It’s easy for us to understand the healing power of hands-on therapy, like massage, for example. You just lie down on the table, feel strong, skilled hands smooth out muscle kinks and aaaaah.
The many forms of energy healing, however, are a little more esoteric. That’s because most energy-healing techniques are “hands-off,” and involve a transfer of “healing energy” from the practitioner to you. But just because there’s no direct touching doesn’t mean there isn’t any healing.
Various traditions have their own versions of energetic healing. Qi gong, for example, is practiced by traditional Chinese medicine physicians and healers. Polarity therapy, a century old, is a blend of Eastern and Western techniques that concentrates on unblocking the flow of energy through the body.
Reiki, a popular energy practice, is the Japanese word for “universal life energy,” and Reiki healers believe they can channel universal healing energy to balance the flow of vital energy through their own and others’ bodies. Usually, gentle touch is involved in the process, during which clients lie on a massage table, fully dressed. Sessions last between 60 and 90 minutes. Learning Reiki involves training and initiation rituals called “attunements.” To learn more, go to the Reiki website.
Therapeutic Touch (TT) was created by Dolores Krieger, PhD, RN, formerly a professor at New York University, and Dora Van Gelder Kunz, a natural healer, on the premise that the human body, mind, emotions and intuition form a complex, dynamic energy field. Practitioners believe that in a healthy person, the energy field is governed by pattern and order—and that disease occurs when the energy is characterized by imbalance and disorder. Today, TT is accepted in a growing number of hospitals and universities throughout the United States, Canada and around the world, and has a number of clinical studies attesting to its usefulness.
When you visit a TT practitioner, she will begin your session by getting a sense of the imbalances in your energy field. Holding her hands two to six inches above you, she begins at your head and works down toward your feet. Some practitioners say that a balanced energy field feels like a barely perceptible but steady breeze; others sense it differently. Imbalances, they say, may feel tingly or slightly cooler than other areas, and areas with deficient energy may feel empty or congested. A practitioner “balances” the energy field with her hands, using various techniques. To find a practitioner, or learn more about therapeutic touch, log on to their website.