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Healing Touch Deepens Spiritual Connections

Spirituality, in many ways, describes the essence of the person, the soul or spirit connection and comes from Latin spiritualis, of breathing, of wind (1). Healing Touch is believed to work with the energy field of the individual that has a spiritual "layer" or component resulting in a heart centered interaction between the client and practitioner.

A number of studies have identified this sense of connection as an important component for both the client and practitioner in their experience of receiving and giving Healing Touch (2, 3, 4). In one study of women who had survived breast cancer, the essence of the Healing Touch experience was found to be one of connection with others, leading to strengthened self (2). The women experienced a sense of inner peace that enhanced their spiritual wellness.

In another study with a group of women receiving chemotherapy, they described Healing Touch as a partnership, a nurturing act that promoted self care that helped them get through their treatment (3). In an end of life study, Healing Touch participants reported increased relaxation, increased relief of pain, spiritual benefit, increased calmness and improved breathing (5). Elderly home care clients who had received Healing Touch as a complementary, holistic nursing intervention also reported favorable physical, emotional, mental and spiritual experiences (6).

A small study with women with fibromyalgia included the response of one participant who reported that she felt relaxed and spiritually uplifted as a result of the sessions (7). In another study, individuals with HIV disease reported the positive effects they experienced which appeared to be directly related to stress reduction and spiritual growth (8). Similarly, a study by Garret found that 75% of the 32 participants reported that medical and spiritual attributes were the reason given for improvement. (9).

Spiritual healing in the context of psychotherapy has also been described, and incorporates the spiritual life of the individual as the underlying source of healing for the client (10). In a study of depressed individuals, healing occurred when they were able to integrate all aspects of their self and reconnect with the experiences of body awareness, spiritual awareness, mental harmony and emotional harmony (11). In a study conducted with individuals in a mental health center the participants reported that their spiritual experiences included reports of feeling peace, freedom, serenity, hope, connected to earth energy or others, grounded and reflective (12). A study of individuals receiving HT treatments in a community-based practice asked specifically about spiritual well-being. 19 out of the 20 participants reported improvement in this area, and the improvement lasted greater than 2 weeks for the majority of subjects (13).

Practitioners also describe spiritual connections while doing the work (14, 15, 16). Geddes (14) described that practitioners offering Healing Touch had made changes in all facets of their lives. This resulted in a personal transformation and in values from a material to a spiritual focus. The practitioners explained how they became connected to the unitary self, others and a higher being; developed a new capacity for self-caring, and a new capacity to care for others in a non-judgmental way; found a contended stillness that is immediately available; and a new appreciation for life as a source of curiosity, excitement and mystery.

A large survey of over 300 Healing Touch students found those in higher levels of the program with higher scores on spirituality measures(17). It was suggested that involvement in an energy-based therapy may be one way to develop spiritual awareness. It is clear that the practice and experience of Healing Touch often has an impact on what one perceives as spirituality, leading to a deepening of one's connection to the essence of life.

Below are citations of studies mentioned above.

  1. Brown, L. (Ed.) (1993). The new shorter Oxford English dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  2. Kopecki, D. (2001). The experience of healing touch in women with breast cancer. Unpublished master's thesis, The Sage Colleges, New York.
  3. Moreland, K. (1998). The lived experience of receiving the chakra connection of women with breast cancer who are receiving chemotherapy: A phenomenological study. Healing Touch Newsletter, 8(3), 3, 5.
  4. Holbrook, J. (1998). Essence of healing. Unpublished master's thesis. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
  5. Ziembroski J, Gilbert, N., Bossarte, R., Guldberg, G. (2003). Healing Touch and Hospice Care: Examining outcomes at the end of life. Alternative & Complementary Therapies. Volume 9, Number, 3; 146-151.
  6. Forsman, S. (2006). The Healing Touch Experience in Elderly Home Care Clients. [Abstract]. Healing Touch International Research Survey, 8th Ed. Lakewood, CO. Healing Touch International, Inc.
  7. Diener, D. (2001). A pilot study of the effect of chakra connection and magnetic unruffle on perception of pain in people with fibromyalgia. Healing Touch Newsletter, Research Edition, 01(3), 7-8.
  8. Wheeler-Robins, J. (1999). Psychoneuroimmunology and Healing Touch in HIV disease. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
  9. Garrett, N. (2006). A persuasive commentary and study: Exploring perception of HT therapy as a positive treatment modality for wellness maintenance, physical and psychological concerns in adults. Unpublished master's thesis, New Mexico University, Albuquerque, NM.
  10. Chapman, C. (1998). Energy-based psychotherapy in the context of the theories of Caroline Myss. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Union Graduate School, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  11. Van Aken, R. (2004). The experiential process of Healing Touch for people with moderate depression. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, School of Nursing and Health Care Practices, Southern Cross University, Australia.
  12. Williams, F.S., & Metral, C. (2006). Integrative Self Care Strategies for Mental Health: A Wellness Project. Healing Touch International Research Survey, 8th Ed. Lakewood, CO. Healing Touch International, Inc. Hutchison, C. & Dubrey, R. (1999). A simple yet powerful tool from, 'The perceived effectiveness of Healing Touch treatments performance improvement study'. Healing Touch Newsletter, 9(4), 6-7.
  13. Geddes, N. (1999). The experience of personal transformation in healing touch practitioners: A heuristic study. Healing Touch Newsletter, 9(3), 5.
  14. Rudenick, J. & Reuben, S. (2006). The transformational experience of learning and practicing Healing Touch. Unpublished master's thesis. College of St. Catherine, Minneapolis, MN.
  15. Weymouth, K. (2002). Healing from a personal perspective: Interviews with Certified Healing Touch Practitioners. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, San Francisco, California.
  16. Wardell, D. (2001). Spirituality of Healing Touch participants. The Journal of Holistic Nursing, 19 (1), 71-86.

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