Caution: Some complementary agents or therapies may be useful for cancer patients; however, some may be harmful in certain situations. MD Anderson Cancer Center cautions patients to consult with their oncologist before attempting to use any agents or therapies referenced on these pages. Inclusion of an agent, therapy or resource on this CIMER Web site does not imply endorsement by MD Anderson Cancer Center.
- Review is based upon articles published as of 8/31/06
- Information on the scientific basis of Therapeutic Touch is provided in the Detailed Scientific Review.
The specific energy therapy known as "Healing Touch" was developed by Janet Mentgen, R.N., based upon her studies with a variety of healers and her experience as a nurse and teacher of nurses. Healing Touch practitioners center themselves and then focus upon their perceptions of another person’s energy field by passing their hands several inches above the entire length of that person’s body. Although practitioners call upon various energy techniques to relieve any perceived imbalances in those fields, their primary intention is to assist clients in activating their own healing powers.
No studies of effectiveness have been identified among patients with cancer. A few studies in other populations have reported effects upon relaxation, recovery from surgery, chronic pain and end of life challenges, but these results have not been clear due to study size, design and reporting limitations.
Healing Touch sessions may be given in a few minutes, but hour-long sessions are advised to allow for discussion of health concerns with the actual intervention lasting 20 to 30 minutes.
How it is taken
Receivers of Healing Touch are fully clothed and may be seated or lying down. Certification, standards of practice, codes of ethics and other resources for Healing Touch practitioners are provided by Healing Touch International.
Some clients have reported mild tingling, warmth and other sensations. If emotional issues surface during a Healing Touch session, referral to an appropriate therapist is recommended.
No adverse effects have been reported in the literature.
To avoid potential interactions, be sure to let your health care provider know if you use this or any other type of complementary therapy.
Authors and Editors
Nancy C. Russell, Dr.P.H., senior health education specialist, Integrative Medicine Program Education Component
Reviewers and editors:
Margaret Harle, R.N., B.S.N., senior research nurse
Lorenzo P. Cohen, Ph.D., director, Integrative Medicine Program