Therapeutic Touch

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Related to Therapeutic Touch: Reiki, Healing Touch

Therapeutic Touch

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Therapeutic touch is a modern variation on time-honored techniques of the laying on of hands, a healing method that is present in many cultures and religious traditions. Therapeutic touch was developed and named in 1972 by Dolores Krieger, a nursing professor at New York University. Krieger, a theosophist, had been inspired by the therapist and clairvoyant Dora Kunz (d. 1999), the former president of the Theosophical Society who had been studying the laying on of hands. Kunz introduced renowned Hungarian psychic healer Oskar Estabany to Krieger.

As a nursing professor, Krieger sought a means of introducing paranormal healing into nursing care in such a way that the scientific credentials of the nurses would not be compromised nor would a particular religious form of healing be introduced. Estabany, who had worked with researchers Bernard Grad and Justa Smith, was the healer utilized in what were the best experiments on psychic healing to date. At the same time, Krieger had herself run experiments on patients that indicated that such healing could have remarkable effects on patients. Her primary claims for her healing technique included its abilities to reduce pain and anxiety, promote relaxation, and stimulate the body’s natural healing process.

Krieger suggested that therapeutic touch worked on the theory of a flow of life energy in the healthy body, much as is suggested in Oriental understandings of the human body. In a healthy body, the life energy flows freely along established pathways. If the energy is blocked, illness is the result. Many healers claim to “feel” the energy flow. Therapeutic touch practitioners work with the energy field and inject new energy into people with stifled energy flows. Practitioners generally include in their sessions an attempt to feel the energy flow of the patient and direct their healing activity to bring it back to normal. Krieger suggests that the body’s energy field is a form of electromagnetic phenomena.

Once announced to the public and her colleagues, therapeutic touch underwent considerable criticism. Krieger’s own experiments suffered because of the complexity introduced by using human subjects in the healing incidents. Any healing effects of the kind claimed may have been due to other unreported factors, critics held. The suggestion of Oriental energy systems at work further distanced her ideas from accepted experimental methods. On the other hand, Krieger has referred to the work previously done by Estabany as setting the precedent for her own methods.


Krieger, Dolores. Therapeutic Touch: How to Use Your Hands to Help or Heal. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986.
______. Therapeutic Touch Inner Workbook. Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company Publishing, 1996.
Macrae, Janet. Therapeutic Touch: A Practical Guide. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988.
Sayre-Adams, Jean, and Steve Wright. The Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Touch. New York: Churchill Livingstone, Inc., 1995.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nurses who participated in the study were invited to focus group interviews to share their experiences of offering and receiving Therapeutic Touch.
Therapeutic touch, which patients can request in the same way they might choose chicken for lunch, has also been successful.
That included the couples room, which was always booked, and a steam room, which Therapeutic Touch did not have.
The therapeutic touch is mainly based on applying effleurage like rhythmical movements in the centripetal direction toward the heart, and along the anatomical projections of lymphatic vessel, as well as pump-like movements over the projections of lymph nodes.
Finally, therapeutic touch is used to either restore or introduce physical contact as a positive experience and a functional aspect of relationships (Eyckmans, 2009).
Explore as a professional how touch has affected your own life and how this may affect your willingness to discuss or recommend therapeutic touch with your clients.
Christoper's, Burlington, trained as a nurse before learning Therapeutic Touch (TT), a "contemporary interpretation of several ancient healing practices" that promotes the natural healing process, according to the Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario.
comments: "This power, however, did not come supernaturally from beyond but from within the very flesh and blood of Jesus, that is, from his own personal, spiritual energy as it called forth her own immanent divinely-inspired healing energies," energies that can also be called forth through therapeutic touch, acupuncture, and other forms of energy medicine (72).
Filled with insightful, practical, and easy-to-understand information, this encyclopedia examines the history and modern uses of such alternative therapies as acupressure, healing touch, reiki, reflexology, the Tellington Method, therapeutic touch, and many others.
Another example would be Energy Therapies with practices such as Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, Healing Touch (biofield), and electric, magnet and light therapies (bioelectromagnetic).
Our kids often don't get that therapeutic touch," Mr.
If I could create something experiential, a professional development experience for them, it would be about them having a better understanding of their own boundaries around touch, their own experience of what is therapeutic touch, and that might help them.

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