Therapeutic Touch

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Topic Overview

What is therapeutic touch?

Therapeutic touch is based on ancient healing practices. The goal of the technique is to help people relax, relieve their pain, and help them heal faster.

Therapeutic touch is thought to promote healing through restoring harmony to a person's energy fields. Therapeutic touch is used in many settings, including hospice care. When beginning a session, the practitioner first takes time to get centered, calming his or her own mind, then accessing a sense of compassion to become fully present with the patient. During the treatment, the practitioner may place his or her hands lightly on the patient's body or slightly above it. As the practitioner seeks to bring the patient's energy fields into balance, he or she often makes sweeping hand motions above the patient's body.

Why is therapeutic touch used?

Some people use therapeutic touch to reduce pain, ease tense muscles, speed healing, and improve sleep. It is sometimes used to help people who have pain or discomfort from cancer or other diseases. The technique does not treat cancer or any other disease. But there is some evidence that it may reduce stress or improve well-being in people who have cancer. Research on therapeutic touch is ongoing.

Is therapeutic touch safe?

You can safely use therapeutic touch along with conventional medical treatments.

No studies have proved that therapeutic touch works for treating any type of disease. But some health professionals think it may be useful in helping with stress and anxiety. Some people who receive therapeutic touch say they have a refreshed spirit, heal faster, and feel better.

Talk with your doctor about any complementary health practice that you would like to try or are already using. Your doctor can help you manage your health better if he or she knows about all of your health practices.

References

Other Works Consulted

  • Freeman L (2009). Therapeutic touch: Healing with energy. In L Freeman, ed., Mosby’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Research-Based Approach, 3rd ed., pp. 519–532. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKathleen M. Fairfield, MD, MPH, DrPH - Internal Medicine

Current as ofJune 30, 2016