The Difference Between Healing Touch and Reiki

healing hands massage
Stills / Getty Images

Healing touch and Reiki are similar alternative medicines but there are important differences between the two. They are both considered to be a type of alternative medicine known as energy medicine. In both Healing Touch and Reiki, blocked energies can be released which can help encourage the healing of many basic diseases and ills. The theory behind both is that the practitioner is able to channel their life energy into the patient to encourage the healing process to begin. Many believe that these practices encourage the body to heal itself without other medical intervention. While there are no clinical findings to prove these claims many patients swear by the results of Reiki and Healing Touch. 

What Is Healing Touch?

Unlike Reiki, Healing Touch doesn't require an attunement before you can practice it. It is a modality that was developed by Janet Mentgen, R.N. and was originally for those in the medical field. However, it is now open to all. It is an energy modality, like Reiki. There are several levels. Level I based on 15 or more clock hours of instruction that allows people of varying backgrounds to enter, acknowledge their previous learnings and further develop concepts and skills in energy based therapy. A strong commitment to personal growth and knowledge of holistic health principles are also required. There is no required waiting period between these levels and they can each taught in a weekend,

In healing touch, also known as therapeutic touch, having an understanding of the 12 meridians and of the chakras and learning therapeutic hands-on skills in opening blocked energies is essential. It requires the gentle use of hands from practitioner to receiver.  Healing Touch has more techniques available for specific conditions, such as back problems. Healing Touch is a method of altering the body's energy system to influence self-healing.

What Is Reiki?

Reiki is channeling the universal life energy known as qi to stimulate the integration of mind, body, and spirit to enhance the natural healing mechanism. It was created by a Buddist Monk named Mikao Usui in 1922. Before his death, he taught the practice to over two thousand students. Like Healing Touch, Reiki can usually be taught in a weekend. While many organizations offer certificates for practitioners there is no formal regulation of these classes.  

Reiki practitioners must be aligned before they can practice on others. If the practitioner's qi is blocked it will hinder their healing capabilities. In Reiki, the strokes are similar to those found in Healing Touch but they are done close to the body, not directly on the body. This might make Reiki a more comfortable practice for those who dislike being touched. 

Is Reiki or Healing Touch Right for You?

While there are many practitioners and patients who swear by the healing effects of both Reiki and Healing Touch, clinical research does not support these findings. They are not recommended as the sole treatment for any medical conditions.