Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link

Therapeutic Touch

By

Denise Millstine

, MD, Mayo Clinic

Medically Reviewed Oct 2021 | Modified Sep 2022
View Patient Education

Therapeutic touch is a type of energy medicine Energy Medicine Five categories of complementary or alternative medicine are generally recognized: Whole medical systems Mind-body medicine Biologically based practices not usually used in conventional medicine... read more . The philosophy behind this modality is to use the therapist’s energy (biofield) to influence the patient’s biofield. Usually, practitioners do not physically touch the patient; instead, they move their hands at a distance over the patient. Therapeutic touch has been used to lessen anxiety and improve the sense of well-being in patients with cancer. In the US, nurses have introduced therapeutic touch into many clinical settings.

Because therapeutic touch operates in the realm of subtle energies and the biofield, current conventional medicine tools are ill-equipped to measure or study the modality directly. High-quality clinical studies are needed, but a systematic review of existing studies did not find sufficient evidence to support therapeutic touch's effectiveness for treating any disorder (1 References Therapeutic touch is a type of energy medicine. The philosophy behind this modality is to use the therapist’s energy (biofield) to influence the patient’s biofield. Usually, practitioners do... read more ). A more recent systematic review found no evidence of efficacy in promoting healing in patients with acute wounds (2 References Therapeutic touch is a type of energy medicine. The philosophy behind this modality is to use the therapist’s energy (biofield) to influence the patient’s biofield. Usually, practitioners do... read more ).

References

  • 1. Fazzino DL, Griffin MT, McNulty RS, et al: Energy healing and pain: a review of the literature. Holist Nurs Pract 24(2):79-88, 2010. doi: 10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181d39718

  • 2. O'Mathúna DP: Therapeutic touch for healing acute wounds. Cochrane Database Syst Rev (8):CD002766, 2016. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002766.pub5

View Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz! 
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
iOS ANDROID
TOP