Energy healing, a noninvasive complementary treatment, is offered in more than 50 hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S., according to a recent review article published in Orthopaedic Nursing (2005; 24 [4], 259–69). Energy healing treatments include therapeutic touch, Reiki, chi kung, shamanic healing and healing touch, among others. According to the article, these therapies are based on the notion that all living things possess life energy and that certain healers can tap into universal healing energy or the energy of “God, Christ or another spiritual source” to direct this life energy and create a healing result.

Currently, the National Institutes of Health are funding studies to evaluate the effectiveness of these therapies and to identify the mechanisms that may be behind their ability to achieve results. There is growing evidence that energy-based treatments such as Reiki can relieve pain and accelerate the natural healing process. While researchers continue to study the appropriateness of these practices in healthcare settings, more and more hospitals and clinics are offering energy-based therapies, owing to consumer demand and widely acknowledged anecdotal reports of their effectiveness.