SA writes: “Years ago, I was invited to join a seminar on Pranic Healing. It is a method of healing that uses enegry(prana). Among the organizers of the said seminar was a religious nun, so I felt it was ok and somehow it is allowed in our Catholic faith. . . .”
SA continues: “One of the practices of pranic healing is meditation, similar with what the Buddhists practice. Then I got confused, because when we held a Eucharistic celebration and the “teacher” did not make a sign of the Cross. And they also use crystals to heal. I asked a priest regarding this but he said it is ok as long as my intention was to heal or I have good intentions to heal others.
However, I am also a member of a Catholic Charismatic group and when our Head servant learned about pranic healing, he immediately ordered me to go to confession and denounce it. So i did.
Now I am still searching for answers regarding what the Catholic Church’s position is about pranic healing. I hope you could shed light on this. As of this writing, I have a number of catholic friends who have been practicing pranic healing.
The head of your charismatic group was correct – stop practicing Pranic healing because it has roots in the occult.
First of all, pranic healing is based on the existence of a universal life force energy (also known as ki, qi, yin and yang, etc.) which is part of a pantheistic belief system which is not compatible with Christianity.
Pranic healing practitioners claim to be able to remove “diseased energies” from a patient’s invisible energy body and to be able to transfer fresh prana to the affected areas with the use of the hands.
Proponents claim that pranic healing comes from ancient cultures that practiced forms of it such as the occult-based shamanic healing. Other forms are qi gong, psychic healing, Reiki (which has been condemned by the U.S. bishops), and Therapeutic Touch.
Proponents also claim that the laying on of hands and charismatic healing practices are a form of pranic healing but this is incorrect and reveals a basic misunderstanding of Christian healing practices which never involve the manipulation of alleged life force energies. Rather, Christian healing is based solely upon the prayer of intercession with the hands used as a “sign” of that intercession. This blog will explain these differences in more detail.
The modern form of pranic healing was developed by a man referred to as Master Choa Kok Sui, who was born in Cebu, Philippines in 1952 and died at the age of 54 in 2007. Even as a child he was interested in the paranormal and studied a wide range of healing arts as he grew to adulthood. Many of these arts were of occult origin. Sui had close associations with clairvoyants and also studied a variety of occult-based philosophies such as Rosicrucian Teachings of the Ancient Mystical Order of Rosae Crucis (AMORC), Theosophy, Astara lessons, Arcane School teachings, and other esoteric sciences.
From all of these influences emerged the modern version of pranic healing.
Aside from Sui’s troublesome occult connections, pranic healing also runs afoul of science which has never found any evidence for the existence of prana. Prana is a putatitve form of energy (as opposed to veritable energy, which are proven energy forms such as monochromatic radiation, light and sound waves, etc.). Many Eastern cultures who embrace a pantheistic worldview (Hindus, Buddhists) have medical practices based on this life force such as traditional Chinese medicine’s acupuncture and the Hindu’s pranic and Ayurvedic medicine.
Unfortunately, there is only anecdotal evidence in support of the efficacy of pranic healing which is why it is considered to be pseudoscientific.
But that doesn’t stop proponents from claiming this energy does exist and was proven by an Armenian electrician named Semyon Kirlian, the inventor of Kirlian photography. Kirlian claimed he could see the energy field surrounding the physical body of plants, animals and people by using an ultrasensitive camera process. However, Kirlian’s theories were thoroughly debunked by physicists who claim the “aura” of energy Kirlian claimed to be photographing is known as a corona discharge, a well-known electro-magnetic phenomenon that has nothing to do with a universal life force.
For Catholics, an additional concern is the potential for people to substitute pranic healing in place of conventional medicine, which violates Church teaching. “A person has a moral obligation to use ordinary or proportionate means of preserving his or her life. Proportionate means are those that in the judgment of the patient offer a reasonable hope of benefit and do not entail an excessive burden or impose excessive expense on the family or the community.” Ethical and Religious Directives for Health Care Services (Part V, No. 56)