Therapeutic touch

From ArticleWorld

Therapeutic touch is a method of healing based on the claims that by moving hands over a patient’s body, a practitioner can direct the flow of chi and help a patient heal.


Therapeutic touch is a secular variant of faith healing, which was started by Dolores Kreiger in the early 1970s


Practitioners believe that all living beings have an energy field and that this aura extends from the surface of one’s skin. They believe that this field can be manipulated by a therapist. A practitioner moves his or her hands over a patient’s body, but does not actually touch the patient. By doing so, supporters claim that the practitioner is able to direct the flow of a patient’s chi and help him or her heal this way.

Some people believe that therapeutic touch works at a placebo, or psychological, level. Patients undergoing therapeutic touch often believe the experience will be tranquil and that the practitioner will help them calm down; thus, the experience is indeed tranquil. Many believe that the practitioner is providing a gentle and helpful service; thus, the patient will feel he or she has experienced the emotional or neruophysical benefits promised.

In fact, in many cases, therapeutic touch produces many of the same benefits of quiet rest.

Scientific proof

Under controlled conditions, no evidence of the effectiveness of therapeutic touch has been found. In 1998 Emily Rosa submitted a paper to the Journal of the American Medical Association that detailed her study showing that 21 therapeutic touch practitioners were unable to detect the human energy field that they claim to believe exists.

Her experiment was conducted with experienced practitioners: She randomly held her hand near their left or right hand, without touching them. She hypothesized that if a human energy field existed, they would be able to sense it.

In repeated trials, no practitioner had a better than 50-50 success rate.