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Therapeutic Touch

Hands On Healing

by Michael Braunstein

...using the energy fields of the human body is a natural and sensible use of an ordinary energy and ability. Consider this; which among us has never uttered something like, " Oh, gosh, my energy is just a little low today." Or, "I just don't have the energy." Our words often belie us. We may protest the existence of such an energy field, but then claim it extant to suit our expression!
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"See me, Feel me, Touch me, Heal me."

- from the rock opera " Tommy"
by The Who

"And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying: Be thou healed."

- re: "Jesus" Gospel according to Luke, 5:13

Touch - at once the simplest and most intimate of communications. A touch expresses, a touch connects, a touch closes distance and in an Instant reminds us that we are not separate. Touch quite truly lowers the resistance of energy between two bodies and when that energy is linked, the potential is raised.

The human body expresses and maintains an integral energy field. It is upon that understanding that Therapeutic Touch and other touch-associated modalities are based.

Touch. The healing power of touch may be the oldest interventionist technique known to help induce healing in another. Cave paintings in the Pyrenees mountains of Northern Spain dating to 15,000 B.C., show ancient man healing each other with touch. Carvings and artifacts from early Egypt, Tibet, China and Mesopotamia demonstrate the early development of the therapeutic value of touch. A medical textbook published in 2600 B.C. , the Huang-ti Nei-Ching (The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine) describes the use of hands-on healing among its varied therapies. Roman Catholic churches of medieval times display the use of touch as a healing technique in icons and artworks. French and English histories speak of the "King's Touch," which was said to heal.

Though we no longer speak of the "King's Touch", Americans are turning to the modalities of Alternative Healing for primary healthcare. 34 % of all Americans polled by The New England Journal of Medicine turned to "alternative therapies" , according to the study published in the January, 1993 issue. And many of those alternative therapies are ones that involve the healing power of touch.

The names associated with therapies of touch are many and varied. Some are recognized solely for therapeutic goals. Others may appear at times to be merely aimed at physical relaxation. That appearance is misleading. It is important to note, that always , in the presence of touch, lies the potential for healing.

All of these various forms share a common premise. That is: the human body presents and maintains an energy field that is accessible and able to interface with another's field. Now, this premise is not too surprising, even for the firm believer in the practice of Western allopathic medicine. After all, electrical or Galvanic response has been measured on the surface of the skin empirically since the 19th century. The energy fields of the body are the ones that we detect to read EKG's and EEG's. And MRI's rely on the subtle energies of the body to create an image. With touch therapy, different methods of interfacing and "affecting" the energy fields defines the modality in use at the time. The method and means may be different in Massage Therapy versus Reiki Therapy. Each of these subtle differences is what can individualize therapy.

For some persons, the notion that one can be healed by the touch of another conjures images of Biblical times, tented faith healers of the Bible belt, some kind of mumbo-jumbo or "booga-booga" as a dear friend of mine would call it. Some still look askance at such an idea. And, frankly, it is understandable that they might, given the depth of their misunderstanding. The misunderstanding is that the healing power of touch is something so unusual, so extraordinary, so bizarre that one must attach a feeling of mysticism, religious fervor or fanaticism to it. Healing touch, the skeptic would say, is something done by a spirit healer or a faith healer. Well, if that is the case, then I ask you to Let Science lead you to spirit, let Fact lead you to faith.

To the hard-core statistic freak who needs reference to academia I recommend these two titles for the bookshelf: 1) Evolution's End, published by Harper Collins and written by academician, lecturer, best selling author, researcher for the National Institute of Health, Joseph Chilton Pearce; and 2) Boiling Energy, by Richard Katz, field anthropologist and psychologist, Harvard University teaching fellow and professor of psychology. Both of these texts are compelling reading filled with fact after fact; scientific backing and documentation to satisfy the most empirical of skeptics. But rather than create a scientific polemic, I will turn to all that we already know, a sort of "common" sense.

No leap of faith is required in accepting and understanding that the earth has an energy field. Ancient mariners, by rime or reason, would navigate, reckoning by the measurements of the compass. That energy field possessed by the earth was no less real for the fact that we could not measure it or understand it. We made use of it just the same. And we know that the human body also possesses and maintains an energy field. We are able to measure parts of it and are just becoming aware of new ways to observe or measure it. Though that energy field is not entirely understood as yet, in the manner of the ancient mariners, we are still able to make use of it. And, like the use of reckoning by the early navigators, using the energy fields of the human body is a natural and sensible use of an ordinary energy and ability. Consider this; which among us has never uttered something like, " Oh, gosh, my energy is just a little low today." Or, "I just don't have the energy." Our words often belie us. We may protest the existence of such an energy field, but then claim it extant to suit our expression!

Upon the understanding that each human expresses and maintains a vital and dynamic energy field is based the rudiment of healing touch. That energy fields affect one another is a basic of physics. This much is all that one need understand to allow science to lead you to spirit and fact to faith. Implicit in the metaphysics exists the postulate that Thought is Creative and a causative energy.

It is known that healing touch has been used throughout history. A list of some of the more famous practitioners would include the seminal hypnotherapist Anton Mesmer and a guy much earlier on known usually by his first name, Jesus. Because 20th century western society has a tendency to formalize and formulate, Healing Touch has now become an official, certified activity.

The history of touch and healing intertwine, going back millennia. However, it is through the studies and practices of Dr. Dolores Krieger that healing touch has found a place in Western allopathic medical practice. Krieger's development of Therapeutic Touch made a traditional, long accepted modality become finally welcome by large segments of the American medical establishment. Dr. Krieger observed case after case of healing while watching a 71 year old retired Hungarian cavalry officer work with people having all description of ailments. The gentleman, Colonel Estebany, would sit quietly near the person being healed and move his hands near and around the body of that person. Dr. Krieger then began doing her own studies while a professor at New York University. She found that empirical changes can be measured in the body as a result of the therapy.

Therapeutic Touch and, of course, other healing practices, (some would say ALL healing practices,) uses the knowledge that illness or dis-ease is the result of the body's energy field becoming unbalanced. Dr. Krieger surmised that the touch worker, by interfacing their energy field with the field of the sick person, would influence the patient's energy. This interface, when properly established, would then rectify imbalances in that field and allow the energy flow to proceed uninterrupted. The natural, healthy state is thereby restored. In application, the practitioner enters a meditative state, focusing intent. The patient or client can be conscious or unconscious. After establishing an empathic state, the healer passes his or her hands over the person's body. Attention is given to areas that signify an imbalance or blockage. These areas are determined by sensations or intuitions of the healer. The energy of the healer adds to or rebalances the field of the client. With balance restored, the recuperative powers of the body function more freely and the illness then succumbs to the body's own healthful properties.

And so it came to pass, that in 1992, two forward thinking health practitioners in Omaha established a program of instruction in colleague with Clarkson College of Nursing. This credited course of study was based on the teaching and work of Dr. Dolores Krieger of New York University School of Nursing. With clairvoyant and healer Dora Kunz, Krieger developed her system of teaching and healing. In 1976 she offered a master's level course at NYU in Therapeutic Touch. (There is a reluctance on the part of the AMA to touch anything that has the word "healing" in it.) The two Omahans who established the curriculum at Clarkson are Carol Winscott, Ph.D.. and Elaine Tucker, MA. Instituted in January of 1992, the multi-leveled course bestowed certification endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Association. Many of the practitioners are nurses but it is important to note that the course of certification is open to qualified healthcare professionals such as Massage Therapist, medical doctor, doctors of chiropractic and others.

Be well.

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Michael Braunstein is Executive Director of Heartland Healing and certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners in clinical hypnotherapy. He graduated from the Los Angeles Hypnotism Training Institute and was an instructor at the UCLA Extension University for 11 years.

Heartland Healing is devoted to the examination of various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information and not as medical advice. It is not meant as an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or by Heartland Healing Center, Inc.

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