“Jackie makes me feel better,” she said. “Whatever she’s
Healing Touch is based on a theory that a universal
life force flows through the human body. This energy is
recognized by many traditional cultures and goes by names
that include chi in Chinese, qi in Japanese, and prana in
Sanskrit. Healing Touch, developed by nurse Janet Mentgen
and launched as a formal program in 1989, uses techniques
to rebalance and support this energy. Today medical centers,
nursing homes, and hospice and chaplaincy settings around
the world offer it to patients. Research has found Healing
Touch can help lessen tension and anxiety, reduce the
need for pain medication, increase the immune response,
promote wound healing, and trigger a sense of relaxation.
And it has no harmful side effects. In both medicine and
religion, that’s a huge advantage.
A year after Jackie’s arrival, All Saints sponsored its first
Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry workshop, and then
another, and another. A team of people was trained and we
set up a room dedicated to Healing Touch. Once a month,
we offered a clinic open to the community.
Healing Touch intrigued me from the first time Jackie
mentioned it to me. Part of my interest came from a
physiological quirk that I’d noticed years before: If I
concentrated, I could usually make my hands grow warm.
When Jackie talked about channeling energy through her
hands, I wondered if I could do something similar.
Jackie gave me an enthusiastic affirmation. “Lori, you’re a
natural healer—I can feel it,” she told me, holding my hands
in hers. “God has given you an incredible gift. Use it.”
I felt a little less like an Exalted Chosen One after hearing
Jackie give this same speech to dozens of other people,
each of whom lit up at her words.
“Okay, Jackie, level with me,” I finally asked her. “Is
there anyone who’s not chosen by God to be a healer?”
“Probably,” she said. “I just haven’t met them.”
CHAKRAS IN A CHURCH
I’m standing in a small room at All Saints, my
hands lightly touching a woman lying before
me on a massage table. In one sense, what I’m
doing is a natural human response to someone
in pain—touch. Think of the way we place
a hand on someone’s arm when they’re
hurting, for example, or cuddle a crying
baby close. Research shows that a simple
touch can slow breathing, reduce blood
pressure, and calm stress hormones. It’s
our first sense, developing early in the
maturation of a fetus, and often the last sense to leave us as
Looked at through another lens, my actions are entirely
in sync with Christian teachings, for laying-on-of-hands
for healing has been part of the Church for many centuries.
In this worldview, the energy being channeled is God’s
grace and blessing, and as a Healing Touch practitioner
I’m following one of the commands given by Jesus to his
followers: Go forth in my name and heal.
Healing stories fill the Bible, and the early Christian
churches sheltered and cared for the sick, which is part
of why the new communities attracted so many converts.
During the Middle Ages, monasteries often functioned as
hospitals, with monks skilled in herbal arts treating the
poor. Only later did spirituality and medicine separate,
with healing becoming the sole responsibility of people
in white coats.
In my own small way, as I worked in the healing
room at All Saints I was part of a revolution in medicine
because growing numbers of people are realizing that
spirituality can play an essential role in helping those who
are ill. When people’s bodies suffer, so do their minds and
souls—and standard medical care is often insufficient to
give them what they need.
I became adept at shifting my vocabulary depending upon
my audience. If those seeking healing weren’t religious, I
talked about energy centers and the mind/body connection.
If they were Christians who didn’t know a chakra from a
chipmunk, I spoke about the power of prayer in healing and
invited them to visualize God’s blessings flowing into them
during the session. It didn’t make any difference what words
I used—the process was the same.
IT’S NOT ABOUT
YOU. IT’S ABOUT
BEING A CLEAR