“How Dare You Charge?”

I haven’t heard the exact words I used for the title of this post, but I have heard similar. A number of times. There are plenty of people out there who believe that someone who practices energy healing, or channeling, or readings, or anything along those lines has no right to ask others to pay for their services. After all, those skills are a “gift from God,” right?

Well, sort of. First of all, that’s presuming a practitioner believes in God in the first place. I believe in a higher power, but not in “God” the way some religions mean. I don’t belong to any of those religions. Nor do some of the other practitioners I know. The person from whom I learned Chios and channeling in the first place didn’t believe in any higher power at all; he was a staunch atheist. It’s worth remembering that not everyone believes in the same things, even among people who practice the same things.

Second, maybe the ability to practice energy healing, channeling, etc. is a gift, but that doesn’t mean a person who possesses those abilities is automatically able to offer them to other people. I believe you need to learn how to effectively use those abilities if you plan to make those practices into your life’s work, just as someone who’s born with a talent for singing won’t make it to professional level without vocal training. The ability might be a gift, but you need training and education to have the skill.

Some people spend years learning the skills they need to offer their talents to the public. Even those who don’t spend quite that long still devote time and energy to learning effective ways to do what they do, and the best ways to offer those things to others.

If practitioners choose for themselves not to charge for their skills, that is entirely their choice, and there’s nothing wrong with it. The issue comes when those who choose not to charge start vilifying those of us who do because we’re “dishonoring” our gifts.

The thing is, money, at its base level, is an energetic exchange. We are exchanging our gifts for abundance energy in the form of pieces of paper, or other types of currency. If we give our energy with nothing in exchange, a vacuum is created, and negative energy loves to fill vacuums. But if we receive some form of exchange, whether that’s money or a massage in return for an energy healing session or whatever, there’s no vacuum.

Practitioners don’t have to charge outrageous sums of money. Some do, but some keep their rates lower, and some accept barter in addition to money. The point is to have that exchange.

Everyone’s different. Everyone has a different view of the things they’re able to do. And, as far as I’m concerned, no one’s choice is wrong as long as they aren’t taking advantage of their clients. It would just be nice if we could accept each other’s choices instead of having loud debates and insults when we disagree.

Disclaimer

This post is not a disclaimer. Though the previous sentence might be.

As a holistic practitioner, I have to be very careful about what I say on my website, to clients, and in marketing materials. Laws in my state–and in most states, I believe–regulate holistic practices to some extent. If you claim to be something that falls under those laws and you aren’t licensed, you’re going to run into problems.

More importantly, the government regulates websites, and one of the things they look for is a claim of medical practice by someone who isn’t a doctor. There have been cases of energy healers and other practitioners being sued, either by clients or the government, because wording on their site implied or flat out said they practiced medicine.

Someone asked me why I repeat the phrase “energy healing is not a substitute for traditional medicine” so many times on my site, along with stating that I am not a medical or mental health professional. The possibility of being sued or accused of fraud is why. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a licensed anything. I am a Certified Chios Master Teacher and have a diploma in Life Coaching, but that doesn’t make me a trained medical or mental health professional. It makes me someone who has studied to the point of knowing what I’m doing, and more importantly, knowing what I can’t do.

One of the testimonials on my Chios Energy Healing page is slightly revised, with the client’s consent, from the version I received. Their version included the word “diagnosed,” as in “Kim diagnosed an issue I was having.” (That isn’t an exact quote.) That’s a red-flag word; diagnosing is something a doctor does. So I had to rewrite it.

I’ve also had to change some of my website copy. I have had a client tell me their blood pressure dropped to normal for a few days after a session, but I can’t say that on my site, because that implies I’m practicing some form of medicine. Instead, I have to focus on the other effects, such as feeling calmer and more relaxed.

To some people, it might seem like I’m going overboard with the disclaimers on my site, but I don’t feel that I am. Chios and other techniques I’ve used help my clients. I want to be able to continue to give them that help. And that means being careful about who and what I say I am.

What Is Energy Healing, Anyway?

If you’re interested in energy healing, or curious about what it is, this post might be for you.

The basic idea behind energy healing, at least as I was taught, is that energy is everywhere. Whether a living thing or an inanimate one, whether natural or man-made, everything has energy. The “everywhere” energy is sometimes called universal energy, and in addition to this type, each person or thing has its own individual energy. For humans, this energy takes the form of a system of seven major energy centers, or chakras, a seven-layer energy field, and a number of minor chakras. (Different systems of belief and explanation differ on how many chakras exist, and some may differ on the number of layers in the energy field. I’m describing what I was taught.)

When someone is injured or traumatized in any way, their energy is affected. This might cause blocked energy flow or holes in the energy field, blocks or other defects in the chakras, or other issues.

In energy healing, the practitioner becomes a conduit or channel for the universal energy. Using this, they’re able to heal or repair the damage caused to the energy system of the client. In turn, these repairs can help relieve pain, illnesses, and other physical and mental issues that are tied to the energetic damage. It isn’t medicine, per se, nor is it intended as a substitute for traditional medical and mental health care. It’s another tool in the health and well-being toolbox.

Several different forms and modalities of energy healing exist. The most well-known is probably Reiki, which has thousands of practitioners worldwide. Chios, the modality I practice, isn’t as well-known, but for me personally, it’s proven more effective and easier to learn.

Chios was introduced fairly recently, but is the result of about two decades of spiritual work along with research and testing by its developer, Stephen Barrett. Most, if not all, the techniques in Chios are exclusive to the modality, and were only included after tests showed their effectiveness.

Chios includes techniques for removing blocks in the energy field and chakras, for rebalancing and repairing the chakras, and for “charging” the energy field. It also includes techniques and modifications specific to certain chronic diseases, explanations of how to modify for children, the elderly, and people with short-term illnesses, and a technique for healing and repairing damage caused in past lives.

Like anything else, Chios won’t resonate for everyone, and it won’t work for everyone. I’ve seen amazing results from it, both in my own energy system through receiving Chios sessions from others, and in my clients through the sessions I’ve done with them. It’s exciting to hear a client tell me about positive changes in their health or emotional state after a healing session, and I love being able to provide that for my clients as well as teach others how to use the modality.

Introducing Your Practitioner

I’ve always been a healer. I just didn’t always realize it. I was about four or five when I realized that if I had a cut or bruise, if I put my hand over it and let my hand get warm, the injury stopped hurting. I tried to explain this to my parents. They told me I was imagining it.

I’ve also always wanted to help others. Whenever I saw someone who was in pain, whether physical or emotional, I felt it, and I didn’t like that they had to feel it. I wanted to stop it. Not that I’ve always know how to stop their pain. Sometimes, especially when I was a child, there was nothing I could do. But I wanted to.

And then there are my “invisible friends.” Not imaginary friends. As a young child, I was very specific about that. They weren’t imaginary; people just couldn’t see them.

They’ve been around for as long as I can remember. Several of them; at one point when I was in elementary school, I think they numbered around forty. All had distinct names and personalities. All told me things that I couldn’t have made up, because I had no way to know them. As I got older, I read in my mother’s women’s magazines that children outgrow their imaginary friends, often by the time they’re in school. I was ten or eleven. The number had dropped from forty to five or six, but even so, my invisible friends weren’t going anywhere.

That worried me. I already knew I was weird and different, where “different” was very definitely not a good thing. The whole hand-over-an-injury thing was something I’d learned not to talk about. So was what I referred to as “remembering something that hasn’t happened yet.” Those things exasperated my mother, upset my father, and gave my peers extra reasons–as if they needed any–to make fun of me. And I learned not to talk about my invisible friends either.

I went through my teens and into adulthood. People told me I was a good listener and made them feel better. I didn’t understand how, but I was glad to help them. My invisible friends kept telling me things I couldn’t have known on my own, like when one of them helped me through a math test in eleventh grade. I had consistently failed or gotten D’s on every assignment in the chapter, and I didn’t understand any of the concepts or how to solve the problems. But with my “invisible friend” talking me through the problems on the test, I got a B.

I got married. I had kids. I continued “remembering things that hadn’t happened yet.” People kept telling me I made them feel calmer, though that seemed to upset some of them. One or two even told me they were afraid of me because of how I made them feel. That didn’t make sense to me; why be afraid of someone who made you feel better? But I learned to just accept that some people just couldn’t accept me.

I continued wanting to help people without knowing how. And then I met someone who taught me how. He and I became friends, bonding over a shared love of reading and writing, and over time he started telling me about energy healing and channeling. Finally, my life started to make sense. The way I’d made my injuries stop hurting as a child was basic energy healing, done instinctively. My invisible friends weren’t at all imaginary; they were my guides. And the energy healing and channeling my friend did for me helped me work through trauma and abuse from my childhood, as well as helping me grow and gain the strength to leave a marriage that had become increasingly toxic not only for me, but for my children as well.

My life hasn’t been a straightforward progression from there. I struggled as a single mother, and was not always the parent I wanted to be for my children. Issues from the past and from that marriage reared their heads from time to time, causing problems for me and the people around me. I found a new spouse, but wasn’t always able to accept how well he treated me, because it wasn’t what I was used to.

I’ve kept working, though. New skills and tools I’ve found have helped me in my ongoing work to release the effects my past has had on me. I’ve kept working to improve the skills I learned from my friend, and to strengthen my bonds with my guides.

Most importantly, I’ve found ways to use those skills and tools to help others. I’m far from the only person who has experienced bullying and verbal and emotional abuse, or the only person whose past has impacts on their present that they might not even be aware of. I still hate seeing someone else hurting, but now I can see ways to help them deal with and even release their pain, whether physical or emotional. As I learn and grow, I also learn how to help others grow. And that’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a child. Through River Flow Healing, I’m finally able to do what that little girl wanted to do but wasn’t able.