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Therapeutic Touch

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Coriander is a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice & Palliative Care, Oncology, M/S.

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When I was working in an Alzheimer's facility, we had a woman come in who had "Therapeutic Touch" on her namebadge. She would actually touch the residents (of course, this was consented to) and from what I saw, this really did help a lot of people. I imagine when you're put in a home by your family, who may or may not visit, part of you tends to shut off from the world and shrivel up inside.

Often, a simple touch would elicit strong emotions from these people. It's a reconnection to the human world, the feeling that someone cares. It was a pleasure to watch these sessions, and the residents often were much calmer afterwards.

I've had the opportunity to undergo Reiki sessions myself, and emerged calm yet energized.

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When I was working in an Alzheimer's facility, we had a woman come in who had "Therapeutic Touch" on her namebadge. She would actually touch the residents (of course, this was consented to) and from what I saw, this really did help a lot of people. I imagine when you're put in a home by your family, who may or may not visit, part of you tends to shut off from the world and shrivel up inside.

Often, a simple touch would elicit strong emotions from these people. It's a reconnection to the human world, the feeling that someone cares. It was a pleasure to watch these sessions, and the residents often were much calmer afterwards.

I've had the opportunity to undergo Reiki sessions myself, and emerged calm yet energized.

I don't think any of us dispute the idea that physical, human touch has a variety of beneficial, therapeutic effects on people -- but, again, what you're describing is not the official, nursing practice of TT (Therapeutic Touch), and people don't generally suggest that "regular" touch has the wide range of powerful benefits that TT afficianados ascribe to TT. I think many people like the sound of the phrase and toss it around without realizing that it refers to a specific technique.

"The TT session generally lasts about 20-30 minutes. Although the name is therapeutic touch, there is generally no touching of the physical body, only the energetic body or field. It is usually performed on fully clothed patients who are either lying down on a flat surface or sitting up in a chair.

Each session consists of five steps. Before the session begins, the practitioner enters a state of quiet meditation in which he/she becomes centered and grounded in order to establish intent for the healing session and to garner the compassion necessary to heal.

The second step involves the assessment of the person's vital energy field. During this step, the practitioner places the palms of his/her hands 2-3 in (5-8 cm) from the patient's body and sweeps them over the energy field in slow, gentle strokes beginning at the head and moving toward the feet. The practitioner might feel heat, coolness, heaviness, pressure, or a prickly or tingling sensation. These cues, as they are called, each signal a blockage or disturbance in the field.

To remove these blockages and restore balance to the body, the practitioner then performs a series of downward sweeping movements to clear away any energy congestion and smooth the energy field. This is known as the unruffling process and is generally performed from head to feet. To prevent any energy from clinging to him/her, the practitioner shakes his/her hands after each stroke.

During the next phase, the practitioner acts as a conduit to transfer energy to the patient. The energy used is not solely the energy of the practitioner. The practitioner relies on a universal source of energy so as not to deplete his/her own supply. In short, the healer acts as an energy support system until the patient's immune system is able to take over.

The practitioner then smoothes the field to balance the energy and create a symmetrical flow. When the session is over, it is recommended that the patient relax for 10-15 minutes in order for the energies to stabilize."

Therapeutic Touch - definition of Therapeutic Touch in the Medical dictionary - by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia. (emphasis mine; note that this is a v. pro-TT article)

"Attempting to study therapeutic touch in 1996, the James Randi Educational Foundation and the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (commonly referred to as PhACT) sent invitations to more than 60 nursing organizations and individuals, including Krieger, offering $742,000 to any practitioner who could prove their ability to detect "biofields." Only one practitioner responded, and the results were not statistically significant. While PhACT acknowledged that one test on one practitioner is not grounds to dismiss the entire theory of therapeutic touch, the low take-up far from supports it.

In 1998, Emily Rosa, at 11 years of age, became the youngest person to have a paper accepted by the Journal of the American Medical Association for her study of therapeutic touch, which debunked the claims of therapeutic touch practitioners. Her study consisted of testing 21 practitioners of therapeutic touch to determine their ability to detect the aura they claim surrounds everyone. The practitioners stood on one side of a cardboard screen, while Emily stood on the other. The practitioners then placed their hands through holes in the screen. Emily then flipped a coin to determine which of the practitioner's hands she would place hers near (without, of course, touching the hand). The practitioners then were to indicate if they could sense her biofield, and where her hand was. Although all of the participants had asserted that they would be able to do this, the actual results did not support their assertions. After repeated trials the practitioners had succeeded in locating her hand at a rate not significantly different from chance. They were right 44% of the time, slightly worse than chance. Upon publishing the results, JAMA editor George D. Lundberg, M.D, recommended that patients and insurance companies alike refuse to pay for therapeutic touch or at least question whether or not payment is appropriate "...until or unless additional honest experimentation demonstrates an actual effect." Dr. Lundberg also commented that therapeutic touch practitioners are ethically obligated to share the results of this study with patients."

Therapeutic touch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Reluctant as I usually am to use Wikipedia as a reference, I thought this was an interesting comment. The Emily Rosa study is the one that got all the attention; as I recall, she was the daughter of a nurse and that's how she got interested in the subject, although I'm not sure about that.)

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Coriander is a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice & Palliative Care, Oncology, M/S.

10,888 Visitors; 763 Posts

Elkpark, thank you so much for that information. :) I agree that titles can be thrown around, and I appreciate your clarification.

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2 Followers; 103,132 Visitors; 14,620 Posts

Elkpark, thank you so much for that information. :) I agree that titles can be thrown around, and I appreciate your clarification.

You're v. welcome. There have been quite a number of threads here over the years that have discussed (or at least mentioned) TT, a number of us express skepticism, and people always come along and say something like, "Well, of course, touch is therapeutic! How could anyone think touch isn't therapeutic??", not realizing that the term (TT) refers to a v. specific technique which, obviously (from the description above), is very different from what most of those people mean (holding someone's hand, giving a massage, etc.).

Personally, I think TT is a bunch of hoo-hah (but nobody ever seems to care what I think ... :rolleyes:).

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Coriander is a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice & Palliative Care, Oncology, M/S.

10,888 Visitors; 763 Posts

I think it's important to respect everyone's thoughts and opinions on things... there are so many occupations/beliefs/thoughts out there ... it's very difficult for everyone to have the exact same thoughts. :flwrhrts:

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