What Is Therapeutic Touch?
The concept of Therapeutic Touch was developed by Dora Kuntz, former president of the Theosophical Society of America and Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N., nursing educator at New York University in the 1970s. It is also called as Non-Contact Therapeutic Touch (NCTT) or Distance Healing. It stresses the existence of a “bio-field” or “bio-energetic field”. TT Practitioners believe that placing one’s hands on or near the patient can detect and manipulate the patient’s energy field, thus reducing pain or anxiety. A TT practitioner focuses inwardly with strong meditation, scans and assesses the (supposed) energy field of the patient’s body. He or she then connectswith the body by allowing his (the practitioner’s) energy to flow all over the patient’s body and cure his ailments. Most practitioners place their hands directly on the body of the patient to let the energy flow consistently.
The concept of Therapeutic Touch believes in the power of chi or life-force. It borrows some concepts from traditional touch therapy methods. It claims to have been greatly influenced from ancient healing practices, although it does not associate it with any religious beliefs. But, is it one of the best touch therapy methods or just another pseudo-alternative therapy.
Proponents of Therapeutic Touch
The American Holistic Nurses Association and also some members within the nursing community endorse TT as an alternative method to heal a diseased individual. Although it does not have any scientific evidence, many health care professionals and nursing homes practice TT. Rebecca Witmer, administrator of a medical insurance company says: “TT is now practiced by thousands of healthcare professionals, and is popular in Canadian hospitals, nursing homes and at the university level.’’
Skepticisms and Controversies Surrounding the Concept of TT
Although TT works on the basis of compassion, love and selfless treatment, it has been severely criticized by skeptics, fundamentalists and study groups. In an attempt to study TT, the James Randi Educational Foundation and the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (phACT) sent invitations to more than 60 nursing organizations and individuals including one of the TT perpetrators, Dolores Krieger. The objective of this study was to prove that “bio-fields” exist. Surprisingly, only one practitioner responded. The practitioner was able to detect bio-fields in only 55 percent of the subjects out of 20 subjects.A study published in the American Medical Association found that practitioners were not able to detect the energy fields when they placed their hands a few inches above the subject’s hands while blindfolded.
Despite Therapeutic Touch lacks no evidence as to how the treatment works, it is still practiced by many alternative therapists. It Although it cannot be termed as one of the best touch therapy in alternative therapy field, it still is a viable approach in healing the mind and body. The fact that this three-fold concept has no selfish motives makes it more popular. This popular method of touch therapy shares its healing power without seeking any reward.
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