of alternative medicine
By Shoshanna Katzman, M.S, L.Ac, Dipl. Ac. & C.H.
I have been granted the supreme honor of introducing Christine Schenk's book Handbook of Energetic Job Safety to you. As the former chairperson and current secretary of the acupuncture examining board in my state, I am quite mindful about the importance of consumer protection. This has become an especially "hot topic" since alternative therapies have transitioned from their underground position to flourishing in the mainstream. In fact, a Consumer Reports 2011 survey has reported that 38 million adults make more than 300 million visits per year to acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other practitioners of complementary techniques in the United States. With this shift in number of consumers being treated by alternative therapies comes the need for stronger regulations to ensure quality assurance. This is already evidenced in the recent trend emerging in the field of traditional Chinese medicine to legitimize herbs through FDA (U.S. Federal Drug Administration) clinical trials with the purpose of marketing these products as drugs to United States and European markets. Fortunately, Christine Schenk has championed the cause for consumer protection in the field of energy medicine for many years. She has absolutely had her "finger on the pulse" and is now coming forward with her groundbreaking work, presenting it within this timely book for all to benefit.
Christine Schenk honors all traditions of energetic healing work and has brought the major perceptions and concepts offered by mystics, clairvoyants and metaphysical practitioners together – bridging all of their teachings into an integrated whole, naming it the Energy Body®. As she so aptly states, there is much to be learned about the Energy Body® and its world of energies. It is not simply a weekend course but rather entails years of study, personal development, and repeated clinical application to become adept at applying energy work in the safest and most secure fashion for oneself as well as one's patients and clients. The key question is whether this concept will be acknowledged and embraced by not only those practicing the energetic techniques, but also the public at large.
There are potential risks for energetic accidents and damage to be done, even for the most qualified practitioners. As serious and essential as this is to face, it is not a popular subject and is something people would rather think does not exist. You will discover by reading this book that Christine Schenk has provided support and guidance for numerous victims of such unfortunate damage to their energy systems at the hands of practitioners not taking proper precautions. This is unacceptable, and must stop. Just as industrial factories and hospital institutions have firm safety guidelines in place, Christine makes her case quite succinctly as to "why and how" this must be the next step in the evolution of energy medicine.
Initially, the notion that I could be ill-prepared to work safely in the field of energy medicine was not easy to accept, especially after acquiring thousands of training hours in my field of traditional Chinese medicine. However, the more I learned the more I realized that my advanced education and many years in practice did not provide me with adequate knowledge or proper precautions necessary to treat the entire Energy Body® of my patients. This holistic approach of focusing on the whole rather than just one aspect of the energy system (such as meridian pathways only, or chakras only) is the "missing link" that Christine Schenk's approach to Energetic Job Safety affords to any and all persons applying energetic healing techniques within a clinical setting. With her pioneering insight, Christine Schenk offers practical knowledge that is literally "eye opening" and essential for anyone working in the field of energy medicine in terms of taking care of themselves and their patients or clients in the safest, most professional way possible.
My personal biography contains many energetic "bumps and bruises" that made me a perfect candidate for the study and practice of energy medicine. At the age of 24 I had the misfortune, or you might say good fortune, to have three "out of body/near death" experiences. Strangely enough, 24 is my lucky number as it was the football jersey number of my high school boyfriend. The most exciting of these experiences took me down the "white light tunnel" where I got to see my grandfather who was undoubtedly surprised to see me, and exclaimed "Why are you here so soon?" He quickly summoned my grandmother to see my arrival. With one quick glance and barely a hello, I was quickly swooped back into my physical body. At which time I climbed out of a shattered window in an upside down Volkswagen, going down the mountain 400 feet dodging each and every tree. During this entire experience I imagined I was on a sled going down the hill. I managed all of this without a scratch, break or bruise on me – physically, that is.
Fast forward another 24 years during which time I had become a student and teacher of T'ai Chi, Qigong, and Kung Fu, as well as an acupuncturist and Chinese herb practitioner. Throughout these years, I had told many people about my "near death" experiences, but it was not until I was 48 years of age, when I met Christine Schenk at one of her CHRIS®-Technique introductory seminars that I found out the one who swooped back into my body and thus saved my life was the Energy Body. I knew at this very moment that I needed to study with this amazing woman and thus my journey into the incredible world of Energy-Body® medicine à la Christine Schenk began.
As an acupuncturist, her substantial and reliable approach to energy work has now afforded me the ability to proceed into the treatment room each and every day with the skills necessary to protect both myself and my patients; providing treatments in a way that honors and addresses all involved, both physically and energetically. It has also taught me the necessity for developing a network of psychologists and medical doctors working together with me to provide the essential support to patients in need of such care. Delivering this important message of life-changing, work-enhancing methodology to my fellow Oriental medicine practitioners is essential to save them from unnecessary hardship due to treatments done without adequate forethought for establishment of proper hygiene and safety mechanisms. It will additionally help them avoid occupational burnout, illness, and other energetic mishaps through the maintenance of excellent boundaries, impeccable hygiene, combined with comprehensive safety and security protocols – all to ensure public health and welfare in a field that is otherwise falsely believed to be harmless.
The book you are holding in your hands lays out in great detail why this statement is the absolute truth and why it is essential to begin to rectify this situation now, rather than later. Christine Schenk has brilliantly compiled the historical development of energy medicine, compelling case histories describing the catastrophic result of improper application of energy medicine, the insurmountable difficulties involved proving something that is so difficult to measure according to the scientific requirements, an astute explanation of why energy medicine deserves a place all of its own in the health care arena – all supported by the plea for the absolute necessity of energetic job security.
The subject of occupational illness is also explicitly discussed in Handbook of Energetic Job Safety®. Upon embarking on study of the world of energies, I quickly learned that I was suffering from energetic occupational injury sustained as a result of daily clinical practice of "laying-on of hands" on all patients immediately after insertion of acupuncture needles to their body. I am embarrassed to share that I was merely copying a technique carried out by another acupuncturist, combined with witnessing Qi emitting techniques demonstrated by an instructor at a weekend seminar. I was in no way properly instructed in the proper protocol or precautions necessary to apply such techniques – but nonetheless thought I could do so. Fortunately, Christine Schenk's insight and knowledge about the importance of Energetic Job Safety guided me to put an instant stop to this practice. I realized as a result of her explanation that instead of supporting my patients to develop and balance their own flow of Qi, I was infusing them with my Qi. In the process, I was losing Qi and they had become dependent on me for their source of Qi, rather than establishing it for themselves. This developed an unhealthy state of co-dependency for both parties, exactly the situation that can set someone up for energetic damage as a result of improperly provided energetic treatment. My patients were coming to me for acupuncture, yet also receiving an added treatment of Qi emitting without proper explanation or warning. Not something I am proud of today, but fortunately something I have learned not to repeat, although my patients continue to innocently ask for it because it "felt so good" to them.
This type of energetic facilitation without proper knowledge and training is exactly what Christine Schenk so clearly explained as the pitfall of the proliferation of energetic techniques in our Western society. She implores energy medicine practitioners to do their very best to honor the integrity of the entire energetic system to avoid unnecessary damage or injury. She reminds us to uphold good intentions combined with genuine kindness and care for our patients, yet at the same time realize we are not perfect and mistakes can happen. Furthermore, in the process of learning these lessons a practitioner must continue to treat themselves with great care, forgiveness, and patience as they continue to cultivate more reliable and safe work methods. This establishes increased professional confidence, whereby a practitioner maintains a state of wholeness fostering the integrity necessary to expand their clinical horizons – forearmed with a full range of energetic know-how to provide the best work possible going into the future.
Regardless of the multitude of positive healing results, the undeniable fact that harm can be sustained through energetic techniques exists. Without this awareness, a practitioner will never learn the vigilance and commitment necessary to be prepared for the worst; whereas with this knowledge, a practitioner will possess the skill set necessary to avoid such an occurrence from ever happening. As Christine states, "We can learn from them, and it is taking on board what we have learned that will help us to not repeat such mistakes." (Schenk, p. 90, 2011) This process of full awareness of safety risks, combined with the admission and acceptance of mistakes done in the past, allows energy workers to continue the delivery of their therapies with positive, health-producing actions. Exactly what Christine Schenk recommends as a necessary "call to action" in the field of energy medicine.
Through her enlightening and insightful books and teachings, Christine Schenk provides the portal to begin this most important step toward establishment of wholeness, combined with the ability to take paramount responsibility for one's actions. With her first book, The Marriage between Physical Body and Energy Body, she introduces the reader to the fact that we are two bodies in one, teaching them the importance of supporting and sustaining this connection through conscious awareness of its existence. Through Christine Schenk's explanation of our Energy Body as a partner in life for our physical body, we can begin the process of reuniting and reigniting this precious partnership through developing a solid, trusting relationship imbued with mutual appreciation. She reminds us of the grand, yet grave importance of protecting, listening, and giving our Energy Body partner an equal standing along with our physical body – leading us to a new awareness of "I" as two distinct bodies partnering for life. This book helps the reader to begin to regain energetic vision and wisdom, with the understanding that it is never too late to regain our full capacity, both energetically and physically, and preserve it for a lifetime.
In her next book, Me and Myself, Christine Schenk provides the reader with insightful and concrete information necessary to understand and thus be able to work more expertly within the realm of the world of energies. She shares the incredible story about nine-year-old David who was unable to verbally communicate with others. She helped him to create a bridge between the energetic and physical worlds around him, thereby aiding him to speak and interact with others. Christine then went on in the next section of this book to describe in vivid colors and detailed shapes accompanied with explicit directions about energetic movement, speed, rotation, temperature, and flow – exactly how the anatomy and physiology of the Energy Body® looks, feels, sounds, and tastes. Through the presentation of a full picture of the Energy Body® readers can now understand the energetic anatomy as an entire entity, with all ramifications thereof. She provides warning about the incredible sensitivity of the Energy-Body system to the smallest, most minute intervention; and how the slightest movement in one aspect of the Energy Body can cause a tidal wave in the most remote aspect of this very body. These works established the groundwork for her newest book, establishing the case for Energetic Job Safety under no uncertain terms.
The following is a passage from Me and Myself that explains this further: "There are people who learn something about chakras at a weekend seminar and start working with clients the very next day. In the field of energy healing work one who seeks help is often confronted with amateurs who, to a certain extent, perform experiments on her or him. Under these circumstances it is not surprising that crises and problems appear in the Energy Body, which can be exacerbated via the physical body to such an extent that as a last resort a therapist or doctor needs to be called on to help. It is possible, by means of energy healing work, not only to balance out energies, but also to carry out radical therapeutic, even surgical, operations on the Energy Body®. On the other hand, a sick Energy Body also needs care and it receives this care through energy healing work." (Schenk, p. 161, 2005)
Her latest book, Handbook of Energetic Job Safety, has taken all previously shared knowledge and applied it in a very practical way to the workplace, the place where energetic treatment is performed. It drives home the importance of implementing extreme caution during the application of energy medicine techniques. She explains to the reader what can go wrong, but at the same time honors all the wonderful, positive effects that the same energetic treatments can achieve when carried out with caution, preparedness, and knowingness; whereby the energy medicine practitioner takes the ultimate responsibility to really know how they are impacting the energy of another person through their intent, words and actions. The purpose of this book is to educate the reader about the absolute necessity of establishing safety guidelines and protocols to ensure the ultimate protection of practitioner and consumer alike. At the same time, Christine Schenk continues to champion the cause of energy medicine with all of its incredible ability to create healing, yet at the same time a potential for harm – essentially enlightening the reader to the undeniable "opposite side of the coin."
Christine Schenk states "Only when such protection is adopted by the area of energetics can we not only speak of an acceptance of responsibility, the introduction of energetic safety measures, but also of quality control for our own work with energy healing methods. This will prevent everyone who works with energy, whether healers and people practicing the laying-on of hands, therapists of all kinds or doctors, from suffering generalized denigration, assumptions, or damage to their reputation at the hands of frustrated and disgruntled clients or patients. (Schenk, p.129, 2011) From the standpoint of an acupuncturist, this entails energetic interpretation of information gained during an initial consultation, choice of acupoints to needle, method of interacting and speaking with patients, protection protocols for self and patient, and much more – all to enhance the diagnostic and treatment protocols learned from extensive training in Oriental medicine.
As a direct result of Christine Schenk's work, I have established a revitalized version of myself as an acupuncture practitioner imbued with full protection, almost like an energetic vaccination against taking on my patient's energy. By the same token, I am able to maintain energetic wholeness to such an extent that transference and countertransference is not an option – whereby all persons involved remain safe and secure. Additionally, I am afforded the ability to offer a complete system of energetic evaluation, diagnostics, and treatment plan designed individually for each patient based on their particular energetic biography and presenting symptoms and signs. Following the principles of traditional Chinese medicine treatment protocol, I continue to activate acupoints located along the meridian pathways; however, along with this I remain astutely cognizant of how my choice of acupoints and method of needle stimulation profoundly affects the entire anatomy and physiology of the Energy Body. This combined approach to providing acupuncture is closely aligned and supportive to the traditional Chinese medicine approach to never lose sight of the whole through treatment of both "the root and the branch", respectively the underlying cause and the outward symptom. The ultimate result has been providing the most effective treatments and receiving the most remarkable feedback from patients than ever before.
Staying mindful of potential repercussions of needling particular acupoints based on a patient's energetic biography and presenting symptoms and signs is now the backbone of my work as an acupuncturist – all as a result of the teachings of Christine Schenk. I am especially careful to "do no energetic harm". For example, I am wary of treating an otherwise commonly used acupoint named Yintang that is located at the 6th chakra, also known as the "Third Eye". Patients who have had this acupoint needled by other practitioners oftentimes request it because it "puts them out" – precisely why it may be contraindicated. Just think about the possible negative ramifications from needling this acupoint on a patient who is a survivor of extensive childhood molestation, currently suffering from extreme anxiety and palpitations. The potential risk for possible further energetic injury is something that was never realized prior to my learning Energetic Job Safety from Christine Schenk, I had simply thought this point "calms the heart and pacifies the spirit" and would therefore be good for everyone – certainly not the case.
Energy medicine providers have much to learn about the world of energy. Therefore, it is totally understandable why Christine Schenk implores practitioners who work with energy to know what they are doing and take proper precaution in the process to provide treatment in a hygienic, safe and secure fashion. She writes "We should learn from the history of job safety and refrain from repeating previous mistakes." (Schenk, p. 36, 2011) And "What we can do here, despite the dilemma we find ourselves in, is to respond quickly". (Schenk, p.37, 2011) Therefore, I invite you to join forces to find a way to rectify this situation, to begin the process to install a safe energetic work environment for yourself and those you touch. It is a slow and gradual step-by-step maturation process, whereby one becomes an integrated, autonomous practitioner able to develop and apply his or her energetic knowledge and teachings to their work. The key to success is to enhance one's particular treatment method with Christine Schenk's evaluation and diagnostic techniques. I am so very thankful to have received this knowledge. I cannot even fathom where or who I would be today without it – and actually shudder at the thought. I am so happy that you have found this book and hope that you can begin to embark on your own journey of re-establishing true wholeness in your life, finding the way of righteous, responsible action within your health care profession.
Christine Schenk has developed a curriculum from a vast body of knowledge that provides information that we need to know as energy medicine providers – it is time for the bar to be raised, regardless of this being difficult for many to face. People are carrying out energy work without proper training and thinking they can just do whatever they want without realizing the implications. Christine quite emphatically explains this as "working on a dangerous edge" – well, why not learn to work in a safe manner? I implore you as readers to open your mind to Christine Schenk's message in this groundbreaking book. I highly recommend that you take it seriously and to heart. I sincerely acknowledge and appreciate the time, dedication, and energy that she has expended and dedicated to protect the rights of the Energy Body, creating the due respect and honor that it so deserves. The information of this seminal work is being offered to ensure energetic safety and security for the health of practitioner and client alike. Maybe someday my dream will be manifested for Christine Schenk's incredible work to be taught not only in Oriental medicine schools, but in energy medicine educational programs throughout the world. Handbook of Energetic Job Safety is a major contribution in the field of energy medicine, one that will guide the future in how it is viewed, evaluated, and held in our society.