Scientific Validation for Healing Touch

News Note

By Lara Evans Bracciante

Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, August/September 2004.

In an attempt to bridge the gap between the use of Healing Touch (HT) and the lack of randomized controlled trials, researchers from Barnes-Jewish Hospital (St. Louis, Mo.) recently studied the effects of HT on 78 subjects undergoing radiation treatment. Using strict criteria, the HT group received treatment from practitioners with a minimum of Level II certification. The control group received mock sessions from a layperson with no knowledge of HT. All subjects received six sessions (30 minutes each) of either HT or the mock therapy after radiation treatments. Compared to the mock treatment, the HT group experienced statistically significant better outcomes in physical functioning, pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, emotional well-being, and mental health.

As defined by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, an energy field disturbance is a “disruption in the flow of energy surrounding a person’s being that results in a disharmony of the body, mind, and/or spirit,” such as that caused by radiation treatments. HT addresses such energy imbalances by using the hands to clear, energize, and balance human energy fields, ultimately stimulating the body’s innate ability to help heal itself.