Skip to content

Stress Management Health Center

Font Size

Healing Touch - Topic Overview

What is healing touch?

Healing touch influences a person's physical or emotional health without anyone physically touching the person. Healing touch is a common practice. Healing touch is related to spiritual or energy healing, therapeutic touch, and distant healing.

In the 1970s, nurses developed a specific form of healing touch called therapeutic touch to provide a more holistic (viewing the body and mind as a whole, not as individual components), compassionate approach to healing. Many nursing schools in the United States teach therapeutic touch, and it is often used in conventional medical settings (such as before and after surgery) to help comfort patients.

Recommended Related to Stress Management

6 Surprising Stress Fixes

By Catherine Guthrie Simple, field-tested strategies you can use right now You know what stress looks like: The sun rises; so do you. Your child suddenly remembers that he needs cupcakes for the school party. The dog's gotten sick in the living room. Your spouse leaves for work in a huff after a pre-breakfast tiff over finances. You leave for work without a report that's due today. You double back, grab it from the kitchen counter, trip over an Everest of laundry — must we go...

Read the 6 Surprising Stress Fixes article > >

Central to healing touch is the belief that a vital energy or life force flows freely through space and sustains all living organisms. In a healthy person, this energy is thought to flow in and out of the body in a balanced way. It is believed that illness results when the energy flow is out of balance.

Practitioners of healing touch use their hands in an attempt to change a person's energy flow and restore health. Healing touch does not require contact between the practitioner and the person during treatment. The practitioner moves his or her hands several inches above the person's body.

Like other complementary medicines, healing touch starts with the idea that people are naturally healthy. The way people live and think may disturb their natural energy, and they may become ill. The aim of healing touch is to focus (or channel) healing energy to restore natural health.

What is healing touch used for?

People use healing touch to help treat many diseases. Supporters of healing touch believe it is especially helpful for healing wounds, curing infections, and relieving pain and anxiety. Some research studies have shown that, like yoga and meditation, healing touch reduces anxiety and stress.

Little research has been done on the effects of healing touch, and it is a difficult form of therapy to study using traditional scientific techniques. But some studies on distant healing show benefits.

Is healing touch safe?

You can safely use healing touch along with conventional medical treatments. But it is not considered appropriate or safe for serious, life-threatening situations or to replace other proven treatments that are known to help with a disease. There is no known risk in adding healing touch or distant healing to your medical treatment.

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
1
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Hands breaking pencil in frustration
Quiz
stethoscope and dollars
Article
 
Woman with stressed, fatigue
Article
fatigued woman
Article
 
hand gripping green rubber ball
Article
family counseling
Video
 
stress at work
Article
frayed rope
Quiz
 

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

WebMD Special Sections