By Barbara Janelle M.A.

In Touch, Vol. XII, No. 2, May, 2000

Therapeutic Touch is a dynamic and growing discipline. We have been remarkably fortunate here in Ontario to have a strong Therapeutic Touch Network and an outstanding journal, In Touch, which is now the Journal for the Therapeutic Touch Networks of Canada. The growing of TT in Ontario has been fostered by presentations and discussions at Vision and Reality Conferences, TTNO Teacher Days and TTNO Practitioners Days and by articles in In Touch. Provincial and regional retreats have also played a role in increasing the TT information field.

However, an even more supportive overall policy needs to be implemented. We must replace the current authoritarian attitude exemplified by the too often heard phrases, “Pure TT” and “That’s not Therapeutic Touch!” with more openness and explorative questions like, “Does this idea fit within the TT framework?”


When we center in the Therapeutic Touch treatment, we move into intuitive experience within a realm of infinite possibility. Profound things happen for both receiver and practitioner as a conversation on many levels occurs within the TT setting. As practitioners, our experience, skill and understanding grow with each treatment. By sharing with other practitioners the TT information field grows.

Because this process happens, Therapeutic Touch is not static and we are faced with the challenges of:

a) maintaining a safe, clear underlying framework

b) while also having the possibility of adding, changing or deleting ideas and procedures.

To date in Ontario, additions, changes and deletions have occurred in a roundabout way because practitioners have hesitated to speak too openly of their experiences for fear of being squashed by statements like, “That is not TT.” I am embarrassed to say that I parroted this phrase last year with respect to an approach that I am now exploring within the TT structure. Had I been more willing to ask, “How does this fit within the TT framework?” my skill and knowledge might be considerably more advanced than they are now.


The Therapeutic Touch framework has been able to embrace a range of ideas since the development of Therapeutic Touch in the early 1970’s. Some of the additions, changes and deletions to TT that have occurred are:

1) In addition to being an energetic interaction, TT is a resonance effect. The language of some of the TT steps – assessment, unruffling and energy modulation – speaks clearly of energy and energy flow. However, Martha Rogers put into words what many practitioners recognized, that the act of centering changed the field through the process of resonance. Today, many TT teachers recognize the Therapeutic Touch may be done simply by centering with intention to support the receiver.

2) Visualization is an integral aspect of unruffling and energy modulation. Hand movements are a metaphor for intention and attention, and movements not anchored in intention and visualization have little effect. Among the more commonly used visualisations are those of grounding to support flow through the field.

3) Directing energy into the field has often proved too strong. Energy direction is yielding to the practices of offering energy to the field and/or inviting energy into the field from the surrounding energetic sea.


Directing Colour into the field is being replaced by offering white (all colours) or rainbow light to the field.

4) The recognition of the field as an intelligent and leading partner in the dance of TT is a major and unheralded shift that has occurred. Experience has shown most practitioners that the field redirects energy to where it is needed. More aware and intuitive practitioners recognize that the receiver’s field adjusts the volume and vibration (colour) of incoming energy to meet it needs, as well. The field has a greater knowledge of its needs and of the way to proceed toward health than does the practitioner.

5) We have learned about the effectiveness of gentleness, a working rhythm that includes pauses, listening to the field and following intuitive promptings, deepening centering, etc.

6) The recognition that the steps of TT need not all be done, nor done in a linear order is now accepted. Centering and assessment are ongoing, and it is possible to assess the field’s response while unruffling and offering energy. Initially unruffling the field leads to more informative early assessment.

7) Ways of doing long distance Therapeutic Touch that offer instead of direct energy are growing in number and variety.

8) Self-work has increased substantially to a point where we recognize that ideas are energy and we have a responsibility for choosing where and on what we put our attention in every day life as well as in the TT treatment.

Some of the avenues of exploration that I know are underway currently are the role and interrelationship of chakras and TT approaches to working with them, exploration into still hands while deepening center and being with the field, and wide-ranging experiments with imagery, working with unseen helpers, working in partnership with the Earth. These need to be discussed and evaluated in an atmosphere of kindness, trust, experimentation, and democracy.


Let us build more kindness, trust and experimentation and democracy into Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario. Let us replace phrases like, “That is not pure TT!” with questions such as, “How might this idea fit within the TT framework?”

I propose a statement of support for exploration, sharing of information and the growing of TT be written into the mandate of TTNO.

Further, I propose that a process by which ideas can be added, deleted or changed in the framework of Therapeutic Touch be developed. And that that process be one of democratic discussion and vote by the body of Teachers and Practitioners.