Heal With Your Heart: An Introduction to Healing Touch

A new pilot program introduced to members of Roswell Park's Carly’s Club, offers patients, parents, and members of their care team a chance to learn a new heart-centered approach called Healing Touch. Healing Touch is recognized by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) as an energy medicine or biofield therapy. Healing Touch recognizes a subtle energy field around the body and energy centers located within the body. Practitioners of Healing Touch work to clear, balance, and stimulate these energy fields and centers with their hands to promote healing on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. Individuals practicing Healing Touch come from a place of love and compassion in an attempt to support self-healing, promote inner peace, and enhance health-related quality of life.

Originally developed as a non-invasive complimentary approach to conventional medical care by a nurse, Janet Mentgen, this technique may be a promising addition to your cancer-fighting arsenal. Healing Touch is recognized by the American Holistic Nurses Association and is used as a complementary therapy at hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices across the country. Although peer-reviewed studies on Healing Touch are somewhat limited, several benefits have been reported including enhanced immune function, decreased anxiety, pain, and depression, and increased relaxation and a sense of well-being.

Currently, the pilot program is offered to pediatric outpatients and their family members and consists of eight, two-hour training classes held at Roswell Park over a four-month period. As the program continues to build momentum, and the project directors receive feedback and document results, we hope that this program will be expanded and offered to additional patients, caregivers, survivors, and staff.

What is Heart-Centered Healing?
Heart-centered healing is coming from a place of compassion for another person and setting your intention for them for their highest good. Energy medicine is based on the idea that all things contain energy and all energy is connected. Even our thoughts and emotions have energy and can be used to shift how we feel on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. Parents and caregivers are natural candidates to perform Healing Touch because of their instinctual ability to love, nurture, and heal. 

How is Healing Touch Performed? 
Healing Touch can either be performed in a person’s energy field around the body or on the body. You either sit in a chair or lie down. If the practitioner is working in the energy field, they move their hands in the air around the body to clear, balance, or energize the field. If the practitioner is working on the body, they gently place their hands slightly above or on specific energy centers until they feel energy is balanced between the two points. You may experience nothing at all, heat or cold sensations, or sometimes tingling. Generally, you will feel more relaxed and at peace.

Who Can Practice Healing Touch?
Anyone! Patients, caregivers, parents, family members, and friends can all practice Healing Touch. You only need your hands and a focused intention for the other person’s highest good. Because the fundamental idea of this technique is based on love and compassion, it’s a very easy technique for loved ones to learn and give.

How Can I Benefit From Healing Touch?
Healing Touch is mutually beneficial for the person receiving it, as well as the person administering it. The practitioner, as well as the recipient, enter into an energetic relationship that promotes well-being for both parties. Healing Touch is a safe, non-invasive modality used to improve quality of life and help relieve symptoms of cancer treatment at any stage of the journey.

To learn more about the program, listen to Lynda Beaupin, MD, and Sue Hess, PhD, on Roswellness Radio. You may also contact Dr. Beaupin in the Pediatric Department at Lynda.Beaupin@RoswellPark.org, or 716-845-2333.