If you’re undergoing cancer treatment, you may be curious about complementary therapies like Healing Touch (also called therapeutic touch) to support you in your journey.
“Healing Touch is an energy-healing process,” says Robin Johnson, M.Ed., a Certified Health Education Practitioner and Healing Touch practitioner at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support at Piedmont Athens Regional. “It’s used to address physical and emotional pain in people with cancer and their caregivers.”
What is Healing Touch?
Healing Touch was created by a registered nurse, and is taught as nursing continuing education. It is believed to balance the body’s energy centers to restore harmony to the field and promote natural healing.
“The body has seven energy centers,” says Johnson. “There is also an energy center at each joint in the body, including in the spine. Often, there are problems in the energy field where there is an injury, illness or pain. Using Healing Touch techniques, we can help relieve pain and nausea, relax the mind and body, and promote healing.”
Healing Touch is currently being studied by researchers to see if it can support immune system health, reduce cancer treatment side effects and improve quality of life in people undergoing cancer treatment.
Johnson emphasizes that Healing Touch is not meant to replace cancer treatments like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
“Healing Touch doesn’t take away any of the good effects of cancer treatment,” she says. “It complements them. I don’t view it as an alternative therapy, but as a complementary therapy. My intention is always each person’s highest good.”
Who practices Healing Touch?
While Healing Touch is a form of continuing education for nurses, practitioners aren’t required to be nurses. Practitioners may also be faith leaders, therapists, health educators and others interested in the practice.
Johnson recommends seeking out a Healing Touch practitioner, who has completed five levels of training.
What happens during a Healing Touch session?
During a Healing Touch session, you’ll be asked to remove your shoes and lie fully dressed on a massage table. Your practitioner will assess your energy using their hands and/or a pendulum. They will then use the strong energy centers in their own palms to relieve pain or nausea, promote relaxation, and to bring you into your own balance.
“It’s really about helping people to muster their own healing abilities,” says Johnson. “You’re not getting energy from the practitioner. You’re not draining them of energy and they can’t drain you. They can’t harm you, diagnose you or read your mind.”
What does Healing Touch feel like?
“Many of my clients fall asleep during their treatment or say that they feel like they’re floating,” she says. “Most experience relaxation. They may also experience a reduction in pain, nausea and sleeplessness.”
Johnson says some of her clients feel their energy “move,” while others experience a sense of deep relaxation and stress relief.
“Cancer is what I call a ‘hurry up and wait’ disease,” she says. “You wait for a diagnosis; then you wait for surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Then you wait to see if the treatments are working. It’s a very anxiety-provoking disease. Being able to stop thinking about it for a few minutes is very helpful to people. Healing Touch is mysterious, but it makes a difference in many people’s lives.”
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