How can therapeutic touch help ease anxiety?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Therapeutic touch (TT) is based on the theory that the body, mind, and emotions form a complex energy field. Therapists seek to correct the body's imbalances by moving their hands over the body, what they call "the laying on of hands." This practice has been used for a number of conditions including pain and anxiety, but studies have shown conflicting results. One study of patients hospitalized for severe burns suggests that therapeutic touch may reduce pain and anxiety associated with burns.  

Therapeutic Touch (TT) is a form of compassionate energy-based healing. The trained TT practitioner can sense the human energy field (aura) through "hand chakras," centers of consciousness introduced in Indian mystical writings. These human auras reflect the life force that permeates all things. The term chakra is a Sanskrit word, meaning wheel, and it is a concept that comes out of yoga philosophy. In the yoga system, energy is seen as revolving around certain centers located along the spine from the tail up to the crown of the head. There are seven chakras, and each one deals with certain types of energy in various parts of the body.

As proof of the energy field's existence, some site images of an energy aura taken with Kirilian photography, a technique in which the hands are placed on film and a low-amp electrical current produces the picture. The picture reveals a person’s emotional and physical problems before symptoms are felt.

Although therapeutic touch is used for almost any physical and emotional illnesses, it is best indicated for pain (of all types, headaches, preoperative and postsurgical, musculoskeletal, neurologic, psychological); irritability and anxiety; lethargy, fatigue, and depression; PMS; nausea and vomiting; wound healing; chemotherapy and radiation sickness.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.