Oakville Zen Meditation

#384 Using the "palm test" to assess your energy level Jan 23 22

How to assess our Body-Mind Energy Level

The following is not, per se, a Dharma talk but an interesting exercise that I learned from a Tibetan monk living in Dharamshala with the Dalai Lama and was with us for a year at our temple in Toronto learning English.

Before describing this very simple exercise to assess your body-mind energy level, the following short introduction is necessary to understand its rationale and practice.

Oriental philosophy which includes Zen and Oriental medicine does not differentiate body from mind and mind from body. It is viewed as a single unit.

However, Western medicine stands on the opposite side that is body and mind are 2 separate entities.

Therefore, when I am talking about Energy level, I am including both body and mind.

Very briefly:

Our energy comes from food. Food becomes molecules of glucose (carb.).

Then, glucose is degraded inside our trillions of cells to produce the chemical and electrical energies needed to function properly.

Our brain represents 2% of our body mass but consumes 20% of our total energy used.

Our body cannot eliminate the excess of intake energy (calories). Such excess is:

       Stored in the form of fat (1lb of fat represents 3,500 cals) or

       It is eliminated via our respiration and skin in the form of heat mostly thru radiation,

      convection, conduction, and evaporation from the skin. This finding is the basis of

      the following test.

The term “Energy Level” represents the very approximate assessment of your current global energy level presented in our body-mind. This test is not, by any means, scientific.

Description of what we call  “palm test”:

Sit - Rest your elbows on a table - Straight up arms &hands.

Palms are straight, facing each other and apart by around 6’’/15cm.

Close your eyes and bring the palms of your hands together very slowly until you feel the heat between them. You should feel heat radiation usually at around 1 cm. gap.

The sooner you feel the heat, -wider is the gap- the higher your current energy level is.

On the contrary, the narrower is the gap, the lower the current energy level. Make sense.

With practice, this palm test takes less than 1 min. to do.

The important point is to do it frequently to analyze the trend of your energy level.

Conditions in which your palm heat radiation is low:

They create a false negative: the energy level is actually higher.

There are many body and mind conditions that act as a biological Black Hole, sucking energy.

    Being cold obviously.

    Being physically and mentally tired, physical pain of any sort, digestion dysfunction, etc.

    Restless mind from overthinking, worries, negative feelings, etc...

    Medical conditions are not listed here.

    Low external temperature.

Conditions in which your palm heat radiation is high:

They create false positives: energy level is actually lower.

   Having fever: flu, etc...

   Medical conditions are not listed here.

   After a meal.

   After an aerobic workout.

   High outside temperature.

When to do it?

At rest: such as few min. after waking up and in the middle of the afternoon.

Obviously don’t do it when one of the conditions already mentioned will increase or decrease your body.


The palm test is an empirical estimation but it will help adapt your physical and mental activities to your current energy level.