Therapeutic touch: Healing Therapy or Hoax?
Therapeutic Touch (TT) practitioners, (a.k.a. healers) believe that a Universal
Life Force Energy flows freely in, through, and out of the body when a person
is healthy. But illness, pain, injury etc can interrupt or unbalance this life force.
Skilled practitioners believe that they can detect these fluctuations by passing their
hands above the patient's body without contacting it. They beleive that the energy imbalances can be equalized, and a contribution
made to the patient's healing. There are about 40,000 practitioners in the
world. As of 1988, TT was taught in 80 colleges and universities in the U.S. and in 65
The technique has come under attack by various skeptics groups in recent years, and is
seen by some as worthless, practiced by sincere but deluded practitioners.
Numerous studies have indicated that TT is effective. However, no study has
shown it to be more effective than an untrained but caring empathic individual
aimlessly waving their arms over a patient.
An award in
excess of $1 million dollars US has been offered to any individual who can prove under
controlled conditions that they can detect human energy fields. All a therapist
has to do to claim the award is to pass their hands over a space that might
contain a person's body or may be just air. If she/he can correctly identify
whether a body was present for a certain number of tries, then the money is
theirs. The claimant and the prize sponsor must first agree on a precise protocol before
the test begins. One TT healer tried for the
award but failed; she was unable to detect energy fields with an accuracy any
better than pure chance. The award is called "The $1,000,000
Paranormal Challenge" and is awarded to anyone who can prove paranormal
abilities: from water dousing to the detection of human energy fields. Persons
who believe that they have psychic powers,
or think that they can detect personal auras, or believe that they have built a perpetual motion machine
might wish to compete for the prize. Nobody has succeeded yet. Meanwhile the
amount of the challenge continues to increase. 1
Topics Covered in this section:
"One million dollars remains unclaimed in the Million Dollar
Paranormal Challenge," James Randi Educational Foundation, at: http://www.randi.org/
Lists of links to Therapeutic Touch information:
Eric Krieg, "Therapeutic Touch Is it Valid?" at:
site is particularly valuable because it lists dozens of TT hyperlinks to
sites maintained by both practitioners and skeptics. He operates an Email discussion list.
"Therapeutic Touch Document List," Parascope, at:
This list contains documents related to the Alabama and Colorado 1994 studies.
Copyright © 1998 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on
Essay originally written: 1998-MAR-4
Latest update: 2013-JUN-11
Author: Bruce A Robinson