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Using Healing Touch for Decreased Pain

Even though the same painful procedure is done, people may often experience this pain in very different ways. The experience is dependent on a number of factors and includes such things as previous experience with pain and individual body chemistry and structure. There is even difference in pain perception between sexes. Using energy therapies like Healing Touch can influence a person's response to pain in the many ways in which it is interpreted by the body. These include the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of being. For example, pain can be a reminder that you have extended its limits or a reminder that you need to take care of some aspect of your life that is creating a "pain in your neck".

Numerous Healing Touch studies have been conducted that attempt to identify its effects on both acute and chronic pain.(1),(2) For the most part, Healing Touch has been found to decrease pain in both of these conditions. One of the most compelling responses to Healing Touch work is found with pain relief in hospital settings. (3),(4),(5),(6) In research studies, effects are often compared to other treatments. For example, in a study comparing Healing Touch to chiropractic care for back pain Healing Touch was found to be as effective.(7) In a small study of chronic and severe pain resulting from a spinal cord injury Healing Touch decreased pain more than for those who received progressive muscle relaxation.(8) Healing Touch was also found to reduce headache pain in one small study.(9)

There are many techniques within Healing Touch that are specific for dealing with pain.(10) They can be very affective for some individuals and at various times. Often the sooner these techniques are used the more effective they can be. There are no contraindications for using energy work to relieve pain and it can be valuable in supplementing traditional approaches or using when other approaches are not successful.(11)

Below are citations of the studies about pain that are mentioned above:

  1. Wardell, D.W. & Weymouth, K. (2004). Review of studies of Healing Touch. Journal of Nursing Scholarship: Image, 36(2), 147-154.
  2. Darbonne, M. (1997). The effect of HT modalities on patients with chronic pain. Master's Thesis. Northwestern State University.
  3. Garcia, K. (2006). Healing Touch Program Survey at St. Joseph's Hospital. Healing Touch International, Inc Research Survey 8th Ed. Lakewood, CO
  4. Hutchinson, C. (1999). A simple yet powerful tool. Healing Touch Newsletter, 9(4), 6-7.
  5. Protzman, L. (1999). The effect of Healing Touch on pain and relaxation. Healing Touch International, Inc Research Survey 8th Ed. (2006). Lakewood, CO.
  6. Stouffer, J. (2004). Healing Touch patient survey for pain and/or anxiety relief. Healing Touch International, Inc Research Survey 8th Ed. (2006). Lakewood, CO.
  7. Weymouth, K. & Sandberg-Lewis, S. (2000). Comparing the efficacy of Healing Touch and chiropractic adjustment in treating chronic low back pain: A pilot study. Healing Touch Newsletter, 00(3), 7-8.
  8. Wardell, D. Rintala, D. Tan, G., & Duan, Z. (2006). Pilot study of Healing Touch and progressive relaxation for chronic neuropathic pain in persons with spinal cord injury. Journal or Holistic Nursing.24(4), 231-240. Kiley, S. (2006). The evaluation of Healing Touch for headache patients. Healing Touch International, Inc. Research Survey 8th Ed. Lakewood, CO.
  9. Hover-Kramer, D. (2001). Healing Touch: A Guidebook for Practitioners. Delmar Publishers: Albany, NY. Wardell, D.W. (2000). The trauma release technique: How it is taught and experienced in Healing Touch. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 6 (1), 20-27.

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