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Therapeutic Touch

By Steven Novella, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine

Therapeutic touch, sometimes referred to as a laying on of hands, reportedly uses the therapist’s healing energy 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 work routine.

Well-designed studies of therapeutic touch are lacking, but there is no convincing evidence to support therapeutic touch's effectiveness for treating for any disorder.

Evidence suggests that practitioners cannot detect a person's biofield, and there is no scientific evidence supporting the existence of biofields.

Therapeutic touch is safe.