Does Therapeutic Touch Really Work?

By: Kasey Parrish

            In the early 70’s a man named Dolores Krieger and women named Dora Knuz developed a healing method, called Therapeutic touch. This technique had started much early in history but was never truly documented or researched within medical terminology. The big question though is does this method of therapeutic touch actually relieve the pain of many ill human beings. Or is this just another way that the human as found to manipulate someone who is sick and on his or her deathbed to shell out more money in hopes to get better, because they have practically ran out of cures. Just like when Ender was depressed, over worked, and just ready to give up, the teachers persuaded him with the love of his sister to get him to give him his drive back because he was giving up.

            After doing some research, therapeutic touch has earned its reputation. Janet Macrea, a nurse practitioner, who has spent a substantial amount of her life to better her education in different Therapies. During that time she was introduced to the touch therapy and she describes it as laying her hand on the patients energy field and using hand motions to move the bad or strong energies out of this sick man or women’s bodies.  Take four year old boy with the name of Chris who was having unbearable pain from the incision spot after surgery. Janet recalls finding the bad energy and worked it out, just as if she was working out a swollen muscle. Three to four minutes later the young boy had stopped his crying and fell straight to sleep.

Now that was just a small taste of what I have found that could possibly prove this theory to work. Such as the young boy Paul, at the age of 10 Janet describes a harsh pain he was feeling in the jaw area of his mouth. As she tried to remove this negative energy, it just kept moving around the boy’s body. Finally she reevaluated the situation and treated his field as a whole. Paul then described the pain moved into his chest, down into his abdomen, down his legs, and then release through his feet.  

            Sometimes Janet felt the Touch technique unsuccessful, but there had been improvement later in the night with patients. Such as a five year little girl who had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, and she was trying to clear her lungs using TT. But after finishing the small girl had showed no response to what Janet had done. But later that night the father had reported his daughter apatite had returned which was wonderful news to for a father who had been watching his daughter starve herself.

            Although in these three cases the practitioner was finding improvements with all the patients after using therapeutic touch, that wasn’t the case in New York. Eleven-year-old Emily Rosa had conceived and executed an experiment that challenged the basis this same healing procedure: Therapeutic touch (TT). It was also reported in one of the most respected of medical journals- The Journal of the American Association (JAMA) the results were also recorded in Skeptic magazine in 1996 and 1997.

            Emily had invited 12 or so nurse practitioners that had use the TT technique on many patients to be involved with her experiment. A cardboard barrio and a towel that prevented peeking through shielded the TT practitioner. Mind you this was for her school science fair she had no intentions of proving anyone neither wrong nor right. It was a simple school experiment, to test the perceptibility postulate. It was refutation of the notion that these nurses could perceive an HEF under conditions where they should have been able to do so. The results were as follows the TT hypothesis falls, and with that leads to the conclusion made in Rosa’s paper that Therapeutic touch is unjustified. 

            Once her story broke this had captured so much attention it was unreal. Were these doctors and nurses of great number in on this hoax together? Was it really another fraud? How could this be after helping so many? At the very least the TT should be taken back to the drawing board, because there was never enough research for it to have been in the nursing academy in the first place many would say. Was it just the company of a soft voice that did the releasing of negative energy? After all we are sociable creatures and being just in someone else’s presents heightens our senses a little. But in the end Janet would probably stick by her gut and say she truly believes in this method. Also the other number of TT practitioners as well. Nurses in the end are out to help people, there is no way possible that there was this big of a conspiracy that over 85,000 medical folks were manipulating these people. There is also the major part the placebo effect and how it could factor into this theory. The Placebo is a method that effects the psychological aspect of a patient, and history has proven that as humans our brain can trick our immune system into thinking there is no health issue. Many of the members who study and use TT would say either way this is another form of medicine. So in the end you have to take these facts in to consideration and let your body tell you what you need. It never hurts to try to form of therapy. I do believe having any biased beliefs toward TT could potentially harm the positive or negative outcomes.

Work Cites

Mackey, R. B. (1995). Complementary modalities/part 1: Discover the healing power of therapeutic touch. The American Journal of Nursing, 95(4), 26-26. Retrieved from https://internal.jefferson.kctcs.edu:2443/docview/208802574?accountid=11686

Janet Macrae The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 79, No. 4 (Apr., 1979), pp. 664- 665 Published by: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3462340

Lewis, D. (1999). A survey of therapeutic touch practitioners. Nursing Standard, 13(30), 33-7. Retrieved from https://internal.jefferson.kctcs.edu:2443/docview/219797514?accountid=11686

Talton, C. W. (1995). Touch–of all kinds–is therapeutic. RN, 58(2), 61-61. Retrieved from https://internal.jefferson.kctcs.edu:2443/docview/229366631?accountid=11686

L Rosa, E Rosa, L Sarner, S Barrett, “A Close Look at Therapeutic Touch,” Journal of the American Medical Association, April 1, 1998; 279(13):1005–1010. [1]

“TT and Me,” by Emily Rosa, Jr. Skeptic, 1998; 6(2):97–99. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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