- Complementary Health Practices
What is Therapeutic Touch?
Therapeutic Touch is a type of energy medicine in which the practitioner uses his or her hands to sense and correct energy imbalances in the body. While the name implies a physical touching, the practitioner actually rests his or her hands about 2-6 inches above the body and moves them up and down the body to look for energy blockages.
Therapeutic Touch is a fairly recent approach to an ancient technique. It is based on the practice of “laying on of hands,” a historically religious way of communicating a spiritual energy. However, Therapeutic Touch does not stem from one religious faith in particular, and it is not necessary to be religious to either give or receive the therapy.
What is the history of Therapeutic Touch?
Dr. Dolores Krieger, a nursing professor at New York University, and a healer named Dora Kunz created Therapeutic Touch in the 1960s-70s as a way to establish a more personal relationship between nurses and patients.
Dr. Krieger learned the technique from Kunz, and began teaching it as Therapeutic Touch to her graduate students. Through her teaching and writing, the therapy gre I popularity, particularly among nurses, and is now practiced at hospitals and health centers all around the world.
What are the principles behind therapeutic touch?
Practitioners believe that there is an energy field that surrounds the body. When this energy field is out of balance, health is affected and disease occurs. By moving his or her hands over the body, practitioners are able to sense imbalances and blockages in the energy field and work to correct them by sending positive energy to the affected area.
What happens during a session?
Sessions usually last around 10-15 minutes and consist of four steps.
First, the practitioner centers him or herself in order to relax and focus on the therapy.
Second, he or she will check for imbalances and blockages in the energy field by placing his or her hands 2-6 above the body and moving up and down the length of the body. Once a blockage or imbalance is found, he or she will either "unruffle" the blockage by moving the hands in a rhythmic motion until the blockage is gone, and/or send positive energy through the hands to the body.
The final step is an evaluation of the session to make sure nothing was missed, and that the client is feeling good.
What are the benefits of therapeutic touch?
While little in the way of scientific research exists on Therapeutic Touch, studies carried out by practitioners show that the therapy maybe useful for treating stress-related conditions, boosting the immune system, relieving pain, healing wounds and increasing the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to through the body.
Where can I find a practitioner?
Therapeutic Touch is mostly used by nurses and can be found in hospitals, healthcare centers and clinics. Some acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists also use the therapy.
There is no formal certification process by which Therapeutic Touch practitioners are licensed, and the Nurse Healers-Professional Associates International suggests that you look for someone who practices regularly, has completed at least 12 hours of training in Therapeutic Touch, and has been practicing for a minimum of five years.
Encyclopedia of Healing Therapies by Anne Woodham and Dr. David Peters.
Alternative Healing: The Complete A-Z Guide to more than 150 Alternative Therapies by Mark Kastner, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., and Hugh Burroughs. Henry Holt and Company: 1996.
The Consumer's Guide to Alternative Healthcare by Craig Clayton and Virginia McCullough. Adams Publishing, MA; 1995.
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