Exploring the differences between Healing Touch and Reiki


Understanding the differences between Reiki and Healing Touch is simple, but first, you have to figure out what each one is. Both Healing Touch (also known as Therapeutic Touch) and Reiki treatments offer a simple way to receive [light] energy. People talk about feeling heavy and gloomy during winter months, whereas the same people shed their seasonal depression in the summertime. Commercials show men and women basking in the warm summer sun feeling light as a feather and vibrant. Think of energy healing agents like Reiki and Healing Touch as the bottled-up version of this, only the bottle of sunshine comes through a practitioner who uses hands to conduct light over your body.


Reiki specifically is defined in countless dictionaries as an ancient, hands-on type of massage healing. However, there is no touching in Reiki, unless that is what the patient chooses, as it is an energy modality. The practitioner hovers, if you will, his/her hands over the patient and essentially conducts energy through the hands on to the energy field (also called chi, prana, aura and auric field) that encases all individuals. As explained in science class, living creatures give off energy and vibrations, body heat is a good example, but if there is an injury, depression or some other kind of block, the energy output is interrupted.

Reiki is one form of energy healing that puts energy back into the body. Continuing with the body heat example, the patient receiving Reiki feels heat coming from the practitioner- nothing painful or sweat-inducing. The Reiki practitioner seems to turn his/her hands into a heating pad that also feels somehow like it reduces gravity pressure on your body. Talk about a way to feel lighter.

Healing touch

Healing Touch is a very similar form of energy healing. Like Reiki, H/T is an energy agent that removes energy blocks. When skin is clogged, it cannot breathe and in severe cases, the body cannot sweat to cool off the body. Think of a large portion of your body covered in blackheads or in history events where someone is tarred and feathered. The injured person suffocates because the skin cannot breathe. People are made up of molecules and energy so this happens to a person’s energy [field.] Once blocks are removed, healing can occur or at least more vital living can take place.

The differences

What is truly fantastic about Healing Touch is that because there are more healing techniques than Reiki, that specific section of the body covered in “energetic blackheads” can be targeted until the clogs are removed. Reiki is used over affected areas as well but H/T offers a more concentrated effort. For disc problems in the low back, Healing Touch is recommended over Reiki although that depends on what you choose and your sensitivities to energy (people sensitive to strong doses of Reiki say it feels like a lot of pressure), in which case H/T would be too strong.

When in doubt, talk to the practitioner. Both treatments are around to help and can be controlled by a skilled healer by simply repositioning the hands.

The hand techniques used in Reiki are fairly simple and fewer than those used in Healing Touch. Some would say that this along with the fact that Reiki does not involve touching the body makes Reiki more of an overview, generalized version of Healing Touch. H/T has more complex hand moves as it was originally used amongst nurses and created by an RN for use on her hospitalized patients. Some claim that Healing Touch is more standardized and a more allopathic means available for treating conditions than Reiki.

A useful tip

Reiki is older than Healing Touch and more known, so it is often easier to find Reiki practitioners and easier to find free events- especially for group sessions. Reiki cannot be used to harm so taking a chance and attending a free event can only help, although energy treatments are a little dehydrating.

Both energy modalities can be used for the same purposes but Reiki is a little simpler and more of an overview of Healing Touch, to some. H/T has set techniques for set diseases and illness, more specific hand gestures and positions to deepen a healer’s focus. Why not blend the two for better results?

A lot of practitioners do and what can be the best way to test each method. Because standard dictionaries do not accurately explain what Reiki and Healing Touch are, you actually have to rely on a lot of groundwork and confusing explanations from New Agers who talk about “controlling the universe through the hands.”

Energy medicine can be negative just as it can be positive. The intent is a large part of healing and people with bad intent can give on negative energy while still calling themselves “healers.” Protect yourself first and foremost by finding a reputable source of information on the different healing modalities. Look at what each method has to offer and choose the best treatment for yourself and a healer who sounds feels and even looks like he/she knows how to heal, what it feels like to be a patient and can answer your questions.

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