The intent of Therapeutic Touch is to restore the whole person-body, mind and spirit-in the direction of health and healing. Therapeutic Touch is a contemporary adaptation of several ancient healing practices in which the practitioner intentionally and consciously interacts from a place of centered awareness with compassion, through the use of the hands in noncontact or light touch, with the life-force energy of another to facilitate, promote and enhance healing. It is adapted from the healing practice of laying on of hands and from the established practices of Eastern medicine, though not based on any religion or faith.
Therapeutic Touch concepts are supported by modern theories in psychoneuroimmunology and quantum physics. Dolores Krieger, R.N., Ph.D., a nurse educator at New York University, and Dora Kunz, a natural and gifted healer, developed Therapeutic Touch in 1972. They believed it to be a tool nurses and other health professionals could use to help patients. Most people who attend workshops can learn the basics of the Krieger-Kunz method of Therapeutic Touch fairly quickly, then improve and fine-tune skills and abilities with continued practice.
Therapeutic Touch may be used alone or in conjunction with traditional therapies for chronic and acute conditions, including: pain relief and management; wound healing; hypertension; anxiety and stress relief; depression or grief; immune system disorders, such as AIDS, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome; and reduction of side effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatment in cancer patients.
Research and experience in using Therapeutic Touch has demonstrated that a relaxation response occurs, anxiety is reduced and the stress symptom cycle may be interrupted. The autonomic nervous system, lymphatic and circulatory systems are sensitive to and respond well to Therapeutic Touch, as do the genitourinary and musculoskeletal systems, according to Dolores Krieger in her book, Therapeutic Touch as Transpersonal Healing.
Therapeutic Touch readily interfaces with massage, shiatsu, acupuncture, aromatherapy, Trager work and chiropractic, and may also be used in conjunction with music, guided imagery and meditation. It is a complementary holistic modality intended to be used as an adjunct to traditional therapies, not as a substitute for them. Therapeutic Touch can enhance the body's natural healing, facilitate more rapid healing from illness or injury, promote health and prevent health-related complications.
Therapeutic Touch is a recognized nursing intervention and has been taught in more than 100 colleges and universities in the U.S. and in more than 75 countries, according to Dolores Krieger in her book, Accepting your Power to Heal: The Personal Practice of Therapeutic Touch. Nurses, massage therapists, physical therapists, counselors and other health-care practitioners who have learned this method utilize it in a variety of health care settings and in hospice.
The Therapeutic Touch therapist reviews the needs of the client prior to a session. A partnership is created and a plan for healing evolves between the therapist and client. The session begins with the therapist centering herself. During the session, the therapist remains centered and attuned to the cues within the client's energy field that surrounds and flows throughout the body.
The therapist meditatively and intentionally moves her hands several inches from the body to assess the entire energy field for cues. The client remains fully clothed, seated in a chair or lying on a massage table or hospital bed. Based on the cues found, with intention for restoring order and harmony, the therapist clears congested energy, redirects energy flow and offers energy to depleted areas, then reassesses and clears any further deficits until the energy flows evenly and openly.
A session may last from 10 to 30 minutes. Clients report the experience as one of overall calm, relaxation and an increased sense of well-being. Throughout the session, the therapist draws on the universal healing field, so rather than feeling depleted of her own energy, the therapist feels replenished at the end of the session.
The process of healing-meaning to become whole-is an innate ability in every human being to integrate and balance the body, mind and spirit. In Therapeutic Touch, healing is not something a therapist does to the client, but rather it is means of facilitating the natural healing abilities within that person. It is a process of moving toward order, and is a deep response that affirms the integrity of body, mind and spirit, freeing one from a sense of fragmentation.