The Healing Power of Touch
By: Ashley Barnes
People are touch-deprived and they don’t even know it.
I discovered this when I had the opportunity about four years ago to simultaneously participate in a Healing Therapies program at the hospital where I work and to start my learning toward becoming a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher. The techniques in the hospital program were primarily from Healing Touch™, an “energy therapy in which practitioners consciously use their hands in a heart-centered and intentional way to support and facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health” (http://www.healingtouchprogram.com/about/what-is-healing-touch). Nearly all the Healing Touch™ techniques involve direct contact with the person receiving the treatment (though they can all be modified if someone does not want direct touch).
The hand positions in Reiki, “a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing” (http://www.reiki.org/faq/whatisreiki.html), are less technique-based, and are often performed with hands hovering inches above the body. However, they too, can be administered via direct touch, similar to the Biblical “laying on of hands.”
As a new energy therapy practitioner, I learned the techniques by practicing with other practitioners. Throughout the entire time I studied and practiced Healing Touch™ and Reiki, I learned and was treated by touch. And it felt SO good. Like nothing I’d ever experienced before. But why?
This kind of touch involves light touches with fingertips or flat palms, sometimes incorporated with gentle strokes on the skin. Though it feels good , this touch is more than simply comforting or even intimate. It is healing. And I’ve seen all kinds of people affected by the healing touch of an energy therapy practitioner. They come hurting physically and/or mentally. Then their faces relax. Their bodies relax. Their pain diminishes, if only for a short time. And for so many, that is enough. They receive something they didn’t even know they needed. The gift of touch.
Who knew we were so touch-deprived? It seems like we’re touched a lot – by our children, significant others, family, friends, sometimes even strangers. The difference in my experience is the prayerful, heart-centered intention behind it. Many people receive a lot of touch, for sure. Yet, when I work with a client, I call in all the positive energy and white, healing light in the Universe and I set an intention for them to experience the healing they need for their highest good. And then I allow and intend it for the rest of the session. This transforms simple touch into healing. And best of all, anyone can do it!
There are dozens of energy therapies, all which provide healing and other benefits to the receiver. However, healing touch can be offered by anyone, to anyone who is open to receiving. You can hug someone and intend from your heart for their highest good. You can hold or stroke their hands. You can rub their feet. Whatever kind of touch they like and you are open to sharing can be healing, for both of you. And you’ll contribute to making this world a less touch-deprived place.