Biofield > Contact Healing > Therapeutic Touch

List ISHAR Online Sources: Biofield > Contact Healing > Therapeutic Touch


Functional Summary


  • Mind/Body

Practitioners run hands a few inches over patient’s body to detect and manipulate the patient’s energy field.


  • Restoration

To restore the body’s natural energies to promote relaxation and facilitate natural healing processes.


  • United States

Developed by Dora Kunz and Dolores Krieger in the 1970s.


Topic Summary

Therapeutic Touch (TT) was developed in the 1970s by theosophist Dora Kunz and Professor Emerita of Nursing Science at New York University. Dr. Dolores Krieger has described the practice as having roots in such healing practices as laying on of hands, but without any connection to faith healing. The practice is promoted on its official website as “a holistic, evidence based therapy that incorporates the intentional and compassionate use of universal energy to promote balance and well-being.”

The main concept of TT is that human beings are made up of energy fields. When healthy, the energy is free to flow, while someone with disease brings energy imbalance. The energy field extends beyond the body, and the TT practitioner will attune themselves to it using their hands to sense it. Using TT entails a general 5 step process, which anyone who is willing can learn to practice. The first of these steps is centering, or bringing the body, mind, and emotions into focus. This is done using breathing, and meditation. Next comes assessing the patient by the practitioner holding their own hands anywhere from two to six inches away from their body and moving them from the patient’s head to foot in a rhythmic, symmetrical manner. This may be done with open palms, or cupped hands, depending on the practitioner’s style. Step three is intervention. After having assessed where the patient’s energy flow is inhibited, the practitioner moves their hands in a smoothing motion to “unruffled” the energy. Energy is then projected, directed, or modulated depending on the nature of the patient’s field, for the purpose of reestablishing order in their energy system. Finally, practitioners decide exactly when to end the treatment by continuously evaluating and reassessing the energy field to determine its balance.

TT can be used to treat anxiety, to alter the perception of pain, and to mobilize the patient’s own naturally occurring healing energies to restore balance and order. This includes aiding in the treatment of wounds, fractures, and infections. It is also believed that TT can help boost the immune system, perhaps because of its success at reducing stress.

Research Summary

Several studies have been conducted to test the efficacy of TT, with varying results. One of the most famous of which was conducted in 1996 with a 9 year old girl named Emily Rosa. The results of this research showed that TT practitioners could only “detect” the presence of a biofield 44% of the time, a statistic no better than guess work.

However, some studies have found reason to believe that TT can effectively promote healing. Research published in 2013 looked at its influence on the vital signs of newborns and found that those who received TT had a reduction in vital signs and in the basal metabolism rate, indicating that TT effectively relaxed the babies.

A more recent review from 2014 of various studies on TT’s ability to help heal physical wounds concluded that the four studies it reviewed had been at high risk of bias, and that there was little to be found to conclusively prove that TT promotes healing of acute wounds.



ISHAR strives to present all of our data in an impartial, informative manner.  Nonetheless, there are always different viewpoints on various topics, and ISHAR encourages users to review the perspectives on other informational sites, then come to their own conclusions regarding what they consider the least biased.  The sites below were chosen to represent a wide spectrum of approaches to this topic, and none are endorsed or promoted by ISHAR itself.