Energy Medicine: The Auric Embrace

The aura is a multilayered sphere of energy that emanates from your body and interacts with the atmosphere of the Earth. It is itself a protective atmosphere that surrounds and embraces you, filtering out many of the energies you encounter and drawing in others that you need. It simultaneously serves as a filter and as an antenna. Whereas each chakra is an energy station that is attuned to larger energies in the universe, the aura serves as a two-way antenna that brings energy from the environment into your chakras and sends energy from your chakras outward. Some auras reach out and embrace you. Others keep you out like an electric fence.

When you feel happy, attractive and spirited, your aura may fill an entire room. When you are sad, despondent and somber, your aura crashes in on you, forming an energetic shell that isolates you from the world. Sometimes if I feel closed in by too many intruding energies, I will very slowly place my open palms against the inside band of my auric field and push it away. If I go slowly enough, I can feel the pressure of the field as I push on it. Try it sometime when you are having difficulty claiming your space in the world or are feeling sad or small. Imagine yourself surrounded by an eggshell-like energy and exhale slowly as you push it away from you, beginning at about two inches from your body. You may be able to feel an energetic force against your hands, and, in any case, it will give you more breathing room, psychologically and energetically.

Detecting the Aura

An energy field surrounding the body, as first measured scientifically in Harold Burr’s Yale laboratory in the 1930’s, has subsequently been demonstrated in numerous experiments.1 Known to scientists as the “biofield,” it corresponds with older notions of a distinctive but intangible “aura” surrounding the body, seen not only in religious paintings, but also described in numerous healing traditions.2 Scientists investigating the biofield have suggested that it holds information about an organism and transmits this information throughout the organism in a manner that is analogous to the way a holographic plate distributes information throughout a hologram.3 The biofield comprises an extremely weak but measurable electromagnetic field — with its own waveform, intensity, polarity and modulation patterns — that surrounds and permeates all living systems.

Experiments on the human aura were carried out over a twenty-year period at Valerie Hunt’s Energy Fields Laboratory at UCLA. In one, “aura reading” by people who are highly sensitive to the body’s energies were compared with neuro-physiological measures. The colors seen by eight aura readers not only corresponded with one another, they also correlated exactly with electromyography (EMG) wave patterns picked up by electrodes on the skin at the spot that was being observed.4

Aura readers also consistently report shifts in the aura when a person is under stress or has had a healing, or when there are changes in the environment. Psychologist Dorothy Gundling found that aura readers saw changes in the size, shape, action and color of the energy fields of five experimental subjects when the subjects were listening to music. These observations corresponded with changes in blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate and brain wave patterns. Some music produced relaxation in listeners, similar to the physiological response to meditation; other music produced erratic brain waves.5  While the aura readers tended to agree with one another on the size, shape and shade of the subjects’ auras, there were differences in their perceptions of color. The investigator speculated that this is because the perceptions of aura readers are necessarily filtered through the color of their own aura.6

These reports include fascinating human commentary, but most studies of the aura do not rely on aura readers at all. The combined use of handheld biofeedback sensors, computing equipment and special photography devices has demonstrated that the color, shape and size of an auric field, as captured by these devices on photos or video, shift after the application of acupuncture, hands-on healing or prayer. The auric field also shifts with changes in thoughts or mood, and there is some evidence that its fluctuations provide reliable diagnostic information as well.7

Traditionally, the aura is said to have seven bands, each corresponding in color and energy with one of the chakras. For some people, the aura is loosely knit, extending outward, open to the world. For others it is tightly bound, “close to the vest.” The density of the aura also fluctuates within a person, reflecting different states of health, excitement and comfort. When you are ill, your aura can collapse in on you, as if trying to guard your organs, bones and vital tissues and isolate you from the world. You are more protected, and others are protected from your illness.

Seeing Auras

I not only believe that everyone can learn to read auras, I believe you already sense them. You know before a word has been spoken when you are in the presence of someone who makes you feel energized or drained. When my former mother-in-law walked into a room, every head turned. Everyone felt her presence before even seeing her. We pick up on more than just visual cues. Have you ever had the sense that someone is staring at you and turned your head to find eyes gazing your way that had been completely outside your view? Studies of this phenomenon show not only that it is quite commonplace, but also that your galvanic skin response changes when you are being stared at by someone, though that person is not within your range of vision.8 “Good vibes” and “bad vibes” are more than just figures of speech.

The auric field provides a quick read on a person’s general level of health, but preconceived ideas can get in the way. For instance, when a person has been ill, the aura may collapse close to the body, forming a tightly knit protective shield. Early in my work, whenever I encountered someone with a collapsed aura, I would try to pulse the auric field back out to where it was “supposed to be.” But if the person was sick, I always felt a resistance, as if the aura were saying, “This danger isn’t over yet, and this body requires extra protection and support until it is.” The collapsed state is the intelligence of the energy body at work, and I have learned not to override this wisdom.

On the other hand, if the energy imbalances within your body become excessive, the aura can’t protect you, and it can become thin, disorganized or collapsed. It may get in the habit of being chronically collapsed, trapping your energies and preventing your life force from connecting with the world. Like each of your energy systems, the aura learns how to protect you in the increasingly complex situations we encounter today. In the series of compromises called adaptation, it may become chronically locked into a state that is not good for your overall health and well-being, and an intervention can be very useful.

The Hook-up is the best single technique for keeping the aura solid and for quickly centering yourself. It creates a connection between your central meridian (which sends energy up the front of your body) and governing meridian (which sends energy up your spine), bridging the energies between front and back of your body and between your head and torso. The Hook-up has immediate neurological consequences. Do it each day.

To do the Hook-up, breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth.

  1. Place the middle finger of one hand on your third eye (between your eyebrows above the bridge of your nose.)
  2. Place the middle finger of the other hand in your navel.
  3. Gently press each finger into your skin, pull it upward, and hold for 15-20 seconds. Often a spontaneous sigh or deep breath signals that the energies have hooked up.


  1. See discussion in David Feinstein and Donna Eden, “Six Pillars of Energy Medicine,” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2007, 14, 44-54. Available online from
  2. William Collinge, Subtle Energy (New York: Warner Books, 1998).
  3. Beverly Rubik, “The Biofield Hypothesis: Its Biophysical Basis and Role in Medicine,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2002 (8), 703-717.
  4. Valerie Hunt, Infinite Mind: The Science of Human Vibration (Malibu, CA: Malibu, 1995).
  5. Dorothy Huntley Gundling, “Electrophysical and Psychotronic Correlates of Music,” PhD dissertation, Saybrook Institute, San Francisco, 1977.
  6. Dorothy Huntley Gundling, personal communication, February 5, 1998.
  7. Reported in William Collinge, Subtle Energy (New York: Warner Books, 1998), p. 28
  8. William G. Braud, “Human Interconnectedness: Research Indications,” ReVision, 14 (1992), 140-148.


Excerpted and adapted from Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine (Revised Edition). New York: Tarcher/Penguin, 2008.

Donna Eden is among the world’s most sought after spokespersons for energy medicine and her abilities as a healer are legendary. Her bestselling book, Energy Medicine, is the authoritative text in its field and recently won U.S. Book News “Book of the Year” award in the self-help category. Learn more about her books and classes at Donna Eden will be a keynote speaker at the Natural Living Expo Sept 26-27 in Sturbridge. See back cover.