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What Is Touch Therapy?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Touch therapy is an alternative healing practice developed in the 1970s that involves the manipulation of supposed energy fields around a patient in order to facilitate a better energy flow in the body, allowing the patient to heal. Those who practice touch therapy don’t always touch people directly. Instead, they usually attempt to manipulate an invisible life-giving energy directly above the patient’s skin. Although many patients have reported benefits from touch therapy sessions, there are many skeptics, and scientific studies have mostly failed to support the ability of touch therapists to actually sense energy fields or facilitate faster healing.

A nursing teacher from New York named Delores Krieger and a theosophist named Dora Kunz created touch therapy in the 1970s. Since its creation, many people have become practitioners but most of the touch therapists have been nurses, and generally, it is used as an additional therapeutic method along with conventional medicine for recovering patients. Those who practice touch therapy generally believe that the whole universe is full of life energy that is being infused into a person’s body at all times. In theory, any obstruction to this life force could have severe consequences, limiting a person’s natural ability to heal, so the therapists attempt to deal with any problems that might be blocking or limiting the flow.

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Touch therapy treatments generally involve the movement of the hands just above the patient’s skin as the practitioner looks for problems in the energy field. If any problems are found, the practitioner will often perform certain specialized movements that are meant to clear things up. In some cases, there is no actual physical touch involved, but sometimes the practitioner may touch certain points, depending on the approach being used. Some patients feel invigorated by the process of touch therapy and many have a fairly positive reaction to the overall experience.

Some experts feel that the experiential enjoyment of the process and the placebo effect are the primary reasons for any success in treating patients, but practitioners remain convinced that the method has a real scientific benefit. There have been a few studies of touch therapy, and most have focused on the ability of therapists to actually sense energy fields around people’s bodies. Generally speaking, the therapy approach has not fared very well in these tests. The failure of touch therapists to pass these kinds of tests under controlled conditions has fueled even more skepticism, but some practitioners insist that the studies haven't been large or in-depth enough to be conclusive.

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