Energy therapies are considered complementary and alternative health practices. Energy therapies come from many cultures and are based on ideas about natural energy fields.Energy healing therapies aim to create a free flow of energy by clearing, stimulating and balancing the human energy system. Though energy therapies are not well understood or always embraced by traditional medical providers, proponents believe that a balanced energy system encourages wholeness -- emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Acupuncture is the best know, energy therapy but there are other energy therapies that are gradually being integrated into health care practices in the United States. Three of the more popular energy healing therapies include:
Reiki: In a reiki session, the practitioner’s hands are positioned either on or a few inches above the recipient’s body. The goal is to raise the amount of “ki”, or life force energy, in and around the person. The reiki practitioner uses between 12 and 15 different hand positions, holding each one for several minutes until the flow of energy slows or stops. Reiki can promote relaxation. One study suggests reiki may positively affect blood pressure and heart and respiration rates. Because of a lack of research, it’s hard to say for certain that energy therapies are completely safe and work or don’t work. Still, for people drawn to energy therapies, energy therapies, like reiki may be worth a try.
Healing touch: Also known as therapeutic touch, healing touch is meant to stimulate the body’s self-healing processes. Gentle touching moves energy from the practitioner to the recipient, strengthening and reorienting the recipient’s energy flow within and around the body. Although some people find healing touch relaxing, there’s little evidence to suggest healing touch has other health benefits.
Qi gong: The Chinese word “qi gong” combines the term “qi” (chee), which means life force or vital energy, and “gong” (kung), meaning accomplishment or skill. Qi gong has many forms and is a common health practice throughout China. Two of the most common forms are tai chi and kung fu. In general, qi gong combines rhythmic movements, breathing techniques and focused intentions. Some qi gong approaches increase energy while others are used to cleanse and heal the body.