Energy medicine is based upon the belief that changes in the "life force" of the body, including the electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields, affect human health and can promote healing.
Energy medicine is a broad term that includes touch therapies, movement therapies, spiritual healing, meditation, magnetic field therapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, light therapy, and other innovative methods of healing. What these various approaches have in common is an energetic understanding of health and healing. These therapies may affect the patient's internal energy, external energy (aura, or other energy fields surrounding the body) or both. Many of these therapies fall into several different categories at once and their benefits may not be exclusively due to changes in life force.
Energetic touch therapies
Energetic touch therapies include, but are not limited to: reiki, therapeutic touch (although the physical body is not touched), watsu, polarity therapy, Ayurvedic massage, zero balancing, reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu, lomilomi, breema bodywork, Thai massage, shiatsu, amma, Chi Nei Tsang, Jin Shin Do, Shen, and Chinese massage, and acupressure.
Energetic movement therapies
Energetic movement therapies include: qigong, t'ai chi chuan, aikido, karate, and yoga (there are many different forms of yoga).
Spiritual healing includes distance healing, laying on of hands, meditation, ceremony, ritual, and other shamanic practices.
Some of the methods of energy medicine involve gentle physical touch, while others work with the energy around the body with the practitioner holding his or her hands several inches away. Some methods can be applied from a distance, others require attendance at a ceremony and may include family and friends. The movement modalities may require learning and practicing a particular movement or breath sequence. Other therapies may involve wearing magnets, being exposed to various kinds of light rays, or receiving energy stimulation with needles and heat.
The duration and cost of an energy medicine session vary greatly depending upon the method and the healer. Some methods are expensive while others are free or offered for a modest donation. These modalities are not covered by insurance unless administered by a licensed health care professional.