How do energy modalities like Healing Touch, Reiki and Acupuncture work with a person’s healing process?

Energy medicine is based on the principle that our bodies are comprised of energy meridians and energy chakras. Each of the energy lines and centers relate to specific physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. Life experiences are recorded in our energy systems. Some of these experiences present as disease in the body. Through the application of specific energy movement techniques (or needle positions) the energy fields can be balanced and strengthened.  The balancing techniques place the parasympathetic nervous system into a relaxed state and the body self heals.  A key element of energy healing involves the power of intention and the dynamic relationship between mind-body-spirit.  

The concept of energy healing can be applied to many facets including relief from physical pain, including headaches, migraines and back pain, palliative care, cancer support, post operative care, hospice support, reducing stress, anxiety and depression, maintaining wellness, strengthening the immune system, spiritual self exploration, expansion of consciousness and finding a deeper purpose to life.   


How do we know Healing Touch energy therapy works?

Healing Touch energy medicine utilizes a pain scale.  A client assigns a number from 1-10 to their issue before and after a session.  In my experience as a practitioner, 99% of the time improvements are recognized during a 60 min session. The intention is that the improved state carry forward after the client leaves the session.  One of the tenants of Healing Touch is that the energy will go where it serves the client’s highest good and that the healing process will occur in the right time.  

Hundreds of research studies have been conducted on benefits of energy medicine healing. Below is a brief summary reporting on a range of subjects all with effective results. Energy healing is mysterious.  These case studies provide scientific evidence that helps the analytical side of the brain process the mystery.  


Stress, anxiety, depression management

Weze, Leathard, Grange, Tiplady and Stevens (2007) evaluated the effectiveness of gentle touch associated with psychological well-being. “Changes in anxiety/depression, pain and ability to carry out usual activities all proved highly statistically significant.” (Source: NCBI)

Latreniere (1999) reported on healing touch effect on hormonal and neurotransmitter indicators, mood, and anxiety.  Results indicated “a significant reduction in mood disturbance, reduced tension, reduced anxiety and increased vigor.” (Source: NCBI)

General wellness 

Meissner and Koch (2015) studied heart rate, respiratory rate, and skin conductance (electrodermal response, where skin becomes a better conductor of electricity) during a healing touch session. Results indicated “that sympathetic arousal during a touch-based healing ritual predicted improvement in well-being thereafter.” (Source:Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine)


Cancer and quality of life management

Hart, Freel, Haylock, and Lutgendorf (2011) reported on Healing Touch used in conjunction with chemo received by patients with cervical cancer. Findings indicated HT patients “demonstrated a minimal decrease in natural killer cell cytotoxicity over the course of treatment” whereas patients not receiving HT declined sharply. HT patients also showed “significant decrease in depressed mood” compared to those not receiving the complementary care. The study suggests that HT puts the “patient in the best condition to use their innate healing resources.” (Source: NCBI)


Weze (2004) reported on Healing Touch used in conjunction with cancer patients. “Pronounced improvements were seen in stress and relaxation, severe pain and discomfort, and depression and anxiety. Stress, rated the most severe symptom, fell by 3 points following treatment. Pain and fear were reduced by 2 points, and levels of relaxation and coping ability increased by 3 points and 1 point. Severe depression or anxiety levels fell from 5 to 3 points.” (Source: NCBI) 


Cook, Guerrerio, Slater (2004) reported on Healing Touch used in conjunction with decreased pain, improved vitality and increased physical functioning in women undergoing radiation for gynecological or breast cancer.  HT patients “who received Healing Touch demonstrated better [health-related quality of life] following radiation treatment than their counterparts who received mock treatment.” (Source: HT website)


White (2003) reported on Healing Touch used in conjunction with reduce side effects of cancer treatment.  Results determined that Healing Touch is effective for “reducing pain, mood disturbance, and fatigue in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy.“ (Source: NCBI) 


Jain (2009) reported on the use of biofield healing (energy healing), compared to mock healing, for the alleviation of fatigue, depression and inflammation after therapy for breast cancer. “Results suggest a differential outcome profile for breast cancer survivors who received healing sessions vs. those who received mock healing.” (Source:
Escolarship.org) 


Pain management


Lu, Hart, Lutgendorf, Perkhounkova (2013) studied the effect of Healing Touch on pain and mobility of persons with osteoarthritis. “HT group demonstrated significant improvements in 9 of the 12 outcome variables.” (Source:  Sciencedirect.com/Geriatric Nursing 2013) 

Anderson, Suchicital, Lang, Kukic, Mangione, Svengros, Fabian, Friben (2015) reported on the effects of Healing Touch on pain, nausea, and anxiety following Bariatric surgery. “Significant decreases in pain, nausea, and anxiety were observed immediately following the intervention on post-operative days one and two, and in pain and anxiety on post-operative day three compared with pre-intervention levels.” (Source: Sciencedirect.com/Explore 2015) 


Mueller, Palli, Schumacher (2018) reported on the pain-relieving effect of therapeutic touch in adult neurologic patients with back pain. The results indicated “the long-term effect of Therapeutic Touch was significant and indicated a major effect.”(Source: Sciencedirect.com/Pain Management Nursing) 


Lee, Kingstone, Roberts, Edwards,  Soundy, Shah, Haque, Singh (2016) reported on the benefits of healing therapy as an adjunct to conventional management in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Results indicated “healing therapy to conventional treatment was associated with improvement in symptoms.” (Source: Sciencedirect.com)


Gottschlich, Kagan, Saylors, and Cone reported on the effects of Healing Touch on the sleep patterns of pediatric burn patients at Shriners Hospital in Cincinnati, OH. “Data analysis showed that HT had a significant effect on the quality and quantity of sleep.” (Source: Healing Touch Website)


Slater (1995) studied the effects of Healing Touch on pain from abdominal surgery.  Patients treated by a Healing Touch practitioner felt more relief than those treated by a nurse alone. (Source: Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine)


Dementia, Alzhiemer’s disease, Agitated Behavior  


Wang and Herman (2006) reported on the effectiveness of HT on dementia patients who demonstrated high levels of agitation.  “Results indicated that agitation levels were significantly lowered.” (Source: NCBI) 


Hawranik and Deatrich (2008) reported on the effectiveness of therapeutic touch and agitation in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.  “Physical nonaggressive behaviors decreased significantly in those residents who received therapeutic touch” compared to those who received usual care.  (Source: NCBI) 


Woods, Craven and Whitney (2005) reported on the effect of therapeutic touch on behavioral symptoms and basal cortisol levels among nursing home residents with dementia.“Findings suggest therapeutic touch may be effective for management of symptoms like restlessness coupled with stress reduction.” (Source: NCBI) 


Ziembroski, Gilbert, Bossarte, Guldberg (2003) examined the effects of Healing Touch treatments on quality of life of patients in hospice.  “The results of this study included a statistically significant reduction in stress.” (Source: Alternative and Complementary Therapies.) 


Cai and Zhang (2015) examined the effect of therapeutic touch on agitated behavior of nursing home residents.  “The study found that restlessness was significantly reduced in the experimental group compared to the control group.” (Source: Nursing Sciences) 


How many sessions are required?

The number of sessions required varies widely from client to client. The work depends on the depth of the issue, the time it has been present and the speed at which the client wants to heal.