Healing Touch: A Literature Review Essay

literature also includes investigations from countries around the world as well. Finally, and as previously mentioned, this literature is intended to educate and also invite intelligent conversations on this subject matter; it is not intended to persuade or convince one that touch has a connection to health. THE TOUCH THEAPIES Due to the obscure nature of the touch therapies, I think it prudent to present an overview of the chakras and the meridians, which are the main systems manipulated during administration of the touch therapies.

These two systems are “composed of subtle [energy] of higher frequency levels than that which the [human] eye can perceive” (Gerber, 2001, p. 173). It is my intention that this synopsis around the human energetic anatomy will promote understanding and clarity of the subsequent investigation of the literature. “Chakra means ‘spinning wheel’ in Sanskrit, where prana, or life-force [energy] of the body is held and organized” (Willis, 2009, p. 8). There are seven major chakras which are “located along the central axis of the body in the proximity of the major nerve ganglia” (Cammarata, 2007, p. 93).

Each one possesses a unique energy to sustain the particular anatomical system to which it is linked. For example, the first chakra is called the root chakra which is located “at the perineum, between the anus and the genitals” (Willis, 2008, p. 20) and it supplies the energy that empowers the “reproductive system, and the lower extremities” (Andrews, 2005, p. 38). The energy of this chakra is responsible for “the way we survive in the world” (PallasDowney, 2007, p. 30). Yet another example is that of the seventh chakra, also known as the crown chakra, which extends upward from the crown of the head (Wauters, 2008).

The energy of the crown chakra supports the “pineal gland, cerebral cortex …higher learning… [and] the right eye” (Dale, 2013, p. 55). The second through sixth chakras lie between the first and seventh chakra and they provide energetic support to anatomical organs and systems between the genitals and pineal gland, respectively. According to Dale (2009), “illness is an energetic disturbance or imbalance. Conversely healing is a process of restoring or asserting energetic balance” (p. 158).

The primary focus of healing touch is to “utilize light or near body touch to clear, balance, and energize the human energy system” (Mentgen and Bullock, 2011, p. 12), primarily to that of the chakras and meridians. Based upon my years of study around the energetic anatomy of humans, I describe chakras as transmitters and receivers that send and collect energy from the universe while converting said energy to a suitable frequency for human consumption. To support the existence of chakras Dale (2009) reports the research findings of Dr.

Valerie Hunt, professor of kinesiology at the University of California. Dr. Hunt has documented the emission of electromagnetic output in humans in the same physical location associated with the seven major chakras. Furthermore, Dr. Hunt scientifically measured each one of these emissions to verify that their frequency is equal to that of one the seven colors of the spectrum. It is important to mention here that the chakra system and the meridians are the principal parts of the energetic anatomy that are influenced during the admiration of healing touch, of therapeutic touch and reiki (p. 246-247).

Meridians can be thought of as conduits or pathways that contain and supply Qi throughout the body. Qi, also known as ki in this paper, is life force energy that exist in all things and it is said to come from three sources: the first source of Qi is ancestral Qi which comes from our biological parents, the second source of Qi is acquired through the food we eat, and the third source of Qi is from the universe (Gerber, 2001, p. 204; Gerber, 2000 p. 16) Along all of the meridians, acupressure points are found. The acupuncture points are like dams or valves that control the flow of Qi within the meridians.

Pressing, tapping, and puncturing the acupressure points is a way to unlock, speed up or slow down the flow of Qi to promote balance in the body. When the body is in balanced due to the correct flow of Qi, a state of good health is the result (Gerber, 2001 p. 176, 204). There are twelve major meridians in the human body, and many other minor meridians, which are not discussed here. To explain a bit, the majority of the major meridians are directly linked to major organs or major systems, such as the liver and large intestines. Consequently, the meridians are named the same as the organ or system that they supply with Qi.

There are, however exceptional meridians not named for specific organs such as the Conception Vessel Meridian, which is located up the front midline of the body, and the second is the Governing Vessel Meridian, located down the back midline of the body. “As does the Governing vessel, the Conception Vessel distributes chi [Qi] to the major organs and maintains the proper balance of [Qi] chi in the blood” (Dale, 2009, p. 206). The third executional meridian is the Triple Heater Meridian and its function is very important. important.

It delivers a special Qi which is produced in the kidneys and allocates the correct amount of Qi to all organs (Dale, 2013, p. 205). It is called the Triple Warmer Meridian because it sends Qi to three distinct regions in the body: the upper warmer branch delivers Qi to the lungs and heart and is in charge of respiration; the middle warmer branch sends Qi to the stomach, spleen, liver and gall bladder and works to aid digestion and assimilation; and the lower warmer branch distributes Qi to the area below the navel to aid elimination and reproduction (Dale, 2013, 196-205; Gerber, 2001, p. 70).

There is a definite connection between the chakras and the meridians; they work together, in close proximity one to another, to balance the organs and endocrine system. For one example the spleen, liver, and stomach meridians supply Qi to the same-named organs. These three meridians coincide with the function of the second chakra which energizes the liver and spleen and the third chakra because energizes the liver and stomach functions and supplies energy to the pancreas.

In theory, if the spleen, liver, or stomach meridians were to be restricted in any way to cause an imbalance to the flow of Qi, the physical illnesses that occur could be the same as those that occur if the second and third chakras were not functioning properly, such as menstrual problems, acid reflux disease, digestive problems and fluid build-up in the lower abdomen. (CITE) I HAVE PICTURES OF THE CHAKRA SYSTEM AND THE MERDIANS SYSTEM. SHOULD THE BE PLACE HERE OR AT THE END OF THIS DOCUMENT? Healing Touch Origins and contributors

According to Wang and Herman (2006), evidence of healing methods such as laying on of hands and energy manipulation are documented in reputable sources from diverse cultures dating back to ancient times including the following examples: “The Huang Ti Su Wen of 2500-5000 years ago [the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine include] pictures from the Egyptian third dynasty, Hippocrates’ acknowledgement of the biofield or energy as a flow from people’s hands, India’s reference to chakras or energy centers in the body, and the Far Eastern cultures balancing of bodies’ opposing energy f yin and yang through acupuncture or acupressure” (p. 34).

Healing touch is administered by using non-invasive, specific patterns of hand movements to generate “balance and to the human energy system, thereby placing the client in the position to self-heal” (Van Aken and Taylor, 2010, p. 132). Thomas, Stephenson, Swanson, Jesse and Brown (2013), define Healing Touch (HT) as an energy/biofield-therapy under the umbrella of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

According to Freel, Hart, Hylock and Lutgendorf (2011), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) contends that biofield-therapies include two modes of energy: the first type is veritable energy, which is documented in allopathic medicine and can be measured in “wave lengths or frequencies, such as mechanical vibrations of sound, visible light…” (p. 520) and the other type is putative energy which are the “electromageneticfields” (p. 520) too subtle to measure such as that of the human energetic anatomy, in particular, the aura which is also known as the human bio-field, the chakras, and the meridians.

Of these subtle energy systems just mentioned the energy of the chakras are most manipulated and influenced during Healing Touch (HT) treatment. When the chakra system is in a balanced state, it provides vital energetic support to the physical, mental, and spiritual anatomy. HT is administered by incorporating “intentionality and presence … using a group of noninvasive [hand] techniques to help balance energy systems [in and] surrounding the body and restore harmony to both the human and the environmental fields” (Thomas et al. 2013, p. 2). Researchers Freel et al. (2011); Pierce (2007); and Archer (2006) agree that the biofield therapies such as HT are beneficial to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. In addition, Freel et al. (2011) explains that these benefits are measurable by the reduction of “neuroendocrine stress hormones [such as cortisol that] … may enhance immune functions and other body systems” (p. 521).

In 1980, Janet Mentgen, BSN, developed HT into a structured modality (Thomas et al. 2013). According to Wang and Hermann (2006), since inception HT has been endorsed by the American Holistic Nursing Association (AHNA), the professional organization responsible for HT certification programs from 1990 through 1996. Healing Touch International was created in 1996 to assume the certification process and establish and more importantly to maintain the Code of Ethics for HT practitioners on a world-wide basis (Wang and Hermann, 2006).

HT instructional classes and therapeutic sessions are offered world-wide in countries including the “United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Peru, France, Romania and Germany” (Wang and Hermann, 2006, p. 34). HT is often integrated with conventional treatments to relieve pain, anxiety, and depression in a variety of medical facilities such as; nursing homes, new born nurseries, hospice settings, surgical and intensive care units and several other medical venues not mentioned here (Wang and Hermann, 2006).

What studies say about the modality of healing touch. According to Archer (2006) people who…received healing touch therapy before heart surgery were more likely to be live 6 months later than those who did not experience [this] intervention. (p. 99). In addition, Dr. Mitchell W. Krucoff, from Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina, and his colleagues investigated “748 patients at nine facilities across the United States” (Archer, 2006, p. 9), of which twenty-five percent of the participants received standard care with or without prayer, while 75% of the subjects received standard care, prayer and MIT.

According to Archer (2006), the study results showed no immediate difference in the health condition of study participants (p. 99). “However, the significant finding was that the 7th month death rate was lower in patients who received both prayer and MIT therapy than those who received standard care only or standard care with