Basis of Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch
by Ron Kurtus (7 July 2002)
Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch are forms of therapy and complementary health aid that involves adjusting a human energy field in the patient to enhance relaxation, ease pain and promote healing. The method is based on five principles.
There are arguments against the validity of these principles, as well as success stories.
Questions you may have include:
- What are the five principles?
- What are arguments against the process?
- Does it really work?
This lesson will answer those questions. Health Disclaimer
The five principles that are the basis of Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch are:
1. Human energy field
Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch are based on the belief that that humans and animals possess an energy field that permeates the body and extends beyond it. The energy fields especially emanate from seven areas, called chakras, based on ancient practices from India.
2. Effects of energy field
Disease, illness, injury or discomfort show up as changes or differences in the energy field. Eliminating these differences can relieve discomfort and aid in the healing process.
People can be trained to perceive the energy field of others and thus determine problem areas in the patient. The intention of the practitioner is important in perception. Often the motion of a pendulum over chakra areas is used to indicate the state of the energy field.
4. Changing field
A trained practitioner can manipulate the energy field to relieve discomfort and promote healing. The intention of the practitioner is important in affecting the field.
5. Using hands
The practitioner's hands are used to perceive and change the energy fields. A pendulum held in the hand is often used to indicate the state of the energy field at the chakra areas.
The treatment involved in reflexology consists of massage and pressure on areas of the feet. Sometimes the hands or even the ears are also treated.
There are been no measurements of the human energy field with conventional devices. Use of a pendulum to indicate the state of an energy field is subject to subconscious movements by the practitioner.
In 1996, an 11-year old girl--Emily Rosa--performed an experiment that challenged the basis of the human energy field by checking if Therapeutic Touch practitioners could sense which hand Emily's hand hovered over, when the practitioner was shielded from visual contact.
A total of 21 practitioners were tested, having a little better than a 50% success rate. The results of this experiment were published in the respected Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Emily received widespread media coverage from this experiment.
Although the traditional medical community relished in the results, something about the experiment, the fact that an 11-year old could get 21 practitioners to comply and then get published in the JAMA, seems fishy. I would prefer to see the results of a controlled scientific experiment before jumping to conclusions on this one.
Trained Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch practitioners seem to be able to sense differences in human energy fields, and patients claim to be relaxed and have reduced stress after a touch session.
Although stress reduction can help the healing process, it is uncertain whether Therapeutic or Healing Touch can actually enhance healing.
Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch involve adjusting a human energy field to enhance relaxation, ease pain and promote healing. The method is based on five principles. The "Emily Experiment" is the strongest argument against the validity of these principles, but there have also been numerous success stories.
Relax and be healthy
Resources and references
There are Web sites both for and against Therapeutic Touch or Healing Touch.
Therapeutic Touch: Healing Therapy or Hoax? - Discussion from ReligiousTolerance.org
Therapeutic Touch - Skeptic's Dictionary evaluation of TT
Therapeutic Touch - Negative view from Quackwatch.com
Healing Touch by Dorothea Hover, Kramer Thomson Delmar Learning (2001) $28.95 - A Guide Book for Practitioners
Healing Touch by Suzanne Franzen, Southwater (2001) $12.95
Questions and comments
Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
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