This biofield energy therapy directs energy through practitioners’ hands to rebalance your energy field.

How do experts use Therapeutic Touch®?

Medical groups provide recommendations for this therapy in treating people with cancer. Learn more about the approaches and meanings of recommendations.

Clinical practice guidelines

These 2009 guidelines conclude that therapies based on a philosophy of bioenergy fields are safe and may provide some benefit for reducing stress and enhancing quality of life. The Society for Integrative Oncology gives a strong recommendation for these therapies, which include TT, healing touch, reiki and polarity therapy, for these uses:

  • For reducing anxiety: grade 1B (strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence)
  • For pain, fatigue, and other symptom management: grade 1C (strong recommendation, low or very low quality evidence)

Expert commentary

CancerChoices Senior Clinical Consultant Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS: Early in my practice as an oncology clinical nurse specialist, I became interested in complementary approaches to cancer. I participated in Therapeutic Touch® (TT) training and certification at our hospital. Then I studied further with Dr. Dolores Krieger, the nursing co-founder of Therapeutic Touch®. Staff nurses began referring patients and family members to me. Recipients reported feeling calmer and more peaceful. Most reported sleeping better after a treatment. Many reported significant pain relief.

Karen was a 56-year-old operating room nurse with stage 3 ovarian cancer. My work with Karen began with conventional advanced practice nursing interventions, but after working together for some time, I told Karen about Therapeutic Touch®. She quickly agreed but said she was “skeptical.”

I first did TT with Karen in the hospital. She felt deeply calm and peaceful during and after TT. She slept better that night. I continued to treat her at her home. Her husband learned TT basics and did short sessions with Karen between my visits. This loving support brought them closer together.

One day Karen told me she had an allergic reaction to taxol (the chemotherapy of choice for her cancer). Her oncologist instructed the chemotherapy nurse to incrementally increase the dose of a new second-line chemotherapy each session, as long as Karen’s blood counts were good and she wasn’t having any dose-limiting side effects. A major potential complication of this regimen is suppression of red and white blood cell as well as platelet production. Karen was on this chemotherapy regimen for months. I continued to give her TT on a regular basis this whole time.

When Karen saw her oncologist after her chemotherapy was complete, she said his jaw dropped in disbelief when he saw the total cumulative dose that Karen was able to tolerate without ever requiring a transfusion or acquiring an infection. He apparently had never seen anything like this. Karen said she just smiled and thought to herself that the Therapeutic Touch® must have been the game changer. I can’t prove this, but Karen had no doubt in her mind that that’s what made the difference.

I needed to leave on vacation during the holidays. I told Karen that Dr. Krieger taught me how to administer TT remotely. Karen was open to trying it. I didn’t pre-arrange a time for the remote session. Halfway through my vacation I performed the distant TT for Karen and made note of the date and time. During my next visit, she asked me what I was doing at such and such time on such and such day. That was when I did the remote session! She said she suddenly felt very calm and sat down and concluded that I was doing TT for her. Then, she said she felt more energetic than she had in months and went down to clean out her basement to get ready for company. She said she had been meaning to do that for years, actually, but never had the energy to deal with it!

Karen the skeptic became a spokesperson for Therapeutic Touch®. She presented her “case” at several meetings of healthcare professionals. Telling others of her experience never ceased to touch her deeply. This matter-of-fact practical operating room nurse would often end her story with tears quietly running down her face. She had come to believe that some of the deepest truths are unexplainable and that love is so often present in the depth of healing.

Keep reading about Therapeutic Touch®

Authors

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Last update: March 6, 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.