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Lv 4
Serene asked in HealthAlternative Medicine · 1 decade ago

How does Healing Touch Therapy actually heal?

Healing Touch is an energy therapy. Gentle touch assists in balancing your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Works with your energy field to support your natural ability to heal. Real or farce? From a scientific perspective, I can't find data to support their claims.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Therapeutic touch and healing touch were once a topic of interest for many many people. Even the US government paid for several studies and trained some nurses to use it on patients in the recovery room who were just post-op. There was no data to suggest it worked but they did it anyway, thinking that there could be no harm from trying. Then, an eleven year old girl using a piece of cardboard with two holes in it proved that it didn't work, I kid you not. Check the source.

    From Wiki:

    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 TT practitioners. Her study consisted of testing 21 practitioners of TT 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.[15][16][9] Upon publishing the results, JAMA editor George D. Lundberg, M.D, recommended that patients and insurance companies alike refuse to pay for TT 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 TT practitioners are ethically obligated to share the results of this study with patients.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hi Serene,

    It's good to see that you're looking for evidence, most people are happy just to ask for anecdotes... which is not sufficient in judging the efficacy of a treatment.

    The main problem with modalities such as healing touch, is that there is no 'energy field' around the human body. It simply doesn't exist - there is no evidence and very importantly, the laws of physics do not allow it.

    There is no doubt that healing touch does have results for some people... and those results can be directly attributed to the placebo effect - the power of the mind to make you feel better because you really believe you're receiving a proper treatment.

    Of course when I say 'results' I'm referring to a feeling of wellbeing or a temporary relief of mild pain. I'm certainly not talking about diseases being healed or infections going away or anything like that which proper medicine can achieve.

    Hope I've been helpful :)



    "The body does put out energy fields that can be measured and a fluctuation in energy can cause a disruption in cellular reproduction."

    No it does not. There is no such thing as a body's energy field. There is absolutely no scientific evidence of this - I challenge you to supply some. It sounds lovely and I understand why people like to think this magical field is real, but if you have no evidence you have no right to tell people that it is absolutely true.

    "Remember science is not concrete, we discredit through experimentation all that we can and what is left we accept."

    You're right, science allows us to constantly change our opinions of what is fact and what is not. You are wrong though when you say that we discredit through experimentation and accept what is left. Science does not automatically accept what is left. It accepts what it can prove... that's a very different thing.

    Take this simplified example -An apple goes missing from the table.

    We can prove that there was no person near the house because we have cameras set up.

    We can prove there were no trapdoors.

    We can prove that the apple didn't just roll off the table, because it's not anywhere in the room.

    So since science has disproved all of these things, do we now have to accept the scenarios that are left?

    It could have been aliens

    It could have been magic

    It could have teleported away

    It could have been an invisible person.

    None of these examples can be disproven, but we as scientists certainly don't accept them. We look at the laws of physics and that tells us that these explanations are very unlikely. We don't just give up at this point and say it must have been one of these things. We look for more likely explanations.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    When you see "energy therapy" be skeptical.

    The word energy is is being misused. Energy is an attribute of something, a measurement. It means work force capability. Energy does not exist in some pure state, and the body does not have "energy fields". If someone is going to claim this they need to be able to explain what type and form the energy is, how and where it is stored, and how is it measured.

    This is why you can find no scientific data to support the claims. These alleged life force energies are unmeasurable and undetectable by any scientific apparatus, it certainly can't go where its needed to perform miracles, neither can it be manipulated by special people.

    Healing touch therapy works by placebo effect - it is nice to have people caring, appearing to be doing something. But the explanations are pseudoscientific piffle.

    A good skeptical question, thanks.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Dave has it right, it's been shown to NOT work in a double blind placebo controlled trial. The people who claim it works because "they have proof", well, that's what you call an anecdote. When you have more than one anecdote, you have anecdotes, not data.

    If you guys who think it works, submit a double blind study to a scientific journel, allow peer review and have your results repeated. Oh, you don't want to do that do you ? Because you know it will fail, huh ?

    Go ahead, give that a thumbs down, but truth is truth, your cosmic fallout is just a head game.

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  • dave
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    No, I'm afraid it's just another of the scams-of-the-moment that's doing the rounds.

    As with other things like reiki etc, they talk about 'energy fields' (which conveniently cannot be seen or felt or detected with the finest scientific equipment, though someone in a white coat with a smile can manipulate it for you in exchange for money!)

    This is the sort of embarrassing studies they claim work:

    "Psychoneuroimmunology and Healing Touch in HIV Disease. Jo Wheeler Robins, PhD

    The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of Healing Touch on well-being and neuroendocrine function in individuals living with HIV disease. A total of 27 males completed the 4-week Healing Touch intervention. Well-being was measured by three well-being, two physiological distress instruments, and a number of biological measures of immune function. There were no significant findings on any of the measures. Study participants did, however, indicate that the positive effects they experienced seemed more directly related to stress reduction and spiritual growth, which were not directly measured."

    Basically, it didn't work but the patients said they had less stress and more 'spiritual growth' (whatever that is), which is 2 things the study DID NOT measure! If it didn't measure it, why is it reporting it?

    This is typical of the scams that try and justify themselves and fail so badly.

    EDIT: "have seen things that most people wouldn't believe. I have pictures of people walking through walls and recordings of people who we could not see."

    I also have a Ghostbusters DVD and a radio. Seriously, you are suffering from some powerful delusions there and have nothing with which to confirm them. An extremely brave post all the same that I'm going to have to star because of its sheer lunacy.

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  • Anonymous
    3 years ago


    Source(s): Reiki Self Treatment
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  • 1 decade ago

    i think this is one of those mind over matter things, I you truly beleive you are being healed by this touch or this other persons energy, then it may work.

    But on the other hand if you don't believe and you try it anyway odds are you will not see any results.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I disagree with Dave. The body does put out energy fields that can be measured and a fluctuation in energy can cause a disruption in cellular reproduction. The philosophy behind the therapy is that the therapist is realigning the patients energy with will help to correct any abnormalities. Most scientist will not study it because to many people will think they are nuts. Try to find someone who has gone through it and talk to them or better yet try to find someone who can perform it and see if you can have it done as a free trial.

    I have seen things that most people wouldn't believe. I have pictures of people walking through walls and recordings of people who we could not see. There is more to this world than meets the eye. I used to be a sediment toxicologist working in bio-assay, now I teach science and investigate scientific abnormalities in my off time.

    Remember science is not concrete, we discredit through experimentation all that we can and what is left we accept. Just like medicines, this will not work on everyone. I still say check it for yourself, people tell me ghost don't exist, I have my own proof.

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