Comparing Healing Touch and Regular Meditation

Energy healing treatments come in a lot of forms. 

A woman strikes a yoga pose.

Many people are looking for energy methods for healing. 

A simple touch from one person to another has been shown to promote a sense of trust and teamwork, but there is a little-heard of practice that incorporates the sense in a different way. It's called healing touch. 

Like many others, Anita Kiger, from Dover, Delaware, needed a change when she reached her mid 50s. She had constant back and neck pain and longed for new inspiration. 

She found it only 15 minutes away from her house at a meditation studio. From licensed professionals, Kiger started receiving healing touch, which combines meditation with physical touch to focus on parts of the body that are stressed or in pain. 

The method, a relaxing, nurturing energy therapy, helps bolster well-being by massaging energy into the body. In this way, the physical touch stimulates blood flow, playing a role in delivering essential nutrients to the area in pain. 

"When you're sick or in surgery or there's some kind of illness going on there, energy fields are out of balance," Dr. Frances Zappalla, a pediatric cardiologist certified in integrative medicine, told Delaware Online News Journal.

Although Zappalla said she was skeptical at first, after working with a number of patients with such healing touch practices, she said she sees real benefits. 

Zappalla emphasized the importance of the connection between the mind and body. Similar to practicing meditation and striking yoga poses, healing touch reduces blood pressure and heart rate. However, unlike these practices, healing energy has not been measured quantitatively in a reliable way, according to the University of Minnesota.  

There have been countless studies done on regular meditation benefits and the stress relief provided by yoga practices, but healing touch has not had a large body of research for proper testing. 

A big reason why integrative medicine might be effective in general relates to lifestyle choices, the cardiologist said. Healthy eating and mindfulness play a big role – instead of reaching for a cheeseburger, opt for the chicken salad, and instead of concentrating on negative thoughts throughout the day, try to harness uplifting experiences and positive self-reinforcement. 

Ilchi Lee, a master of meditation and The New York Times best-selling author, explains that every individual should find a relaxation technique that works for him or her. According to ancient Chinese practice, the body is made of channels, like veins, through which energy flows. When these channels become blocked from things like an injury, exploring healing treatments with yoga and meditation can prove instrumental in tearing down the energy blockades to feel like yourself again.