What is “Intention”?

Intention is a thought, emotion, or goal the healer is trying to transfer to and achieve in the patient.

How is it done?

The most important element is the mind of the healer, but depending on the situation can also be the gods, the cosmos, the universe, or an energy element. The healer uses his mental strength to control the element or just his thoughts to aid achieving the desired outcome. With total and complete focus on the result he’s looking for, he concentrates on bringing that to the patient.

The Medium through which Intention is conveyed

Depending on the healer and his practice, the medium may be

  • acupuncture needles and manipulations,
  • herbs,
  • plants/leaves,
  • a stick for drawing sacred symbols,
  • hands,
  • oil, or
  • just mind-controlled energy.
Applications of Intention in Healing

In Balinese healing, the use of intention is a key element in treatment. Balinese healers rely heavily on thinking of the desired outcome (such as healing, restoring balance, moving energy blockages, etc). They use the power of intention when choosing and picking herbs or plants for the patient, when drawing sacred symbols, when moving their hands over the body, etc. It is not just for them to focus their mind on the goal, but a Balian is also trying to bring the gods and/or a Balinese concept known as the “Four Siblings” to help them in healing the patient. Because these elements exist beyond the physical realm, with the power of intention they can be called in to work for the benefit of the patient. (Intention, specifically good intention, is very important in Balinese healing, because someone who practices Black Magic can just as easily use intention for sinister purposes.)

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) also draws on the power of intention. Observing one of the TCM clinical doctors insert and manipulate the needle, I asked how the needle knows whether it is supposed to reduce, strengthen, aid weight loss, fix a joint, balance hormones, etc.  He told me that among other things, including point selection, pattern of needle insertion, and manipulation techniques, the key element is intention.  The doctor’s goal is drawn from his thoughts, transferred down through his arm, into the needle on insertion, and conveyed to the patient’s body with the manipulation. Thus the TCM doctor uses the power of intention when performing acupuncture.

I suspect this is also how reiki works at some level, though to be honest I’m not familiar with the practice.


For those who live very much in the physical realm, the idea of the metaphysical realm including God(s) and 1 person’s thoughts aiding our healing can seem a bit out there. I definitely understand your unease with the concept–it can be a hard one to accept. You can think of it like “The Law of Attraction” or visualizing a distant possible reality. It is one of those ‘leaps of faith’ you either take or you don’t.

But they say, one of the keys to the cure is the belief you can be cured.