One of the questions that comes up often is whether people need to believe in healing for it to have a positive effect. If that were the case, it would be very easy to classify Energy Healing as a placebo. The answer is no, but it helps if they are willing to consider the possibility that it might work. It's hard to heal someone who outright rejects it. Skeptical clients give the healer just enough leeway.
A client has to be willing to accept healing, whether or not they believe it actually works. On some level they will benefit, even if it's not apparent in the first instance. The healing might not be physical, so its important to be clear about expectations. The goal of healing is not to cure physical symptoms. I recently read a few posts on a science blog called Science Based Medicine. It was created by a group of doctors who spend their time debunking complementary therapies like healing, acupuncture and natural remedies. The often use phrases like "an elaborate placebo" when they talk about energy healing. I think the disconnect lies with the outcome we each want to achieve. Doctors work with the physical body and their main objective is to manage symptoms and treat diseases. Their work requires extensive skill and expertise, though it can be one dimensional if we think of the mind-body-spirit as three aspects in an individual's life.
Energy Healing is said to work on four levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. There isn't a priority when it comes to energy healing, so the change may happen on any of these. One of the things I like about energy healing, is that it can involve asking what the illness means symbolically. What can they learn from the illness? The physical symptom will give us a clue about what that lesson is.
Let's illustrate the point with the example of diabetes in a client. The healer's goal is not to cure or manage diabetes, they should be seeing a doctor for this. The energy healer will think about what diabetes means in the client's life. How are the pancreas and the heart affected on an emotional level? They might have trouble balancing their career ambitions with their personal life. When we have a loving personal relationships, life is sweet. If that natural sweetness is consistently denied, a person might overcompensate with sugary foods that push their insulin level through the roof. Energy Healing addresses that internal clash between happiness, and ego driven ambition. Through the healing, the client might see their life in a new light. This facilitates the healing process, though it may not have an effect on the body. People who want to classify energy healing as a placebo are only looking at one aspect of human existence: the physical level.
I'm not sure how you would even go about measuring mental, emotional or spiritual healing. Psychologists have practice with the mental and emotional side. Would it be possible to quantify the effect on the energy body; for example, how would you document an aura cleansing or a chakra clearing? And if you capture the energy flow on film, say with an MRI, what does that mean for the person's biology? I find all of this fascinating. Individual clients may report sensations during a healing session, but what actually happens to their energy?