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Therapeutic Touch

By

Denise Millstine

, MD, Mayo Clinic

Last full review/revision Oct 2021| Content last modified Nov 2021
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Therapeutic touch, sometimes referred to as a laying on of hands, is a type of energy medicine Energy Therapies Complementary or alternative medicine can be classified into five major categories of practice: Whole medical systems Mind-body techniques Biologically based practices Manipulative and body-based... read more . The philosophy behind therapeutic touch is to use the therapist’s healing energy (biofield) to identify and repair imbalances in a person’s biofield. Therapists usually do not touch the person. Instead, therapists move their hands back and forth over the person.

Therapeutic touch has been used to lessen anxiety and improve the sense of well-being in people who have cancer, but these effects have not been studied rigorously. Therapeutic touch has gained acceptance by many holistic nurses who integrate this therapy into their hospital care.

Well-designed studies of therapeutic touch are limited. Therapeutic touch may help relieve pain, nausea, and anxiety in people with cancer.

Therapeutic touch appears to be safe.

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