It is human nature to touch to provide comfort. Think about it – how many times have you kissed away a “boo-boo” or hug away some tears – or rubbed your stinging shin after you whacked it against the coffee table?
There’s not a person out there that has never experienced some type of pain before – and there’s probably not a single person that hasn’t comforted another human being or been comforted themselves one time or another! Face it, we all benefit from human interaction now and again.
What is Therapeutic Touch?
Touch is the ancient practice of the “laying on of hands”. But is there a time when you need not to touch? Is there such a thing as touching without touching? According to the experts – yes! Therapeutic Touch, a descendant of the ancient practice of the laying on of hands, is an alternative method of healing without actually touching.
Based on the theory of the “universal energy” or the life force that flows through your body, practitioners of this healing art believe that you can feel this energy (also known as your aura) without actually touching. They say that illness and stress are directly related to obstacles in the flow of this life force, and if given the opportunity to flow freely, the body will feel better and work more efficiently.
But how can you obtain the healing powers of touch without physically touching? Therapeutic Touch practitioners believe that obstructions in the life force can be detected by placing your hands a few inches from the body. They also believe that an attentive, caring practitioner can transfer his positive energy by sweeping stagnant energy down and out of the body. This prepares the body for positive energy flow, thus relieving pain, anxiety and stress.
Does Therapeutic Touch Really Work?
The concept of auras, life forces and stagnant energy is a bit abstract for the concrete world of the 21st century and yet, why do a good majority of the people who receive Therapeutic Touch experience various “energy” sensations? By that I mean a change in temperature, a tingling sensation, a heavy or dragging feeling, or even a feeling that something is being drawn out of their body.
Researchers suggest that this treatment stimulates the release of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers. However, there is no real concrete evidence that energy transfer actually occurs – only that there are physiological responses to the “laying on of hands”, even though the practitioner never physically touches.
Experts have shown that Therapeutic Touch indeed produces a measurable relaxation response. Your heart rate and breathing rate slow, muscles relax, the skin becomes warmer and possibly slightly flushed, and your metabolism slows. These same experts have also suggest there is strong evidence that decreasing your anxiety level may also decrease your pain – and, it may have a positive effect on your immune system.
Stress and anxiety have a very real negative response on your pain level and your body’s ability to fight off illness. Ditch the stress and you feel better. That’s not scientific, that’s the truth – consider for a moment, how much more you feel pain when your stress level is spiraling out of control. A simple tension headache rages on hopelessly regardless of the massive amounts of over-the-counter pain-relieving products you shoved down your throat at lunchtime when your boss starts yelling, or that chronic backache becomes unbearable after listening to the kids fight all day long – even the smallest of upset stomachs feel grossly intensified while your trying to pay those overdue bills with a meager bank account of insufficient funds!
So why not try something a little out of the ordinary? Be daring! Therapeutic Touch is a non-evasive, holistic approach to pain. But this is an active healing process; the healer must want to help their loved one gain some control over their pain, and the “patient” must desire a return to good health. Mind-over-matter, you say? PerhapsÃ¢Â?Â¦but does it really make that much of a difference as long as you or your loved one feel better?
But Are There Risks?
Therapeutic Touch can be used on anybody – even the family pet! Experts say the worst that can happen is the person will feel no better. And the only danger in using this technique is using it as a substitute for necessary medical treatment.
But in truth, Therapeutic Touch works rather well in conjunction with other treatments, such as imagery which helps direct the healing, meditation or even standard medical treatments.
And the best thing is you don’t have to believe in the philosophy behind it to be able to help someone. In fact, the patient doesn’t even need to believe! The only requirement is to have an honest desire to feel better and be willing to accept help.
Are there downsides? Experts say there could be an energy overload shown as increasing one’s anxiety or irritability. If this occurs you need to stop immediately and go on to a more relaxing past time, after all, there are a few people out there who do not feel comfort through touch.
Experts also say that a typical treatment should not last more than 20-30 minutes – less if you’re young. A child for instance, requires less time to respond and should be limited to only a few minutes. Babies, on the other hand, should only need a few seconds.
Special care should be given to those with certain conditions, such as pregnancy or head injuries – they too will benefit, but shortening the time is essential. Comfort is always a number one priority. People suffering from a psychotic disorder and people who have a history of abuse would not make ideal candidates, for they may frighten easily or misinterpret your assistance. But regardless of past medical or psychological history, it is always best to check with your family physician before trying any new technique.
Can It Help Me?
Therapeutic Touch can help a good majority of symptoms, such as PMS, headaches and stomach ailments. It can improve sleep and decrease pain, as well as provide comfort and relaxation. It has been used on a growing number of people with a variety of ailments, including those suffering from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Some studies have shown a marked decrease in pain and length of recovery in all types of patients, even burn victims and fractured bones. It is even helpful for those in the final stages of life, to ease anxiety and provide a sense of inner peace. So whether you suffer from the cold and flu, experience the chronic pain of arthritis or suffer from something much more devastating, Therapeutic Touch may help you.
Anyone Can Learn!
The best way to see if you can benefit from this technique is to seek out a professional. Just contact the Nurse Healers Professional Associates in your area.
Keep in mind however, there are no certifications to practice Therapeutic Touch so training is an essential part of the therapist’s practice.
On the other hand, if you truly wish to help your loved one through a difficult time, you can do these simple techniques at home.
First you need to center yourself. This is a meditative process to align your positive energy. In other words, take several deep, cleansing breaths and focus on something that gives you peace. When you feel calm and focused, visualize the positive energy capable of clearing away the stagnant energy responsible for sickness and pain coming down from above and going through your body.
Then place your hands over the area of pain or discomfort several inches away from the body and imagine the positive energy taking the pain away. Some people use a sweeping motion where they gather up all the “bad” energy and brush it out through the legs or arms – much like sweeping the grass clippings into the street. It is then a good idea to shake your hands to rid your body of the negative energy before attempting the procedure again.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you should stick with it whether you “feel” the blockage or not – the simple fact that you took the time to get close and spend some time can makes all the difference.
Minor aches and pains may clear up quickly while other more chronic ailments may take more time or perhaps, more sessions. And where many people feel the difference, the effects are only temporary – much like that aspirin you popped into your mouth for that killer headache. So it may be five minutes or five hours of some decrease in pain – at least there was some relief! And next time, it just may be five days!
Not much pain relief after 20 minutes, you say? That’s okay! How about the nurturing and compassion you just provided for another human being or the family pet? Doesn’t your loved one feel better simply because someone cared enough to try to help? And if the only thing it provides is an altered sense of pain, even temporarily, wouldn’t that be time well spent?