Healing Touch is an "energy therapy" that uses gentle hand techniques thought to help re-pattern the patient's energy field and accelerate healing of the body, mind, and spirit.
Healing Touch is based on the belief that human beings are fields of energy that are in constant interaction with others and the environment . The goal of Healing Touch is to purposefully use the energetic interaction between the Healing Touch practitioner and the patient to restore harmony to the patient's energy system.
In a Healing Touch session, the practitioner begins with a centering process to calm the mind, access a sense of compassion, and become fully present with the patient. The practitioner then focuses intention on the patient's highest good and places his or her hands lightly on the patient's body or makes sweeping hands motions above the body.
Healing Touch practitioners believe that this process balances and realigns energy flow that has been disrupted by stress , pain, or illness. The process eliminates blockages in the energy field so that the patient is in an optimal state for healing to occur.
Healing Touch complements other healing techniques a patient may already be using, including conventional medical practice in hospitals, clinics and in-home care, or other body-mind oriented therapies such as massage , guided imagery , music therapy , acupressure, biofeedback , and psychotherapy. It is not intended as a cure.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine  (NCCAM), this category of complementary therapies involves the use of various types of energy fields. In general, the goal of energy therapies is to bring energy into the patient or balance the energy within a patient.
There are many kinds of energy therapies, some which use treatments such as light, sound, and magnets. These treatments are relatively easy to measure. Other kinds of energy therapies, such as Healing Touch, Reiki , Qigong , and therapeutic touch , are "intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body." These therapies cannot be as easily measured or researched.
Even though the results of these therapies have not been measured quantitatively in a reliable way, some new instruments, such as the superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) are showing promise for research with energy therapies.
Moreover, and importantly, many of the techniques used in energy therapies come from practices in shamanistic  and Asian traditions with thousands of years of use. For example, more than 2,000 years ago, Asian healers believed that the flow and balance of life energies were important in maintaining health, and that illnesses were due to energy imbalances. They developed therapies and practices, such as acupuncture , yoga , and Qigong  to correct these imbalances. Modern energy therapies such as Healing Touch are based on the same principles.
Healing Touch was developed as a touch therapy program by Janet Mentgen, a nurse who has used energy-based care in her practice in Colorado since 1980. Mentgen and some of her colleagues developed a training program that incorporated the techniques of many well-known healers, as well as concepts borrowed from ancient shamanic and aboriginal healing traditions.
An evolving Healing Touch curriculum supports students in broadening and deepening their skills as energy healers as they move from the beginner to advanced level.