Therapeutic touch/ healing touch
Therapeutic touch (TT) is a credentialed program supported by an impressive body of research. With her hands hovering just above your body, not actually touching it, the therapist “reads” cues in your energy field. Then, based upon those cues, the therapist uses sweeping movements that begin at the head and move toward the feet, modulating or directing energy to smooth out any “energetic knots.” “You extend your personal energy field toward a person, get in sync, and begin to pick up on what is not in balance with that individual,” explains TT co-developer Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N. Studies have shown a wide range of benefits, including increased energy.
Healing touch (HT), an offshoot of TT, involves light touch on the body and around its energy field. The therapist’s role “is to act as a conduit to self-healing, similar to the way a midwife guides a mother in labor,” says Barbara Welcer, R.N., a certified holistic nurse and certified healing touch practitioner and instructor in Albuquerque, N.M. HT is on its way to being the first energy medicine program to receive national accreditation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
When to try it Like reiki, TT and HT are widely used in hospitals; measurable effects include improved oxygen levels and heart rates, decreased pain and anxiety, and improved quality of life during chemotherapy and radiation. Both therapies work for a range of conditions, especially those with a psychosomatic element, but they are also used pre- and post-operatively to speed recovery.
This approach is based on the idea that electromagnetic energy currents flow in channels throughout the body. “When the channels flow more efficiently, things work better,” says John Chitty, a co-founder of the Colorado School of Energy Studies in Boulder, Colo. “What makes polarity therapy unique, however, is that it always looks at the larger picture.” As such, it encompasses a variety of touches and techniques, including pressure points, stretches and rocking movements, breath work, nutritional advice and emotional counseling.
When to try it If you suffer from conditions such as anxiety or depression, polarity therapy can work well because of its “talk therapy” component, Chitty says.
Cranial sacral therapy
Cranial sacral therapy (CST) is based on the cranial sacral rhythm, a wavelike pattern of expansion and contraction that undulates throughout the body. Using a very sensitive touch, the practitioner palpates this wave at points on the head, spine and tailbone, looking for an abnormal rhythm that may signal injury and then removing any impediments to the flow. While CST is the most physically oriented of all the techniques described here, it still relies heavily on an energetic model of health and illness. “During a session, the body turns off the fight-or-flight response and accesses its natural ability to restore itself,” says Lee “Ganesh” Veal, a cranial sacral instructor and practitioner in Kansas City, Mo.
When to try it CST can be very effective for many conditions, including anxiety, depression, whiplash, sports and impact injuries, dental problems, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), headaches and ear infections in babies.