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11 Ways to Clear Energy for Empaths and Sensitive People

By Michal Spiegelman

“It’s only a movie!” my husband always reminds me. I decided years ago to stop watching violent films and TV shows and to carefully read every review before I commit, yet so many movies still bring me to tears or make it hard for me to sleep.

In my first years as a social worker, I often felt depressed because I took on my clients’ pain and anxiety. It wasn’t until I made Reiki an essential part of my daily routine that I began to recognize my sensitivity as a gift and to understand that I need to protect myself in order to preserve it.

Over the years, I have noticed that many of my Reiki students also report feeling highly sensitive to the energy of others. Just like me, they experience other people’s pain, get easily overstimulated, feel deeply moved by music or art, and overreact to emotions. It took time for me to connect the dots, but I eventually recognized that empaths and highly sensitive people share these characteristics.

How Do You Know if You’re an Empath?

Many people are natural givers—intuitive, creative, and loving. Deeply caring about others. Able to feel intense compassion and empathy for other living beings. But are all empathetic people empaths? No

There are three levels of empathy:

  • People who are empathetic
  • People who are highly sensitive to energy
  • Empaths

It is not always easy to identify if you are highly sensitive to energy or a real empath, but there are differences. For example, empaths can be introverts or extroverts, but Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) are typically introverts. Empaths absorb other people’s energy more easily than HSPs, and they often internalize other people’s pain.

Whether you are a strong empath or an HSP, you should start to develop regular practices to clear and balance your energy. Doing so will help you to stop judging your sensitivity and allow you to use your acute sensitivity as a gift rather than seeing it as a curse.

11 Ways for Empaths and HSPs to Clear Energy

  1. Wash your hands 
    Let’s start with the basics! Every time you cleanse your hands with soap and warm water, you are also cleaning your energy.
  2. Shower with salt 
    Keep sea salt or Epsom salt in your shower. Pour some in your hand and mix it with your soap or shampoo. I use this practice regularly, especially after teaching a Reiki class or spending a day in deep conversation with clients who are dealing with internal struggles.
  3. Take a bath with salt and essential oils
    Mix sea salt or Epsom salt with your bath water. Then add essential oils such as lavender and sage (I love adding ylang-ylang for a flowery smell), and enjoy a relaxing soak in the tub.
  4. Develop an external or internal water cleansing ritual
    A water cleansing ritual can balance the second energy center, the sacral chakra. 
    Drink a glass of water mindfully and visualize the internal cleansing process. When you bathe or take a swim, focus on the cleansing and energy purifying effects of the water on different parts of your body.
  5. Clean your space energetically
    In my Reiki classes, I teach my students to use specific Reiki techniques to purify the energy of their physical spaces. One simple way is to place small bowls of salt water (one cup of water with two tablespoons of sea salt or Epsom salt) in the corners of any room or office. Leave the bowls overnight so the salt can absorb the old energy, and remove them the following day. It is a great practice for daily life or for purifying a new space.
  6. Smudge yourself and your space
    You can use any incense to smudge around yourself and your space. (My favorite is white sage.) Simply light it, and wave it around the area. You can also find smudging sticks online.
  7. Ground yourself 
    Even if you feel comfortable connecting to spirituality and centering yourself, it can be hard to “come back to earth.” Creating a strong connection between your feet and the ground and visualizing the energy moving down to the earth is a simple way of grounding yourself.
  8. Listen to guided meditations
    Listening to guided meditations helps you clear your mind and unplug from internal noise. My Reiki students love this guided meditation from my library, Get Grounded: Step into your Power.
  9. Set boundaries
    If there is someone in your life who drains you with every interaction, set a boundary. Spend less time with him. Let her calls go to voicemail. If he tries to dump his anger and frustration on you in conversation, change the subject. Get honest and tell her you understand her pain but that you must limit your interactions in order to take care of yourself. Don’t take responsibility for anybody’s pain.
  10. Unplug and turn down the noise
    Honor your need to detach from your environment from time to time. Limit your use of technology, and create quiet time for yourself. Immerse yourself in nature. No matter what, make time for yourself.
  11. Learn to give Reiki to yourself 
    Reiki offers empaths a variety of ways to clear and purify built-up energy, including specific techniques. Simply giving Reiki to yourself for 10 minutes every day helps you protect yourself energetically. Every time you tap into Reiki, you create an alignment with the universe. It might sound strange to you, but hundreds of my students have shared with me how Reiki has helped them to detach from other people’s negativity. In just six hours, you can learn to give Reiki to yourself. We offer Reiki classes in two locations, New York and Atlanta, but if you don’t live in those areas, consider looking for a Reiki master teacher near you.

It took me many years to finally understand how to use my sensitivity to help others change their lives without depleting my own energy. In order to serve as Beacons of Change, we must take care of ourselves first.

I am curious to hear about your experiences. Are there special techniques you use to purify and balance your energy? Please share in the comments.

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Meet Michal
Michal Spiegelman

Michal Spiegelman is Medical Intuitive who helps women get to the root source behind disease, disharmony, imbalance, stress, and trauma-related conditions.

Having studied in Israel, Germany, England, and the U.S., Michal is a Certified Professional Coach, a Reiki Master, and a former social worker who brings years of experience working with a variety of modalities into her intuitive teachings, coaching and mentoring.

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  1. Merna Coote

    Yes, I just recently came to the realization that I’am an empath. When I think about certain situations that happened throughout my life the dots started to connect, and yes, I also took Dr. Judith Orloff’s test that really confirmed it. It explains why I feel drained when communicating with some people, and taking on their emotions and just feeling overwhelmed. But it is imperative that one protects themselves from being depleted of their energy. I did not realize how important that was until I suffered from adrenal fatique some months back. Yes, it is so important to ground yourself. I came to the conclusion that my dad and my youngest son are also empaths.

    • Michal Spiegelman

      There are many people out there who don’t know they are empaths… when you know, you can keep some practices in place to help you purify and recharge your energy, Merna. I’m so glad you started your journey with Reiki because Reiki is one of the best practices that automatically balance your energy. Thank you for writing!

    • Kelly

      I didn’t reason why I cried for no reason so when I was young I was called a cry baby! Then I realized I could alter people’s moods. They were sad and if make them smile. The next thing I realized is I would call or reach out to people and what’s wrong and they would be shock because they told no one! I would walk in a room and became agitated because there were too many feelings lingering in the room.if have to leave I’m a social person but I limit the people I see at one time then I found a way to be able to go into stores without coming out drained from all the energies I built a glass wall so I can pull in what I want and send out energies ! I also see people’s colors or auras but not be affected by there energies.I live far away from my family but I always know when something wrong because my stomach hurts! So that’s !I stroke I hope it. Helps other young empathy on their way through this!

      • S

        I have an intuition that scares me at times. I didn’t realize it is connected to being an empath. I will need to read up on this. I don’t know what an aura is, but I had an intense panic attack over a year ago about 6 months after being encouraged to taper off the antidepressant I was taking. ( I have since returned to taking this medication as it has become quite evident to the doctors that my body doesn’t produce enough serotonin to keep me healthy) I had hallucinations. Now, this is what the psychiatric field calls them….looking back on the experience, I wonder if it was an aura of this person from their past. Anyways, I read that if I sense something and I can’t figure out a connection between this sensation and me, then I am probably picking up on someone else’s energy.

    • Aly

      I think it is wonderful that we as “Empaths” are coming out and talking about it and that there REALLY is such thing as being a empath. Like so many others growing up, my sensitivity was viewed as almost a weakness. Being over emotional, feeling sorry for others, taking on EVERYTHING around and then thinking it was just me feeling all this & something must be wrong with me. You unfortunately then end up getting involved with a narcissist and then REALLY go through hell because that person takes advantage of your sensitivity for there sickness. It really can screw you up even more than you were, especially if you DONT GET AWAY. I think we MUST KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT AND EDUCATE EVERYONE THAT BEING A EMPATH/HSP IS VERY REAL. Empaths were NOT put here to be weak and hide from the world. We are BEAUTIFUL LOVING SOULS that make a huge difference in the world and people need us as we have the gift to help heal and change lives. Everyone does but Empaths on a higher level. The BEST thing that can happen is children who are Empaths can be taught how to live in this harsh world and PROTECT THEMSELVES!! SO IMPORTANT. But also not have to live striving and struggling but how to THRIVE. Just like so many, I also had adrenal fatigue for over a year & NOTHING IS WORSE THAN OTHERS NOT believing or understanding something is wrong with you, so you suffer alone. Blessings to all you fellow Empayhs/HSP’s, you are SO needed on this planet! You are so special so PLEASE learn how to do protection for yourself so you can THRIVE IN A WORLD THAT NEEDS YOU! xo

      • S

        Wonderful comment.

        I am finally in therapy with an HSP Empath psychotherapist
        What a JOY to have a therapist who understands me and my responses.
        She has introduced me to Logosynthesis. What a valuable tool I have found this to be. The process definitely clears unhealthy and stagnant energy from me.

        I follow along with Dr
        Willem Lammers you tube video where he asks each question and I fill in the concern.

    • S

      I’m glad you were able to find the inherited connection through your dad and now your son has inherited this trait. After discovering I was HSP I asked every relative I could if they suspected they are HSP. I’m still not sure where I inherited this trait from . I am going to have some fun with my mother and give her the HSP test when I visit with her soon.

  2. Lalla Jewell Wilson

    Thanks Michal, those were great ideas regarding empaths. My grandmother didn?t know about the word empath,but she trained me as a child to be aware of the energy of others, especially when there was negative near. I would Stare them down and whisper words of protection.
    My Grandmother continued to coach me to stay connected to my intuition. She left me so much wisdom by the time she passed away at 102 years old. She is still present with me as a guide.

    • Michal Spiegelman

      Wow, Lalla! It’s amazing that your grandmother passed at 102 and I am sure that she is still serving as a meaningful guide for you. what a legacy!

    • Michal

      Kelly! I really appreciate the fact that you took the time and shared your experience growing up. YOu just validated the experience of many people!

  3. Michele

    Thank you so much for sharing your insight and helpful cleansing techniques. I’m an emotional empath and a nurse. I agree whole heartedly that you must work on ridding yourself of the negativity in order to help those who come into your care.
    With sincere gratitude….

    • Ryleigh

      Reading this list has been very helpful for me and I can’t wait to put the salts to use! Like you, I have struggled to take care of myself first, finding that all the other emotions, voices and thoughts rushing through me to be more important. However, you are right in saying that we can’t change or manage our lives if we don’t take care of ourselves first. As an empath I find it easy to believe I’m being selfish when I’m really just taking care of my own needs. I have found that walks in nature, sitting under and touching trees has also help ground me and release extra energy! Thanks again for sharing !! Very helpful !!

  4. Kim

    Can one be both an empath and a sensitive?

  5. Lydia

    I took the quiz, but it keeps telling me my email address is invalid? I’d love to get the insight on it.

    • Norma

      Thank you so much for sharing the cleansing techniques. I have know for a while now that I’m an empath. I struggle with feeling drained much more now and I’m looking for ways to cleanse myself and my surroundings. As well as protecting myself from negative or overwhelming emotions that I pick up from others. I have heard of Reiki before but haven’t searched for a place near me. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I will certainly search in my area.

      • Michal

        You are not the only empath who struggles with feeling drained, Norma. Believe me! We are natural givers and our default is giving away our power. I am teaching Reiki virtually and will be happy to seeing you in one of my upcoming Reiki Classes:

  6. Jeri Robertson-Hanson

    Great article — thank you. I am lucky to live near the ocean and get there as often as I can and have always felt it has magical qualities! I was wondering if you have any more specifics for body aches. That seems to be my biggest issue as an empath. Thanks!

    • Michal

      Hey Jeri, Living near the ocean is so valuable for empaths! You made me jealous…I hope that you are taking long, rejuvenating walks! There are different types of empaths. You might be both an emotional and a physical empath. I used to have a lot of body aces. As soon as I learned to give Reiki to myself it became easier to manage it. Fast forward (24 years…) I still have aces from time to time, but I see it as a good sign or a messenger. It gives me information about the other person, but it’s not my pain. I release it. If you are open to learning to give Reiki to yourself (I teach it virtually) please write to me at [email protected].

  7. Festus

    I live near a spring fed duck pond. Near the spring the water is clean, and I found resting my legs in the water touching the rocks to be as good as the ocean. In some ways better as the green growth around releases phytoncides and the basalt rock may have certain qualities.

    Scavenging gulls are sometimes universally disliked, I have learnt to love gulls as much as more likable birds, but the ocean is often a melting pot of competing life forces, bait ball massacres and fast food eating birds, much like a busy mall. But it depends exactly where on the coast and at what time. Even the duck pond has times when duck chicks are being predated by hunting species.
    Oftentimes a grove of trees may have special qualities, esp when they grow in a protected basin or valley of sorts. Druids and wicca often used stands of trees for their purposes. Hill tops and wind blown areas may be more beneficial at times, the wind blowing away energy. However wind stress can happen quite quickly.

    Gardening can prove to be a good lifelong practice as having ones body touch the broken earth is special. Gardening in bare feet, standing in dirt, would be extra beneficial.

    I was reading about compacted earth floors. City regulations prevent these in most homes, though a simply shed to read and hobby in may be built in this manner.

    Hair can act as an antennae, many culture advise to cover ones head when in public. The wearing of hats used to be commonplace, and babies still get to wear them often.

    Foods grown under the earth like carrots and potatoes may provide grounding energy, whilst herbs or tree fruits and nuts have different qualities. One thing that has helped me is avoid onions and garlic as they can disturb the mind and promote the lower energies. This may be to ones liking, as aphrodisiac and base passion may be preferred.

    From my understanding, there is a whole science to cleaning energy beyond washing, though a washing hands and showering as suggested in the article is possible the most effective and easily accessible reactive measure. Proactive modalities may provide a greater immunity till a reached threshold requires a cleaning technique.

    Finally the sun can also burn off dirt and odors from clothing, so the same effect can probably occur with skin, and vitamin D deficiency causes many disorders and is very widespread.

  8. Austin Weith

    I need help and more so Guidance. I believe after reading comments and listening to the video I’m an empath. I always maybe knew, but not the name. Something is wrong here and I am so alone. I’m so angry and sad and it hurts. My heart is so heavy now. I’ve tried many things to try and feel better. Counseling a psychiatrist, prescribed medication, and the list goes on. But none of it has helped. I think I see now what is happening here, I don’t know how much longer I can take feeling this way. I saw something about a test. Where can I go to take it? Severe depressive disorder is what I’ve been diagnosed with but I believe something else is happening here

    • Christianna

      I know it.. the isolation just to avoid these negative energies.. it’s like running on fumes, you have none left for yourself. I need guidance as well.

    • Jenny west

      I got headache in know my sis is sending them too me me how do u stop this this

  9. Christianna

    This has just been more clarification to know, I watched my mother destroy herself from her like as an Empath not having the proper tools like we do now. Growing up my entire life have been filled with night terrors and sleep paralysis; I use this as a door to a free realm to release, with lucid dreaming. We’re balancing on the thinnest line. White sage and patchouli help, but there’s so much.. muck, like a diseased bog that can pile up. Thank you for your knowledge and I await the day I find a mentor.

  10. Jennifer

    I really need help with protect my mind they like to read it
    . its really bad cause I know who they are
    . family is involved and I dnt understand why.. I did nt ask for these gifts.. Also am telepathic and my twin flame is in involved.. But he rejected my love and I think he did a love spell on me.. And they say horrible thing telepathically.. What he doesnt understand is that its all going to go bk to him in they end.. I broke my addiction.. But know am staying were people have them so im struggling bad

    . really need prayers

    • Cynthia

      Praying for you, I’m struggling also. ?

  11. Ana

    I believe i am an empath i also believe i can heal and calmn energy down with touching the person or animal i’ve never had a negative encounter with animals infact they’re very attracted to me i’m learning more and more about spirituality which i didn’t realize has made me more sensitive then before, which is great but i feel peoples phisical pains, and worries and it gets too much sometimes i’m living with 3 very negative energys and the love spending time with me but i just feel sucked dry, and i’m trying to learn how to block those energies out, earlier on i felt theyre all very angry with eachother and it made me feel very dizzy and weak my ears started ringing and my hearing went for a few minutes. I hope i can learn something from your tips.

  12. S

    Thank you for all these ways of protecting and replenishing my suspected empath energy. I am 57. I discovered I was HSP when I happened to come across this term online and read some of Dr. Elaine Aron’s books when I was 50. I had a health crisis over a year ago and have since realized I am also an Introvert. I am sure I am some sort of Empath as well. I have read about the different types. I am still researching this, as being HSP with the nervous system sensitivity is easy to confuse with being Empath, for me anyways.
    I swim as often as I can and for atleast an hour. I try to swim atleast twice a week. Every 3 days. To detox the experiences I have been through, to cleanse my mind, and to clear my mind. I practice deep breathing as I swim. I inhale deeply before starting each lap and as I swim, I exhale for 8 seconds very slowly out of my nose.
    And of course forest bathing therapy is fantastic for clearing the mind. At first I thought forest bathing was too mystical for me, but when I became bored with my regular snowshoeing route this past winter, I ventured onto a 2 hour trail framed with 50 foot high trees! By the time I was 1 hour into the forest, I completely forgot all my troubles, stresses, and the fact that I even lived in a house. It becomes an addiction, where a person just can’t seem to get enough of the tranquility of nature.
    I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder years ago. I was able to tolerate anxiety medication until 4 years ago. I truly believe my anxiety is from not knowing I was Introvert, HSP, and possibly Empath for all my life and this is an accumulation of unhealthy relationships and lack of boundaries and lack of self care that has my brain automatically resort to anxiety instead of logical responses. Oh well. I look forward to reading more of your blogs to determine if indeed I am an Empath or just an extreme HSP/

  13. Vicki

    When my mother in law passed (2008) interesting things started happening to me as far as intuition. That evolved into realizing I’m an empath. My Mother always told me I had strong power but didn’t specify what kind. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I can walk through a store and pass by strangers and I absorb their feelings and energy. I would cry without knowing why. I have to learn to protect myself and cleanse on a daily basis or I have panic attacks and anxiety. Going to learn by reading all I can on the subject.

  14. Fran

    I’m glad I understand I am an empath, but it wasn’t until my 40s I understood all of me. I still need help like tonight I am struggling with the energy of the neighbor house; it is small house lots here. I refuse to do the burn sage thing because it is overused/misappropriating Native ways/and I have horribly sensitive lungs to anything burning. I like the sea salt ideas you have. I always sea salt any new-to-me, but recycled, item I bring into the house because I am so sensitive. I feel I can do a better block when I am in the garden each morning, but until warmer weather I am trying other ways-looking up info and writing in my journal. Thank you for the ideas.


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