Not everyone who hangs an energy work shingle is an artist in the field, of course; in the world of the woo-woo, there are plenty of pretenders. So how can you tell whether you're in the hands of a bona fide healer? Here are a few things to consider:
1. Look Around for a Recommendation
The best way to find the best healers? Good old-fashioned word of mouth. Ask around.
2. Check Out Credentials
Some forms of energy work are, well, free form; none require specific licensure in the state of Tennessee. Still, it pays to ask for credentials and education history. "You don't necessarily need a certification, but there are people who will really go out and take the time and study—those are the ones making a life's work of it," says Gina Baker. "You just have to ask.
3. Ask for a Demonstration
If you're not sure what to expect—or whether it's a good fit for you—ask for a sample, recommends local Reiki master Barbara Rose. Don't expect a freebie— that's not fair. But you should be able to get a sense of what it looks and feels like, and whether the style of energy work suits your needs and temperament.
4. Understand the Plan
If you're undertaking energy work with a goal in mind, discuss it with your therapist so you can understand how the work can help, how many visits will be needed, and what the treatment plan will look like. Sometimes, there are no clear answers— though it pays to know that going in, too.
5. Trust Your Gut
If you don't like the person who's about to tap into your very life essence, by all means leave. Successful energy work requires trust and comfort—if you feel neither, it's a clear sign that something's wrong. It's also OK to end a session if things start to get uncomfortable or weird. "You should never be forced into a revelation that's painful," says Steve Palmer. "Everything should be by invitation."