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WRITER: Amy Couteé
CONTACT: L. E. OHMAN
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
e-mail: le-ohman@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Healing touch to be discussed at alternative medicine conference at UI

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 medications.

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," Freel says.

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 well.

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 touch therapy.

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 enhanced growth.

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," Freel says.

For more information regarding the seminar call Deborah Hatz, UI Office of Continuing Education, at (319) 335-8599.

4/17/98