Therapeutic touch is an alternative medicine approach to treating medical conditions, especially pain, anxiety, and stress. It was developed by Dolores Krieger, PhD, RN, in the 1970s. There is no standard training or licensing requirement for practitioners of therapeutic touch, although this technique is used most commonly by nurses.
Therapeutic touch is used for painful conditions including breast biopsy, cancer, nerve pain, osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. It is also used for stress, anxiety, dementia, colic, trauma, heart disease, burns, swelling (inflammation), fever, ulcers, autism, multiple sclerosis (MS), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), asthma, stroke recovery, measles, and many other conditions.
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for THERAPEUTIC TOUCH are as follows:
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of therapeutic touch for these uses.
Practitioners of therapeutic touch believe that the world is an energy system. They think that they can heal medical conditions by manipulating a “human energy field” that hovers just above a person’s skin.
Therapeutic touch involves three steps. The first step is called “centering.” In this phase, the therapeutic touch practitioner focuses or meditates on the intent to treat the person. The second step is “assessment.” In this step, the practitioner moves his or her hands over the person's body. The hands never touch the body, but they are kept within a few centimeters of the surface of the skin. This step helps the practitioner sense problems in the energy field. The third and final step is “intervention.” During this phase the practitioner attempts to move his or her hands over the person's body in a way that unblocks areas of congested energy or otherwise restores the proper energy balance in the person.
There is no reliable scientific evidence to support these beliefs.
Therapeutic touch seems to be safe for most people. There are no known safety concerns.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of therapeutic touch during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines.
Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
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