Therapeutic Touch as Integrated Cancer Treatment
During the 1970s, Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., RN (an emeritus professor in Nursing at New York University ) along with energy healer Dora Kunz, founded an approach that acted as a remedy for stress, pain, and Anxiety. Also known by the name Energy therapy, the Therapeutic touch International Association defines it as Therapeutic touch is an evidence-based therapy that is holistic in approach. It involves compassion and intentional use of universal energy to bring well being and balance.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Therapeutic touch is categorized under biofuels Energy therapy. There is neither any systematic training or certified licensing for this use. But the Therapeutic touch International Association provides credentials to mentors and teachers. It is generally practiced by nurses. Lately, there is a potential increase of non-nurse practitioners too. Even though it is a recent development of ancient methods, this practice revolves around the concept of energy exchange and rebalancing energy. This method of treating through compassion has shown positive responses in the cases of ulcers, dementia, fever, asthma, measles, burns, trauma, etc. After most of the sessions, the recipients feel calmer and enjoy better sleep.
Although Therapeutic touch is considered to be a contemporary science adaptation of laying-on of hands,it seems more to be a metaphysical concept. Krieger from early times recognized prana (ayurvedic and Indian concept for life) to serve as an active tool for TT. Her take on the concept of prana: Health is directly proportional to the individual and his total environment. There is a regulated pattern, in continuation to interaction with the influx of energies from within the individual outward, and from the environment to the different levels of the individual. The healing process restores the equilibrium in the ill person. Regarding the context, the disease is an indication of a disturbance caused in the pranic current, which should be free-flowing.
She further went on ahead, claiming to achieve pranic current with the consensus of the patients: When an ill person is touched by a healthy person to help or heal him, he acts as a transferring agent for the flow of pranic current from himself to the ill person. Thus, the imbibing of prana helps the ill person to overcome his/her illness or to feel better and more vital.
Therapeutic Touch Sessions:
This Energy therapy emphasizes the world as an energy system. This method has three phases:
- First phase: Known as the Centering method where the practitioner prepares himself/herself to treat the recipient.
- Second phase: Assessment method comes next; it is during this phase, the practitioner feels deflection in the energy field of the recipient’s body. It is simply done by a practitioner hovering his/her hands over the patient’s body without actually touching it.
- Third phase: Intervention is the key for the practitioners. They manipulate their hand movements in a certain way to alter the blocked energy and restore balance in the patient’s energy system.
This procedure generally lasts about 15-30 minutes. The patient may be seated, in reclining, or in sleeping position. This is generally conducted in a quiet ambiance or room. The patients are asked to close their eyes and indulge in deep breathing. They are asked not to think during the entire process. The practitioners engage in Therapeutic Therapy by hovering their hands with at least 5-10 centimeters away from the patient’s body. So after the three phases, it calls for final assessment and intervention. Based on the feedback received, Therapeutic Therapy may be planned for multiple times. Mostly it is a no-contact method, but the final intervention asks for a touch to heal ( not mandatory). This evidence-based method gains its boost as the nurses/ practitioners generally relate their patients as family and friends. This leaves a positive inflow of energy in the minds of the patients.
Even today, there is no scientific explanation for this method, but some evidence has sparked its effectiveness. Few of them are listed below:
- After the sessions, people feel at ease and have also reported better sleep patterns.
- Significant behavioral change after Energy therapy in the case of dementia.
- Short term Pain relief for the ones diagnosed with cancer.
- The Energy therapy boosts the energy flow, thus revitalizing the immunity.
- Quick healing of the wounds.
- It helps bone repair, especially reduces the Pain of osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Stress-relieving, especially for the graduates and corporates. Even effective in the cases of Pre-menstrual Stress.
- Improves the mental state and well being.
Clinical Research outcomes:
A clinical trial of 90 men ( of age 27-60) diagnosed with cancer was appointed for outcomes in three phases ( intervention, assessment, and placebo). Random TT trials were performed on 90 cancer patients on Chemotherapy. It recorded people with terminal cancer, receiving TT had improved in their well-being, unlike the control group. This research still doesn’t provide any significant statistics to support effectiveness.
Yet another trial assessed on the controlled group. It was to analyze the effects of chemotherapy-related issues like Nausea being altered by TT techniques between Placebo TT and controlled TT. Statistically significant differences were found between the Placebo TT group and the controlled group. Yet still, there is not even a marginal difference between the initial TT and the placebo TT group, regarding the non-specific effects on the view that Therapeutic touch is a complementary and alternative medicine.
Therapeutic touch does not possess any health hazard or side effects that alter the ongoing medical treatments. But it is advisable not to engage in Therapeutic touch during pregnancy ( because there is more than one energy) and breastfeeding. Since the method is still uncertain of its effects and TT falls under the category of insufficient evidence to rate its effectiveness.
Therapeutic touch Vs. Healing Touch:
Most of the time, people correlate Therapeutic touch and Healing Touch as the same. But there is a significant difference between the two. The former is exclusively based on Delores Krieger’s Energy therapy method, whereas the latter one is based on the compilation of techniques proposed by Janet Mentgen in the 1980s.