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 August 2006
- Information on the scientific basis of Therapeutic Touch is provided in the Detailed Scientific Review.
Therapeutic Touch is a specific therapy based upon perceptions of individual energy fields that may have become unbalanced due to illness. Therapists center themselves and use the palms of their hands to attempt to detect areas of roughness or blockage in these fields. They then use perceived excesses of their own energy fields to smooth and rebalance these areas through the intentionality of their own minds and energy associated with the palms of their hands.
Perceptions of human energy fields have not been documented in peer-reviewed studies. However, Therapeutic Touch sessions have been associated with reduced pre-operative anxiety, improved mean well-being scores and generally perceived benefits among patients with cancer in three small randomized trials, one of which was partially blinded. Because these were small trials they may not have been able to compare and control for all factors.
Therapeutic Touch sessions in published studies have lasted from 10 to 30 minutes.
How it is taken
Receivers of therapeutic touch may be seated or lying down or otherwise comfortable.
Receivers have reported sensations of tingling and other mild effects.
Dolores Krieger, RN, the founder of Therapeutic Touch, cautioned practitioners to avoid overloading energy fields by limiting sessions to two to three minutes for children, the elderly, those with head injuries and others who are severely debilitated.
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