Energy medicine and breastfeeding

unnamed-1It’s been just over a year since I first spoke with Cathy Holland, RN, BS, IBCLC, FACCE about her 2015 International Breastfeeding Conference presentation on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for Our Milky Way.

The first time we spoke was also the first time I had ever heard about EFT. Admittedly I was initially skeptical about its effectiveness, and as someone who identifies as a “Crunchy Skeptic,” I almost immediately wrote it off as pseudoscience. But the more I spoke with Cathy, the more intrigued I became.

I was excited to participate in her presentation, but found myself in the back of the room, nursing my sick tot. While tending to Iris, I observed Cathy guide a roomful of well over 50 participants experience EFT, most for the first time.  

The energy in the room changed within only a few minutes; tense and restless to calm and engaged. It was as if the room precipitously and collectively exhaled. Incredible!

I don’t expect anything less from Cathy’s upcoming International Breastfeeding Conference presentation Breastfeeding and Energy Medicine: A Brief Introduction.

Energy medicine has been around for far longer than medical doctors.

“There were homeopathic doctors, acupuncturists and countless healers of all kinds,” Cathy says. “When I was in nursing school, we were taught that everyone from the Osteopath through the Chiropractor were quacks, just like witch doctors and medicine men/women throughout history.”

Cathy shares this quote from Plato: “Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught in falsehood’s school. And the person that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.” (I’m reminded that our planet was once flat.)

While alternative medicine has been criticized for lacking supportive evidence, Nikki Lee, RN, MS, IBCLC, CCE, CIMI, ANLC, CST points out in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Breastfeeding Therapy that this is no longer true.

“Evidence-based healthcare is defined in the Cochrane Collaborative’s online course, Understanding Evidence-Based Healthcare: A Foundation for Action as ‘the integration of best research evidence with clinical expertise and patient values’ (Dickersin & Mayer, 2009),” Lee writes. “According to this definition, CAM is evidence-based healthcare.” [Read more here: ]

Further, The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology states that “Energy psychology (EP) modalities have been researched by more than 100 investigators in at least 7 countries. As of 2014, over 60 research studies have been published on EP modalities; out of these only one has not shown efficacy.”

“Things like essential oils, epigenetics, craniosacral therapy, osteopathy, homeopathy, EFT, music therapy, exercise, yoga, Feldenkrais, Bowen work, Lymph Drainage, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, etc. all are valid modalities that help as many as, or more than standard American style medical treatment,” Cathy explains.

Actually, she says that most physicians intuitively do some sort of energy medicine after performing procedures; a soothing with their hands for example.  

Energy medicine isn’t limited to trained professionals. Cathy points out that we are all energy medicine practitioners, and we’ve all performed energy medicine intuitively.

What do you do when you get a bump, a bruise, or some other sort of injury? she asks. Immediately put your hand on the site of the injury, she replies.

“This is a natural…self healing response.”  

Donna Eden and David Feinstein write in Energy Medicine: “Your body is designed to heal itself.  The ability of the body to maintain its health and overcome illness is, in fact, among nature’s most remarkable feats.  But, you’ve been placed in a world that systematically interferes with this natural capacity, and your conscious involvement in your health is required if you are truly to prosper.” (p. 17)                                             

When we last spoke, Cathy shared her best story about energy medicine and breastfeeding. A mother struggling with mastitis for seven months had tried everything she knew to do holistically and within the traditional medical model. (Mind you, Cathy reports this was not a crisis case of mastitis.)

Almost at a loss, Cathy asked the mother to have her two year old put her “healing hands” over the troublesome spot on her breast.

A few days later, the mother called back laughing and reported that the mastitis had healed and did not return.

Everybody has those healing hands and everybody can do it,” Cathy says. “I want people to wake up to their own innate powers.”

Many of the puzzling challenges new mothers encounter, including infant feeding challenges, can easily be resolved with simple, non-invasive energy medicine applications, Cathy explains.

Not only can breastfeeding challenges be treated with energy medicine, breastfeeding itself is energy medicine.

Breastfeeding is an all-around sensory experience where babies and mothers use all of their senses.

Babies themselves epitomize energy medicine, because “they’ll do everything they need to do to help themselves,” Cathy says.

Yet, so many of us still think of babies as helpless beings. (Of course, they aren’t.)

The same holds true regarding our culture’s general consensus of mothers’ abilities. Women are often made to believe that we are dependent on medical professionals to do birth to us, and after, we’re reliant on lactation professionals to show us how to feed our babies. I am not undermining the work of lactation professionals, certainly not. In this climate, lactation professionals are of utmost importance; however like our babies, mothers can help ourselves too.

The mother is the world in which the baby lives; accordingly, “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

Lyn Milum, blogger at Energy Medicine for Life, has a three part series called Breastfeeding Your Baby which details how energy medicine support can influence mothers’ and babies’ well-being and happiness.

During her upcoming presentation, Cathy will further share her knowledge and experience on how to create balance and ease and make the motherhood journey one of joy and peace.

If conference participants would like a copy of Cathy’s Powerpoint presentation, please send your request to
Register for the International Breastfeeding Conference here. It starts this week!

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