Energy healing is based on the idea that the body has “layers” of energy, which interact with “centers” through which desire and energy flow. Disease and mental unrest are thought to occur when energy becomes blocked or disrupted; energy healing works to restore and rebalance the natural flow of energy. Energy healing is used to treat pain, improve sleep, reduce stress, and promote physical, mental, and spiritual health. While not considered by Western medicine to be a cure for diseases such as cancer, energy healing can ease the side effects associated with treating disease.
A type of alternative or complementary medicine based in ancient Eastern cultures, energy healing has many forms. Some of the more common practices are Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Qigong, and acupuncture/acupressure, among many others. Some practices are “hands on,” while others are “hands off.” Each of these forms of energy healing relies upon the competence and expertise of a trained practitioner.
- Reiki: The term Reiki actually derives from two Japanese words: rei, meaning “spirit,” (pronounced “ray”), and ki, which means “life force,” (pronounced “kee”). Together rei and ki mean “spiritually guided life energy.” There are two type of Reiki treatment: Reiki therapy, which is hands off, and Reiki massage, which is hands on, using gentle touch. Because there is no belief system attached to Reiki, anyone can receive the treatment. Reiki is considered an easy form of energy healing for practitioners to learn.
- Therapeutic Touch: Contrary to what the name implies, Therapeutic Touch is a hands-off treatment. As in Reiki therapy, practitioners hold their hands a few inches over the client’s body, moving from head to toe to detect energy imbalances. The practitioner perceives these imbalances as areas of heat, cold, tingling, or tightness, for example.
- Qigong: An ancient Chinese healing art, Qigong is a system of physical movements and mental focus designed to bring the body’s energy back into balance. The term Qigong comes from the the word qi (pronounced “chee”), which means “life force or energy,” and gong (pronounced “gung”), meaning, “skill acquired through practice.” Taken together, Qigong means, “cultivating energy.” There are three types of Qigong practice: Medical Qigong, which uses controlled breathing and gentle movement to promote healing; martial Qigong, which includes disciplines such as Kung Fu that emphasize speed, strength, and agility; and spiritual Qigong, which promotes mindfulness and mental tranquility.
- Acupuncture/acupressure: Another ancient Chinese practice, acupuncture stimulates the organs, moves blocked energy, and restores balance by inserting fine, hair-like needles along “meridians” of the body. Acupressure is similar in theory, but relies on finger placement and pressure, rather than needles, to stimulate and move the body’s energy. Both acupuncture and acupressure are thousands of years old; the benefits of these practices have been acknowledged in Western medicine, as well.
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