Thriving as an Empath: A Primer for Energy Maintenance

A Primer for Energy Management

This is part three of a five-part series on energy and Thriving as an Empath. Did you miss any of the blogs

Energy is contagious; either you affect people or you infect people.

As I sit and try to focus on writing this blog, I am reminded in real time why as an empath it is so important to understand the world of energy and how it affects us. I have been struggling to write this blog because I have been feeling grumpy and blue for a couple of weeks. This happens when I am not paying attention to my energy, I just flow with whatever I am feeling, whether or not it belongs to me. I know better than this but it still happens sometimes. So what exactly is happening? In my previous post, The Empath Defined, I discussed how empaths have sensitivity to other peoples’ emotions and pain through the energy they give off. This time I want to talk about energy and how our energy systems work.

How empaths use their energy system differently

Empaths, unlike non-empaths, have a collective consciousness. They think in terms of we and not me, even more importantly they experience life in terms of we and not me. Our skills at sensing all the energy around us and our desire to be a collective, create the conditions for unconscious merging between ourselves and the people we have in our lives. The problem with unconscious merging is that we pick up the energy bits of others, particularly those bits that are unwanted by others. Bits like pain, sadness, fear, jealousy, anger, etc.

Born healers

In addition to this collective consciousness, empaths are natural energy healers, without training. This combination of traits means that when we are hanging out at work, doing our work thing, we are also running the energy in our environment. We unconsciously clear the energy of the places we hang out in. Empaths don’t always know that our natural tendency is to heal people and environments, we don’t understand that what comes naturally to us is also damaging us. Untrained empaths will run energy by bringing all the energy into their own system and transforming the environment to a higher, more comfortable vibration.

Then our systems get jammed up or damaged in a variety of different ways causing exhaustion, hormone imbalances (especially to the adrenals), and eventually illness. Before I discuss how energy blocks and damage affect people, I want to give a general explanation of the different systems. There are some great books on the Teachers & Resources page if you would like more in-depth information about energy medicine.

The Human Energy System

At the most basic level, we are all energy. The human energy system is a multilayered tapestry but I want to provide a general explanation so I am going to simplify.  Our energy system is made up of three main parts; we have an aura, a chakra system, and a meridian system. Each part is important, has a purpose, and contributes to our health and wellbeing.


Meridians of the body affect every organ and physiological system inside of us. They also play a vital role in our emotional health as well. They are invisible to the human eye yet without them, we could not sustain life. In the same way that arteries carry blood, meridians carry energy, often referred to as chi, qi or prana. Meridians are our body’s “energy bloodstream”: they bring vitality and balance, remove energy blockages, stagnations, and imbalances, adjust metabolism and determine the speed and form of cellular change. Their flow is as critical as the flow of blood; your life and health depend on both.

Meridians affect all major systems including immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular and the lymphatic system. If a meridian is obstructed or unregulated, the system it feeds on is jeopardized, and disease results.


There are 100s of chakras in and around the body but we will focus on the 7 main energy centers. Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning wheels of light. Chakras are located along the midline of the body and each one governs a set of emotions, organs/body area, and archetype. The chakras located on the lower part of our body are our instinctual side, the highest ones our mental side. The chakras can have various levels of activity. When they’re “open,” they’re considered operative in a normal fashion. The Chakra Mind-Body Balance is a two-way street: if there are certain fears and emotions we are holding on to, we experience physical restrictions or ailments. The reverse is also true if we are suffering from a physical ailment our emotions can be affected. Learn more about the properties of each chakra.


Donna Eden describes the aura as “a multilayered sphere of energy that emanates from your body and interacts with the atmosphere of the Earth. The aura serves as a two-way antenna that brings energy from the environment into your chakras and sends energy from your chakras outwards.” Ideally, the aura protects you from atmospheric energy that may be harmful. A healthy aura serves as both a barrier to the negative or unhealthy energies in the environment and a magnet to attract energies in the environment that allow our systems to function better.


Vibration is a measure of your overall energy system in hertz, the unit of measurement for frequency and sound. Every person has a particular vibration. Each feeling we have has a particular vibration. Your vibration is an expression of your energy system’s health. You have probably heard people refer to others or themselves as being either high vibration or low vibration. Low vibration leads to illness and negativity. High vibration leads to joy and thriving.

Putting it all together

These are the pieces that make up our energy system. During the living of life, our actions, experiences, and emotions have an effect on that system. Remember, it is all physics, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. When it comes to our physical bodies this is easily illustrated and understood, place your hand on a hot stove and you burn your hand. The same is true for our emotions, when they remain unexpressed you can think of it like an untreated infection. It may be ok for a while but eventually, the infection grows big enough not to be ignored. Your organs can shut down, you get a fever, maybe your appendix bursts. When you collect emotional energy the same thing happens, at first, you function just fine but over time you become exhausted, irritable, perhaps you get stomach aches or migraines, however, your body expresses it, this is the overload of emotional energy. Each energy system handles emotional energy differently, let me explain each.

Auric Damage and Healing

As we move throughout our day to day life, we pick up junk from other people and places around us. It happens all day, our aura is an ever evolving energy system. Its health requires regular maintenance. The aura is our outer shield, our protective bubble. Our aura can get shredded, penetrated, filled with junk that doesn’t belong to us, people can tap into our aura and suck energy from us and other unintentional and intentional damage can occur.  Maintaining optimal health and good energetic boundaries requires empaths to be actively involved in cleaning and clearing our aura. Meditation can clear an aura but so can a long walk in the woods. Just like being in bad environments can hurt our auras, being in good environments can heal our auras.

Empath Aura

Chakra Imbalances, Blocks, and Healing

Chakras function like a vortex funnel. Each chakra has attributes unique to that center and manages our emotional and physical body. Our chakras react to our emotions, they can get sticky, clogged, blocked, or shut down. When our chakras are blocked we can struggle to have enough energy in that region to be healthy. This can be something like feeling tired or it could be something like heart disease if a block is left untreated for many years. Meditation and energy exercises can help keep our chakras balanced and running clean. Again our regular maintenance allows us to stay on top of the health of our physical body.

2 Type of Meridian Blocks and Healing

Meridians are the most insular part of our energy system because meridians run our energy and do not pick up other people’s energy first hand. They can, however, be affected by energy brought into the aura that has entered the chakra system. This type of energy block is can to cleared with meridian massage, acupuncture, or a regular practice of tracing the meridians.

The second type of meridian block occurs when we experience emotional trauma in our lives, the death of a parent, the abandonment by a friend, or a public embarrassment, we can create energy blocks within the meridians by not fully processing our emotions.  If left untreated, these blocks can affect us for years to come. When one meridian is blocked we depend upon other meridians to pick up the slack, thereby over-taxing those other meridians as a result. When you can experience those emotions and allow yourself to move through them fully, you can release both the trauma and loosen the patterns of behavior that don’t serve you.

This type of clearing work can be achieved through energy healing including acupuncture. If you are an empath I advise seeking out an energy healer to begin the process of unwinding some of the more difficult patterns, as we don’t always see our own patterns and trauma very clearly. We have protections and blind spots to what we perceive as threats to our safety.

Bringing it home

Those are the basic building blocks of our energy system and a brief introduction to how blocks and imbalances form. For empaths, auras are the system that is most easily affected by the fact that we are empaths. Our desire to be a collective means we have permeable boundaries to our aura. Our permeable boundaries allow us to easily merge fields with different people in our lives. When merged we experience all of their energy as well as our own. When we leave each other, empaths often retain the negative pieces that our friends and loved ones don’t want to face or process for themselves because empaths are healers and attract energy that needs healing.

As we collect the negative debris, our energy system tries to process it as if it is ours, it can’t unfortunately. We are only able to fully process and transform our own energy. So as we try to process it, the energy moves through our aura to our chakra system where it can get bunched up and clogged. The more people we interact with the more debris we collect. The longer we try to process energy that isn’t ours, the deeper into our system it goes. And this is how an empath can overload the system and compromise our health.

A special note about the meridian system

The meridian system blocks are more of a problem for empaths because of our sensitive natures. We are more deeply affected by emotional trauma than non-empaths and live in a culture that doesn’t have an appreciation for emotional processing. We live in a stiff upper lip society, so empaths have trained themselves to bury stuff for as long as possible. It is still a subject of debate in the medical community that unprocessed emotions contribute to physical illness and disease, despite the fact that scientific research has proven this to be true. So an illness like chronic fatigue is difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat with traditional medicine. And many diseases from breast cancer and heart disease to MS are difficult to treat and heal without including emotional trauma clearings.

As I mentioned above, regular meditation, grounding, and energy exercises are the tools to combat the energy overload empaths experience. One of the most important tools for an empath is creating and maintaining energetic boundaries. Putting energetic boundaries in place helps combat the permeable boundaries problem, you are reinforcing your aura so you pick up less debris. So far, I haven’t found any tool or device that turns empath-ness off, but it is ok, once an empath stops fighting against their sensitivity and learns to embrace it, work it, and manage it–they THRIVE.

If you are looking for specific tools please first refer to the Teachers & Resources page or contact me directly. The next installment Self Awareness is the Key will discuss the importance of self-awareness when you are an empath.

Thriving as an Empath is a five-part blog series. If you are ready to begin the journey to becoming an Empowered Empath, download the Four Practices for Claiming Your Empath Power.  

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About the Author

Laura Rowe is an Intuitive Strategist & Spiritual Seeker at The Vital Spirit. Living in Portland, Oregon, Laura founded The Vital Spirit in 2013. She has a background in business operations, a master’s degree in organizational management, and she has spent the last 35 years studying spiritual traditions and practices, and the last 12 years training in intuitive energy healing modalities.

Laura helps empaths and sensitives who have struggled their whole life with belonging. Explore How We Can Work Together