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With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many to stay home, a lot of “normal” life went online. From work to fitness to social life, much of the world now relies on online platforms to stay connected.

It’s no surprise that there’s been a rise in virtual well-being services, too.

While online therapy or counseling is nothing new, more alternative practices have also made their offerings video-friendly. Take, for example, remote energy healing, something I had the opportunity to try earlier this year.

I’m a big fan of alternative medicine and have had a lot of success with this type of healing in the past. But that was in person.

I was certainly skeptical about how much it could really do through a screen. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

Read on to find out more about my experience, how remote energy healing works, and what you need to know before giving it a try.

The term energy medicine was coined in the 1980s to describe a form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). It’s also known as:

  • energy healing
  • subtle energy healing
  • mind-body medicine
  • vibrational medicine

It’s based on the belief that the body is permeated by an energy field that can affect our health and well-being, also called subtle energy, vibrational energy, or simply life force.

Known as qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine or prana in Ayurveda, it’s believed that we can work with this energy to find balance and healing.

According to most CAM philosophies, both physical and mental health conditions can come about when this energy is stuck or not flowing properly.

The goal of energy healing is to restore the balance of energy to support physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Energy healing practices can involve physically touching the body or working non-physically with the body’s energy.

The latter type of practice can, in theory, be done remotely.

Several modalities may include energy healing, including:

Some of these practices are supported by scientific evidence, while others aren’t. In addition, only some can be done via distance.

For example, Reiki, chakra healing, and aura cleansing are three types of practices that can be done remotely, while acupuncture, which uses needles to stimulate energy flow in the body, can’t.

Reiki

Reiki is an increasingly well-known type of energy healing.

The Japanese technique was created in the early 20th century and involves a practitioner placing their hands near the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing.

Chakra healing

Chakra healing is an ancient Indian healing modality. It’s believed that we have seven main chakras, or energy centers, in the body, as well as potentially hundreds of lesser-known chakras.

When the chakras are all in balance, the theory goes, we feel optimum health and well-being.

In a chakra healing session, a practitioner may use a mix of different techniques, like crystals and breathing, to realign the chakras and heal the body and mind.

Aura cleansing

Aura cleansing is also believed to be rooted in ancient Indian medicine. The aura is said to be the energy that surrounds the body, creating an external “field.” Different people may have different colors showing up in their auras at any given time.

In an aura cleansing session, a practitioner uses items to cleanse the aura, including:

  • meditation
  • breathing
  • sound
  • crystals

Many forms of alternative healing, especially those based on working with energy, are difficult to prove with scientific evidence.

However, some research has shown interesting results.

A 2014 review of randomized trials suggested that Reiki therapy may help reduce pain and anxiety, though more research is needed.

According to results from a 2011 study, in which participants had six 30-minute sessions over a period of 2 to 8 weeks, people who had Reiki felt greater mood benefits compared with people who didn’t have the treatment.

A 2013 review noted that research into energy therapies, like healing touch, therapeutic touch, and Reiki “continues to demonstrate efficacy for symptoms commonly associated with cancer,” including:

  • pain
  • anxiety
  • quality of life
  • health function

Although there’s less research when it comes to remote energy healing, some shows promise.

A pilot 2015 study found that people being treated for cancer who received 30-minute sessions of distant Reiki for 5 days, in addition to regular medical care, had lower levels of pain, anxiety, and fatigue.

While energy healing typically takes place in a physical space, many practitioners are offering services online. This is known as remote healing, distance healing, or distant healing.

Practitioners run their sessions in exactly the same way, except they’re over video.

Typically, you’ll lie down at home and set up a video camera on your phone or laptop, so your healer can see and hear you and vice versa.

Most energy healers believe that energy can be transported through space and time, which means that energy healing can take place even over a geographical distance.

I tried a remote healing session from a practitioner trained in Reiki.

My session took place over Zoom and lasted around 40 minutes. It kicked off with a little introduction from the practitioner about what energy healing is and how the session would work.

Next, we spoke about how I was feeling and my expectations for the session. At that moment in time, I was feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed with the amount of work on my plate.

During the midst of the pandemic, I was also having a hard time with the constant uncertainty and ‘what ifs’ of life.

We started by doing a few minutes of breathing exercises together to help me feel calm, relaxed, and ready to receive the healing.

After that, I lay down on my bed under a blanket with an eye mask on. I positioned my laptop to face me, so the practitioner could see me through the camera.

As the healing began, the only sound I could hear was her breathing. Her deep breaths continued throughout the session.

Not long after I lay down, I started to feel deeply relaxed. As the healer inhaled and exhaled deeply, it was almost as if the sound was passing through me, relaxing me as it went.

It was similar to experiencing a sound bath or maybe even a massage. At some points, I felt areas of my body tingle.

As the session drew to a close and the healer brought me back to the room with her voice, it was like waking from a restorative nap. I felt a sense of calm and peace, and my mind felt a lot clearer.

It was like someone had created additional space in my brain.

After the session, I took some time to just be still and do nothing. I didn’t want to rush back into my normal day-to-day life.

Energy healing can be used as a complementary practice alongside other types of therapy and medical treatment.

There’s no evidence that energy healing can cure specific physical or mental health conditions.

If you’re experiencing any physical or mental health conditions, be sure to always consult a qualified medical professional.

If you can, having a team of practitioners from different fields and areas of expertise “in your corner” is the best way to support your overall health and well-being.

The best place to start when looking for a practitioner is with personal recommendations. Reach out to your circle and find out if you know anyone who has had success with a remote healer.

You can ask:

  • a healthcare team, like a doctor, naturopath, or therapist
  • a yoga or fitness instructor
  • friends, family, and loved ones
  • members of your spiritual or religious community
  • local CAM clinics, like acupuncturists or massage therapists

You can also use online platforms, like the Energy Medicine Directory. It’s important to note that directories like this are typically not regulated and practitioners are able to list themselves.

One benefit of remote healing: You can work with a healer in any part of the world. This means you aren’t limited by geography.

I came away from my remote energy healing session with a feeling of deep relaxation and mental clarity. I’d definitely do it again if I was feeling frazzled or stressed.

While the scientific evidence is limited, there’s some research that suggests remote energy healing may be beneficial for your health.

Although it should never replace medical care, energy healing is a great option to have in your self-care toolbox.


Elizabeth Bennett is a British journalist covering beauty, health, and wellness. Her work has appeared in ELLE, Refinery 29, Marie Claire, and Women’s Health. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.