All forms of treatment are healing, whether they are surgical, chemical or holistic therapies such as acupuncture or chiropractic. The term itself, however, describes one of the oldest forms of medicine, and means the technique of ‘the laying on of hands’ by healers who see themselves as the medium for a healing energy. Healing is thus a form of energy therapy based around some immeasurable force. Healers see the source of this force in various ways: some feel that it is a universal psychic energy that passes directly from them into the patient, while others believe that the force is divine in origin and that they are the conduit through which it flows. Faith healers believe that it is the power of God working through them, and this kind of healing has a long Christian tradition. Healing can be effective regardless of personal beliefs; much more important are the quality of communication between healer and patient and the patient’s receptivity and desire to get well.

The healing technique used may involve physically placing the hands on the body or by holding the hands over but somewhat away from the body. Practitioners can sense or feel a lack of energy and may focus their attention upon the energy centres or chakras. Some practitioners will actively vibrate their hands and others may go into a form of trance while they communicate with the ‘spirit’ or energy source that is transmitting the energy. Healing may also be performed or transmitted without any form of contact, as the practice of radionics shows.

Subjects react differently to healing sessions, which usually last for about half an hour. Some people feel a tingling, or a sensation of heat or cold under the healer’s hand. They may feel better immediately, or need a series of sessions before noticing an improvement.

Healers report a sense of changes in their own energy field while healing, and research has shown that the effect of a healer’s hand is similar to that of a strong electro-magnetic field. Other measurable physical changes in healers include a common pattern of brain waves that occurs during the healing process.

Every medical philosophy or therapy is utilizing healing energy and none can be considered any better than any other. There may be, however, a cumulative effect should a healer also prescribe homeopathy or practise osteopathy.