by John W. Cartmell, LMP
(From a letter to the University of Washington "Daily",
later published in Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Jan. 1997)
Therapeutic Touch and similar therapies have gained renewed interest in recent years. Part of the reason is that these techniques consistently work. How and why Therapeutic Touch causes the therapeutic effects it does is unknown, but decreased pain and swelling, and increased rates of wound healing are consistently seen with this unique healing technique.
One theory presumes an energy field or "aura" around the body. Another model considers the electrical nature of the nervous system, and the subtle electromagnetic field produced by it. This model, based on what in Physics is known as The Right Hand Law of Electrical Current states: "Holding up your right hand with fingers curled and the thumb out like youre hitch hiking, if the current is flowing in the direction that the thumb is pointing, there is always an electro-magnetic field around the wire which moves in the direction of the curled fingers".
The nerves have a very weak DC electrical current. According to the Right Hand Law this current will cause a field around the nerves. Since the nerves occupy every cubic centimeter of the body, the entire body could logically be said to have a weak electro-magnetic field. It was only after the invention of the SQUID device in the mid 1980s that this field could be measured. The field is strongest at the areas of highest concentration of nerves; the brain, throat, heart, solar plexus, and sacral/pubic/perineum areas. These areas are the same as the seven chakra (energy field) areas of the body referred to in Eastern religions. Therefore, the existence of these points, and the field associated with them, is supported by science.
If you vary the frequency of impulses going through a wire, the nature of the field changes accordingly. The opposite is also true; if you alter the electro magnetic field, you alter the associated current in the wire. A nerve sending pain information has a different frequency of current and therefore a different field from normal. This can effect other nerves, leading to a general shift in the bodys overall field created by the sum total of systemic neural activity. If you disrupt this field by moving a normal nerve field through it, the abnormal field tends to break up and reset to a normal pattern. The trained practitioner knows how to synchronize the patients abnormal field with the practitioners normal field. The current follows the field, and the symptoms are diminished or relieved.
Its easy to train someone to do Therapeutic Touch. As a Licensed Massage Practitioner, Ive taught people in 60 seconds how to do this technique.
In her book The Therapeutic Touch, Dolores Krieger, RN speaks more to documenting the phenomenon than to teaching the technique. However, what she does describe about the technique makes it easy for the novice to learn and use. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning Therapeutic Touch.
Many energy healing therapies share similar techniques. Among these are Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, Reiki, Polarity and Magnetics. In Russia, it's called Psychic Healing. All these techniques use the laying on of hands on or near the body to "affect the body's energy". The technique that I use combines aspects from several of these styles.
Most people can feel this energy field by bringing the palms together until they are almost touching, then moving them apart, then back together, then slowly moving the palms back and forth in a chopping motion about a quarter inch apart.
Polarity techniques teach that the magnetic field of the body is synchronized with the magnetic field of the earth. In right-handed people, the magnetic field from the earth is believed to enter the body through the left foot and hand, and exit from the right foot and hand. The left-hand is considered the drawing hand for drawing pain or swelling, the right-hand is considered the activating hand for stimulating organs or moving fluids such as blood or lymph. In left-handed people, it's just the reverse; the field enters from the right foot and hand, and exits out the left foot and hand, the right hand is the "drawing" hand, the left hand is for activating.
Being right-handed, I place the left-hand over a nerve area, while placing the right hand on or over an area on the right and inferior to the left hand. For example if I place my left-hand over the heart area, I might place my right hand on or over the right thigh. The idea is to pull the energy through the heart area and through yourself, letting it exit out your right hand and into the person's body to exit out their right foot.
This simple method can be also be used to stop nausea (holding the left-hand over the solar plexus, right hand on or over the right leg and rotating the left-hand over the solar plexus in a clockwise direction). The nausea will usually decrease or disappear in three to five minutes. If you hold the left-hand over an area of pain, the pain will decrease or disappear in three to five minutes. Balancing the nerve field has a profound balancing effect on the nervous system. The effect is most noticeable when symptoms of pain, nausea, or even anxiety, are severe. This technique is also helpful in strokes or other conditions of nerve disorders. Standing at the head of the person laying face up, the palms of the practitioner's hands are held about 1-2 inches from the ears. If the recipient is left-handed, then the palms of the practitioner should be reversed; the right palm over the left ear and the left palm over the right ear with the practitioner standing to the side facing the recipient.
The seven chakras of Eastern religion are also areas of high concentrations of nerves and therefore nerve fields. These areas are the crown of the head, the forehead, the throat, the heart, the navel, the pubic area, and the perineum between the rectum and genitals. The nerve fields in these areas normally have a clockwise spin which becomes weak or counterclockwise when out of balance. By holding the palm of the left-hand over the chakra point and moving the palm in a clockwise direction, the field and its direction can be strengthened and normalized. if the practitioner is left-handed, then they would use the right-hand over the chakra points.
Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, Magnetics, Polarity, Reiki, Laying On of Hands....It's all Field Work to me.
Recommended books on the subject of energy healing include "Vibrational Healing" by Dr. Richard Gerber, MD, and "The Therapeutic Touch", by Dolores Krieger, RN
© John W. Cartmell 2000
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