Perhaps one of the most preposterous parts of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “The Goop Lab”, is its episode on energy healing that introduces us to the work of John Amaral, chiropractor and energy bodyworker. It is not as much the topic of energy healing as much it is the process through which the healing takes place. As Elise accurately points out, it does feel like an “exorcism”.
“Just ‘cause something isn’t proven, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work”, says the medical practitioner in the episode. Honestly, we do want to believe. After all, some things are still unexplainable by science. But we do believe in energy, and touch can indeed be therapeutic. Especially with the long Vedic and Japanese history energy healing has.
But Amaral’s technique takes it a step further, as he really doesn’t offer therapeutic touch to his patients. In fact, he doesn’t touch them at all. Despite this, he makes their “energy” flow and their bodies move with his hands, but from a distance. Almost like a puppeteer. One can’t help but think of it as a hoax. But results and personal anecdotes suggest otherwise. So does Amaral’s technique really work? Here’s everything we know.
Who is John Amaral?
Dr. John Amaral is a chiropractor, energy bodyworker and educator who works largely with celebrities, entrepreneurs, pro athletes and influencers. He works primarily with energy healing and has worked with thousands of people from over 50 countries. Amaral was mentored by Donny Epstein in chiropractic treatment for over 25 years, where he also developed his own techniques. He is the founder of Body Centered Leadership. According to him, his energy healing helps with shifting his patients out of a stressed state. His techniques are supposed to help with physical injuries, anxiety, depression, and better performances.
Is John Amaral’s Technique Real or Fake?
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These images are based on research done with one of my clients before and after a 20 minute session (during the filming of an upcoming documentary). The results are pretty incredible. We hooked a wireless surface EMG (a device that measures muscle activity) up to the client’s biceps and had her try to lift a very heavy object with all her might. After the session we retested and here are the results: After the session the client’s left bicep was 33% more efficient. If you’re a pitcher throwing a ball and you can exert 33% less and still throw the same speed, that’s a major advantage! (For reference, the scientist doing the research said a 10% increase in efficiency would be really good. A 20% increase would be a big deal. “This result” he said, “is robust”). Before the session there was a 40% difference in activity between her left and right biceps—So at full exertion, one bicep was 40% less effective than the other. That’s a significant imbalance! Imagine try to do a bicep curl — one arm can lift 25lbs and the other only 15lbs with the same effort. After the session there was only a 4% imbalance—Her biceps were almost perfectly balanced! All of this shows that her brain and body were coordinating and working in-sync, with less wasted energy, less effort and more effectiveness. Happy to answer any questions about this initial research and what else it means. #mindbody #brainhealth #brain #nervoussystem #gooplab #bodycenteredleadership #neuroscience #neurology #neuroplasticity #professionalathlete
Amaral works with what he calls the “subtle energy body”, which is the energy field around the body that can extend around 3 to 8 feet from the physical body. His work is primarily focused on shifting the tension state of the body and help in freeing up bound-up energy that’s held in different parts of the body. He accesses the energy around the body to achieve this.
It definitely does sound a little woo-woo. But it also has been backed up by traditional medical practices from all over the world, dating back to thousands of years. From Japan’s reiki to the Chinese qi (chee). The importance of energy has also been stated in Ayurvedic medicine from India which includes the three doshas (energies) that provide each person’s makeup.
Amaral also backs his work with the help of James Oschman’s writing in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy. His writing introduced the concept of healer-sourced electromagnetic fields which change in frequency. He also stated that fascia, the connective tissue is a body-wide communication system that carries consciousness. But theories like these have been criticised as implausible, without clinical efficiency, and containing methodological flaws.
Another more legit research was done by Dr. Candace Pert that showed that emotions can trigger peptides to carry chemical messages throughout the body and chemically change the cells. This means, different parts of our body does hold emotions and stress. But this doesn’t entirely prove how energy healing take place.
Despite the growing popularity of energy healing in the past years, it is still not backed by science. Physicists and sceptics criticize these concepts and theories as pseudo physics. Even most supporters and practitioners can’t explain the science behind it entirely. But there are obviously positive results of energy healing that has helped several individuals.
These positive results are often explained scientifically as placebo effects, spontaneous remission, and cognitive dissonance. Studies have also shown cases where energy healing was no help at all. One should also note that the energy healing industry is filled quakes who exploit people.
However, it is equally important to not that acupuncture is also considered a type of energy healing and is backed with solid scientific research. Similarly research by the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found strong evidence that Reiki and therapeutic touch can help alleviate pain and reduce anxiety in hospitalized patients. This is also a reason why hospitals all over the world have also started employing these methods to help relieve their patients’ stress and anxieties.
At the same time, Amaral’s energy healing doesn’t always employ therapeutic touch as it works with the energy field. This kind of energy healing doesn’t really have any scientific explanations. But one should also keep an open mind (while also remaining critical), as Amaral’s technique has helped thousands of individuals, including celebrities and athletes.
Read More: The Goop Lab Review