Energy Healing

September 5, 2011

There are many popular holistic modalities that work with the human energy system. One of the underlying principles they share is the belief that all living things have an energy field that surrounds them that is essential to life. Different cultures refer to this life force as chi (China) or prana (India) or ki ( Japan). There are also energy centers in the body known as chakras (a Sanskrit word meaning spinning vortex). The third part of the energy system is a complex network of meridians, pathways of energy flowing throughout the body. It is believed that an open, flowing energy system is essential to maintaining good health. Pain, illness, and disease can be considered the result of some form of blockage or disruption in the flow of energy in the energy field, the energy centers, or the meridians. Different modalities work to clear and open this flow of energy and to restore harmony and balance in order to promote physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Practices such as acupressure and acupuncture work to open the flow of energy in the meridians. Other practices such as Healing Touch, Reiki, and Therapeutic Touch work primarily with the energy field and energy centers. All three of these modalities are done with the client fully clothed and seated in a chair or lying on a table. There is research to support the use of these modalities for accelerated wound healing, pain management, and decreased anxiety. The research base continues to grow as these practices gain acceptance by the general public and traditional medicine. These three modalities will be explained in more detail.

Healing Touch is an energy-based therapeutic approach that uses touch to influence the energy system, thus affecting physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Healing Touch is taught in a multilevel educational program that moves from beginning to advanced practice. It was developed by Janet Mentgen, RN, BSN, who has been practicing energy-based care since 1980 in Denver, CO. Healing Touch practitioners use their hands to assess and treat the energy system. Practitioners may work using physical touch although it is not required and at times practitioners work several inches and sometimes feet away from the body. The practices taught in the Healing Touch curriculum come from a variety of sources including well-known healers such as Alice Bailey, Brugh Joy, Rosalyn Bruyere, and Barbara Brennan. To learn more about Healing Touch, class schedules, and to locate a practitioner, contact Healing Touch International, Inc. at 303-989-7982 or on the web at www.healingtouch.net.

Therapeutic Touch was developed in the early 1970s by Dolores Krieger, PhD, a registered nurse and professor of nursing at New York University, and Dora Kunz, a noted healer. Therapeutic Touch is “a contemporary interpretation of several ancient healing practices” (Krieger, 1993, p. 11). Therapeutic Touch practitioners follow a sequenced procedure that includes centering, assessment of the energy field, smoothing or unruffling the energy field, and sending or modulating energy. This is done in an effort to assist the client to move to a state of energy balance. Therapeutic Touch practitioners complete basic levels of training including mentorship with experienced practitioners. To learn more or locate a practitioner, contact Nurse Healers-Professional Associates International at 801-273-3399 or www.therapeutic-touch.org.

Reiki is the Japanese word for “universal life energy.” This energy-based, hands-on practice focuses on transferring or channeling energy into specific areas of the body. There are 12 standard hand placement sites on the body, but an experienced Reiki practitioner may also place his/her hands on other areas of the body to address painful or diseased areas. Reiki can also be done off the body. Reiki is taught or more correctly passed down in an oral tradition from a Reiki master to a student. For more information about Reiki, contact The Reiki Alliance at 208-783-3535 or on the web at www.reikialliance.com.

It is important that someone wishing to try one of these modalities be an informed consumer and ask about training, credentials, and expertise. All of these practices should be seen as complementing traditional medical care.

SEE ALSO: Complementary and alternative health practices

Suggested Reading

  • Barnett, L., & Chambers, M. (1996). Reiki energy medicine: Bringing the healing touch into home, hospital and hospice. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. Hover-Kramer, D. (2002). Healing touch: A guidebook for practitioners.
  • Albany, NY: Delmar. Krieger, D. (1993). Accepting your power to heal: The personal practice of therapeutic touch. Santa Fe, NM: Bear.

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