What is Therapeutic Touch Therapy?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Therapeutic touch is an alternative healing technique that combines elements like massage with energy work to alleviate pain and other ailments that afflict the body and mind. Unlike some methods, therapeutic touch therapy may include actually touching the patient, or by using the hands to tap into the person’s energy field in order to facilitate the healing process. While not recognized by traditional medicine, many people report benefits from undergoing some type of therapeutic touch healing session.

Aromatherapy may be used alongside therapeutic touch therapy to help relax patients.
Aromatherapy may be used alongside therapeutic touch therapy to help relax patients.

The modern school of therapeutic touch therapy draws on a number of alternative healing approaches and combines them into a collection of methods that do not require the addition of any type of medication or herbs. Instead, the techniques rely on connecting with the energy field of the patient and identifying what psychological or physical factor is causing the discomfort. Once the origin of the pain is pinpointed, the therapeutic touch practitioner can initiate one of several treatments that help to correct the situation and restore emotional, spiritual, and physical balance to the patient.

Acupressure is one type of therapeutic touch therapy.
Acupressure is one type of therapeutic touch therapy.

The most basic form of therapeutic touch therapy begins by using the hands to gently glide close over the body without actually touching. In theory, this allows the energy field of the practitioner to connect with the energy field of the patient. Once the connection is established, the practitioner can follow the flow of energy to the major medians or chakras in the body and determine where the flow is inhibited or blocked. Since each median or chakra is related to some aspect of physical, mental, or spiritual vitality, a blockage will produce a negative impact on some aspect of the patient’s well-being.

Once the blockage is located, the second stage of therapeutic touch therapy can begin. This may involve employing therapeutic touch massage techniques to relax the individual and stimulate a proper flow of energy once more. As part of the massage, using a variant of acupressure to clear blockages may be incorporated. During the massage, the surroundings may be perfectly quiet. However, it is not unusual for therapeutic touch practitioners to augment the massage with the use of aromatherapy as well as some type of soothing music to relax the patient.

Another method, commonly known as tapping, may be employed during the therapeutic touch therapy session. Tapping essentially calls for using the forefinger and index finger to lightly tap on specific points on the face, upper chest, and hand in order to facilitate release from negative emotional or physical factors that are causing difficulty for the patient. As the tapping takes place, the patient either audibly or silently repeats a mantra that focuses on the negative symptom. The tapping sequence can be repeated several times if necessary.

As with all forms of alternative healing involving energy work, therapeutic touch therapy has its supporters and detractors. Proponents of the therapy often point to the fact that traditional medical care was unable to provide relief, but therapeutic touch did release them from their pain. Detractors point to the lack of research and controlled experiments that affirm the value of the technique. They also note that relying on the therapy can cause people with life threatening illnesses to delay seeking traditional treatment, which in turn minimizes the potential for making a complete recovery.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@SteamLouis-- People have an energy field, in fact, we are a ball of energy ourselves. Science has proven this. So it's not difficult to believe that the patterns in our energy could be changed. An individual can use their energy to change the energy of another. I agree that there are some "therapies" out there that are far from being realistic. But therapeutic touch therapy is not one. It can definitely work.


@serenesurface-- I had a small session a few years ago. I don't think it did anything. I didn't receive this therapy regularly though so that might have something to do with it.

Therapeutic touch therapy is kind of misleading because there really isn't much touching involved. It's sometimes also called a healing touch therapy but this is basically a therapy involving energy. It's about re-channeling energy and except for the tapping, there really isn't touching involved. The therapist works by keeping the hands close to the body as the article said.

There really isn't any proof that this method worked. The relief experienced by patients could well be a placebo effect because they expect some kind of relief. Re-channeling energy, opening chakras, etc., none of these can be proven and shown scientifically.


Does therapeutic touch therapy really work? Has anyone here been to a session before?

I suffer from some anxiety as well as occasional back pain. I'm not really aiming for pain-relief but rather stress-relief. Stress seems to be the cause of both my pain and anxiety. I've tried massage but it didn't seem to help too much. I'm wondering if therapeutic touch therapy would be of help.

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