What is Therapeutic Touch?
TT is a contemporary healing modality drawn from ancient practices and developed by Dora Kunz and Dolores Krieger. It evolved in the 1970s, at New York University Hospital. Nurses were getting remarkable results by treating patients with Therapeutic Touch, and interest spread quickly.
The practice is based on the assumptions that human beings are complex fields of energy, and that the ability to enhance healing in another is a natural potential. It involves the transfer of healing energy from the hands of the practitioner to the client; however, it can be done without any actual touch, making it an ideal treatment for use with hospital patients or others for whom touch is not an option.The practitioner can facilitate the flow of energy by moving her hands just a few inches over the body (non-touch), or by lightly stroking arms, legs and back, or gently holding large joints like shoulders, knees, etc.
Treatments are always done with the patient fully clothed, in a chair, bed or on a massage table. The Therapeutic Touch Practitioner first gives you a brief description of what the treatment entails. Permission to touch (or not) is discussed. Then, the practitioner consciously facilitates the flow of energy using her hands as the focus, promoting healing. This elicits the body’s natural relaxation response in about three minutes, which helps the body reduce anxiety and the perception of pain. Heart rate decreases, blood pressure normalizes, oxygenation of cells increases. Therapeutic Touch stimulates the autonomic and parasympathetic nervous systems, the lymphatic and circulatory systems, releases endorphins and fosters better functioning of the central nervous system as well as faster healing of damaged tissue.
If you are stressed or in pain, TT will dissipate that congestion out of your energetic field, so that all your systems are balanced and running smoothly again. Rather than focusing on curing a condition, Therapeutic Touch stimulates the body’s natural healing process. It is a holistic approach that aims to restore the wholeness of body-mind-spirit.
Studies and research have shown that Therapeutic Touch can alter the perception of pain, induce profound relaxation, promote rest and sleep, lessen anxiety and accelerate the healing of wounds. When done by couples, particularly during pregnancy, it increases the family bond, is extremely helpful in easing labor pains and helps to increase milk flow after delivery. It also works wonderfully to sooth colicky babies.
Therapeutic Touch has become a widely accepted form of alternative therapy in hospitals and other health agencies, and with good reason. It is great for any situation that makes you feel less than wonderful: before surgery, after surgery, during times of illness or other types of stress. In fact, Therapeutic Touch has been shown to increase peace in terminally ill patients, who have reported a post-Therapeutic Touch decrease in their fear of transitioning–which is why palliative care and hospice nurses find Therapeutic Touch so helpful.