WRITER: Amy Couteé
CONTACT: L. E. OHMAN
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
Healing touch to be discussed at alternative medicine conference
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Heading to the medicine cabinet in search of pain
relief is not the only self-healing tool available nowadays. Many non-medicine
techniques, long-employed by holistic nurses and alternative therapy practitioners,
offer pain sufferers a way to heal themselves without relying solely on
Mildred Freel, University of Iowa associate professor emeritus in the
College of Nursing, discussed the holistic healing method of healing touch,
a self-healing tool, April 16 and 17 at the seminar, "Complimentary
and Alternative Therapies" at the Iowa Memorial Union.
"The purpose of healing touch is to balance the energy of the body.
Practitioners help patients promote their own natural self-healing,"
One element that sets healing touch apart from other alternative methods
of healing is that it is non-invasive. In many cases it requires no touching
of the patient. Patients remain fully clothed during their sessions as
The method puts patients in control of reducing their pain, enhancing
healing and preventing illness with the help of a healing touch practitioner
who aids in balancing one's body energy. Healing touch, which requires
extensive study for certification, is recognized as an effective self-healing
tool by nursing associations across the United States. Freel works locally
with patients following surgical procedures, with cancer patients undergoing
chemotherapy treatments and even with hyperactive children and infants.
Healing touch advocates have found that the method helps clients deal
with the pain of neck and back problems and premenstrual syndrome while
also working on a variety of problems associated with diseases such as
multiple sclerosis, HIV or AIDS and diabetes. Speeding up the body's healing
process and aiding in grief management can also be outcomes of healing
The practice of healing touch is rooted in Chinese medicine and the
idea that inside the body there are pathways, referred to as meridian lines,
which carry energy throughout the body. Similar to acupuncture, healing
touch uses these meridian lines and the energy field to follow a patient's
flow of energy. If the energy field is not flowing smoothly, or is blocked
and out of balance, the practitioner can help patients re-establish balance.
Healing touch practitioners lay their hands within a patient's energy field
to determine where the disturbance is. Then they serve as a channel for
the energy, enabling the patient to smooth the flow of energy in his or
her body. While the nurse cannot tell a patient what is causing the disturbance,
they are able to find the area of the body that is suspect or where the
block is in their energy field.
"We know the energy flow patterns and we can describe where the
disturbance is coming from but we don't try to diagnose. That is not our
job; our job is just to re-balance," Freel says.
Essential to a successful treatment through healing touch is the integration
of traditional medicine and an overall healthy lifestyle, which Freel discusses
with patients. If healing touch is to work it is up to the patient, Freel
says. The patient determines when and how long the next treatment will
be, based on how they feel.
According to Freel, studies on healing touch reveal that surgical wounds
and sutures heal faster, burns clear up significantly sooner, circulation
and breathing improve after surgery faster and premature infants experience
Another enticing feature of this energy treatment is that a patient
can never be harmed because the body will not take in more energy than
is needed. "Even if you are treated everyday you can't overdue it,"
For more information regarding the seminar call Deborah Hatz, UI Office
of Continuing Education, at (319) 335-8599.