For those of you who are skeptical about traditional medicines or simply want an alternative method of treatment, touch therapy – also referred to as therapeutic touch – may be exactly what you’re looking for. In touch therapy, a practitioner’s hands work to direct energy within the body in order to heal the patient of any ailments they may be suffering from. Through relaxing touch, your body’s natural ability to heal itself is intensified; it helps to balance you mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. This method of treatment can help reduce your amount of stress and anxiety, alleviate pain, help you understand your body and mind better, and strengthen your immune system to reduce the possibility of relapse from whatever you are suffering from. Touch therapy can be used on its own or, in the presence of a more serious medical condition, in combination with traditional medicine.
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What is Touch Therapy?
Let’s think about it in terms of interactions that everyone is familiar with. If you’re having a bad day, what makes you feel better? Often times, a hug or a simple back rub from someone you love is enough to alleviate some of the negative feelings you are having. Even a hug from a stranger can be helpful during these times. Touch therapy works off of the idea that a person’s touch can actually heal certain emotions or pains that you may be suffering from, yet goes deeper than this simple analogy. When a patient comes in for a healing session, the practitioner first asks a series of questions about the patient’s symptoms. They then lie the patient down, fully clothed, and use their hands to “read” the patient’s energy patterns within their body. They read the patient’s energy by slowly passing their hand over the patient’s body, and determine where imbalances are by feeling heat, cold, pressure, a tingling sensation or particular spots that feel lighter or heavier than others. Once the practitioner determines where the energy is imbalanced, further hand motions are used to re-balance the energy and restore the patient’s qi (pronounced chee) – which is the body’s natural flow of energy. These hand motions may include a simple sweeping over the body, or light touch in the spots that are imbalanced.
Stress and the Immune System
The affect that stress has on your overall health is astounding. If you rid yourself of the stressors of everyday life, you’ll find that you feel healthier, more energized and more grounded. A certain amount of stress is necessary in life in order to push us to succeed, yet too much stress can cause more harm than good. How can you rid yourself of stress when you have family problems, a big presentation due and bills to pay? This is where touch therapy comes to the rescue. Many patients who have undergone touch therapy say they feel happier, more relaxed, more balanced and free of tension and stress after their session.
The natural stress response in your body produces a fight or flight response, releasing hormones and keeping you on high alert. When a stressor has passed, your body’s hormone levels return to normal and you feel more relaxed. Yet when you are constantly stressed due to one thing or another, your body is constantly producing those stress hormones. When this is the case, your body’s natural healing processes get thrown out of whack. By participating in touch therapy, you can easily rid yourself of stress and bring your immune system back up to its normal functioning state.
Touch Therapy and the Chakras
Some forms of touch therapy focus on balancing all of your chakras. The chakras are known as energy points within the body; the seven different chakras are located at seven different points and go down the body in descending order.
- The seventh, known as the crown chakra, is located near the top of the head. It represents wisdom and connection to higher beings.
- The sixth, known as the third eye chakra, is located near the center of the forehead. It represents seeing and intuition.
- The fifth, known as the throat chakra, is located near the base of the throat. It represents creativity and communication.
- The fourth, known as the heart chakra, is located near the center of the chest. It represents love and compassion.
- The third, known as the solar plexus chakra, is located right above the navel. It represents willpower.
- The second, known as the sacral charka, is located near the lower abdomen and genitals. It represents desire and sexuality.
- The first, known as the root chakra, is located near the base of the spine. It represents grounding and survival.
By focusing on all of the chakras one by one, a touch therapy practitioner can restore balance to the body, mind and spirit.
Thoughts on Alternative Medicine
There has been a lot of debate on whether or not alternative therapies actually work. What may seem like brilliant alternative medicine to some may seem like new age quackery to others. It’s important to do your research before getting involved in any sort of treatment – whether alternative or traditional. In many cases of touch therapy, it is used in combination with traditional medicine in order to reduce the stress and pain of particular surgeries or treatments. If you go into touch therapy thinking that it will not benefit you at all, chances are you won’t. Your mind has a significant amount of control over your body. If you allow yourself to be open to the idea of using alternative treatments to reduce your stress, anxiety and symptoms of illnesses, you may find that it is exactly what you have been looking for all along.