Energy healers: who they are and what they do

Explore (NY). 2011 Jan-Feb;7(1):13-26. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2010.10.005.


This paper surveys the landscape of energy healing, offering a taxonomy and conceptual overview of the work of practitioners. First, systems of energy healing are classified under four categories: an East Asian tradition, a Western professional tradition, a bioenergy tradition, and a contemporary metaphysical tradition. Examples of each are provided. Second, the possibility of core concepts in energy healing is broached, focusing specifically on five issues: the source of healing and its pathway of transmission, what it is that is being transmitted, what it is that healers do, the healer's state of consciousness, and requirements of clients in order to receive healing. Third, a discussion is provided of the relative importance of technique in energy healing. Fourth, what really matters for healing is proposed, emphasizing three factors: focus, intention, and compassion. Finally, the paper concludes by suggesting that formally trained energy practitioners do not have a monopoly on energy healing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention
  • Consciousness
  • Empathy
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical*
  • Mind-Body Therapies*
  • Professional Practice*