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Treatments > Healing Touch Influence on the Immune System

Healing Touch Influence on the Immune System

One of the important defenses of the body is its immune system. Without an effective system one can easily become infected with a number of viruses and hostile bacteria causing a wide variety of symptoms including colds, chronic illnesses, and severe infections. The goal of Healing Touch is to promote healing and to positively influence the body's ability to self heal. This requires a healthy immune system.

Research into the area of Healing Touch and its affects of the immune system show some positive findings. The studies are somewhat limited in their scope and development as this is a relatively new area of study. Current research may soon provide new insights, however (1,2). One published study did show that Healing Touch was affective in improving immune function by demonstrating positive secretory IgA change especially with more experienced Healing Touch providers (2). The findings of this study suggested that Healing Touch enhanced health, specifically raising secretory IgA concentrations, lowered stress perceptions and relieved pain.

Healing Touch does not seem to directly affect HIV status, although it has been found to be helpful in reducing stress and improving spirituality in this group of patients (3). In another study with persons living with a positive HIV status there was sIgA change during treatment that was positively related to a change in a measure of emotional well-being (4).

The effects of Healing Touch on the immune system of the body are emerging. This important defense mechanism seems to be supported either directly or indirectly by Healing Touch possibly through modulation of stress. As testing procedures for determining immune function are included in research studies more information will become available. Healing Touch seems to support health and healing in a variety of ways.

Below are citations of studies mentioned above:

  1. Lutgendorf, S. Healing Touch, Immunity, and Fatigue in Breast Cancer. National Institutes of Health through the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine #: 1R21CA102515-01.
  2. Prestwood, K. & Lutgendorf, S. Healing Touch and Immunity In Advanced Cervical Cancer Patients. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Center Grant: Exploratory Program Grant for Frontier Medicine, University of Connecticut #1 P20 AT-756-01. Project 4.
  3. Wilkinson, D., Knox, P., Chatman, J., Johnson, T., Barbour, N., Myles, Y., & Reel, A. (2002). The clinical effectiveness of Healing Touch. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 8(1), 33-47.
  4. Wheeler-Robins, J. (1999). Psychoneuroimmunology and Healing Touch in HIV disease. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
  5. Wilkinson, D. (2002). The clinical effectiveness of Healing Touch on HIV-infected Individuals. Unpublished dissertation, Tennessee State University, Nashville.

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