Healing Touch—a therapy that combines energy work with the experience of human contact—may be unfamiliar to you, but the power of touch is certainly not. Think of how you felt the last time you got a massage or were held by a loved one. Touch is an amazingly simple thing, but it can have profound effects on our health, both from the moment we’re brought into this world and through the rest of our lives.
What Is Healing Touch?
Though it was developed in the late 1980s, Healing Touch is grounded in a variety of long-standing energy therapies from different eastern and western cultures. Its root principle is this: Energy is constantly flowing in and around the body. When your energy becomes blocked or unbalanced, pain, disease and emotional distress can result. Healing Touch practitioners are trained in sensing energy, and their goal during any session is to identify and alleviate any issues or disturbances, restore balance and promote physical, mental, spiritual and emotional healing and wellness.
As its name suggests, Healing Touch focuses on healing rather than curing. Research shows it can be helpful for:
- creating an overall sense of wellbeing
- decreasing anxiety and depression
- minimizing stress and promoting relaxation
- encouraging increased emotional awareness and calming
- deepening one’s spiritual awareness
- nurturing and promoting the body’s inherent healing abilities
- easing acute and chronic conditions
- helping to alleviate physical pain and ease the trauma of invasive medical treatments such as surgery and chemotherapy
Healing Touch can especially benefit people with neck and back pain, chronic headaches, sleep issues, cancer, anxiety, depression, menopausal symptoms, fractures, autoimmune issues, IBS and other stress-related conditions. The American Holistic Nurses’ Association endorses Healing Touch educational training, and the modality is used around the world by registered nurses, health care providers and lay persons both in and out of the hospital setting.
What to Expect During a Healing Touch Session
When you first meet with your Healing Touch practitioner, he or she will conduct an intake interview to explore your wellbeing goals and concerns from a holistic perspective. This will provide a better understanding of your whole health picture and help determine both the intention for your session and the course that it takes.
You’ll lie down on a massage table, remaining fully clothed. The setting may actually feel similar to what you’d normally find during a massage, with dim lighting and gentle music playing. Your practitioner will assess your energy centers (chakras) and the energy field surrounding your body for areas of imbalance, blockage, stagnation or poor energy flow.
He or she will place his or her hands on or a few inches off your body and may move them slowly through the energy field using a variety of interventions and techniques, as needed. This is to balance the chakras, opening areas where you may feel “stuck” and clearing the energy field. As the session progresses, you will be invited to relax and focus on your breath. Depending on your issues and goals, your practitioner may introduce guided imagery.
Any unbalanced energy is released as neutral energy. Responses vary from session to session based on the issues worked on, techniques used and the response of the individual. You may experience sensations such as tingling, vibration, twitching, pulsation and warmth. You may also see colors or visions as you move into a deeper relaxation state and your brain waves change, or feel like you are between waking and falling asleep. Emotions may release. In the deepening quiet, you may notice a sense of enhanced spiritual connection.
When your session is done, your practitioner may offer you self-care suggestions that can help reinforce new patterning of the chakras and energy field and promote a healthy, supportive lifestyle. He or she may suggest sitting quietly, taking a nap, journaling, going for a quiet walk or taking a meditation class once you leave the office; it is best to give yourself an hour or more to relax.
General comments after Healing Touch include feeling cleansed, balanced, peaceful, clear in thought, grounded, light, hopeful and restored. You may feel a deeper connection to yourself or have new insights into patterns or issues in your life.