What is a SHEN session

During a SHEN session you recline, fully clothed, on a special SHEN ‘cradle.’ As your practitioner places his or her hands on different areas of your body, you may feel tingles or other sensations as you relax into a meditative-like state. You may re-experience forgotten painful pivotal events from earlier in your life, but probably not in the first session. You will likely feel the emotions of these events as they surface and leave, but in a way you can easily handle.

There will be little talking and no ‘dialog.’

SHEN is a gentle approach. Unlike some methods, SHEN does not shock you into recall so the pain of discovery is far easier to handle. And, because the Qi flows between your practitioner’s hands continue drawing out emotion, the remaining emotion is lessening all the time.

Don’t worry about the emotions that might come up as we work together; all practitioners have had extensive SHEN themselves and will be comfortable with any
emotional material that may emerge.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the ‘Biofield’ – is it the ‘Energy Field‘?
2. What is the relationship between
electromagnetic fields and emotions?

3. Is the Biofield the Soul?
4. Does SHEN affect Personal ‘Fate’ or ‘Karma’?
5. Is SHEN involved with Spiritual Practice?
6. Is SHEN Medical Treatment, Psychotherapy or Counseling?
7. Will SHEN help get me into my anger?
8. What is ACPR and how does Emotional Pain upset our bodies?
9. Do you have to believe in SHEN for it to work?
10. Have clinical studies been carried out on SHEN?
11. How does SHEN compare to Reiki, EFT, TT or Zero Balancing?
12. Does ‘releasing emotion’ mean shouting or acting out?
13. Does SHEN involve physical pressure or manipulation?
14. What are ‘SHEN Flows’?
15. What does SHEN stand for?

1. What is the ‘Biofield’ – is it the ‘Energy Field‘?
All molecules in the body are surrounded by tiny electromagnetic fields. These fields combine into a human biofield that fills and surrounds the body, in the same way the small fields around iron molecules combine to form the larger magnetic field that passes through and around a magnet. The biofield is at the low end (zero frequency) of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The biofield (which includes the aura and the chakras) is often erroneously referred to as ‘the energy field.’
In the 1994 NIH report Alternative Medicine: Expanding Medical Horizons, the National Institutes of Health dropped the term ‘energy field’ and began using ‘biofield’ to avoid confusion since (1) all fields have energy and (2) Energy has precise meanings in other branches of science.

2. What is the relationship between
electromagnetic fields and  emotion?

It is not unusual for electrical fields to cause us to feel emotions; for example, the dry, hot Santa Ana and West Texas desert winds generate low intensity ionic and electrical fields that cause irritability, anguish, and despair, raise tempers, set people’s teeth on edge, and bring on migraines.

3. Is the Biofield the Soul?
Possibly, the ancient Greek philosophers thought the emotions were in a Soul that permeated the physical body (which the biofield does) and that the emotions were contained within it (just as with the biofield). The Greeks believed that the emotions, not the brain, were the primary motivators of our lives (just as we believe).

4. Does SHEN affect Personal ‘Fate’ or ‘Karma’?
Often during SHEN people remember making assumptions early in life that their lives would “always” be a certain way and now realize that those assumptions were faulty. Not surprisingly, the patterns disappear, without effort, when the emotional states that occurred when the decision was first made are raised to the surface and completed.

5. Is SHEN involved with Spiritual Practice?
No, SHEN is not a spiritual practice but many have found through clearing their emotional baggage, SHEN helped them along their spiritual path.

6. Is SHEN Medical Treatment, Psychotherapy or Counseling?
No, SHEN Therapists work only with the emotions. Releasing and completing buried emotional trauma will likely improve your physical health and change your approach to life, but SHEN Therapists neither offer nor practice medical treatment, psychotherapy, or counseling unless otherwise unless properly licensed to do so.

7. Will SHEN help get me into my anger?
SHEN’s goal is not to get you into your anger, but through the anger to resolve the underlying emotions of grief, fear and/or shame that caused the anger. SHEN’s goal is not the pseudo empowerment of acting out in anger, but true empowerment solidly built on inner confidence, self-acceptance and responsibility.

8. What is ACPR and how does Emotional Pain upset our bodies?
Notice how your stomach clenches when you feel a stab of fear, or that it is hard to breathe when your chest is tight with grief? Or how you lose your appetite for lunch when you have to give a speech at the end of it? This is ACPR (Auto-Contractile Pain Reflex) at work. Long-term contractions caused by painful emotion exert continual subtle pressure on the organs and glands in the region of the emotion and, over time, will gravely upset their normal functioning.

9. Do you have to believe in SHEN for it to work?

10. Have clinical studies been carried out on SHEN?
Yes, successful pilot studies have been completed on SHEN and migraines, SHEN and premenstrual tension, and SHEN and depression. Large majorities in all three studies reported positive, lasting changes. There has been no funding available for the large scale double blind studies necessary for publication in the major medical journals.

11. How does SHEN compare to Reiki, EFT, TT or Zero Balancing?
Only superficially. Our goals and techniques are different. For example, we do not ‘balance’ the aura. We open up the biofield deep inside the physical body to lift painful emotion out and resolve it; this normalizes the biofield.
We do not channel a universal energy; we use the naturally occurring energy (called qi) that circulates between our hands. SHEN greatly excels at working with deeply held emotional trauma and the long term trauma that affects the physical organs and behavioral patterns.

12. Does ‘releasing emotion’ mean shouting or acting out?
We discourage screaming and other physical activity because those activities only exhaust the person, not the emotion. Painful emotions do not exit through the throat, hands, or feet, they exit from the front of their emotion centers.

13. Does SHEN involve physical pressure or manipulation?
No, while physical pressure or manipulation can sometimes trigger a painful emotion that isn’t enough to bring it to a successful conclusion, as SHEN techniques will.

14. What are ‘SHEN Flows’?
SHEN Flow is a term used to describe the qi, flowing between our hands when gently applied to our client’s body. For example Heart Flows are a sequence of special SHEN flows we perform at and around the heart, flows that are designed to open the heart and release deeply held grief.

15. What does SHEN stand for?
SHEN® is the acronym for Specific Human Emotional Nexus.


ACPR — the Auto-Contractile Pain Reflex Originally titled Intrinsic Bodily Reactions to Painful Emotions: Key to the Puzzle of Somatization © Richard R. Pavek 20 YFH, Gate 6 Road, Sausalito, CA 94965


An extensive group of loosely related functional somatic disorders, disorders without direct organic cause and where the emotions are observed or suspected to have major impact, remain difficult to understand because the process by which the emotions could do this has not been clear. These disorders are known by many names; among them are psychosomatic, psychogenic, hysterical, and functional somatic symptoms. They may be either continuous or episodic. They may involve more than one bodily organ, but not necessarily. They may involve hidden childhood abuse or other unsuspected or unremembered trauma. Most often, several emotions are implicated but their nature may not be initially apparent. Somatization may result when the Somatic Affect, or bodily feeling state, of the emotion(s) involved with a psychotrauma share a common bodily location with a functioning organ. This paper describes the Auto-Contractile Pain Reflex (ACPR), a reflexive reaction to painful somatic affect, which appears central to the formation and pathophysiology of many of these disorders. The probable effects of this reflexive response on several bodily mechanisms are discussed, as well as a general treatment approach.

Full scholarly article ACPR-Emotions-as-Causal-Factors.

Certification Training Program

The comprehensive Program is a 628-hour course of instruction. This includes the two prerequisite SHEN Personal Empowerment Workshops and the required personal growth work. The Program is rigorous, but not unduly so.
Admission Requirements:
Taking the SHEN Personal Empowerment Workshop twice prior to application is the first phase. At this point they must apply to join the International SHEN Therapy Association.
Candidates to the program must:

Have no major unresolvable emotional conditions which might affect their ability to maintain a neutral emotional stance when giving SHEN to clients or that might otherwise affect the candidate’s professional practice.
Have no current or unresolved drug or alcohol addictions.
Be able to receive SHEN well.
Have participated appropriately during their SHEN Personal Empowerment Workshops.
Complete a personal, and employment history and identify the issues the candidate intends to work on through SHEN.

Clinical Skills Seminars

The SHEN Therapy Institute or its off-site Instructors conduct the intensive eight-day, 60+ hour Clinical Skills Seminars for ISTA’s Internship Program.
Interns complete the Clinical Skills Seminar twice, initially during the first six months and again during the last six months of their Internship. Seminar participants are new and second term Interns as well as Certified SHEN Therapists who enroll for continuing education.

All texts and workbooks are provided by the training facility.

Practicum: The Intern contracts with a SHEN Mentor to supervise them in this part of the Program, which includes practical application of SHEN in the field and the Intern’s personal growth. Interns may request a particular Mentor but Mentors are assigned by ISTA’s Intern Application Committee.

Client Sessions: The major portion of the practicum is completing a minimum of successful 200 SHEN client sessions. The majority of the required supervision may be conducted at a distance, through session records which are emailed to the Mentor and telephone or Skype consultations.

Personal Growth: Interns are required to continue their personal growth and development. Growth should become visible in such things as a reduction in blaming, an increase in recognition of personal responsibility, improvement of feelings of self-worth, and/or a noticeable positive change in relationships with family and others.

Certification upon completion of the program requirements is not automatic. When all requirements have been completed, the Intern submits the necessary documentation including a typewritten narrative of the Interns progress during Internship, of no more than two pages in length, and a self-assessment of strengths and weaknesses as a practitioner with plans to overcome the latter. The narrative should detail evidence of having gone into and through a pivotal portion of the Intern’s own internal fear, grief or shame and having come to resolution as a result of the personal SHEN sessions. It should include major changes in behavior and in social and/or professional relationships. The Mentor reviews the material and, when able to recommend the Intern, will forward the material to the Certification Committee.

The Certification Committee reviews the submission and will approve it, ask the Intern or Mentor to clarify elements of the presented work, or ask that the Intern complete additional requirements it deems necessary. When the Certification Committee is satisfied, the Intern will be issued his/her Certificate as a SHEN Therapist.Complete a personal, and employment history and identify the issues the candidate intends to work on through SHEN.

Full 2 Year Certification Training Program details.

Code of Ethics

All Certified SHEN Therapists have completed a 680+ hour Supervised Internship program and passed a Certification Board to become certified. The Program includes intensive classroom training in the art of SHEN; clinical skills, mentor-supervised practice, and deep personal growth through SHEN. The SHEN® service mark is your assurance that your practitioner is fully trained and current in SHEN. The International SHEN Therapy Association (ISTA), a professional association registered in Seattle, Washington, USA – certifies all SHEN Therapists. ISTA establishes competency, code of ethics, and standards of practice for its members.

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice The International SHEN Therapy Association revised, September 20th, 2005 Code of Ethics We, the members of the International SHEN Therapy Association (ISTA) have come to realize that working with our hands to relieve the emotional pains that trouble our clients’ lives is a delicate and sacred trust that demands compassion, respect and the highest ethical considerations. The central role of emotional health in the individual’s physical and mental wellness, as well as in the furtherance of peace and harmony among peoples, insists that we define and inspire a high level of competency among ourselves, and to ensure that we conduct our practice at the highest ethical levels. In recognizing and accepting these obligations we set forth our Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

Read full Code-of-Ethics.


I came to SHEN in 1995 suffering from chronic sinusitis and was scheduled for surgery that had a 50% chance of working. I had tried everything alternatively at this point; spending over $18,000 on these modalities which only scratched the surface. I had 10 SHEN sessions and my sinus broke open. The root was all the repressed grief of my father’s death 10 years earlier. The next day I went to the sinus clinic and they claimed a miracle; I will never forget that doctor’s face. I have not had any sinus problems since.

I had 11 rear-end accidents in a 7 year period, all on bridges. I had migraines from all the whiplash and hip pain from the seat belt injuries. I went for a SHEN workshop, all the pain left my neck and hips, all the panic about getting into a car left, and all the terror of going over a bridge left. I am out of pain and have not had another car accident since.

I was hooked; I took another workshop wondering what else could be inside me? I had dyslexia and once my fear of learning cleared up, I could speak in public, and read for enjoyment, with no pain, no fear, I had self-confidence, I felt alive!

My life changed so dramatically that I wanted to help others. I began the internship program to become a Certified SHEN Practitioner in 1997. In 2002, I became certified as a SHEN instructor. It is a deep privilege to assist people on the healing their emotional journey.

The Power of Emotion

“The emotions are titanic forces which sway the lives of men, driving them to good and evil. They are the most powerful of all human agencies, and have been well described as giants fighting for the bodies and souls of mankind.” – The Anatomy of Emotion by Edward Lazell, MD 1929.

We like to think we control ourselves with our minds but the truth is that, more often than not, it is our emotions that are in control, not our minds. A quick look at any newspaper or news broadcast shows how powerful the emotions are. Terms such as ‘Road Rage’, “I was driven by anger” “I must have been ‘out of my mind’ when I did that”, clearly illustrate the truth of Lazell’s statement.

“I was under emotional stress” is a popular excuse for one’s bad behavior, ‘being compelled by love’ is another. We have within us immense reserves of Love, Hope, Empathy and Compassion as well as Hate, Greed, Fear, and Anger that will, at the least excuse, rise up to control our day to day behavior.The power of the emotions is unquestioned.

But our emotions do much more then control our behavior. Beyond simply being emotionally touchy or ‘stressed out’ our painful emotions are responsible for a number of serious medical conditions. “When you get your emotional act together, your body will get well” is a popular conviction, and not only among laypersons – because it is true. One of the first to identify the role of emotions in physical health was Socrates who advised the physicians of Athens to: “Heal the soul first” because the ancient Greeks believed that emotions are in a soul-body that permeated the physical body.
Some of these feeling states, such as love and joy feel good but others like fear, embarrassment, shame and anger are painful.

Worse, these painful emotions set off a spasm, the Auto Contractile Pain Reflex (ACPR) that adversely affects the organs and glands in the region where the emotion is felt. Have you ever felt a painful stab in your heart when someone called to tell you that your child was struck by a car? The physical pain of intense grief can be deadly. The Greek Philosopher Isocrates died when his heart stopped from grief when he learned that his lover had been killed at the battle at Chersonesus.

The idea that contraction causes organs to malfunction is not new. In the 2nd century A. D., Soranus of Ephesus, a leading gynecologist in the Roman Republic, identified constriction as the cause of dysfunctioning organs and treated them with a range of procedures designed to relax and dilate them.

Even the simple constricting pain of anxiety interferes with the digestive system; the emotional contractions of deep shame, overwhelming grief and breathtaking fear upset normal functioning more profoundly.

Can SHEN help develop a healthy emotional core?

Of course. Developing a good, healthy emotional core is the most important thing we can do for ourselves, for our family and our society.

With SHEN you can look forward to a better life! 

How SHEN Works

SHEN is a scientifically researched and painstakingly verified, updated version of ancient hands-on healing techniques. Properly applied to specific areas of the body in precise patterns that were identified by extensive research, this Western therapy uses the naturally occurring low-level electromagnetic field (the biofield) produced by the human body itself to resolve many kinds of chronic pain that cannot be traced to physical causes, as well as to release emotional blockages and psychological distress.

In essence SHEN works like this: Using the biofield qi (ch’i) from our hands, we first loosen the contractions trapping the painful emotions deep inside the body, and then we reposition our hands to lift the emotions to the surface where they can dissipate. This sets the stage for a sound, positive emotional shift.

SHEN Helps With

  • Healing emotional pain from childhood abuse and other unresolved emotional conflicts.
  • Freedom from chronic pain without medical cause, panic attacks and phobias, depression, eating disorders, IBS, PMS, Migraines, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), blocked sexual feelings, dealing with grief, and more.
  • Discover the messages that were recorded and embedded deep in your energetic body that formed your dysfunctional behaviours and thought patterns.
  • Release feelings of guilt, shame, grief, fear, and anxiety.
  • Get in touch with your physical and emotional body.
  • More peace and joy.
  • More clarity and focus.
  • Less stress and fear.
  • More ability to handle fear and feel your emotions.
  • Increased Circulation and Energy.


SHEN Therapy is a breakthrough approach to emotional health, a radically new understanding of how emotion influences the body & the mind. Much more than an emotional triggering technique or a learned repetitive suppression of internalized responses, SHEN is a deep process of personal emotional unfolding, de-layering & growth.

SHEN unlocks and releases the empowering emotions of confidence, love and joy enabling us to move into a happier and healthier life, one where our physical organs function properly.

A relatively brief series of SHEN sessions frees most people from their painful emotional past.

SHEN Therapy is not medical treatment, psychotherapy or counseling, and is not meant to replace them. SHEN is used to release debilitating internalized emotions from the body, allowing us to feel and be governed by the empowering emotions of confidence, joy, well-being and love.

The Nuts & Bolts of Emotion

“Why are our emotions so difficult to control? Why do they haunt us in spite of our best efforts? Why does ‘Reason’ so often fail to win out over our ‘unreasonable’ emotions? Why are they so powerful, so stubbornly tenacious? Can we ever understand them?”


The Nuts & Bolts of Emotion why we are the way we are an excerpt from the forthcoming book: How Medicine Discarded the Soul and Lost the Emotions

By Richard R. Pavek, All Accounts Reason and Emotion are Antagonists.


While there is no ‘reason’ to the emotions, there is logic to them, there is logic and order to emotional interaction and logic in the way they affect our minds and bodies. This has been hard to discern because we have been looking in the wrong direction.”


Please feel free to read the full article here nutsbolts