Welcome to Saturday's Potluck - 12-4-2021
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
The path to understanding has plenty of twists and turns. It was a simple question. Asked the night nurses in a class I was presenting at the nursing home how they handled pain and anxiety in their patients when there was no medication order. Hospitals have doctor access 24 hours a day and generally full access to a pharmacy. Most nursing homes do not have those options.
One of the nurses suggested I read Therapeutic Touch by Dolores Krieger. It was the method she used for her patients. The well, worn pages of my copy are still frequently turned to remind myself healing and comfort is not just about a pharmaceutical agent (modern drug, herb or supplement) and biochemical pathways. The book became the starting point to exploring other healing traditions.
Therapeutic Touch was developed in the early 1970’s through the pioneering work of Dolores Krieger, PhD, RN, a professor at New York University, and Dora Kunz, a natural healer.
Therapeutic Touch is a scientifically based practice. Experimental research has been conducted at major hospital centers and universities by scientists in nursing and related fields. Some of this research has been funded by the National Institutes for Health.As scientists began to study various forms of healing in the mid 1900’s, the focus began to shift to more natural methods. In 1971, Dolores Krieger, R.N., Ph.D., along with Dora Kunz, a natural healer, conducted some experiments to examine the effects of healers on humans in an analytical way. They used an experimental group and a control group consisting of comparable individuals. The experimental group received “laying-on of hands” healings while the control group did not. Dr. Krieger measured hemoglobin levels in both groups both before and after a series of healing treatments. There was a significant increase in hemoglobin levels in the healer treated people. From these early experiments, Therapeutic Touch was born.
Jacqueline Kern, PhD, RN, introduces Therapeutic Touch, a noninvasive healing modality in which the energy of a healer's hands is used to promote healing in another. (3.20 min)
University of Arizona College of Nursing
Dolores Krieger: Lessons of Compassion
An Interview with the Developer of Therapeutic Touch
Krieger once told People magazine, “Touching permeates almost every phase of nursing. I believe in my hands before anything else.”
Knowing that she wanted to be involved in helping and healing people, Krieger says her original career choice was physical therapy. But, without the money to go to college, Temple University’s offer of two years college credit for those who enrolled in the nursing program was how Krieger planned her segue into a physical therapy path.
“However, I wasn’t into nursing more than six weeks before I realized it was what I really wanted to do.” Her new path led her to earn her master’s degree and doctorate in nursing and eventually to teach at New York University (NYU) School of Nursing, where she was a professor until her retirement in 1997.
It was during this journey that Krieger would cross paths with the woman who would ultimately change her life.
It was the late 1960s, an era of enlightenment, where people began to think about health care differently, and Therapeutic Touch quickly filled a niche in the medical community. “With my medical connections, I initially got about 50 doctors and nurses together who wanted to learn to heal,” Krieger says. That was a catalyst. With her knowledge of curriculum development, and Kunz’s ability to connect with people, Krieger says the two were able to quickly bring the modality to the nursing community. Initially called Frontiers in Nursing, Krieger was able to get the work accredited at the graduate level at NYU.
Acceptance grew, nurses were taking the work they learned into the patients’ hospital rooms, and the dean of the college was pleased with the demand. “We were accepted by the medical community,” Krieger says. “It all began to mesh together. We were the only ones at the time to have the support of both the medical community and academe.”
Today, Therapeutic Touch has been taught at more than 70 medical centers and health agencies in the United States, and to people in health professions in 107 countries. More than 250,000 health professionals have been trained in Therapeutic Touch worldwide.
A current review looking at 12 years of published studies.
A rapid evidence assessment of recent therapeutic touch research published online March 2021 at Nursing Open.
A rapid evidence assessment (REA) approach was used to review recent TT research adopting PRISMA 2009 guidelines.
CINAHL, PubMed, MEDLINE, Cochrane databases, Web of Science, PsychINFO and Google Scholar were screened between January 2009–March 2020 for studies exploring TT therapies as an intervention. The main outcome measures were for pain, anxiety, sleep, nausea and functional improvement.
After 45 years of study, scientific evidence of the value of TT as a complimentary intervention in the management of any condition still remains immature and inconclusive:
Given the mixed result, lack of replication, overall research quality and significant issues of bias identified, there currently exists no good quality evidence that supports the implementation of TT as an evidence‐based clinical intervention in any context.
Research over the past decade exhibits the same issues as earlier work, with highly diverse poor quality unreplicated studies mainly published in alternative health media.
As the nature of human biofield energy remains undemonstrated, and that no quality scientific work has established any clinically significant effect, more plausible explanations of the reported benefits are from wishful thinking and use of an elaborate theatrical placebo.
What is on your mind today? (Responses to Covid questions and dialog to be conducted at The Dose diary)