Healing Touch Therapy and it’s use with Depression and Anxiety
Anxiety and depression are issues that almost everyone deals with throughout their lives. Whether through your own feelings or that of a friend, family member or other acquaintance, all of our lives will be touched by these issues at some point. Depression and anxiety does not care about your culture, age, wealth or gender, they are indiscriminate and can even affect those around you even without your knowledge. I personally have experienced depression since the age of 14. My grandfather was also very depressed and killed himself when my mother was just out of high school. So clinically it runs in the family. I have been treated by various medical professionals since eighth grade. I have tried medication, therapy and many different alternative therapies. I have been unable to find just one thing that has helped me with my darkness. It has been a combination of treatments and therapies. I can not pick and choose from the buffet...so to speak. I use an essential oil diffuser at my desk and a Happy Light in the winter. I choose to incorporate eastern medicine with western medicine. In my opinion there is no ONE proven treatment. Different treatments work for different people and I have discovered that I, personally, need many different resources to help combat and understand my darkness and allow my light to shine from within.
There are many ways of coping with these drains on your energy, however today I just want to look at the positive effects that Healing Touch can have. Healing Touch is based on the belief that humans have energy fields that change with states of illness. These energy fields can be manipulated by a Healing Touch practitioner to achieve wholeness or wellness. Both anecdotal and scientific research evidence has found that using Healing Touch for patients reduces the anxiety and stress they may be feeling and helps to promote self-empowerment and positivity.
Research does suggest that touch therapy works: In one landmark study, happily married women were subjected to the threat of a mild electric shock but the touch of their husbands’ hands brought immediate relief from the resulting anxiety. Even a stranger’s touch was somewhat calming. Study author Jim Coan, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of Virginia says “If touch can help you be less anxious, you’re more likely to stay well.”
In a 2004 study by Guerrerio, Slater, and Cook, they examined the effectiveness of Healing Touch in reducing fatigue from radiation therapy in women suffering from cancer. The Healing Touch group had a greater reduction in their depression, anxiety, and anger.
In a more scientific explanation the University of Maryland Medical Center found that touch therapy reduces certain stress-inducing hormones, such as cortisol, but also releases natural substances called endorphins in the body which elevates mood and in turn helps to fight the feelings of depression and anxiety.
The summation of this evidence is that people suffering from anxiety and depression could benefit from Healing Touch in the primary care setting. This is especially true when used in conjunction with more mainstream medical care. When compared to the high cost of treating these illnesses, Healing Touch and other energy therapies are cost effective and have evidence supporting that treatment is effective enough to be inclusive. As always, it is a great idea to talk with your current medical professionals and to seek the advice of a registered Healing Touch practitioner.
Harlow, C. (2013). A Critical Analysis of Healing Touch for Depression and Anxiety. The University of Arizona.
Cook CA, Guerrerio JF, Slater VE. (2004). Healing touch and quality of life in women receiving radiation treatment for cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Altern Ther Health Med. May-Jun;10(3):34-41.