What Do We Bring to the Therapeutic Touch Treatment?

By Barbara Janelle M.A.

The Therapeutic Touch treatment is a remarkable interaction between two people or in the case of triad sessions, among three people. But the presence of two or three human beings is not all that enters into the treatment. Each person brings qualities, understandings and gifts to the session that lead to the possibility of a profound interaction. In addition, the treatment is an interaction of other intelligences and forms of existence with human intelligence and intention.

The Receiver

The receiver brings the all important gift of openness to the Therapeutic Touch treatment: a willingness to allow, indeed invite, another person into deeply personal and sacred space. The receiver also entertains the possibility of change in response to the treatment. Perhaps, the best way to describe this is that a receiver, on some level, brings hope to the interaction. That hope may be for healing, for rest and/or reduction in pain, for understanding, or perhaps for the possibility of surrender.

On the mundane level, the receiver sets aside time and provides, as best as possible, quiet space for the session. Calls go to the answering machine, friends are asked to come later, and television or radio is turned off. In hospital, the patient may tell the nurse about the upcoming treatment and arrange for a quiet time. If the person is under a doctor’s care, it would be appropriate to inform the doctor of the TT treatments because these can have an effect on the person’s need for analgesics and other medication.

If conscious, the receiver agrees to assume some responsibility in the treatment:
– to move gently if the body has been in one position too long,
– to tell the practitioner (who will ask) if it is all right or not for feet, hands, and perhaps shoulders and back to be touched during the treatment,
– to tell the practitioner if someplace becomes uncomfortable during the session,
– to say “enough” if the session goes on to long (although this would be unusual)
– to rest for 20 minutes or so after the treatment

The receiver should be aware as the practitioner is that the Therapeutic Touch Treatment is a partnership.

The Practitioner

The practitioner brings many things to the Therapeutic Touch treatment: intention, training and skill, deep centeredness, acceptance and recognition of the value of the person, and a willingness to walk into a unique other world to engage in a wondrous conversation in service to the recipient.

The conscious and compassionate choice to serve another being is an expression of recognition, respect and valuing of that person or animal (or even plant). These attributes connect practitioner and recipient. Service to another is a conscious alignment with and for that recipient’s well being.

To the Therapeutic Touch treatment, the practitioner brings compassion, centeredness and trust in a force of compassion and order that is inherent in the universe as it is in the field of the recipient. The practitioner moves into a profound partnership with the recipient’s field and with this universal force.

Compassion. Compassion warms the practitioner’s hands. This active emotion of the heart initiates a greater energy flow in the practitioner’s own field and can be felt as heat or energy radiating from the hands. Compassion turns things on!

Centering. Centering and deepening center are the most important and effective skills that we bring to the treatment. Indeed, Merlin Homer, a member of the founding group of TTNO’s Teachers’ Cooperative, says we can do Therapeutic Touch simply by centering. One of the most effective teaching exercises is to have students enter a treatment and do some work, then pause and deepen center, and return to the field, where they discover enormous shifts toward better function have occurred. Centering shifts the recipient’s field toward greater order.

Centering also increases the practitioner’s intuitive insight, ability to receive information from the field, focusing and visualizing abilities, and communication with the field. Dolores Krieger says that unless we are centered, we are not doing TT.

Partnership with the Field. The understanding that the practitioner works WITH the field is critical to the TT treatment. The TT treatment is based on assessment and much of the work is in response to information the field gives.

For a long time, the belief has been that the practitioner modulates the energy delivered to the field. A greater truth is that the field modulates the energy that practitioner delivers to it.
If the practitioner sends blue into the field, and the field needs yellow, it will attempt to modify the colour/vibration to fit its needs. The practitioner may think that energy is needed in a particular place in the field and attempt to send it there. The field may need the energy elsewhere (we truly do not know the working mechanisms of the energy field) and attempt to draw it there. If the field is stressed by too much or too intense energy input, or by inappropriate colour/vibration being sent to it by the practitioner, it may start to block the treatment and the practitioner’s centering will weaken.

A treatment approach that is growing in use is to offer energy to the field rather than direct it into the field. More and more practitioners are also recognizing the value of offering white or rainbow-coloured light to the field and suggesting that the field take what it needs. And yet another approach is to remind the field that its normal function is taking in energy from the universal field; the energy input in the TT treatment does not have to come from/through the practitioner.

Intention. This practitioner recognizes the wisdom of the field and its inherent strength and ability to move toward wholeness; this is a primary principle in the TT treatment. By focusing on this strength and wholeness, rather than on a problem, the TT practitioner energizes and supports the function of the field.

An idea from Dr. Kam Yuen’s work (1) that fits well in the TT treatment is that by brightening the central line in the body/field, the whole being in all its aspects – spiritual, mental, emotional, psychological, psychic and spiritual is strengthened. On the physical level, this core is the spinal cord and more energy is made available to move by way of the nervous system. On the energetic level, this brightening feeds the chakra system as well as the meridian system.

To see the receiver as strong and to work with and support that strength can be a valuable focus in the TT treatment.

Intention and Time/Space. The TT treatment is entering a world beyond time and space as we know it. As my friend and Reiki Master Ann Thomas once said to me, “This moment is the composite of all moments.” In the TT treatment we have the possibility of touching all time/all space. We can extend the treatment to the whole of the person’s life, to all family members, to all patients in a hospital for the whole of that hospital’s existence, to oneself, to a city, to healing the Earth, to bringing joy to the universe. There are no limits and access is through intention.

Partnership with Nature. The TT practitioner can engage with a wide range of intelligences to support the receiver. In grounding, I ask the conscious, living Earth to hold the receiver. I often ask nearby plants or trees to help draw off congested energy. Practitioners report how the recipient’s dog will often sit at or on the feet to support grounding. I will engage the intelligence of the mineral kingdom in the metal of chairs and bed frames to conduct congested energy out of the field. I have found it very useful to ask for the help of animal spirits in the TT treatment. (2)

In energizing food, water, clothing, bedding, bandages we can engage the help of the intelligence in these things to make our work even more effective. In energizing food, I don’t just send energy into it, but I ask that the intelligence in the nature kingdom help to shift the vibration of the food meet my needs for health and strength. I work with the intelligence of the mineral kingdom to energize food prepared in my microwave oven to support the health of all who eat it.

Partnership with Beings of Light. When we come with compassion, we link with the universe of compassion. Many TT practitioners and students have encountered helpers, beings of light, in the TT treatment. The recipient who says, “I was sure you were at my feet the whole time of the treatment; it certainly feels as though someone was there!” Tall columns of bright golden light are sometimes perceived by the practitioner in profound treatments. Barbara Ann Brennan (3) among others describes working with these beings. Some practitioners use Machaelle Small Wright’s MAP Team (4) approach for consciously connecting with them.

Engaging with a Universal Force. Dora Kunz often led a meditation in which she would ask us to recognize our connection with nature and that we live in a Universe of compassion and order. In TT we can and do engage with this force of compassion and order. We dream of wholeness and engage this force to make it so. Ultimately what we do as TT practitioners is to bring Trust in forces of compassion and order into the TT treatment

Conclusion. The receiver brings hope and openness and the practitioner brings centeredness, intention and trust to the Therapeutic Touch treatment. The Therapeutic Touch treatment supports the wholeness of both and is a fine merging of these qualities of heart and spirit. The TT treatment is a dream of wholeness by both receiver and practitioner.


1. Kam Yuen, Yuen Energetics: The Power of Instant Healing, Shaolin Press, 2001

2. Barbara Janelle, Our Healing Power, Barbara Janelle, London, ON Canada: 1999, p.102
3. Barbara Ann, Brennan, Hands of light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field, Bantam, New York, 1987
4. Machaelle Small, Wright, MAP: The Co-Creative White Brotherhood Medical Assistance Program, Perelandra Ltd., Jeffersonton, VA, 1990

bj/April 2004