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Energy healing is moving out of the hippie margins and into the mainstream—just read Dr. Jill Blakeway’s new book, Energy Medicine: The Science and Mystery of Healing. Professionally trained in traditional Chinese medicine, Blakeway runs a Manhattan clinic where she treats a host of issues including infertility, digestive problems and pain management (along with recommending herbs and therapeutic bodywork as well as Western medical intervention when indicated).

The book is a fascinating exploration of scientific underpinnings for the historic global belief in humans having an essential life force (e.g., prana in Indian Ayurvedic medicine or qi in traditional Chinese medicine). Western medicine interprets this force as electricity—say, the readings of an electrocardiogram around the heart. Blakeway talks to Stanford and Princeton professors researching the physics related to energy medicine and healing, meets a Chinese qi gong master and interviews the scientists who use a hands-on energy healing technique to eliminate cancer in mice.

It’s a real tightrope of a read by a woman who, after decades of using a healing power she doesn’t fully understand, embarks on a journalistic search for an explanation of how energy medicine works. She also provides an intro to the practice for newbies, plus tips for developing your own healing powers or finding a healer to address your needs (avoid practitioners who overpromise and ones who charge extortionist prices).

Curious to learn more and try it out for yourself? Here’s the short list of our favorite energy-based healers in Southern California.

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kiki matoba
Kiki Matoba

Kiki Matoba: Reiki

Using her Reiki practice (that’s the Japanese technique in which a practitioner uses a “laying on of hands” to manipulate a client’s physical or emotional well-being) and crystal healing principles, Matoba has a calm, uplifting demeanor that’s immediately reassuring, even if you’ve never tried anything vaguely woo-woo before. Not ready for a one-on-one sesh? Monday evenings, she leads a group guided meditation and energy healing session in Sherman Oaks at the Wellborn Lifestyles studio.

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mother nurture la1
Mother Nurture LA

Laura Erlich: Acupuncture

At her holistic women’s clinic in West L.A., Erlich uses principles of traditional Chinese medicine, including Chinese herbal prescriptions, acupuncture, pharmaceutical-grade supplements, functional medicine and holistic nutrition. Her specialty is infertility and pre- and post-childbirth issues (she’s also a licensed doula), but we like her sensitivity to women’s unique hormonal balances throughout their lives, apart from reproductive issues. She addresses anxiety and autoimmune disorders along with musculoskeletal pain, which she might banish using a combination of acupuncture, cupping, gua shatui na and bodywork, chiropractic, herbs, soaks and more.

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surya spa
Surya Spa

Martha Soffer: Ayurveda

Using the ancient Indian healing practice of Ayurveda, Soffer does a thorough 90-minute intake assessment, taking your pulse on different points of your fingers and hand to best determine which dosa (energetic body type) you are. Clients come to Soffer for a range of concerns including excess weight, skin problems, poor digestion, restlessness and lethargy, as well as chronic problems like Lyme disease, lupus, and neurological and psychological disorders. Depending on your particular complaint, you might be administered a regimen called Panchakarma, a multiday series of treatments that might include Abhyanga (four-handed oil therapy) or Shirodhara (warm herbalized oil or fresh coconut water poured in a healing stream over the third eye). Soffer is about to blow up big-time when her spa opens in its new home in the just-opened Santa Monica Proper Hotel.

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