More about Therapeutic Touch
Background and Underlyling Principles of Therapeutic Touch
Therapeutic Touch is modern interpretation of several ancient healing practices. TT
was developed in 1972 by Professor Emeritus of Nursing Dolores Krieger PhD, and natural
healer, Dora Kunz, as an extension of professional skills for health care practitioners.
Initially Professor Krieger taught Therapeutic Touch to nurses completing their masters
and doctoral studies at New York University.|
From there TT expanded to a variety of health professionals including doctors,
psychologists, counselors, occupational therapists ambulance personnel,
carers, massage therapists and now is taught in the community for use with family and
animal care. TT has since extended world wide and is practiced in over 80 countries
including Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia in mainstream and complementary
health care, as well as in the home and workplace.|
Therapeutic Touch has been practiced and taught in Australia since the early 1980's in
settings including universities, hospitals, aged care, palliative care and veterinary care.|
Underlying Principles of Therapeutic Touch
Therapeutic Touch, as with many other energy based modalities such as Chinese medicine
acupuncture, reiki, kinesiology, and homeopathy, is based on the fundamental assumption
that there is a universal life energy that sustains all living organisms. Interuptions to the
flow and balance of this energy result in impaired well being and eventually illness.
Therapeutic Touch seeks to restore and rebalance the rhythmical patterns and transfer of
energy to the individual, creating an environment where the body's healing process is
naturally accelerated (Krieger, 1993).|
Therapeutic Touch as with other related forms of energy based healing, is a branch of
what Dr Larry Dossey calls Era III medicine. Era III medicine incorporates therapies which
work with the deep or quantum level of the person - through interface with the energy
system of the body. Modern science and ancient understandingd are beginning to come
together to both explain and expand knowledge in this area. For instance, recent research
has demonstrated that pulses of electro-magnetic energy are emitted from the hands of
the TT practcitioner at a frequency which has been demonstrated to stimulate bone and
tissue healing. These findings support TT research which has shown that healing of fractures
(call us for information) can be accelerated. (Dossey, 1993; Hall, 1998; Krieger, 1993;
Oschman, 2000, 2003).|
The practice of Therapeutic Touch is distinctive in the emphasis upon the conscious use
of compassionate intent combined with the ability to enter a profound centered or
meditative state. It is from this state of inherent balance and focused healing intent that
the practitioner is able to locate imbalances in the field, facilitate a symmetrical
and rhythmical flow of energy through the field and evaluate the recipient's energy field
to ascertain the level of balance achieved (Krieger, 1993).|
More about a Therapeutic Touch treatment
Therapeutic Touch is a gentle and non invasive process which may take as little as
10 and as long as 30 minutes (including the rest period). During a treatment, you will
remain fully clothed and be either seated or lying down.|
The key elements of the Therapeutic Touch process are:-
Re-balancing (including clearing, modulating and transfering energy)
The practitioner centers by entering a quiet focused state and sets their intent to promote
Your health and wellbeing status will be assessed. Part of this assessment process involves
the use of the hands to ascertain the state of the energy field that usually extends 5-10cm
around the body. Differences in sensory cues such as areas of heat or cold felt in the
energy field plus intuitive cues are used to identify how your energy field can be rebalanced.
The Practitioner hands, combined with their focused and compassionate intent are then
used to balance your energy field by clearing, transfering or modulating the energy. The
Practioner hands may be placed lightly on or just above your body.
Evaluation determines when the session is completed and is best followed by a rest period
of 10 to 20 minutes, Treatment times are much less with the small, frail, sick, elderly, and
with pregnant women.
People often report a sense of deep relaxation, peace and calm during and following a
session. Therapeutic Touch is a transpersonal process and can help to tap into a person's
deeper needs, understandings and ability to achieve harmony and balance in life.
The number of treatments required is variable. Therapeutic Touch can be used very
effectively in a first aid or emergency situation while chronic or long term conditions may
require regular sessions of TT over an extended period of time.
TT is not a cure all, rather an approach that facilitates the body's natural healing
processess, TT has been found to benefit animals with some Australian Practitioners
specialising in this field.
Therapeutic Touch, Health and Wellbeing
Therapeutic Touch has a wide variety of applications. TT can be used to enhance
wellbeing in everyday life, to promote healing and enhance the ability to deal with times
of illness and stress.|
Therapeutic Touch can be incorporated into mainstream health care practice in hospitals
- sometimes requiring only a short time to achieve a profound effect. TT also combines well with other
modalities including acupuncture, in general medical practice and psychotherpy.|
The effects of Therapeutic Touch are not dependent on the recipient's belief or
knowledge of the practcice. TT has been used to calm crying babies and has been
effective in special care nurseries and paediatrics in promoting relaxation and
Therapeutic Touch is a valuable aid to labouring women. Couples taught to use TT
on each other have demonstrated enhanced relationships. One Mother-to-be stated
that she felt "safe, comforted and relaxed" as long as TT was being used -
(Dawson & Hall, 1998).
Therapeutic Touch certainly combines very well with modern health care. TT has
been shown to reduce anxiety in cardiovascular patients, to reduce tension
headache and enhance the immune response. TT provides benefits in terms of
balancing the effects of drugs or surgery for example, reducing nausea associated
with chemotherapy and facilitating the healing process. With early discharge, TT
can assist the transition for the client and can be taught to family care-givers.
Therapeutic Touch is being used in aged care facilities for dementia care and has
been found to reduce vocalisation and wandering behaviour, as well as reduce pain
and improve wellbeing (Gregory & Verdouw, 2005).
Therapeutic touch enhances and expands therapeutic practice of many kinds.
Health care practitioners report that TT brings increased sensitivity and ability to
work with energy flow and combines well with a variety of therapies from massage
and accupuncture to psychotherapy and modern medicine.
Understanding energy dynamics within and between people can also benefit
teachers, relationship counselors, and life, leadership and business coaches.
As an added bonus, clients and their families can be taught how to use
Therapeutic Touch to promote wellbeing, for first aid and as part of health care.
Therapeutic Touch can also be used for self care and personal development as a
meditative and healing process.
Therapeutic Touch is often descibed as a healing meditation. Not surprisingly
regular practitioners of TT report substantial benefits in their own lives, including
enhanced wellbeing and accelerated personal development.
Therapeutic Touch: Professional Aspects
There is an extensive body of literature on Therapeutic Touch ranging from books by the
co-developers Dolores Krieger and Dora Kunz and other practitioners, to several hundred
articles, doctoral dissertation, conference papers, videos, CD's, web-sites and books, plus
chapters and sections in literature on complementary therapies.|
With regard to Australia, Therapeutic Touch has been the subject of a number of articles,
confernce papers and presentations. In addition there are a number of research articles
in refereed journals.
Therapeutic Touch, TTAA teachers have been very active in this process.
A Comprehensive overview of TT is presented in a chapter by Jane Hall in 'Complementary
Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery' (2001), Ausmed publications. TT is discussed
extensively in a recent published chapter on energy therapies by Geraldine Milton in
'Complementary Therapies and the Management of Diabetes and Vascular Disease. A
Matter of Balance' (2006), John Wiley and Sons.
Sue Gregory has published with a special focus on using TT in aged care. Sue has just
published "Silver energy: Healing for elders' (2008) with Chery Ann Hoffmeyer on the use of
TT and other complementary therapies for aged care and dementia care. Therapeutic Touch
has been presented on national television, the most recent being ABC TV on Second
Opinion, 5th July and 6th Sept 2005 with a story by Sue Gregory.
Research and Evidence Based Practice
Therapeutic Touch has been extensively researched over the last 30 years and is one of
the top 6 complementary therapies used in hospitals and other health care agencies in the
USA (2010 report). It is also widely practiced in Europe and Canada with an increasing
number of practitioners in many other countries around the world including Africa. TT has
been taught and practiced in Australia in hospitals, health care agencies and the community
in all states over the last 20 years, even before Professor Dolores Krieger visited Australia
to offer Therapeutic Touch courses at Flinders University in S.A. in 1983.|
Since its development as a nursing tool by Krieger and Kunz over 25 years ago (Krieger
1993, 1997), Therapeutic Touch has gained wide acceptance in the nursing, medical and
general population arenas. In part, its popularity and efficacy is acknowledged through
such venues as its use within the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre, a leading cardiac
surgery facility in the United States (Oz, 1999). A simple search of the academic databases
provides a wealth of well-documented research into the use and efficacy of TT as a
holistic, complementary therapy (see reference for examples).
These findings reflect that fact that Therapeutic Touch grew out of a research program
and has continued the rigour of such an approach from its inception. There are now over
40 doctoral and masters theses, 60 research projects and thousands of case studies which
demonstrate the value of TT.
Overall research studies have shown Therapeutic Touch to: reduce anxiety, stress and
pain; induce deep relaxation; accelerate healing; and promote profound personal growth.
Many studies, projects and case reviews have explored the use of Therapeutic Touch.
For a fully referenced listing, of the existing studies and research material on Therapeutic
Touch, please contact Therapeutic Touch Association of Australasia on
Therapeutic Touch in Australia
By Geraldine Milton Seaford, Melbourne. Victoria. firstname.lastname@example.org|
In Australia we have had National TT competencies for over 10 years originally
developed by Tasmanian TT teacher Sue Gregory, and written after extensive consultation
with members of NA-PAI, to align to international TT standards set by NH-PAI /TTIA.
They were very generously donated by Sue to the Therapeutic Touch Association of Australasia
as part of setting up of a national body to house them, as prior to that, we had individual
associations. At the same time, we changed to a new Registered Training Organization (RTO) -
all courses for health professionals in Australia must be offered by RTOs, and ours is now
the Australian College of Vibrational Healing. TTAA then collaboratively developed comprehensive,
competency-based teaching manuals and processes for our Basic TT, Intermediate, TT Mentorship,
Advanced TT and Teachers.
We were fortunate to have Dee come twice to South Australia in 1993 teaching TT Basic and
TT Teacher workshops, and again in 1998 with other teachers from NA-PAI, to offer an Advanced TT
course and TT conference workshops. It was after an Advanced Therapeutic Touch Conference
presented by Crystal Hawke in 2004, also organized by the Krieger Kunz TT Association in
South Australia, that delegates gathered and discussed the setting up of a National
TT Association in Australia. On behalf of TTAA, I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary
contribution of TT teacher Amy Bartjes and the Krieger Kunz TT Association in South Australia,
for their efforts in promoting and developing TT in Australia, including offering these 3
'ground breaking' workshops/conferences.
The Therapeutic Touch Association of Australasia finally came into being in 2006|
In 2007, and 2010 Diane May and Professor Cherryanne Hoffmeyer offered Intermediate, Advanced
and TT Teacher courses in Melbourne, Victoria, and presented at one of our conferences.
They have been extremely supportive of TTAA, and in 2010 incorporated our National TT competencies
into their teaching plan to allow participants recognition within the Australian educational
system. We followed up the students enrolled in the Intermediate course to help them complete
assessments of the competencies, including marking their case studies.
TTAA members can go on our accredited TT practitioner listing on the website after successfully
completing the required competencies for Basic TT, Intermediate TT and be enrolled in what is
usually a one year TT Mentorship course. Mentorship may be individual or group, and we tend
to use teleconferencing or Skype link up to access students throughout Australia and
(we had one recently mentored from) New Zealand.
For more than 10 years now Complementary Therapists (CT) have been responding to the requirements
that have arisen from new Government regulations to 'protect the public' from what some call
'charlatans'. They are people who claim a wide variety of healing outcomes for interventions that
are not evidenced based.
Regulation of the practices that may have higher risk like Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Shiatsu
therapies were addressed first. Those with less risk have been more recently addressed. I am very
pleased to be able to say that for the first time, bioenergetic therapies like TT and also Reiki
have been accredited in Australia at a Cert 1V and Diploma level, offering a career pathway for
those who are not health professionals to become one in that specialty area. In our TT Diploma
units, we have integrated both TT Advanced and a new and exciting unit which addresses Advanced
Mentorship. We have not included TT Teachers as we want them to be only approved and accredited
by TTAA. We were very mindful of the framework and standards set by TTIA so that credit can be
given for TT practitioners taught by other TT teachers in Australia and overseas.
What may be useful for you and the TT community to know us that TTAA, not the RTO,
own the TT units as a specialty cluster. The RTO will offer or give RPLs (recognition of prior
learning) for the supporting subjects like communication skills, occupational health and safety,
basic anatomy, first aid, etc. There are numerous competency based units that have been developed
in the 'Health Training Package' that student have or can do that support Cert 1V and Diploma
Our TT cluster units we can offer to Health professionals who do not need a Cert 1V or Diploma
to work in the health industry, as they are already qualified.
Therapeutic Touch - seated
Therapeutic Touch - lying