A Brief Summary of Nervous System Energy Work: origin, principles and basic concepts-

Who was Bill Gray

Bill Gray was an extraordinary energy healer, whose remarkable healings were described in the popular book Born To Heal by author Ruth Montgomery. He was born around the end of the 19th century and died in the early 1970's. There is only one other little book about his work, Know Your Magnetic Field, which has recently been reprinted. The books tell very little intelligible about his actual method, and there appeared to be no one who actively carried on his work.

How NSEW came about-

Rosalyn Bruyere, a noted energy healer and clairvoyant, during her early years as a healer, had been introduced around 1970 to a man named Bill (William) Gray by her friend Ida Rolf. Bill was hospitalized with an illness and Ida Rolf, a mutual friend of Bill Gray, asked Rosalyn if she would come up to San Francisco to do healing work for him.

As Rosalyn tells the story, she worked on Bill Gray as he lay in his hospital bed, with him encouraging her to channel more and more energy. Eventually his impatience with the ethereal nature of her healing energy began to show. She reports him as saying, "Well, you're not bad, girl, but you sure are slow!" So saying, Bill placed his large hand over her navel saying, "Do it like this." He then sent a jolt of current through her that she says "Nailed my feet to the floor," and filled her with intense buzzing and heat. And this from a patient ill in his hospital bed!

Rosalyn thereafter credits this transmission from Bill for her own capacity to run an intense and vibratory form of energy, characteristic of her. She refers to this as "sound energy," as opposed to the more ethereal "light" energy which most healers are able to generate. It is this quality of energy that she attributes to her notable ability to change physical tissue directly, and thereby have more impact. Unfortunately, she was unable to study further with him due to his passing.

The two of us, Carol DeSanto and Jim Kepner, had been long time students with Rosalyn in energy healing work. We were intrigued by Rosalyn's stories about Bill and searched out the few books, which left us singularly unenlightened about what he actually did. His notions about energy and healing were so different from the work they were learning that our mysterious longing to know more of Bill's methods seemed a dead end. Over 10 or so years of study with Rosalyn, our interest in Bill Gray would periodically surface, only to subside again when we could not quite grasp it.

Eventually, through our studies with Rosalyn and our own experiments, we began gradually to understand more about how to work energetically with the nervous system. We were also developing techniques through intuitive means that were having great success and impact with our clients. Somewhere along the way, however, we began to recognize that our intuitively derived approach to energetic work with the nervous system was striking a familiar chord: that many elements of Bill Gray's approach were becoming apparent.

As our intuitive connection grew clearer and stronger, and more experiments with technique bore fruit, we began to develop a set of practices and principles that described and explained his approach in a systematic and effective way. Our approach became a teachable and modern form of Bill Gray's way of healing. Certainly, our approach does not always look like what is described in the books about him, and we are certainly not up to his level of effectiveness! We do not claim to be teaching "Bill Gray work," as he passed away many years ago, only our interpretation of it. The method we developed is called Nervous System Energy Work (NSEW) to mark it as a distinct, modern version based on his approach.

What is distinct about the NSEW approach

We are often asked how NSEW differs from other subtle energy approaches, which is perhaps better answered by saying what we think makes it distinct.

Specific- Knowing the specific nerves and nerve pathways allows the NSEW practitioner to target very specific body areas and organs, and to directly effect energy flow and functioning there. This is in contrast to other methods that give a broad supply of energy, and rely on it to go where it is needed. In many conditions, organs and tissues have become unable to naturally absorb energy, a fact which can limit the impact of more broad-band approach.

Palpable- The energy work of NSEW is usually more palpable to the client. This comes from two sources: the strongly vibrational nature of the energy practitioners are trained to generate, and the fact that we are generating this energy through the client's nervous system which is the natural organ of sensation and information in the body.

Definitive effect on body awareness- NSEW work clears and opens the nervous system in a way that enhances body awareness and access to our body sensation. It has particular use in getting people much more in touch with their body, much more deeply embodied, more grounded, and increasingly in touch with their insides. Body psychotherapists find this especially helpful in their work for these reasons.

Enhances many nervous system functions- Work that improves energy flow in parts of the nervous system also appears to have a salutary effect on the function of those nerves or nervous system organs. As examples: work in the vagus nerve, an NSEW specialty process, appears to enhance vagal tone and the parasympathetic functions which go with it; work in the sympathetic nervous system enhances smoothness of function and more balance of this system so that it is less hyper-reactive and responsive.

Integrates energy sensing and rational understanding with intuitive in the assessment process- In NSEW we strive to work in a way which integrates the practitioners ability to sense and scan the client's energy, and bring rational knowledge as well as intuitive knowledge together to formulate a treatment best attuned to the client's needs.

Subtle Energy- energy, energy bodies, chakras

Many traditional systems of healing refer to an energy that flows through the body and creates a subtle field around and through the body. It is sometimes referred to as the auric field or human energy field. Although it cannot be measured readily through scientific instrumentation one can learn to sense its presence or absence, discern its qualities, and also to utilize its effects on health and consciousness. In many subtle energy systems, the practitioner or "healer" is trained to generate a flow of subtle energy and to intentionally direct this flow of energy to alter or improve the clients subtle energy flow and functioning.

Most hands-on subtle energy healing systems have some practice for either:

a) Building up a charge of energy so it can be discharged into the patient to correct imbalances, as is true in some chi kung healing methods or,

b) Using principles and touch work to balance and redirect the patientÍs own internal energy, Polarity Therapy being an example of this approach, or

c) Are practices that open the practitioner to be able to channel through their own body or energy field a flow of energy from an outside source.

Nervous System Energy Work partakes of both b and c in it's approach, generating energy to the client's energy system and balancing the dynamic forces in the client's field as well.

Flow and Field

Subtle energy work is often referred to through two views or metaphors, flow and field.

Energy As Flow

Most subtle energy healing systems refer to energy as flowing along certain pathways in the body. When energy systems speak of energy being blocked, limited, in excess and so on, they are usually referring to the flowing or watery aspect of subtle energy.

Energy As Field

Energy is also referred to as a field which surrounds and interpenetrates the physical body, often called the auric field or energy body. This field has many different layers, energy bodies of different frequencies and subtlety, embedded within each other. Centers of energy are often referred to, called as chakras. Each chakra is associated with a different energy body layer, and each energy body with a different realm or quality of experience and consciousness.

Nerves as conduits for subtle energy

Bill believed, differing from many other systems of subtle energy healing, that it is the nervous system that is the main system for conveying subtle energy throughout the body. In his view it is the nerves ability to convey energy that determines our health. Bill Gray saw the nerves as wires or conduits for distributing subtle energy throughout the body. He had little interest in chakras and meridians and the like.

He considered that the body tissues require an adequate supply of this subtle energy through the nervous system to maintain healthy functioning and that disease was caused by an inadequate supply of energy to the organs. By opening the flow of energy through the nerves that fed an otherwise diseased and distressed organ system he was able to accomplish remarkable healings.

Feeding flow

There are basically two directions of flow of energy through the energetic nervous system. The tissues and organs of the body are fed by subtle energy flowing from the central nervous system (CNS- brain and spinal cord), then through the peripheral nerves, through nerve branchings and into smaller nerves, and finally out of the nerve endings in tissues all over the body and in every organ.

Return flow

Although never referred to by Bill that we know of, stagnant or used energy, what an acupuncturist might call "stale chi" is cleared from the organs and tissues in a reversal of feeding flow. Used energy flows back through the nerve endings, through the small nerves back to larger nerves and eventually back to the CNS or other nerve tissues which are responsible for clearing this used energy from the body.

How the energetic nervous system differs from the physiological nervous system

Although the flow of energy through the nerves does effect and enhance nervous system function and sensation, two things are strikingly different about energy flow through nerves compared to the physiological flow of nerve transmission. One is that, energetically speaking, feeding and return flow occur in the same nerve. This is perhaps like a coaxial cable that has one cable with current flowing in both directions. When trained healers can sense the energy in a nerve that has adequate feeding and return flow, they describe it feeling as if "fish are swimming through a tube in both directions, but not interfering with each other."

The second differences is that both feeding and return flow occurs in every nerve in the body, regardless of whether it is an afferent or efferent nerve, a pain fiber or a sensory fiber, autonomic or skeletal nerve. In other words, the whole nervous system is an energetic system.

The Nerve matrix

Energy doesn't just transfer from nerve endings directly to organ tissues and back again. There is an intermediary state or process that seems to be both physical and energetic in nature, which we call the nerve matrix. The nerve matrix feels like a mesh-like, energetic web that interpenetrates the tissues, and carries the energy from the nerve endings into the tissues it is embedded in. Feeding flow comes off of the nerve endings and into the nerve matrix where the tissues absorb it, at least in health, and return flow is absorbed back into the nerve endings from the nerve matrix in that tissue.

Abdominal nerve matrix- the reservoir for energy

Everywhere there is nerve there is nerve matrix.The more nerve there is, the more nerve matrix there is. The abdominal and pelvic organs, especially the intestines, are rife with nerves, and are therrefore deeply saturated with nerve matrix. This abdominal nerve matrix is a crucial reservoir for energy, which feeds the whole nervous system. It is the main supply source for the CNS in its role of directing energy and feeding flow. Bill Gray referred to this as "the magnetic field" since it is not only a reservoir of energy but also important in supporting the magnetic and dynamic properties of nervous system energy. We find this term confusing to modern students who have usually been taught that the aura as a whole is a "magnetic field" and so we call this the abdominal nerve matrix to avoid this confusion.

Matching and complimentary energy

Bill Gray described two major qualities of energy that each person requires for health and well being. The most fundamental is the frequency that matches the signature energy of their nervous system. This matching energy resonates the throughout the nervous system and the body core, and we sometimes call it the base frequency of the person.

Learning to sense and run matching energy for each individual client is one of the first skills we learn in NSEW. When one is well matched in energy, there is no sense of intrusiveness or disturbance in the client from having energy pushed on them that feels alien to them. The nervous system seems built to reject energy that is foreign to it, and will push the healer out when they are not well matched.

As we grow, particularly starting in adolescence, we also require an energy complimentary to our own which Bill called "mating fuel." We call this simply complimentary energy. Complimentary energy is crucial for maintaining the dynamic or magnetic qualities of energy in the body.

Nerve tension

Energy depletion, injury, disease, trauma and other conditions create lack of flow in the energetic nervous system, either because there is not enough energy overall, or some organs are using up more leaving less for the rest of the system. Organs in need seem to pull or have stronger draw for energy. This pull creates a quality of tautness in the nerves related to that organ. In turn, this pull can create an energy lack in another body area or organ, which then creates a nerve tension of itÍs own. Eventually you can have nerve tensions in areas far from the original site of dilemma, as well as a network or tangle of nerve tensions.

Although we know that, physiologically, nerves don't tense and contract like muscles do, the energetic tension has a similar physical and subjective effect, leaving us wrought up and tautened from the inside.

You can also have networks of nerve tension associated with illness, trauma, or even emotional states. Part of the healer's art in NSEW is sensing and releasing these nerve tensions so the body can be restored to its feeding and return flow. It is remarkable to watch the clientÍs body shift and ease as these nerve tensions are released.

Brain/Spinal cord "chelation" or clearing technique

This is a fundamental technique in NSEW that opens the main circuit for nervous system energy in the body, the central nervous system. Its use fosters energy flow in the body, but also a much deeper, felt connection to ones body. Where energy can flow, awareness can go is a truism in Nervous System Energy Work.

Polarization and Magnetism

It's not enough simply to have enough energy. Merely being filled up with energy we are no more than an inert bag full of water. There must be a quality of dynamic or flow for energy to move through us and get to where we need it.

Our field gets dynamic and flow because it has polarized or magnetic properties. Our notions of this in NSEW have some similarity to those in another hands-on energy art called Polarity Therapy. Part of rebuilding the energy field for clients in NSEW involves restoring proper polarization of the body.

How we draw energy- the "Koosh ball" exercise

In NSEW, we develop the current or subtle energy flow needed by opening our "fibers of light." There is an aspect of our energy field where we look as if we are a ball of luminous fibers or filaments, which extend in all directions from the core of our body or field, much like a child's toy called a "Koosh Ball."

Through a meditative imagery practice we can, over time, open these filaments of light to the larger source of energy available to us, and channel more and more quantity of energy through us. The audio files you can listen to here are a meditation process which takes about six minutes. We often do it standing, although it can also be done sitting in a chair with your back straight and feet on the floor.

Click here for a mp3 recording of the Koosh Meditation.

Click here for a .wav recording of the Koosh Meditation.

The spiritual connection in NSEW

Although there is much practical and immediately useful to work with and assist in alleviating health concerns in NSEW technique and practice, there is also a deep spiritual potential in the work. The nervous system is understood in NSEW as the "carrier of consciousness." Many healing and spiritual systems note that the chakras, the seats of the various energy bodies, are rooted in the spinal cord, therefore, the nervous system is potentially linked to our multidimensional nature, including our spiritual nature.

When the nervous system is energetically cleared and open, and is capable of carrying the higher frequencies or octaves of subtle energy associated with the higher chakras (those heart chakra and above) we have greater felt connection to our spiritual nature and those spiritual realms of experience.

Specialized treatment protocols developed in NSEW

NSEW has developed many specialized treatment protocols and processes that are of note. These include:

  • Methods to work with pain and pain
  • Syndromes,
  • Work to balance the autonomic nervous system, work to improve
  • Neuropathy and related conditions,
  • Work with the vagus nerve especially in
  • Developmental therapy,
  • Systematic approaches to enhancing recovery and healing
  • Related to surgery,
  • Chemotherapy and other medical treatments,
  • And many others.

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