By Barbara Janelle M.A.

Southwestern Ontario TT Gathering Conference Papers, April 27-29, 2001, St. Jerome’s College, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON

The young woman returned from the hike with blisters forming on the bottom of her right foot. I offered to do TT and she accepted. The treatment was less than ten minutes. When it was finished, she asked me to explain Therapeutic Touch and describe what I had done. I told her that in TT, we work with the understanding that in the state of health, energy flows freely through the system, and that we support a general flow downward through the field. The treatment started with work to augment the flow of energy out of her foot; this makes way for more to enter and move through the field. Then I checked the area of the blisters and I found the field there quiet and almost stunned. I began to encourage energetic movement that eventually brought a more normalized flow. With the treatment as a nudge, her field and body proceeded toward healing. The woman listened and nodded and then noted that the pain was gone and there was a tingling feeling at the site of the blisters.

What I did not describe was the larger and more profound part of the treatment. As I worked on the bottom of her foot, I found the area associated with acupressure points for the heart very noticeable. As I greeted the spirit of the young woman, I saw and felt the joy, wisdom and magnificence of this person suddenly break through a barrier in her heart and expand to fill the entire field. The treatment did more than address the physical issue; it touched the entire being.


A few weeks ago, I attended a panel presentation by members of the Integrated Medicine Program at St. Francis Hospital here in Santa Barbara, California. A physician, a depth psychologist and a somatic therapist described how they worked together to treat the whole person. The dream of new medicine that I’ve had for years is functioning in this community.

The theme of the presentation was expressed by a quote from D.H. Lawrence:

“I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.

And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.

I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self.”

Physician Anthony Alina talked of healing as a return to a state of relative wholeness and went on to say, “wholeness is an instinct.” Depth Psychologist Aaron Kipnis said that wholeness asks the question, “What does the soul want?” Wholeness involves the embodiment of spirit and Kipnis went onto say that “an uninhabited body is more susceptible to disease.” Ann Brode CST asked a question of the audience, “How much of your body are you occupying right now?” and then led a meditative tour of the body that helped people experience greater embodiment of self.

I recognized themes that I encounter in Therapeutic Touch treatments. The instinctual movement of the field and physical body toward health mirrors the instinctual movement toward wholeness by the entire being. The awareness that we are supporting this is important in the Therapeutic Touch treatment.

Early in TT training and use, most people focus on the mechanics of physical healing, and this occupies attention and experience for some time. A larger dimension enters when a TT practitioner begins to work with situations of life-threatening illness and finds that the mechanics of healing are more complex and beautiful than ever imagined. Emotions surface in the field. The role of belief and attitude becomes apparent in health issues. Ultimately, the embodiment of spirit is understood to be at the basis of health. This maturity in understanding then affects all treatments from the simplest issue of bruise or abrasion to life-threatening illness.

The practitioner must examine personal beliefs and issues about living and dying to come to the larger understanding of spirit inhabiting body and life as an opportunity to learn and play with others. Do we work with the idea that living is the goal, the measure of success of treatment? Or do we recognize that life and death is soul choice and that there is a larger framework than life as we define it on Earth?


In a TT treatment, I work with simple images of energy flowing downward through the field and into the Earth through roots. (These roots also provide an avenue for energy from the planet to move up into the field and physical body as well, although I do not work directly with this in a TT treatment.)

Life is embodiment of spirit and engagement in living. It is exemplified by a strong flow of energy through the field and good grounding connection with the Earth.

A woman asked me to check her 15-year-old dog. He was very quiet and she wondered if he was ready to leave. The grounding was strong and steady. The being was happily engaged in supporting his owner through a profound life lesson, and certainly not leaving yet.

In my experience, when a person or an animal is facing life-threatening illness, energy flowing through the field is reduced and the roots become thin and shallow as the connection with the Earth and energy received from the planet are diminished. As a person or animal dies, the connection with the Earth lessens and then disappears. The quality of life in the field fades.

Two years ago, a distraught woman asked me to see her boyfriend who was on life-support in ICU. After a major heart attack, he had almost no brain waves and was essentially dead. The woman would not give permission to disconnect the machinery, even though his parents wanted to do so. I found the field very still, almost lifeless and “saw” a single thread from the root chakra to the Earth. The spirit of the man hovered over his head, and the feeling of his love for the woman filled the room. The woman’s need kept him there. I asked, “Are you finished with this life or do you have more to do?” There was no shift in the field, only a felt-sense that this life was done and he would go. The young woman felt his love for her and was able to release him.


A Therapeutic Touch treatment addresses the whole being. While we may draw divisions between physical, emotional, mental and spiritual fields, I believe those divisions are misleading. It is impossible to address only the physical field, or only the emotional field, because the being-field is a composite of everything.

I find that the act of supporting the flow of energy through the field is an invitation for spirit-soul-essence of being to come more fully into the physical body and into the experience of life. We often see changes in a person’s life as he/she receives regular TT treatments. Frequently there is greater happiness, more creativity, and more synchronicity in the receiver’s life.

I asked a woman I treated weekly for several months what she could say about the impact of the treatments. She replied with tears in her eyes, “I am happy. I do not think I have ever been really happy in my life, but I am happy now. This has come with the Therapeutic Touch.”

Whether the practitioner is aware or not, the TT treatment also poses the question, “What does the soul want?” In some situations, a profound shift occurs that can lead to peace.

A woman diagnosed with pancreatic cancer asked for TT. I gave her brief treatments on three consecutive days. When I saw her for the third treatment, she said that during the second treatment, she heard a phrase repeating itself in her mind. After the treatment, she had drawn a beautiful mandala with these words embedded in it, “Let go and trust.” I asked her what these words meant to her and she replied, “I have never trusted life.” Friends and family told me later that the TT treatments allowed her to accept her leaving and helped her to die peacefully.


There are times when it is useful for the practitioner to focus consciously on connecting with the spiritual essence of the receiver. This greeting can support the embodiment of spirit. In life-threatening situations, I will pose a question to the being about whether the learning experience of this life is to continue or is finished. Of course, the asking is done mind to mind and not verbally aloud. While there is no expectation of an answer, in some instances there will be one that comes with a shift in the field. In other cases, the question is simply posed and left to the being to consider.


A young man had been in coma in ICU for almost three months, the result of a silly game that led to major trauma. Prognosis for recovery was poor when the parents asked the London TT Hospital Team to see him. On my first visit, I found the grounding evident but shallow. When I asked the being, “Do you want to continue with life?” he responded to me in my mind with the comment, “I messed up!” The sense of depression was strong. I replied, “So? Big deal! Remember who you are: a magnificent spiritual being!” Something shifted and the field felt lighter and brighter. He came out of coma within two days and went on to full recovery.


In his latest book, Still Here (1), Ram Dass says the focus for healers should not be on overcoming illness, but rather on requesting help for the person to learn the lessons that illness offers.

In my TT treatments, I use a similar idea to both establish a focus for the treatment and to allow me to release a need for an immediate and obvious outcome. I enter the field with compassion and the intent to serve and nurture the receiver. The spirit that I am greets the spirit of the receiver, and I recognize that this treatment is dance of equals. At some point during the treatment, I ask, “May this one be supported in all ways as he/she walks this life.,” and recognize that I am also asking for that support for myself. I end the treatment knowing that in some way both the receiver and I have touched a greater aspect of our own being. The TT interaction becomes a prayer for both of us.

1. Ram Dass, Stll Here, Riverhead Books, New York: 2000