Therapeutic Touch (TT) is a healing technique using hands for directing human energy for healing. Therapeutic Touch is similar to Reiki. Its proponents believe that life energy flows through invisible pathways within the body. They claim that these energy fields may become unbalanced due to illness. Therapeutic touch is also known as healing touch. It is used to encourage wellness and improvement of overall health.

There are no scientific evidences to support therapeutic touch as a treatment method for cancer. But there are studies suggesting that it can help to manage symptoms of cancer and side effects of the conventional treatment. Some clinical studies reported that it showed positive effects in healing wound and headaches. It helps to reduce anxiety before surgery. It makes patient calm, comfortable, and relaxed by reducing pain. It is used to promote overall well being. It is used for treatment of cancer patients in integrative oncology. It is referred as a type of bio field therapy or energy therapy.

The proponents of Therapeutic Touch base the theory of this discipline on the belief that illness and pain is caused due to imbalance of energy fields in patients’ body. They claim that harmful energy blocks the normal energy flow and cause problems. Use of therapeutic or healing touch can remove this blockage resulting in cure of existing problems. The theory behind this therapy is that the motion of a healing touch practitioner’s hands over a patient’s body can maintain balance of energy field in the patient’s body. A therapeutic touch therapist may also use light touch or no direct touch for healing a patient. It helps in reducing pain, fever, swelling, infections, wounds, ulcers, diarrhoea, colic, nausea, and headaches, which can result as a side effect of conventional cancer treatment.

Healing touch is an alternative health care discipline, but cannot be used as an alternative treatment method for cancer treatment. It can be used as a complementary therapy and should be used alongside the standard medical treatment for cancer.

Uses of Therapeutic Touch in Cancer Treatment

Therapeutic touch works on the basis of placebo effect. It is used to reduce anxiety and stress in cancer patients. It increases feeling of relaxation and well being. It boosts immune system and reduces depression in patients undergoing conventional treatment. It also helps in relieving pain caused by disease or cancer treatment for short term. It has been reported to reduce fatigue in patients undergoing radiation treatment.

Side Effects of Therapeutic Touch

Therapeutic Touch is normally safe, but some patients may have mild side effects such as nausea, dizziness, restlessness, sensations or tingling and irritability. Some patients may feel increased anxiety or disoriented after session of healing touch. Session of therapeutic touch should be limited to two to three minutes if given to children, old age patients or patients suffering head injuries. It may be harmful to rely on this method for treatment of cancer.