How to Sense Subtle Energy


Outside the intricacies of our physical body there is another dimension, made of energy that penetrates and extends many feet beyond your skin.

What is this energy? It is an intuitive language of the body. It is the essence of who we are, a subtle vibration underlying everything physical, both living and inert. Some of us may see it more easily–others may feel it. If we reduce ourselves to the smallest components, energy is what we find. To Hindu mystics it’s “shakti.” Chinese medical practitioners call it “chi.” It’s the radiant “aura” seers throughout the ages have reported. Even Western medicine is starting to catch on. An exciting new subspecialty has emerged: energy medicine.

Let’s look at energy in terms of your everyday life. Have you ever met someone at a party, liked her immediately? It wasn’t so much what she said or did, but how wonderful she felt to be around. Or remember that time you were working on a project with a man who seemed perfectly nice, but you always came away drained? You were responding to another person’s energy. In a very real way, the energy people give off can have an influence on keeping you well. You can’t interact with someone without having this reciprocal exchange. Know this. Whenever possible, surround yourself with others who feel good to be with, who nurture you, not those who sap you dry. Your body is constantly processing energy, fine tuning itself to people, places, situations

How can knowing about energy keep you healthy? To get a better idea, we need to zero in on the dynamics of how illness works. Let’s slow down the entire process. Begin to see illness as a progression–it never just appears out of the blue. Look at it this way: energy-wise, by the time a heart attack, stroke, or migraine “hits” (so-called acute illnesses), you’ve already traveled far down an illness’s course. Subtle shifts precede cellular change. The secret is to catch imbalances in your body long before you have pain or a full-blown disease.

To do this, attend to the quieter signals your body sends–energy warnings that may occur before any obvious physical cause. Feeling off for any reason. Emptiness. Numbness. Exhaustion. Mysterious aches and pains. Notoriously elusive, these generalized symptoms often defy ordinary explanation. Nonetheless, to feel well, you need to know what’s causing them.

To detect imbalances in yourself, you need to realize that energy, in its simplest form, is something we initially perceive as vibration. It’s so subliminal, we often miss it. I want to share with you the way I tune into energy, so you can get used to it. I practice this technique every day. Let me show you how.

Body Scanning Exercise from Guide to Intuitive Healing

intuitive healingClose your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Relax. Find a comfortable position. Gently focus your attention only on your body. How does it feel? Notice any physical discomfort, or areas that are at ease. Get a baseline. Then try to pick up your subtle energy. Ask yourself: Do I have any waves of tingling or buzzing anywhere? Rushes of heat, cold, or goosebumps, totally unrelated to the outside temperature? If so, can I pinpoint the specific organ involved? Can I sense in it a particular feeling of well-being or vibrance? Or does it feel flat, depleted, ill?

You may perceive energy as a hum, a color, a quivering in your throat. These may show up in surprising locations–your sinuses, ears, liver, spine. Some parts of your body may feel alive, especially sensitive, others dull, aching or numb. Let your imagination go wild. Notice how these sensations vary. You may feel things in places you never even knew existed. This is good. You’ll get to know your body well, a positive start to prevention.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Discerning such fine energy takes time. Meanwhile, your mind will help you out. It constantly translates vibration into forms you can more easily recognize. For example, into imagery and emotions. Patients have shared with me striking descriptions: the accountant who felt as if a steel rod was shooting down his back; the young girl with a black cloud over her heart. You may have had similar powerful images. Or how about this? Have you ever experienced the strange feeling that parts of your body are congested, blocked or shut down with no physical evidence to support it? That sadness is bottled up in your liver, or there’s anger in your joints? These are ways subtle energy speaks to you, offers leads about your health. As an intuitive, I’ve trained myself to tune in at this level. I teach my patients and workshop participants to do so too.

(Excerpt from “Guide to Intuitive Healing: Five Steps to Physical, Emotional and Sexual Wellness” by Judith Orloff, MD)

Judith Orloff, MD is a New York Times bestselling author with the upcoming book The Genius of Empathy: Practical Skills to Heal Yourself, Your Relationships and the World (Foreword by the Dalai Lama). She has also written The Empath’s Survival Guide and Thriving as an Empath, which offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people. She integrates the pearls of conventional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, empathy, energy medicine, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice and online internationally. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA, TEDx U.S. and TEDx Asia. More information about Dr. Orloff’s Empathy Training Programs for businesses, The Empath Survival Guide Online Course and speaking schedule at

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3 thoughts on “How to Sense Subtle Energy

  1. Thank you Dr. Judith Orloff MD for all your work and sharing to help others! I have benefited so much from your website and books! love and light

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