Posts Tagged ‘therapeutic touch’

Healing at work: Therapeutic Touch in Rehabilitation

Imagine you are wobbling jelly – trillions of cells influenced by your thoughts and feelings. Every electron, atom, chemical bond, molecule, cell, tissue and organ has its own vibration. Your body changes moment to moment. The frequency of its energetic rhythm will vary according to pain, anxiety, past trauma, degree of health, and positive or negative thoughts. Think of some thing sad – then think of something happy – and check how you feel different. The rhythm of your body will have changed and your energy will be different – more vibrant.

Childre & Martin (2000) found that an intentional shift from anger or frustration to a centred state of stillness, care & appreciation affects the heart rate frequency and the frequencies of all the body’s cells. This change, as a result of having a different intention and thought is profound. And what’s even more interesting is they found when one person changed their intent, it affected the heart rate variability of someone else up to 10 feet away. Therapeutic Touch, developed for use in hospitals and health care by Dolores Krieger PHD, and Dora Kunz, natural healer, also uses the intention. The intention of compassion combined with a still state of mind to facilitate well being through the consciously directed process of energy exchange.

The therapeutic use of self is fundamental to allied health professionals. In the case of therapeutic touch, the intentional use of self through the ability to centre the mind, become still and intentionally focus and direct energy to facilitate the body’s own natural healing processes has been shown, through extensive evidence based research to help reduce pain or anxiety reduction, increase range of movement, speed wound healing and settle agitated behaviour.

Allied health professionals from Western Canada attended a Therapeutic Touch workshop co-facilitated by Sue Gregory, Occupational Therapist and Qualified Therapeutic Touch Teacher Australia and Cheryl Larden RN, President of British Columbia Therapeutic Touch Network, and organised by occupational therapist Dianna Mah-Jones The workshop focused on the application of Therapeutic Touch in rehabilitation to facilitate health and healing. Therapists developed the skills to utilise Therapeutic Touch in home care, long-term care, hospital settings and private practice, as an adjunct to enhance the effectiveness of their rehabilitation programs.

Research relevant to rehabilitation has found Therapeutic Touch benefits to include improved mobility and hand function, settling of behaviours associated with dementia, alleviation of grief and anxiety, reduction of phantom pain, muscle relaxation and changes in levels of haemoglobin,

Sue described the use of Therapeutic Touch in her occupational therapy practice for reducing muscle tension in preparation for splinting in rheumatoid arthritis, relieving pain associated with severe burns and amputee stumps, settling children with ADHD, alleviating sun downing activity in dementia clients (take a look at the ebook Sliver Energy by myself and Chery Ann Hoffmeyer ), improving sleep in the elderly, and reducing anxiety in clients related to return to work or home visits.

Cheryl emphasised the value of Therapeutic Touch as a self-care tool. The skill of centering used in Therapeutic Touch elicits the relaxation response. Its use at work in a professional setting on a daily basis benefits the patients, and, at the same time reduces professional burnout out and improves well-being for the therapist. It is as though the therapist receives a treatment whilst giving a treatment.

The occupational therapists, physiotherapists and rehabilitation professionals attending the workshop described the calmness they experienced whilst giving Therapeutic Touch and were enthused by Dianna’s examples of the use of Therapeutic Touch in spinal cord injury. Participants were keen to progress to the next level of training and further workshops are planned for rehabilitation professionals in Canada in the future. Please contact Dianna Mah Jones For general information about therapeutic touch there are some free downloads on my website, contact the British Columbia Network at or the Therapeutic Touch Association of Australasia And if you are interested in the CD  Being on Centre,  DVD’s about Therapeutic Touch in Aged Care, or  Silver Energy – the ebook about the use of Therapeutic  Touch for the Elderly by Dr Chery Ann Hoomeyer and myself, Go to

Closing the Gap

How could I have been so bold? As I watched the aboriginal healer treating a person with a sore leg something strange happened. I watched my hand stretch out and tap him on the arm. Then the words came out of my mouth “Can I learn from you?” Where did that come from? Normally I would not be forward in such a way – but this was no ordinary moment. What I had watched was extraordinary.

The man’s face had visibly relaxed and the tension of pain had left his face. The Nungkari (aboriginal healer) had held his hand over the knee and with a palpable serenity, had begun singing to that knee. The feeling of letting go and relaxing affected those of us around the expo booth who were watching the event.

As an occupational therapist and qualified therapeutic touch teacher I have been teaching energy healing practises for health and aged care industries (Gregory, 2003, 2004, 2005). The effects of therapeutic touch, complementary energy therapy, are known to include relief of pain, reduction in anxiety and settling of agitation associated with dementia. Over the years I have combined therapeutic touch with occupational therapy in the treatment of clients with burns, arthritis, amputation, depression, dementia, to name a few, and taught the technique to nurses, doctors and health care workers.

Thus I was interested in the expertise of aboriginal healing practices that are 40,000 years or more old. I decided to experience them for myself by receiving regular treatments to gauge the effect. The experience of a one hour treatment left me in a deep state of peace that I have only ever reached towards the end of 3 week long mindfulness retreats. This profundity led to deeper questioning.

Occupational therapy philosophy takes into account the power of social and spiritual beliefs and values to influence recovery, healing, and wellness. So the question that arose for me was “How can occupational therapy work together with traditional aboriginal healing practices to better assist indigenous people? And how could non-indigenous people who appreciate a more holistic view to their health care have the opportunity to benefit as well?”

How could I as an occupational therapist support in some small way the acceptance of these ancient healing skills as a powerful ally that can contribute to modern health care practice? And in doing so support the sustainability of these practices in a culture that is fast losing their traditions?

Working in the capacity of occupational therapist, and an executive leadership and life coach in the NT, I have observed the impact of the western medical system upon on an ancient culture whose views of health and illness are steeped in an interconnectedness of dreamtime, spirituality, aboriginal law and belonging to country, These people have a resilience that has survived since millennia as the longest continuing culture in the world. Their knowledge of bush medicine and ancient healing practices has given them resilience to survive in intense heat, drought and extreme desert conditions. They have developed powers of the mind that western medicine is only beginning to explore.

To a degree, at least in the Northern Territory, Nungkari’s are employed in health clinics to provide healing support for indigenous clients. To a large degree, they work unpaid in their communities and hence have to seek others means of employment. And, thus, an ancient tradition is at risk of being lost. If there were sufficient interest and recognition, could nungkaris to continue their healing practices? Could more for employment be created?

With these questions the idea was born to pilot a service combining life coaching with traditional indigenous healing. Sue Gregory and Frank Ansell have created a unique program of modern occupational therapy stress management and life coaching methodologies complemented by ancient traditions of hands on healing, bush medicines made of local herbs, smoking ceremonies and visits into country of places of stillness and peace.

Our offerings so far have included people coming to Alice Springs for a week of individual coaching and healing sessions; healing and leadership retreats where people camp out on the land; and conference workshops such as the International Coaches Federation Australasia conference.

Our experience has been a closing of the gap. Our clients have responded to this unique approach. They express a greater depth of happiness and inner strength. They feel equipped with powerful self-healing strategies that give them know how to care for their body, mind and their spirit. They describe themselves as more well rounded human “beings’ (not “doings”) who have gained a peaceful approach to life and work that has been transformative as well as life changing.

As two human beings Frank and Sue have both developed a greater understanding of each other’s culture and are continuing to learn. As an occupational therapist and life coach I am humbled by the wisdom and compassion indigenous culture has to offer to modern health care.

This is a journey that we have just begun and one we hope will lead to involving many others – both indigenous and non-indigenous to promote healing on many levels. If you would like to learn more or be a part of what is evolving we are happy to send you a free e-report with more information at

Gregory S & Verdouw J 2005 Therapeutic Touch: Its application for residents of aged care Australian Nurses Journal 12:7 23-25 .
Gregory S 2003 Therapeutic Touch in Aged care (DVD),
Gregory S 2004 Power in your hands (DVD)

Welcome to my blog where I will share insights into how you can energise your self and your workplace through creating passion and drive by learning how to control your mind, change your beliefs, and using your intention and intuition.
- Sue Gregory