Healing Touch International, which was at the time the leading self-certification institute for practitioners, published an official response to the Journal's article with several key criticisms:. The published study does not test any critical variables related to therapeutic touch. The ability to sense the energy field of another is simply not a requirement of a TT practitioner. This statement that "the ability to sense the energy field of another is simply not a requirement" is staggering.
The entire practice is founded on manipulation of this energy field, which is described by practitioners as "tingling, pulling, throbbing, hot, cold, spongy, and tactile as taffy". They've now moved the goalposts. They've gone from sensing and manipulating this alleged energy field, to stating that it's not necessary to actually sense anything.
How are you supposed to manipulate something you can't detect? The study design was not representative of a therapeutic touch session.
Therapeutic Touch | Michigan Medicine
It was set up more as a parlor game. Therapeutic touch studies using people with health problems would most likely demonstrate positive effects. They are correct that Rosa's study was not to test the efficacy of therapeutic touch on sick patients, it was about something else. It showed that therapeutic touch's fundamental concept is nonexistent. However, the studies they ask for do already exist. The authors of Rosa's paper included a literature analysis of such studies. They concluded:. There is not a sufficient body of data, both in quality and quantity, to establish TT as a unique and efficacious healing modality With little clinical or quantitative research to support the practice of TT, proponents have shifted to qualitative research, which merely compiles anecdotes.
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Since the publication of Rosa's study, the healing touch industry now publishes only research that considers the improvement reported by patients, without regard to the method used. Most therapeutic touch websites cite a small number of studies where a small effect was shown, but ignore the much larger number of larger, better controlled studies that show no effect.
This suggests deliberate deception on their part; it's impossible to do an honest search of the literature without happening to notice the saturation of large studies showing no results. The child conducting the study was not neutral about therapeutic touch, and therefore could have affected the results.
Controlled experiments look like they cannot possibly be affected by the experimenter's beliefs, but O'Leary showed that in the real world, they are. The only thing I can think of to say to this is "pot-kettle-black". Emily Rosa did employ good controls, of which the same cannot be said for the majority of the studies that find therapeutic touch to have a beneficial effect.
It's fine to point out that she was a child, and it's fine to say that someone else once found that some studies are weakened by experimenter bias; but if you want to poke holes in Rosa's study, you have to actually find some.
You can't merely insinuate that others have found holes in other studies, thus the child's results are automatically suspect. The editor of the Journal said "Age doesn't matter. All we care about is good science. This was good science. We could go on all day like this, but it's pointless. The only thing that matters when we evaluate a new treatment is whether it works. But they fail to note that an effect was found in only two of Wirth's five trials, and Wirth's own conclusion was "The overall results of the series are inconclusive in establishing the efficacy of the treatment interventions examined.
It certainly has no plausible foundation, and no physiological reason to suspect that the body's healing mechanisms are dependent upon some outside person waving their hands around.
A Close Look at Therapeutic Touch
Really this is one for the kindergarten files, and responsible nurses should look instead to treatments that have credible hope of doing some good. Please contact us with any corrections or feedback. Cite this article: Dunning, B. Skeptoid Media, 27 Apr Butler, K. Courcey, K. Stephen Barrett, MD, 14 Dec. Scientific evidence does exist that supports the premise that energy healing is effective.
What is Healing Touch?
However, an experience is worth a thousand words, so the receiving of a Healing Touch treatment can do more to understand this phenomena than all the writings in the world. What are the benefits of Healing Touch? What to Expect from a Healing Touch Treatment Healing Touch is a gentle, biofield energy field therapy that often facilitates a deep sense of calm and relaxation in the body-mind-spirit. The treatment is typically administered while the client lies on a massage table with their clothes on.
When this happens, the recovery period of the illness is usually reduced. Who can practice Healing Touch?
Healing Touch courses are open to all nurses, massage therapists, body therapists, counselors, psychotherapists, physicians, other allied health care professionals as well as individuals who desire an in-depth understanding and practice of healing work using energy based concepts and principles.
Janet Mentgen, the Founder of Healing Touch, believed that anyone could learn how to facilitate healing in others. As she observed thousands of students doing Healing Touch, she noticed that there was no difference in the outcomes of well prepared non-nurses to those of well prepared nurses. Janet believed that anyone with a compassionate heart and a desire to be of service to others could become a practitioner of energy healing.
All that was needed was a commitment to learn and to grow. The directory will help you, your family, and friends find a Healing Touch Practitioner in your area. Bring an HT Introduction class to your area: Would you like to bring an Introduction to Healing Touch class to your community, organization, school, hospital, nursing home or family and friends?
It is sometimes used to help people who have pain or discomfort from cancer or other diseases. The technique does not treat cancer or any other disease. But there is some evidence that it may reduce stress or improve well-being in people who have cancer. Research on therapeutic touch is ongoing. You can safely use therapeutic touch along with conventional medical treatments.
Therapeutic Touch Pseudoscience: The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again
No studies have proved that therapeutic touch works for treating any type of disease. But some health professionals think it may be useful in helping with stress and anxiety. Some people who receive therapeutic touch say they have a refreshed spirit, heal faster, and feel better. Talk with your doctor about any complementary health practice that you would like to try or are already using.
Your doctor can help you manage your health better if he or she knows about all of your health practices.
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Author: Healthwise Staff.