Treating A Broken Wrist

By Barbara Janelle M.A.

First Published In Touch, Vol. VI, no. 1, March 1994

On February 8th, 1994 my 17-year-old son, Daniel, broke a bone in his wrist doing gymnastics. X-rays showed a break across the scaphoid bone; his hand and lower arm were put in a cast.

During the early days of treating the break, I found the field rather gummy and felt that I could spend hours simply clearing the area around the break site. Indeed, I really had a sense of what Oskar Estebany did the night he worked on his horse’s broken leg: clearing, clearing, clearing, and freeing the flow of energy through the break site. I did not have the time, nor would Daniel put up with long periods of work, so I worked two or three times for five minutes or less those first few days.

Daniel would ask me to work on the arm when it ached or itched and I responded by visualizing a blue light coming from my hand to soothe the area. This was usually effective within two-to-four minutes. In addition to these periods, I also worked on the wrist each evening for five-to-ten minutes during the entire healing period.

After two weeks, Dan returned to the hospital for x-rays, which showed the break to be healing. However, the cast was beginning to smell and Daniel told the doctor that he wanted it removed. The doctor tried to dissuade him and finally gave up saying the wrist would never heal properly without a cast. Dan came home without the cast. I wrapped the arm and took him to our family doctor the next day.

A young doctor in the office saw Dan first and insisted on another cast. Dan was adamantly against it. Our family doctor entered and instead of rigidly adhering to only one approach, offered Dan several alternatives for supporting the wrist while it healed. Through his willingness to discuss alternatives with Daniel, he got this stubborn teen-ager to work with him. They finally compromised on a cast for another two weeks.

Our doctor told us that the scaphoid bone does not heal easily because the blood supply to the area is poor. It is usually recommended that a cast stay on for 8-to-12 weeks. Even with this, the bone may not heal properly. He promised Dan that the cast would be removed in two weeks and an x-ray taken. At that time they would discuss another kind of support for the wrist.

I continued treating the wrist with Therapeutic Touch, using visualizations of seeing a good blood supply to the area and the break knitting its full length. Each day for 30 seconds or less, I directed a beam of light from the fingers on one hand, through the bone and across the break, and monitored the ease with which it traveled with the other hand. The Therapeutic Touch sessions were usually five minutes in length and done once a day. One evening I did a full Therapeutic Touch treatment but otherwise I worked only in the area of the cast.

On March 10th, the cast was removed and the wrist x-rayed. To the surprise of our family doctor, the break in the scaphoid bone was completely healed–four weeks and two days after it happened!

Citing clinical studies, Dolores Krieger says, “TT does accelerate the healing process. One of our clearest examples of this is re: bone fractures; here we can see good callus formation via x-rays in approximately 2 1/2 weeks, rather than the 6 weeks that is the usual rule of thumb” (Krieger, 1988).

The fascinating thing that was demonstrated yet again by the healing of Daniel’s wrist is that it takes so little work to make a significant difference in the speed of healing. Consider that less than ten minutes work a day (and I even skipped three days) was enough to help a difficult area heal and to reduce the healing time by almost half.

Our family doctor taught his intern a lesson that we know well in Therapeutic Touch: the importance of working with a patient and doing so in a creative way. We recognize that each patient is an individual, rather than “a case.” We are taught early in TT to respond to the needs of the field rather than determining our avenue of treatment before we even do an assessment. Our family doctor knew the standard approach to take with this kind of break but recognized that he would fail in trying to impose it on Daniel. In responding to Daniel’s needs, he saw the individual and found ways to work with him.

Daniel’s obstinacy could have been viewed as yet another teenage confrontation with accepted medical and parental guidelines. Instead, by honoring his needs, a situation occurred in which the bone was checked in four weeks rather than eight weeks. We would not have known about the rapid healing had both the doctor and I not honored his wishes.

Krieger, Dolores. “Therapeutic Touch: Two Decades of Research, Teaching and Clinical Practice,” Speech to the Voluntary Controls Program, The Menniger Foundation, Topeka, Kansas. April, 1988.


Dan told me recently that he used a lot of visualization to help heal his wrist, in addition to the daily TT I did with him. –BJ 2/99