Despite lack of scientific evidence “hands-on energy therapies”, sometimes referred to as “Healing Touch” or “Therapeutic Touch” have continued to gain steady popularity.
Hands-On Therapies were introduced in the early 1970’s by Dolores Krieger, P.h.D., R.N., who later teamed with Dora Kunz, President of the Theosophical Society of America (1975-1987) (often referred to as “co-developer”). Together, they speculated over what they deemed the “human energy field.” They visualized this “energy field” as having a liquid-like “flow” and predicted that illness occurs when this “flow” is interrupted by some sort of obstacle. The two next hypothesized that that a “sensitive” or “gifted healer” would not only have the ability to detect an individuals flow, but would be able to isolate an “obstacle” and help to remove it. Dr. Krieger and Mrs. Kunz even theorize it possible for this “sensitive healer”, to bestow some of their own excess energy upon the patient, helping to ease and speed their recovery.
Despite the variety of titles used to portray this therapy, all prove equally misleading in describing its method of delivery. In truth, “Healing Touch” therapy often involves no “touching” at all. While these treatments may be combined with massage therapy or a variety of other relaxation techniques, the “Hands-On Therapy” portion of the session is typically performed as follows: An individual remains fully clothed, either lying down or reclining in a chair. A practitioner then hovers their hands a few inches above the individual’s body for anywhere between 10-45 minutes. These sessions are often coupled with soft music and dimmed lighting and may range anywhere from $40-$100 depending on the area of the country.
Proponents assert that over 100,000 people worldwide have been trained to perform “Therapeutic Touch Therapy” and that a minimum of 43,000 of these are health care professionals. According to this training, a therapeutic session is intended to execute to four distinct steps. Step 1) First, the therapist endeavors to align their own “energy flow” with the “energy flow” of the patient. 2) Next, the therapist seeks to assess the negative areas of the patient’s energy which are in need of repair. 3) Third, the therapist passes their hands above the patient intending to remove these negative “blockages”. 4) Finally, the therapist seeks to transfer a portion of their own “excess energy” to the patient.
Hands-On treatments claim to provide comfort for patients with a wide variety of ailments ranging from serious disease or affliction to the common cold. They have been performed on patients before and after surgery and even on those undergoing chemotherapy. There are even individuals who attest to have found relief for emotional troubles through the assistance of this “Healing Touch Therapy”. While there are a great many advocates of this therapy, there has yet to be scientific testing able to support the transfer or even manipulate of any sort of bodily energy. Dr. Steven Barrett, M.D. and vocal critic of this therapy even goes so far as to state, “It is safe to assume that any reactions to the procedure are psychological responses to the “laying on of hands.””
While lack of sufficient testing makes this, and other statements regarding Hands On therapies difficult to prove, there is no doubt as to their increased popularity. Is it right for you or a loved one? Until science is able to empirically assist, the decision remains like many others. It is up to you to compare and gauge the claims of both advocates and critics and decide for yourself if you feel that a hands-on therapy is or is not a worthwhile investment.