This treatment modality is thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health. Therapeutic touch should be used with, not in place of, standard cancer therapy.
What does therapeutic touch involve?
Therapeutic touch is based on the idea that a life force, or vital energy, within the body is essential to good health. Therapeutic touch, a popular therapy in the U.S., manipulates this life force to remove blockages in the patient's vital energy. Most commonly practiced by nurses, therapeutic touch involves the sweeping of hands down the patient's body to smooth energy fields and eliminate blockages. Sessions typically last about thirty minutes and consist of four parts: Centering, assessment, unruffling and energy transfer. Despite what the name implies, therapeutic touch does not call for actually touching the patient's body.
How is therapeutic touch thought to promote wellness and optimize overall health?
Proponents believe that therapeutic touch removes blockages and stagnant, harmful energy in the patient's energy fields. The absence of free flowing energy or the presence of harmful energy is believed to cause pain, illness and disease. The practitioner is thought to serve as a channel of life energy by transferring his/her own excess healthy energy to the patient. Patients have reported they feel more relaxed, less stressed and have lessened pain after therapeutic touch. The American Cancer Society reports that the "simple presence of a person who is interested in helping can promote relaxation” and lowers anxiety. This can help a patient feel better, promote wellness and improve health. Supporters also report therapeutic touch can alter enzyme activity, increase hemoglobin levels, reduce fever and speed the healing of wounds.
What has been proven about the benefits of therapeutic touch?
The existence of a life force has never been proven through scientific studies, but it is certainly possible that therapeutic touch works through a placebo effect (see Appendix E). Whatever the explanation is behind the benefit of therapeutic touch, a number of studies have documented genuine improvements in patients following therapeutic touch. In addition, there are many patient testimonials that describe positive results using therapeutic touch. Therapeutic touch should not be expected to cure cancer, but it can be used in relieving anxiety and stress cancer patients experience.
What is the potential risk or harm of therapeutic touch?
There are no medical conditions that preclude patients from the use of therapeutic touch. It is a safe, non-toxic therapeutic alternative.
How much does therapeutic touch cost?
Costs vary with the practitioner. Several hospitals offer therapeutic touch at no charge to their patients.
For additional information:
Nurse Healers Professional Associates International
3760 South Highland Drive, Suite 429
Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Telephone: (801) 273-3399
Web site: www.therapeutic-touch.org
Note: Information about therapies is intended to help you make informed choices, not to endorse any particular therapy. The information is courtesy of "Integrating Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer Patients," a handbook written as an independent study project by Heather Morein. For more information, see the full text of the handbook (PDF), including all references and appendices.