Finding Edges within the Emotional Field:

Applications of Evelyn MacKay’s Work

By Barbara Janelle M.A.

Previously Unpublished

January, 1996

In 1993, Evelyn MacKay spoke to my Level 3 class in London and introduced her work with the emotional edges in the human field. In so doing, she introduced me to a whole new world within the energy field of living things. (I say “living things” because I have not yet tried Evelyn’s work with rocks and boulders but plan to do so very shortly.)

In her work, Evelyn scans for and unruffles an edge three to six feet from the skin. She uses this approach in situations where the physical field is slow to respond, or where there is a very obvious emotional component involved in the problem.

When I introduce her work, I have the scanner start 20 feet away from a person and move in. Edges can be felt by both scanner and scannee as they are found. Evelyn’s work is valuable and effective as the following story illustrates.

Some months after Evelyn’s presentation, I was in Georgia working with horses. A friend was holding a horse who suddenly swung about and struck her head with his skull. This is comparable to being hit with a sledgehammer! Jan refused to make a fuss, and it wasn’t until dinnertime that she let anyone know how badly she was feeling.

As we sat to eat, Jan told me she had a terrible headache and felt nauseous. Nausea is a signal of possible concussion. I checked her pupils and found them evenly sized and responding well to light changes–both good signs.

She asked if I could do something with TT to help her. I scanned the physical field at the head carefully, and could find nothing amiss. Remembering Evelyn’s approach, I checked further out, and found a strong edge about 4 feet away from the head! As soon as I “touched” the edge, Jan said, “You’ve got it.” Unruffling this edge for less than a minute eliminated the headache and the nausea. Jan ate her dinner with great gusto and never had another pain.

With the chance of concussion so strong, it would have been wise to get her to a doctor. However, we were a considerable distance from medical assistance. With the normal state and response of the pupils and the disappearance of pain and nausea, I decided to ask Jan’s roommate to check her periodically through the night instead.

The impact of the blow was within the immediate emotional field. I could not find it in the physical field and any unruffling there would have been fruitless. This experience again confirmed the importance of finding and treating the appropriate edge within the field.

Evelyn’s work applies to animals too. They have emotional fields that are usually less complex than human fields. I want to make the point that ‘less complex’ does not mean ‘inferior’ as so many would choose to interpret it. Instead, it reflects their clarity about who they are and what they are doing in this life. Humans have layers of forgetting that they carry with them; animals have fewer layers.

My choice of approach with upset or aggressive animals is to look for emotional edges and unruffle them. Two summers ago, in working with a rather dangerous dog in Massachusetts, I cleared an emotional edge eight feet away from the dog. Its breathing deepened, the eyes softened, and the body became less rigid. This provided an entry to the animal so that body work could be done on it. I have cleared the emotional edges of nervous horses and found an equally rapid relaxation response.

The edges within six feet of the animal often come with images about the animal’s experiences in this life. For example, Prince at SARI is afraid of other horses and has to be kept in a field by himself because his fear takes the form of aggression. When I worked with the very obvious emotional edge out from his heart area, pictures of him at weaning time came clearly: he had been taken from his mother and put in a field with other weanlings. One of them, a larger chestnut foal chased him and beat him up. In clearing this edge, I reminded him of his name and presented a picture of confidence to him. Fifteen minutes later a horse was led past him in his field and he did not react. I am hoping to persuade the SARI staff to try him in the field with another horse soon.

The emotional edge is the key to Hannibal’s behaviour and health. Hannibal is another SARI horse. He mirrors the human emotional atmosphere, whether it is inter-personal problems that occasionally crop up or individual upset (e.g., a child or staff member who is having a hard time). When Hanna gets grumpy we clear his emotional edges. Time and again this has ‘lightened’ his behaviour and even stopped colic in its initial stages. Clearing the emotional edge was an effective tool for bringing Little Copper out of very severe colic last Easter.

If the physical field edge does not give me information, or if the problem appears to be emotional, I search for emotional edges. Working with the emotional edge is every bit as profound and effective as working with the physical edge. I am still exploring the relationship between the emotional edges and the physical field, and hope to have more to add to this in the future.

The truth is that we do not end at our skin, nor do we end at the physical field edge, as a mouse told me recently:

I am so big that

You cannot find my beginning

or ending…

(For the full communication, see “The Mouse.”)

Evelyn MacKay’s work with emotional edges is of major importance. I highly recommend her training. I believe that she is offering something extremely valuable and profound to Therapeutic Touch.


Evelyn MacKay’s presentation to my class in 1993 led to major changes in my understanding of the functioning of the field and to my Therapeutic Touch treatments. This work is controversial and I hesitated to include it in this book, but I feel that it is integral to TT understanding and treatment so here it is.

In a treatment, I very seldom do a full session with the emotional edges. Instead, I work within the physical field with a willingness to go further out to check for congestion if it seems right to do so. To someone watching, my hands are sometimes in contact with skin/clothing, most of the time within 12 inches/30 cm of the skin/clothing, and infrequently up to 4 feet/1 m, 20 cm away. I go to where the problem is in the field and work there if it feels appropriate.

And by the way, Prince, the horse who was afraid of other horses and who spent so much of his life alone, joined the other SARI horses in the field a few months after the session described in this article. –BJ 2/99

Human attempts to categorize lead to inaccurate and false understandings of reality. As I have grown to recognize in recent years, physical, emotional and mental aspects are not separate. To call a portion of the field “emotional,” and indeed to even divide the field is inaccurate. The major piece that Evelyn’s work has brought to me in my use of Therapeutic Touch is the encouragement to explore the field in different ways. –BJ 1/03