Therapeutic Touch is best described as an intentionally directed process of energy exchange where the practitioners use their hands as a focus to facilitate the subject’s own healing process. It is based on the premise that the human body, mind, emotions, and intuition form a complex, dynamic “energy field” governed by pattern and order. This human energy field is abundant and flows in balanced patterns in health but is depleted and/or unbalanced in illness or injury. These defects can be detected and manipulated by an experienced practitioner of Therapeutic Touch. It is considered most useful in reducing or eliminating pain, promoting healing, and eliciting a relaxation response.
Although its ultimate derivation is unclear, practitioners cite it as a contemporary interpretation of ancient healing practices. The modern practice has generally been attributed to Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., RN, and her mentor, Dora Van Gelder Kunz - a "natural" healer. Therapeutic Touch was first conceived as an extension of professional nursing care. In the summer of 1972, Krieger, then a Professor at New York University, and Kunz began teaching their techniques to Krieger's graduate student nurses in a class called "The Frontiers Of Nursing".
Nurturing and compassion are two key characteristics valued by practitioners of Therapeutic Touch. Exercising this healing modality allows practitioners to express their compassion and caring in a way that lets them impact people safely. The practitioners say they are particularly empowered by the fact that they need no other equipment to practice their healing art than their hands. Therapeutic Touch allows them a positive way to offer the compassionate part of themselves to others.