for Veterans and the Public
Energy healing is based on the concept that the human body is surrounded by various kinds of energy fields--electrical, magnetic, and subtle. In this healing-based tradition, practitioners are consciously aware of their client's imbalances of energy, and claim they can alter it to improve the overall sense of well being for their clients. The concept that unseen energy flows through and around all living things is a belief that comes from many cultures since ancient times.
Conventional medicine concerns itself with health on a very physical and cellular level. Viewing the body as having other dimensions requires a shift in thought. The concept of subtle energy fields continues to have slow acceptance into our traditional, Western medical approach.
Therapeutic touch is a type of energy healing where the Therapeutic Touch (TT) practitioner "smooths out" the energy field of a client without touching them. The practitioner's hands are a few inches or more away from the physical body. The goal of TT is to help stimulate the recipient's innate healing processes. These are theories, and are not scientifically proven. Case reports indicate that TT is effective in stimulating the relaxation response. TT can be used with other interventions such as guided imagery and visualization.
Reiki is another type of energy healing. The Reiki practitioner's hands are either lightly touching the patient's body or are held slightly over it. Energy is thought to flow through areas most in need of healing. In Reiki, the energy is thought to come from the Universe, and the practitioner helps to transfer this positive, healing energy to the recipient. The concept is bizarre to some, but people who receive Reiki often have positive experiences.
Practitioners claim Reiki can aid in healing at a physical, emotional and mental level. Most recipients of Reiki report a peaceful sense of relaxation, and some people have reported reduction in pain, anxiety, fear and anger. There is no scientific evidence to confirm the effectiveness of Reiki.
The federal National Institutes of Health is funding research on energy healing therapies.