Laying on of Hands/Therapeutic Touch – Mapping the Field of Subtle Energy Healing

July 1, 2015

Therapeutic Touch™ (TT) is an energy based holistic healing practice developed in the 1970s by Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., RN, a professor at New York University’s Division of Nursing, and Dora Kunz, an alternative healer and psychic. (Krieger, 1979). TT is a contemporary interpretation of Laying on of Hands (LH) outside of any particular religious framework. LH, also called imposition of hands, originated from a religious ritual act in which a priest or other religious head would place his palms on the top of another’s head while reciting a prayer or blessing. TT is a variation of this practice.

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This web resource serves as a selective literature review, highlighting the subtle energies and energy healing modalities that have been evaluated experimentally. This overview presents a brief description of a particular therapeutic modality, including background on the origins of the modality for readers completely unfamiliar with them. The overview also includes a summary of the theories that have been put forth to explain the mechanism of action underlying the purported efficacy of the modality. Additionally, a description of the procedures that healers undergo when administering the treatments are presented in layperson’s language. Finally, results of published scientific reports on the modality are summarized such that readers can get a sense of the current state of the research.

This paper is part of the Mapping the Field of Subtle Energy Healing project sponsored by IONS in 2015. It is intended that this resource will assist patients and health professionals to navigate the vast field of subtle energies and energy healing modalities for use in their personal and professional endeavors. Additionally, the hope is that the collection of overviews will stimulate organization and cooperation among investigators doing research in this field.

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