Different Theories on How it Works
The body electric
. Therapeutic Touch is based on the idea that each individual has their own electromagnetic field, sometimes referred to as an aura, which extends beyond the body. There have been various theories on the nature of this field, how far it extends, what it consists of and it relationship to the universe. To Krieger and Kunz, there were four aspects to this human energy field which included 1) the vital, or physical body, 2) an emotional field, 3) mental field, and 4) intuitive field. As in most energy theories, these fields are considered dynamic, constantly interacting with each other and with the environment. In a state of health, the energy field flows unimpeded and smoothly, in a patterned and ordered manner. When the body experiences stress, injury or disease, differences in flow result in imbalance and dis-ease. TT practitioners believe that they can effect healing through the interaction of their own energy and the energy of the environment/universe, with that of the patient.
Stress is often a factor in illness as well as in the experience of our everyday lives. The body responds to stress through the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Heart rate and anxiety levels increase, stress hormones are released into the body and there is a reduction of coping mechanisms. TT is believed to influence the response of the ANS, promoting a return to relaxation. This may be due in part to the patients mental state which also becomes more balanced due to the compassionate intervention of TT.
Conditions it Works BestFor
While there has been a limited amount of research to date on the effectiveness of therapeutic touch, there have been a great many anecdotal and case reports on its successful use in reducing stress and promoting relaxation in women during childbirth, AIDS patients, hospitalized infants and children, the elderly, pre-op patients, and for patients with insomnia, pain or those undergoing drug rehabilitation. Because there has been a great deal of variation in the design and protocols used in clinical studies of TT, the evidence has often been contradictory and is at this time considered inconclusive. Several studies have, however, shown its effectiveness in reducing anxiety, arthritic pain in the elderly, and stress in premature infants. Currently the National Institutes of Health are funding studies on the use of TT in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, to enhance immune function in AIDS patients, to lower stress in the critically ill newborn, and to improve immune function during chemotherapy for advanced cancer.