Energy healing relies on a belief in the ability of a practitioner to channel healing energy into the person seeking help by different methods: hands-on, hands-off, and distant where the patient and healer are in different locations. The Brockhampton Guide to Spiritual Healing describes contact healing in terms of "transfer of ... healing energy" and distant healing based on visualizing the patient in perfect health. Practitioners say that this "healing energy" is sometimes perceived by the therapist as a feeling of heat.
There are various schools of energy healing, including biofield energy healing, spiritual healing, contact healing, distant healing, therapeutic touch, Reiki, Qigong, and many others.
Spiritual healing is largely non-denominational; traditional religious faith is not seen as a prerequisite for effecting a cure. Faith healing, by contrast, takes place within a religious context. The Buddha is often quoted by practitioners of energy medicine, but he did not practice "hands on or off" healing.
Energy healing techniques such as Therapeutic touch have found recognition in the nursing profession. In 2005-2006, the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association approved the diagnosis of "energy field disturbance" in patients, reflective of what has been variously called a "postmodern" or "anti-scientific" approach to nursing care. This approach has been strongly criticized.
Believers in these techniques have proposed quantum mystical invocations of non-locality to try to explain distant healing. They have also proposed that healers act as a channel passing on a kind of bioelectromagnetic which shares similarities to vitality pseudoscience’s such as orgone or qi. Drew Leder remarked in a paper in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that such ideas were attempts to "make sense of, interpret, and explore 'psi' and distant healing." and that "such physics-based models are not presented as explanatory but rather as suggestive." Beverly Rubik, in an article in the same journal, justified her belief with references to biophysical systems theory, bio electromagnetics, and chaos theory that provide her with a "...scientific foundation for the biofield..." Writing in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, James Oschman introduced the concept of healer-sourced electromagnetic fields which change in frequency. Oschman believes that "healing energy" derives from electromagnetic frequencies generated by a medical device, projected from the hands of the healer, or by electrons acting as antioxidants.