What Are The Energy Work Methods?

Energy work refers to a variety of alternative healing modalities that focus on harnessing subtle energy to promote wellness and healing. These techniques emerged from ancient healing traditions such as acupuncture, yoga, qigong and reiki. The basic premise behind energy work is that humans have a subtle energetic anatomy made up of meridians and chakras that corresponds to the physical body. When the energetic anatomy is balanced and flowing freely, the physical body experiences optimal health. When the energy flow becomes blocked or unbalanced, it can manifest as physical or emotional illness.

Energy healing modalities work holistically to treat the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Practitioners detect energy imbalances in the biofield through intuitive sensing or devices like magnets. They then use hands-on or hands-off techniques to manipulate the person’s energy field and restore balance. The goal is to enable the body’s natural healing ability by removing energetic blocks, repairing damage to the aura, and restoring flow between the chakras. While energy work should not replace conventional medicine, it can be a helpful complement to other treatments.

There are numerous energy healing techniques emerging from various traditions worldwide. Some of the most prominent examples include Reiki, crystal healing, sound healing, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Healing Touch, Qi Gong and Polarity Therapy. This article will provide an overview of these major modalities to understand how they harness subtle energy for holistic healing.


Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that uses gentle touch to promote emotional and physical well-being. Reiki was developed by Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 20th century. The word “Reiki” comes from the Japanese words “rei”, meaning universal, and “ki”, meaning life energy.

Reiki is based on the idea that a “life force energy” flows through us and that by channeling this energy, a practitioner can bring about healing in themselves and others. The Reiki practitioner places their hands lightly on or just above the person receiving treatment with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response.

Reiki follows five main principles:

  • Just for today, do not worry.
  • Just for today, do not anger.
  • Honor your parents, teachers and elders.
  • Earn your living honestly.
  • Show gratitude to every living thing.

In Reiki treatment, the practitioner’s hands are placed in a series of 12 to 15 different positions over the person’s body. The hands lightly touch or hover over the main energy centers of the body called chakras. The practitioner’s hands are placed on positions around the head and shoulders, on the stomach, and over the back and feet. Treatment can last from 15 to 90 minutes depending on the practitioner’s level of training and experience.

Reiki can also be used for self-healing and treatment at a distance. For distance healing, the practitioner visualizes or draws symbols to send healing energy across space and time. Many people use Reiki regularly to promote relaxation, reduce pain and anxiety, and complement other healing techniques.

Crystal Healing

Crystal healing is an alternative medical technique that utilizes crystals and gemstones to facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing. Practitioners place crystals on different parts of the body, corresponding to the various chakras or energy centers. The crystals are said to absorb negative energy and emit positive healing energy in its place.

There are many types of healing crystals used in crystal therapy, including:

  • Quartz – Considered a master healer and can amplify energy. Varieties include rose quartz for love, citrine for optimism and amethyst for peace.

  • Jasper – Provides comfort and relaxation. Often called the “supreme nurturer”.

  • Onyx – Helps with letting go of grief and sorrow. Believed to assist with hearing problems.

  • Turquoise – Its blue-green color resonates with the throat chakra. Said to aid in communication.

Certain crystals are linked to specific chakras and can help unblock or heal them:

  • Root chakra – Hematite, garnet, red jasper

  • Sacral chakra – Carnelian, orange calcite, amber

  • Solar plexus chakra – Citrine, tiger’s eye, yellow calcite

  • Heart chakra – Rose quartz, green aventurine, jade

  • Throat chakra – Blue lace agate, turquoise, lapis lazuli

  • Third eye chakra – Amethyst, purple fluorite, azurite

  • Crown chakra – Clear quartz, selenite, diamond

Crystal grids involve placing crystals in geometric patterns to enhance energy flow and manifest goals. Common crystal layouts include:

  • Circle – Represents wholeness, cycles and unity. Placing crystals in a circle promotes harmony.

  • Square – Symbolizes stability and grounding. The equal sides provide an energetic container.

  • Hexagon – Six sides represent balance and symmetry. Said to facilitate manifestation.

It’s important to regularly cleanse crystals of accumulated energies. Methods involve soaking in salt water, burying in earth, sound baths and smudging with sage.

Sound Healing

Sound healing uses various tones and frequencies to promote healing and balance in the body. Some of the main methods used in sound healing include:

Singing bowls: These bowls create harmonic overtones when played with a mallet or wooden stick. The vibrations from the bowls can induce deep relaxation, reduce stress, and promote healing.

Gongs: Similar to singing bowls, gongs also create strong vibrational frequencies when played. The crashing sounds are thought to break up stuck energy patterns in the body.

Tuning forks: Tuning forks tuned to specific frequencies can be used during energy work sessions. Placing the tuning forks on acupuncture points allows the vibrations to travel deep into the body.

Chanting: The chanting of seed syllables, mantras, or tone sequences can have transformative effects. The vocal tones resonate through the body, creating a vibration that clears energy blockages.

Binaural beats: This involves listening to two slightly different tones, one in each ear. The brain perceives the two tones as a single new frequency, which can induce brainwave entrainment for relaxation or meditation.

Emotional Freedom Technique

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is an alternative treatment that combines acupressure with elements of cognitive and exposure therapy. The technique involves tapping specific acupressure points on the body while focusing mentally on a specific issue or condition you wish to improve.

The underlying premise of EFT is that negative emotions or traumatic experiences can create “blockages” or disturbances in the body’s energy system. By tapping on acupressure points connected to these emotions while tuning into them, EFT aims to clear out these blockages, restore balance to your energy system, and relieve associated emotional and physical symptoms.

To perform EFT, you follow a process that involves:

  • Identifying the issue you wish to treat
  • Rating the intensity of your emotional disturbance on a scale from 0-10
  • Tapping on a prescribed sequence of acupressure points on the face, torso, and hands while tuning into the emotion
  • Assessing if the intensity has decreased after a round of tapping
  • Repeating the process until the disturbance is minimal

Along with the tapping sequences, you also repeat verbal affirmations that acknowledge the issue and express self-acceptance in spite of it. This aims to counteract negative self-talk that may be contributing to the problem.

According to EFT practitioners, consistently using these techniques can release underlying energy disturbances and their associated emotions. Over time, this may lead to improved mental health, physical symptoms, and ability to cope with challenges.

While EFT has roots in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture theory, scientific evidence of its efficacy is limited. More research is still needed on its mechanisms and long-term effects. However, many people report positive experiences with EFT for conditions like anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain.

Healing Touch

Healing Touch is a biofield (energy field) therapy that uses light touch to influence the human energy system, specifically the energy field that surrounds the body. It was developed in the 1980s by Janet Mentgen, an American nurse who drew on multiple energy-based therapies to create the Healing Touch program.

The therapy involves certified practitioners using gentle hand techniques that focus on clearing, energizing, and balancing the human energy field. The goal is to support and accelerate the body’s natural ability to heal. For example, practitioners may do slow, rhythmic back-and-forth hand motions over chakras (energy centers) to detect energy imbalances or blocks and to facilitate healing.

Healing Touch also incorporates elements to help restore harmony between the body, mind, and spirit. Sessions may include breathing exercises, guided imagery, directed prayer, and mindfulness rituals. Practitioners go through an intensive certification process across multiple levels (from beginning to advanced practice), involving coursework, book learning, self-healing, co-healing, and mentorship.

Qi Gong

Qi Gong (pronounced chee-goong) is an ancient Chinese mind-body practice. The roots of Qi Gong can be traced back thousands of years to early Chinese cultures and healing practices.

Qi Gong consists of three main components: movement; meditation; and healing. Qi Gong movements are typically slow and gentle, involving coordinated breathwork and focused intention. The movements help cultivate and balance vital life force energy, or qi (pronounced chee).

Meditation is also a core component of Qi Gong practice. Qi Gong meditation helps practitioners quiet their mind and connect more deeply with the flow of qi within the body. The meditative, focused mindset contributes to Qi Gong’s many healing benefits.

Today, Qi Gong is becoming an increasingly popular practice for improving health, preventing disease, and addressing both physical and mental illness. Some key healing benefits of regular Qi Gong practice include reduced stress, increased energy, enhanced immune function, and better quality of life.

Polarity Therapy

Polarity Therapy is an energy healing practice that originated in Austria in the 1870s through Dr. Randolph Stone. Dr. Stone theorized that humans have positive, negative, and neutral energy flows which relate to our overall wellness. When those energy flows become unbalanced or blocked, illness can occur. The aim of Polarity Therapy is to realign the positive, negative, and neutral energy flows back into balance through gentle touch, exercises or nutritional counselling provided by certified Polarity Practitioners.

A key concept in Polarity Therapy is that humans have positive and negative poles which relate to different parts of the body. The positive pole is located in the neck and head region, while the negative pole is located in the pelvic region. A Polarity Practitioner will work to balance the energy flows between these two poles by using light touch, holding gentle stretches, dietary advice or verbal counseling.

Only certified Polarity Practitioners who have undergone extensive training are qualified to provide Polarity Therapy sessions. The American Polarity Therapy Association sets rigorous educational and ethical standards for Polarity Therapy practitioners to ensure clients receive safe and high quality treatment.

Access Bars

Access Bars is an energy healing technique that involves lightly touching head points while the client lies down to release stuck energies. The 32 Access Bars points correspond to aspects of our lives such as body, money, control, awareness, caring, desire and more. Practitioners gently place hands on these points which can contribute to releasing old thought patterns and bringing greater ease around specific life issues.

Sessions last between 60-90 minutes as the client receives the gentle touch on the points allowing a release of old electromagnetic charges. Clients report feeling deeply relaxed and notice changes in outlooks, behaviors and thinking. Many feel lighter and clearer after receiving Access Bars.

Access Bars can only be practiced by certified practitioners. Certification requires taking a 16-18 hour class from an Access Consciousness certified facilitator. In the class, participants learn the points and how to administer Access Bars as well as receiving sessions themselves.


There are a variety of energy work methods that aim to promote healing, reduce stress, and bring more balance and harmony to mind, body, and spirit. Some of the key methods explored in this article include Reiki, crystal healing, sound healing, EFT, Healing Touch, Qi Gong, Polarity Therapy, and Access Bars.

Each energy work approach has its own techniques, though most work to restore and promote the proper flow of energy throughout the body. When choosing an energy work method, consider your comfort level with different modalities, the experience and qualifications of the practitioner, as well as your personal preferences, beliefs, and what you hope to get from the treatment.

Practices like energy healing, Reiki, Healing Touch, Qi Gong and others have shown benefits for reducing anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain levels and more. They are considered generally safe and non-invasive. As more research is conducted on energy medicine, we continue to gain a better understanding of how these practices support health and wellness.

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