What Does Healing Mean?

The word healing is in the name of my business. Healing is part of my Reiki practice. But what does it mean to heal? What does healing actually look like? It may not be what you think it is.


Marisa Fanelli, acupuncturist, hypnotist, and founder of Healing Point Therapeutics, recently brought up these same questions in a Facebook group she runs for holistic entrepreneurs. The conversation was around language we use that can confuse people outside of our professional bubbles.

Marisa brought up healing as a word that’s used so much that its meaning has become unclear and diluted. That point and the conversation around it stirred up so much passion in me that I just had to blog about it. So here you go.

The Many Formal Definitions of Healing

If you look up the formal definition of healing in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you’ll see that it can mean many things. Each definition has its own nuances. Here are a few of them:

  • To make free from injury or disease : to make sound or whole

  • To cause an undesirable condition to be overcome

  • To restore to original purity or integrity

None of those definitions really explain healing in a way that encompasses everything it means to me personally and professionally. Honestly, I’d go so far as to say that some of these definitions are downright inaccurate (yep — this is a professional editor calling b.s. on the dictionary.)

My Definition of Healing

So here’s my definition of healing. I think it’s important to give it with the caveat that it’s not just my original thoughts. It’s a definition that’s been influenced by everything I’ve read and learned and experienced so far as a Reiki practitioner (and as a person):

Healing is the process of returning to ourselves and our natural state of wellbeing—one where our mind, body, and spirit are aligned. It’s not linear, and it never truly ends. It’s an ongoing process.

We can encourage our own healing by taking up practices that restore balance to our bodies, minds, and spirits. (Reiki is one of the ways we can do this.)

Healing is also a process that we must actively participate in and continually do.

It’s also important to cover what I believe healing is NOT:

Healing is not the same as a cure, although it can be done with or without a cure as a result.

It’s also not a one-and-done solution, and the aim is not to “fix” ourselves or someone else.

This brings me to another point:

Healers Aren’t Really Healing You

Don’t worry—it’s not as scandalous as it sounds.

What I mean is that you’re actually healing yourself during a healing session. Pretty cool, right?

You may have read or heard the phrase “healing is an inside job.”

I’ve read it a lot, and I don’t know who originally said it. Most recently, I read it in Donna Eden’s book, “Energy Medicine.” But my point here is that the sentiment is absolutely correct.

I don’t use the word “healer” to describe myself because I know that I’m not the one who’s actually doing the healing during a session. I think of my job as facilitating your healing or helping to bring about the right conditions for your natural healing response to kick in. I’m holding space for you so that you can heal yourself.

So...What Does Healing Look Like?

Evidence of healing can take many forms. Here are some of the ways that healing shows up in my Reiki clients:

  • Going from feeling stuck to feeling empowered to move out of a situation, whether it be a job situation, a friendship or romantic relationship, or a negative mindset.

  • Going from feeling anxious and tense to feeling relaxed, grounded and centered

  • Going from feeling drained and tired to feeling energetic and refreshed

  • Going from feeling uninspired and creatively blocked to feeling inspired and full of ideas

These examples are just scratching the surface. They’re just some of the many ways that we see evidence of healing. What it looks like can be different for every person and every situation.

If you want to see what healing looks like for you, then I’d be honored to help facilitate that through a Reiki session.

Olivia LaBarre

My mission is to help people of all walks of life feel better and heal through the safe and gentle practice of Reiki. I welcome all people to my practice, regardless of background, ability, gender, size, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, age or class. My approach is compassionate and practical, and my goal for each session is to make sure you leave feeling better than when you came in.