Spinal Energetics, created by Australian Holistic Chiropractor Dr Sarah Jane, is a unique modality that works to influence how energy moves throughout and around our physical body in order to heal. Here's what happened when Andrea Robertson tried it.
Image credit: Spinal Energetics
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I’m fascinated by the spiritual, the unexplainable, the healing powers of alternative therapies. And yet I don’t quite allow myself to fully buy into it.
And yet, a few weeks ago I found myself sitting on yoga mats with six others, watching— mouth slightly agape— as Holistic Chiropractor and Founder of Spinal Energetics, Dr Sarah Jane, manoeuvred a client’s body— while mostly standing more than a metre away from her.
Through rapid yet smooth gestures of hand, while making a ‘fwoop, fwoop’ inhaling sound not dissimilar to the kind my kids make while playing with toy action figures, we watched as the client's body responded as if being physically touched.
As Dr Sarah pulled her hand upwards through the air, so the client’s tailbone followed, her hips drawn upwards as if attached with an invisible string. A puppeteer manipulating her puppet.
To witness Spinal Energetics for the first time, it looks weird. A bit ridiculous. The client can appear twitchy, like they’re having a fit, or move in a rolling wave rhythm. Let’s say it was giving exorcism.
According to energetic healing modalities, the body doesn’t end, as most of us believe, with the visible external layer - the skin.
There are layers of energy throughout and surrounding the body that can be interacted with by a practitioner even when standing up to 1.8 metres away.
Our energy is bound up in our physical bodies - the muscles, organs, ligaments - and Dr Sarah’s modality works to influence how that energy moves to help us to heal.
“Through the movement of stagnant and repressed energy and emotions, the client experiences responsive movements as they release emotions, and begin to flow with Dr Sarah’s guidance," the website explains.
“Often vocal sounds will be released simultaneously: these are natural and primordial, a response to the treatment, driven by an individual's energy, intuition and instinct.
"The treatment, which has been performed on over 1,000 clients, has been seen to result in a more balanced nervous system, reduced physical pain, and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, fatigue, and mental strain.”
“Maybe they choreographed these movements?” was a thought that popped into my head while watching the demonstration. In answer to my enquiry about what this apparent “connection” actually feels like, Sarah invited me to approach the client and attempt to manoeuvre her body myself.
While I couldn’t necessarily feel the energy Sarah was describing as she told me to zero in on an access point on her sacrum, there was no denying the visible response as I pulled my hand away and her body followed.
I chose where to move my hands after that, and as I - nervously - guided my hands up her back, hovering about 15 cm above her, I witnessed her body respond and move with me, despite her facing away from me with her eyes closed. It was kind of freaky, and I felt something of a pull between my hand and her back.
My main concern was -somehow- accidentally doing something that could hurt her. The fact that I felt I actually could do so in that moment, was telling.
After the group demonstration, it was time for my 1:1. I had no expectations about what might come up; I was curious to see what emotion or physical response my body allowed.
I imagined work stress may be the primary player to reveal itself, but no— Dr Sarah said that part of things was feeling ok, as she pressed and prodded my abdomen.
“For you, it’s all family. Your emotional bandwidth is all taken up by family stuff,” she said. “Let’s try and work that out.” Pressing harder, she circularly rubbed one particular section of my stomach. “What comes to mind?”
As if on cue, with no warning, my eyes immediately filled with tears which spilled over and ran down the sides of my face into my hair as a small involuntary sob escaped me.
I immediately understood the cause though. Of course. Worries about my eldest starting school have been monopolising my thoughts the past few months— trying to balance encouraging resilience and excitement for a big new chapter with ensuring this sensitive little soul feels safe and supported has been weighing on me— more heavily than I’d acknowledged, it seems.
“This is normal, many people tend to either cry or laugh hysterically,” Sarah reassured me. She continued massaging this particular spot on my abdomen a little longer, encouraging me to feel it, and let it go.
Next, she gave each of my arms, the left representing the emotional stress that is stored in my body, the right the physical stress, a tug, sending a shooting volt of what felt like electricity up my arm. The emotional side travelled all the way up to my shoulder, while the physical side, I only felt as far as just above my elbow. So I’m holding onto far more emotional stress than physical, Dr Sarah said.
Time to turn onto my stomach, all the while wondering whether I’d be engaging in some interesting interpretive dance chor-y on the chiro table.
There is a level of submission to the practice required. Sarah told me I was resisting the connection as she guided me through deep breathing. Was I? It was hard to know. I was curious, but that stubborn sceptic part of my brain was perhaps resolutely remaining planted, as if sitting in a chair waiting to be forcefully roused, rather than voluntarily standing up to open the door. It could be that I was aware of being there in a work capacity, and this was a deeply personal experience.
What I couldn’t ignore was the feeling of intense warmth and frisson of -something- over different parts of my back as Dr Sarah’s hands hovered over me. The deep breathing did encourage my spine to ripple, but it was a subtle movement. No exorcism experience for me today. “Two more sessions and we would really get that connection more quickly,” she told me.
Dr Sarah Jane created Spinal Energetics by combining her years of study in Eastern and Western healing techniques.
She is a Chiropractor, 200hr Yoga and Meditation Teacher and Energy Facilitator with degrees in Psychology, Philosophy, and Holistic Counselling. She has also studied acupuncture, Buddhism and is currently undergoing a masters in Chinese Medicine.
Her unique technique is influenced by various modalities, such as Network Spinal, Spinal Flow, Kundalini Activation Process, Alpha Alignment, Shamanism, Inner Dance, Reiki, Esoteric Acupuncture, Craniosacral Therapy, Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Trauma Release, Qigong, Yoga and Pranayama.
“Dr Sarah set out to create a modality that worked with the mind body connection energetically to work at the root cause of pain points," her bio reads. "Through light yet powerful touch (and sometimes no touch at all), an organic flow of movement and sound begins and progresses to shift and unwind in the recipient's body.
"The intention is to release tension, resistance, and stories that may have been stored in the body to get to the root cause of physical pain and mental resistance.”
Afterwards, I felt slightly light headed, but not at all fuzzy. It was a feeling of clarity and lightness, almost like I was hovering just a few millimetres above the ground. There was a feeling of something being cleared from my chest, and I was on a bit of a high for the remainder of the day.
What happened on that table, and what I witnessed happening in the demonstration, is difficult to articulate. You can check out her Instagram to watch videos of the modality in practice for yourself. There is also an episode dedicated to energetic healing on The Goop Lab on Netflix.
I slept incredibly deeply the night after my session, and I am eager to book in for more sessions to explore whether my mind-body-spirit connection can deepen and really tap into my energy. While Dr Sarah’s en light n. clinics are in Melbourne (and Dr Sarah herself is no longer taking on new clients), new practitioners are being trained in the modality in courses in Australia, LA and New Zealand, with expansion to the UK also planned for 2023. You can find your nearest Spinal Energetics practitioner here.