Therapeutic Touch: How to Use Your Hands to Help and Heal

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9780139148125: Therapeutic Touch: How to Use Your Hands to Help and Heal

Whether it be to relieve a headache, calm a muscle spasm, soothe a crying baby, or alleviate your own abdominal cramps. The Therapeutic Touch shows you how you can use your hands to help or to heal someone who is sick. By explaining what happens during the four different stages of therapeutic touching. Dr. Krieger shows you how to detect when a person is sick, pinpoint where the pain is, and stimulate the recuperative powers of the sick person. With accurate descriptions of the changes that take place in body temperature, levels of consciousness, and physiology during this intense interaction, this book helps you interpret your healing experience and get the most meaning from it. The Therapeutic Touch recaptures a simple, ancient mode of healing and shows how you can now become on integral part of your own or someone else's healing process.

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About the Author:

Dolores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N., a professor of nursing at New York University, is noted for her study and development of therapeutic touch and has been explaining her healing techniques on radio and television throughout the country, in workshops, and in many published articles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

Introduction

There are moments powerfully laden with thought which compress time a hundredfold. Such compression can happen with a glimpse of a most inconsequential gesture, as it did to me one midsummer morning quite recently. The gesture caught my eye as I leaned against a tree while surveying seven former students, each of whom was teaching a small cluster of workshop participants how to do Therapeutic Touch, a method (derived from the laying-on of hands) of using the hands to direct human energies to help or heal someone who is ill. At that particular moment each of the teachers was using her hands in an attempt to translate to her group something of the interior experience one has when playing the role of healer. As I scanned the seven group teachers, these gestures froze in my mind as a progression of living statues, and for a moment I felt a sense of déjà vu. Each gesture was intimately known to me; each gesture called to mind an aspect of the working out from within of the highly personalized human interaction that is the healing act.

By turning my head slightly, I could see Mary and her group sitting on a log pile at the campfire site in the maple grove where we all were. She was teaching them how to center, how to reach deeply within, become aware of the facets of one's self, and then effortlessly bring those facets into alignment with each other. Deeper within the woods, Eloise was also teaching her group to center. She was talking about the importance of knowing and recognizing one's self in order to avoid the pitfall of mistaking all one's own problems for those of the healee's (patient's), or vice versa. In a clearing in the grove, Nancy was discussing the need to learn to put self aside and to give priority to meeting the needs of the healee. On the other side of the campfire site, Marianne was demonstrating to her group how to assess a person's field by becoming aware of energy differences without contacting the body with the hands. Sally was sitting against a tall silver maple tree; she was describing how she allows associative ideas to well up within her during the process of assessment. Farther in the woods, Janet was demonstrating Therapeutic Touch on a student who was sitting on a makeshift chair of logs. She was showing her group how to "unruffle" a person's field, or the area just beyond his skin, and how to clear seeming areas of congestion in this field until one feels a movement or flow of energy. Anna Marie, sitting with her group on the forest floor, was teaching them how to build up a localized field between the hands and then use it to transfer energy to the healee.

It happened that all of the teachers that day were nurses; however, I thought of the many hundreds -- actually, almost four thousand at this writing -- of students I have taught at universities and professional organizations around the country during the last five years. Although the majority of them were nurses, since touch is intrinsic in almost all phases of nursing practice, well over a thousand of those I had taught came from other professions or were laymen. Over the years, I have realized that only about four-fifths of those I've taught have gone on to incorporate Therapeutic Touch into their health care practices and that the other one-fifth treat the information as an intellectual exercise. However, of the larger percentage, I've only known of four persons who, when properly taught, were unable to do Therapeutic Touch. It does indeed seem to be a natural potential that can be actualized under the appropriate circumstances; and so as I looked at the students in the groups below me listening intently to their teachers, I realized that, if they were willing to give themselves adequate opportunities for practice, they would have this unique method of man caring for man literally at their fingertips in a short while.

Later on in the afternoon, my dog and I followed the headwaters of a nearby river to the cool shade of a gorge overhung with ancient hemlocks and large beech trees. As I recalled the morning's events with the intention of picking up anything that might need elaboration in that evening's workshop discussion, I thought again of the students and reminisced over the days of my own beginning knowledge about the therapeutic use of hands.

My interest in the therapeutic use of hands came originally through research and, very importantly, from a lady, Dora Kunz, who has been a very significant person in my life. Dora, as she is affectionately known, was born with a unique ability to perceive subtle energies around living beings. From the time she was a child, she studied the function and control of these energies under the tutelage of Charles W. Leadbeater, one of the great seers of the twentieth century. Through the years, she has studied these abilities in depth so that they have become like a fine instrument in her hands which she can turn on or off at will. During this time, she has worked closely with many medical doctors and scientists, sharing with them her special point of view. When I first met her, she was studying the processes involved in the healing act with several of them. They were studying many healers, among them Oskar Estebany, a world renowned healer.

Oskar Estebany had been a Colonel in the Hungarian cavalry. He loved horses; and one day, when his own horse became ill, he stayed all night in the stable with the horse. He knew the horse would be shot if it did not recover, and so he did everything he could think of to help the horse: He massaged it, he caressed it, he talked to it, he prayed over it. The last, in particular, he did not do lightly, for he was a man of deep religious beliefs. In the morning, to the surprise of all, including himself, Estebany found that the horse was well.

After that incident, when other horses became ill, the cavalrymen would bring their horses to Estebany and he would help them as he could. In time, the children of the cavalrymen would bring their sick pets to Estebany to be healed, and he became very well known for this ability.

Mr. Estebany thought he could heal only animals, he once told me, until one Sunday morning when a child in a neighbor's house became very ill. The family was unable to contact a doctor for some reason; and finally, in desparation, the father grabbed up the child and ran with him to Estebany's house to ask him to do to his child what he was able to do to horses. At first, Estebany refused because he did not think his method of healing would work on humans; but the father persisted in his request, and finally Estebany treated the child. The child got better, and Estebany continued to work with people until he retired from the cavalry. Upon his retirement, he decided to offer his services for research purposes; and so, after a chain of events that saw him leave Hungary and take up residence in Canada, he joined the group with whom Dora was studying the process of the healing act.

At the completion of that study, Dora, Estebany, and a medical doctor, Otelia Bengssten, M.D., decided to do a further study on a large sample of medically referred patients. Since I am a nurse, and since I had just received my Ph.D. degree, I was asked to join them. The study took place in the foothills of the Berkshires where the facilities could handle not only all of us but also the patients in residence.

My duties were actually peripheral to the study per se; and in retrospect, I realize that this was a good thing, for it gave me both an opportunity to observe Estebany close-up and the time in which to observe him. It is almost funny to recall that what I saw was not much of what I had anticipated -- incantations, the waving of arms, and a hypnotic glare in the eye of the healer was what my occasional readings had prepared me for. Instead, I found that Estebany was a well-built man with cheery blue eyes and a frequent smile. His healing ability carried with it a deep sense of commitment, and he did not spare himself in its practice: He frequently worked on the healees sixteen hours a day; more often than not he worked until Dora took away his patients and made him relax. Even then, he would take with him rolls of cotton batting to "magnetize" for the healees, and in the morning he would be up before sunrise, ready to start healing again. He would distribute the magnetized cotton to the healees after having it near his person during the night; some of these patients have told me that, even after nearly a year, they could still feel an energy flow from the cotton.

During the healing sessions, Estebany was very quiet; he would sit next to the healee and do exactly what he purported to do -- lay his hands on the patient. Although he made every effort to put the healee at ease, there was little conversation, for his command of the English language was limited, even though he spoke several other languages fluently. He would most frequently sit on a small stool either in front of or behind the healee and put his hands wherever he felt they were needed; occasionally Dora would suggest that he put his hands over a particular area that she could perceive in need of being energized. At times, he would make a little joke to put the healee at ease, but other than that he would remain with his hands on the healee, occasionally shifting position or placing his hands on another area, the entire treatment lasting for about twenty to twenty-five minutes. The healee would then leave the room, to come back the next day if his or her condition warranted it.

Estebany's actions seemed so simple that I began interactional sketches and behavioral profiles of both the healer and the healees, thinking that I would capture some of the subtleties I felt must be going on. As I carefully tried to record the physical activities the healer engaged in and the nonverbal as well as the verbal behavior of both healer and healee, it soon became apparent to me that the postures were but gross outer expressions of what appeared to be an intense interior experience for both of them. When pressed, Estebany would say that he felt that he was a channel for the spirit of Jesus the Christ; and when questioned, his patients would say that they felt heat from Estebany's hands and that they felt relaxed. The healees did indeed seem relaxed, and there was a noticeable up-welling of vibrant energy that seemed to come from his person as the days went by; and, in addition, a felt energetic intensity built up in the rooms in which he did his healing, so that it was quite perceptible upon entering the house.

I was impressed with Dora's descriptions of her perceptions of the healees' pathology descriptions, which might well have been taken out of Spalteholz-Spanner's Atlas of Human Anatomy or Guyton's Textbook of Medical Physiology, both classics in their field and neither of which she had ever read. It was as though she were perceiving directly the inner functions and dysfunctions of the patient. In actuality, she went further than either Spalteholz-Spanner or Guyton in her perceptions; but more often than chance could account for, her logic was irrefutable, and the consequent history of the patient bore her judgments out. On the other hand, if she didn't know or wasn't sure, she would say so, flat out. It was this precision that made her so invaluable to the scientists and doctors she worked with, and I myself learned a great deal from her wisdom.

Over the course of the study, some of the patients reported that they felt better; but there were no miraculous cures except one that could be termed "instantaneous," and that cure occurred in a seemingly mundane fashion. One of the participants in the healing sessions was a well-groomed attractive lady in early middle age. She was a nice lady, but there was little about her that one would recognize as being unusual. I believe that she came because a friend was coming to the sessions; and she did the kinds of things the other people did upon coming out to that part of the country -- walk down to see the falls, chat, play bridge, plan to go antiquing. For several years, she had had a boutique on a luxury liner that plied the Caribbean Sea. One day, during a heavy storm, she was thrown against a bulkhead and sustained injuries to her head. She was left with an inner ear syndrome that seriously interfered with her sense of balance. In the intervening years, she had had exhaustive work-ups from fifteen medical personnel, including six medical specialists who now felt there was nothing more that could be done; and so she had come with her friend to see Estebany.

Her first treatment was late in the afternoon, and I remember her coming into the house somewhat hesitantly. She was soon made at ease, and Estebany treated her for about twenty-five minutes. After her treatment, she sat on the lawn and chatted, had dinner, and went to bed somewhat earlier than usual. In the morning, she came down to breakfast and said quietly, "I think I feel better." The medical doctor reexamined her and had her try to precipitate the feelings she had previously had, but to no avail; she was indeed cured and has remained so over the past nine intervening years.

For the rest of the healees, this was not the case; however, in the weeks to come I was to be astounded by the number of medical reports or first person reports that told either of an amelioration of symptoms or of an actual disappearance of symptoms. Part of my surprise was based on the complicated nature of the medical diagnoses of the healees in the sample. These diagnoses covered all known systems of the body: Pancreatitis, brain tumor, emphysema, multiple endocrine disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and congestive heart disease were but a few. There was nothing in either my previous education or experience by which I could rationalize these results. I went back to my behavioral profiles and interactional sketches and reexamined them. After considerable analysis, I realized that the only thing that importantly intervened between Estebany and the healees was touch by the laying-on of his hands, and I decided to do postdoctoral research on this healing process.

The discussion of my subsequent studies and those of others I will leave toga later chapter. At this time, I will only mention that I found that when ill people are treated by the laying-on of hands, a significant change occurs in the hemoglobin component of their red blood cells. The healing sessions continued over several summers with Estebany, and during this time he was the healer in my pilot study and in two of the subsequent large-scale studies I did. The point I want to make here is that, as I learned to tighten the control of my studies, my appreciation for the validity of healing by the laying-on of hands also increased, and I became interested in learning whether I could do it too.

Estebany did not feel that people could be taught how to heal; rather, he felt that they had to be born with the gift, and he never responded to persons' requests that he teach them. Dora thought differently and, therefore, began a workshop which she opened to all wh...

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