Published in Radish Magazine, Rochester, MN Oct 30, 2012, 4:00 pm
By Brian Todd

Heal thyself? You don’t need to be a physician to take that to heart.

Gail Van Kanegan is happy to teach you how to cure what ails you and keep yourself healthy by letting your internal energy flow. Van Kanegan, an owner of Midwest Energy Movement, is an Eden energy medicine certified practitioner.

“Energy medicine looks at energy as a vital living force,” says Van Kanegan, who has worked as a registered nurse for 30 years and as a nurse practitioner for 16 of those years. “Energy is a medicine, and it’s also the person because we are energy.”

When a person is sick or in pain, Van Kanegan says, it is because the energy is not flowing through the pathways of the body as it should. The way energy medicine works is to untrap that energy and let it flow, promoting wellness.

This is similar to other complementary medicines and modalities, but unlike chiropractic or acupuncture, the goal of energy medicine is to work with the body’s electromagnetic energy and get it moving again, pulling it along through the meridians — lines of energy that flow through the body.

“Every single cell is charged with electromagnetism,” Van Kanegan says. “We use our hands. Your hands are electromagnetic. The back of the hand is negative, and the palm side is positive. We have polarities just like the earth has north and south poles.”

An excellent example of how that energy gets trapped, she says, is what happens when you sit too long in a chair.

“The energy gets trapped in the neck, the knees, and the back,” Van Kanegan says. “Because of being in this crunched up position you’re in, your energy stops flowing.”

According to Van Kanegan, one significant source of flowing energy is the blood, which can get trapped and slowed any number of ways. A fall that ends up with a bruise or swelling means blood is not flowing correctly and pain for the sufferer. A blood clot in the heart leads to a heart attack.

“Energy can’t get through that clot,” she says. “Energy follows the blood flow. Blood gets to the tissues to nourish it.”

Energy medicine is designed to restore the normal functions of the body. It works best when the body is aligned, and the energy is flowing properly.

There are some ways an energy medicine practitioner can help pull the energy and get it flowing again and tapping along pathways or on blocked points, connecting the ends of a meridian to get the energy flowing, or twisting or pinching the skin to relieve pain. Some stretching or postures can unblock energy and keep pathways clear, similar to yoga or tai chi.

“I took a tai chi class, and many things were just the same with a little twist to them,” Van Kanegan says. “In energy medicine, we do more pulling of the energy with the hands. We’re more assertive than the gentle nature of tai chi or yoga.”

Midwest Energy Movement is one of more than a dozen practices at Hermitage Farm Center for Healing in northwest Rochester. There, Van Kanegan teaches patients how to make their energy flow to attack the toxins in their body. These toxins can come from a variety of sources, such as the environment, food, drugs, emotions, and stress.

“All of the exercises with energy medicine are designed to open channels to release toxins,” she says.

The beauty of energy medicine, she says, is once you know how to care for yourself, you don’t need to keep going back to the practitioner to feel relief.

“Part of my mission as a nurse is to empower people to be healthy,” Van Kanegan says.

Midwest Energy Movement — which Van Kanegan runs in partnership with two other Eden energy medicine practitioners, Debby Reedy and Laurel Camden — will sponsor a three-day conference in St. Louis next March. It will feature renown energy medicine practitioner Donna Eden as a speaker. Van Kanegan, who studied under Eden, is expecting up to 800 people will attend. Eden’s system, she says, works through every system in the body and can be learned by anyone.

“Once you learn it, you can do it for yourself,” says Van Kanegan. “It’s all about self-care, getting people to take charge of their lives.”

Brian Todd is a freelance writer based in Rochester, Minn. For more information on Midwest Energy Movement, or call (507) 244-1994.