Massage and Therapeutic Touch

Therapeutic touch (TT) is a controversial method in which the hands are used to “direct human energies to help or heal someone who is ill.” It is using the hands without the hands ever toucing the body of the patient. Its premise is that the “healing force of the therapist affects the patient's recovery; healing is promoted when the body's energies are in balance and, by passing their hands over the patient, healers can identify energy imbalances.”

TT originated in the early 1970s by an R.N. and subsequent trials with the process have been largely by nurses in hospital settings. In the 1990s, nursing proponents of TT practiced it upon outpatients with MS in Pennsylvania hospitals. There was no sure response on the part of the patients as few could derive anything from the hands passing over their bodies. Except for the good feelings engendered when staff takes an interest in them, there was little to show that TT worked. That said, advocates of TT state that more than 100,000 people worldwide have been trained in the TT technique, including 45,000 health care professionals and that about half of those trained actually practice it. TT is sometimes used in conjunction with massage.

Massage is an ancient form of healing that has held its efficacy through thousands of years. The “laying on of hands” relieves pain, soothes the sleep-deprived, eases tight muscles, neck and shoulder cramps, and smoothes away anxiety and care. Massage therapists rub, stroke, knead, or slap various parts of the body to ease pain and heal. The benefits of massage are many and include:

  • Relieves muscle aches and stiffness

  • Improves circulation of blood

  • Furthers skin toning

  • Melts away stress

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Increases feeling of well-being

There are many types of massage, among them are: aromatherapy massage, which uses essential oils; and reflexology, in which the practitioner uses thumb and finger pressure on the reflex points of the feet. These points are presumed to represent other areas of the body. Asian-based systems of finger pressure on the points along “meridians” to balance energy are acupressure, shiatsu, and polarity. Relaxation massage, as the name indicates, is massage for relaxation and relief of tension and anxiety. Remedial massage is often used in tandem with medical intervention for injured muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Sports massage is a collection of many massage techniques to improve sports performance and relieve body stress from exertion.

If you decide to try massage as a way to alleviate your anxiety, make sure the massage therapist has studied at an accredited school, and has some experience working with your type of problem. Before you agree on a session, you will want to know how the technique is practiced, and what benefits you can expect. It is recommended that you ask to meet the therapist prior to your first session to see if you are comfortable with him or her.


The James Randi Educational Foundation offers $1 million to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. This is called the $1 Million Paranormal Challenge. To date, no one has collected the money.

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