Touch therapies

Touch therapies are based on the belief that people have their own vital energy. This energy field flows through and surrounds the body. Blockages or imbalances in the body cause ill health. This notion is similar to the Chinese concept of Chi. (See section on traditional Chinese medicine.) Touch therapists modify imbalances in the energy field by using their energy to redirect the energy of others.

Therapeutic touch

Therapeutic touch is based on the idea that the human body, the mind, the emotions and intuition form a complex, dynamic energy field. This energy field encompasses the body. When a person is ill, the energy field is out of balance. Therapeutic touch practitioners modify imbalances using their hands but they don’t actually touch you. Therapeutic touch is often used by chronic-care nurses to relieve pain and promote relaxation.


Reiki means universal life energy. Ki is the Japanese form of Chi, the Chinese word meaning vital energy. (See section on traditional Chinese medicine.) Reiki is similar to therapeutic touch but was developed in Asia. Like therapeutic touch, Reiki is based on the belief that living things share life energy. When that life energy is blocked, it creates an imbalance that may appear as illness. Unblocking the energy helps get a person back into balance. During a Reiki massage, the practitioner’s hands are placed on the body to channel this energy. The client remains fully clothed.