Therapeutic Touch

Definition
Therapeutic touch, or TT, is a noninvasive method of healing that was derived from an ancient laying—on of hands technique. In TT, the practitioner alters the patient's energy field through an energy transfer that moves from the hands of the practitioner to the patient.

Origins
Therapeutic touch was developed in 1972 by Dora Kunz, a psychic healer, and Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N, a nurse and professor of nursing at New York University. The year before, in 1971, when Krieger was working as a registered nurse in a hospital, she became very frustrated when one of her patients, a 30-year-old female, lay dying from a gallbladder condition. In desperation, she tried what she was learning from Kunz. Within one treatment, the patient's condition began to shift and she lived, surprising the other hospital staff. Krieger and Kunz met during the study of Oskar Estebany, a world—renowned healer. They had invited Estebany to form a study for three years, observing his work with patients. In this study, Estebany practiced laying —on of hands healing on various patients. Using her psychic and intuitive abilities, Kunz would observe and assist in the healing, while Krieger recorded the activities of the healing session and created profiles of the patients. As the study progressed, Kunz began teaching Krieger how to heal, based on her perceptions of Estebany's healing techniques. During her research of ancient healing methods, Krieger concluded that the energy transfer between the healer and the healee that takes place in a TT session is prana, an Eastern Indian concept representing energy, vitality, and vigor. Krieger then combined her research with Kunz's techniques to create TT. TT was initially developed for persons in the health professions, but is currently taught worldwide to anyone who is interested in learning the technique. As of 1998, an estimated 100,000 people around the world have been trained in TT; 43,000 of those persons are health care professionals, many of whom use TT in conjunction with traditional medicine, as well as osteopathic, chiropractic, naturopathic, and homeopathic therapies. TT is taught in over 100 colleges, universities, and medical schools.

Benefits
The major effects of TT are relaxation, pain reduction, accelerated healing, and alleviation of psychosomatic symptoms. Studies have shown that TT has a beneficial effect on the blood as it has the ability to raise hemoglobin values. It also affects brain waves to induce a relaxed state. TT can induce the relaxation response often within five minutes. Krieger has said that it is not individual illnesses that validate the effectiveness of TT, but rather, it is questioned which systems are most sensitive to TT. She and others have found that the most sensitive is the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which, for example, controls urination. The ANS is followed by dysfunctions of lymphatic and circulatory systems, and then finally musculoskeletal systems. In addition, the female endocrine system is more sensitive to TT than the corresponding male system. Thus, TT helps withdysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, problems with contraception, and the course of pregnancy. TT is reported to have a positive effect on the immune system and thus accelerates the healing of wounds. Nurses use therapeutic touch in operating rooms to relax patients before surgery and in recovery rooms on postoperative patients to help speed the healing process. TT is used in the treatment of terminally ill patients, such as those with cancer and autoimmune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), to relieve anxiety and stress, create peace of mind, and reduce pain. Many nurses use TT in the nursery. The conditions of many premature babies who received TT reportedly improved rapidly. TT has been used to calm colicky infants, assist women in childbirth, and increase milk let-down in breast-feeding mothers. Other claims of TT include relief of acute pain, nausea, diarrhea, tension and migraine headaches, fever, and joint and tissue swelling. TT has been used to treat thyroid imbalances, ulcers, psychosomatic illnesses,premenstrual syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, stroke and coma, multiple sclerosis, measles, infections,asthma, and bone and muscle injuries. Therapeutic touch is performed in many different locations, including healing centers, delivery rooms, hospitals, hospice settings, accident scenes, homes, and schools.

and the acceleration of the healing process. pressure. blood pressure. mock therapeutic touch. The second step involves the assessment of the person's vital energy field. TT may reduce tension headaches. massage. heaviness. the patients were treated with therapeutic touch. For six weeks. and has noted that the following changes occur in a patient after short. The practitioner might feel heat. During the next phase. and anxiety. and insomnia. there is generally no touching of the physical body. or increasing anxiety and pain. During this step. In short. although little quantitative research has been carried out. The practitioner relies on a universal source of energy so as not to deplete his/her own supply. Side effects The side effects reported occur when an excess of energy enters the body for an extended period of time creating restlessness. generally two to three minutes at a time. asthma. and yoga. In 1998. the practitioner acts as a conduit to transfer energy to the patient." Therapeutic touch can be combined with a number of different therapies. These cues. several inches to several feet from the body. physical therapy. The practitioner then smoothes the field to balance the energy and create a symmetrical flow. The human body extends an energy field. and soothes the spirit. The TT session generally lasts about 20-30 minutes. Each session consists of five steps. When illness occurs. This is known as the unruffling process and is generally performed from head to feet. Research and general acceptance Therapeutic touch is not generally accepted by Western medical professionals. Dolores Krieger has performed extensive research on TT. back pain. the results showed that the group who had received TT had "significantly decreased pain and improved function as compared with both the placebo and control groups. it creates a disturbance or blockage in the vital energy field. a study was performed on 27 patients with osteoarthritis in at least one knee. The principle behind it is that it does not stop at the skin. stress-related problems. or aura. including acupressure. the practitioner enters a state of quietmeditation in which he/she becomes centered and grounded in order to establish intent for the healing session and to garner the compassion necessary to heal. When combined with massage and physiotherapy. The other half received no treatment. the journal who published the study. Although the name is therapeutic touch. In a series of gentle strokes. the practitioner then performs a series of downward sweeping movements to clear away any energy congestion and smooth the energy field. each signal a blockage or disturbance in the field. The energy used is not solely the energy of the practitioner. and constipation. To remove these blockages and restore balance to the body. irritability. and it is recommended that TT be performed on burned tissue for short periods. . circulatory problems. Burns are sensitive to therapeutic touch. It is usually performed on fully clothed patients who are either lying down on a flat surface or sitting up in a chair. only the energetic body or field.Description Therapeutic touch treats the whole person: relaxes the mind. or standard care. heals the body. It began as the basis of Dolores Krieger's postdoctoral research. including with pregnant women. Yoga and TT may be beneficial in the treatment of bronchitis. One study was created to determine the effect TT would have on wounds that resulted from a biopsy of the upper arm. the healer removes the disturbance and rebalances the energy to restore health. According to The Journal of Family Practice. fatigue. digestive disorders. Shiatsu and TT may help sinusitis. The wounds treated with TT healed more quickly than the wounds that received no treatment. consistent treatment: relaxation within the first five minutes of a session. mental imagery. It is based on a theory derived from formal research. Before the session begins. Twenty-two of them received TT on their arms. The TT practitioner uses her/his hands to sense the blockage or disturbance. Forty-four patients placed their injured arms through a hole in a door. or a prickly or tingling sensation. When the session is over. Basic and anecdotal research has been performed on TT since its development in 1972. gentle strokes beginning at the head and moving toward the feet. the healer acts as an energy support system until the patient's immune system is able to take over. menstrual difficulties. a reduction of pain. as they are called. coolness. and hostility. the practitioner shakes his/her hands after each stroke. the practitioner places the palms of his/her hands 2-3 in (5-8 cm) from the patient's body and sweeps them over the energy field in slow. To prevent any energy from clinging to him/her. it is recommended that the patient relax for 10-15 minutes in order for the energies to stabilize. muscle cramps.

so most health care professionals are covered under the state medical practice act. nhpai@therapeutic-touch. and in Poland. In general.therapeutic-touch. State laws vary regarding the practice of TT. Highland Dr.org. and holistic schools.TT is practiced in over 70 countries worldwide: by Egyptians and Israelis during fighting in the Gaza Strip. Therapeutic touch is considered an extension of health care skills. Although it was developed primarily for nurses. UT 84106. The American Nurse's Association often holds workshops on TT at national conventions. 3760 S. healing clinics. anyone can learn TT. the Official Organization of Therapeutic Touch. and the former Soviet Union. laypersons are allowed to practice TT within their families. Training and certification Therapeutic touch is taught at over 100 universities and nursing and medical schools around the United States and Canada. Therapeutic touch classes are often held for the general public through community education. Thailand. Resources Other The Nurse Healers Professional Associates International (NH-PAI). Salt Lake City. (801) 273-3399.org.http://www. in South Africa to reduce racial strife. . Many hospitals have established policies allowing nurses and staff to perform TT on patients at no extra charge.