There's healing power in touch
Four area practitioners describe benefits of
Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” Matthew 17:7
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When people think of healing, they tend to think of “cure,” not “wholeness.” But a movement from “dis-ease” to peace and wholeness is closer to the Christian understanding of healing.
Healing Touch (HT) is a clinical approach to healing that utilizes the power of God, working through a practitioner (often, but not always, a member of the medical profession), certified by Healing Touch International, Inc., in Lakewood, Colorado.
The technique seeks to facilitate self-healing. HT is not affiliated with any particular religion or denomination. It can involve touching, or laying hands on, a person’s body by the HT practitioner — or the holding of the practitioner’s hands over the client’s body.
With either technique, the goal is to realign energy fields in a person’s body, and re-establish the mind/body/spirit connection, an idea foreign to many.
Documented studies show that, with HT, surgical wounds heal faster, burns clear up sooner, and premature infants have an enhanced growth rate.
In 1990, Janet Mentgen developed the Healing Touch program of instruction. She based it on her experience of using touch intentionally to facilitate healing with patients in her Colorado nursing practice. Today, Mary Cowden, volunteer Regional Coordinator for Training, Healing Touch International, Inc., reports 1,259 certified HT practitioners worldwide (81 are in Minnesota).
Says Cowden, “The course work to become certified as a Healing Touch practitioner is extensive. Classes are taught 4-6 times yearly in the Twin Cities area, on both St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses of the College of St. Catherine.
“A Healing Touch practitioner sees himself or herself as a channel for Christ’s healing energy. They are present to the client in a special way.”
Jill Cramer, a metro-area occupational therapist in private practice, and a member of Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in southwest Minneapolis, remembers her own personal experience with the technique.
“My own 12-year battle with chronic pain was actually a blessing in disguise,” Cramer says. Conventional medical treatment was unable to help her. She was convinced that she wasn’t being heard by the medical profession.
When she underwent HT, her chronic pain, while still present, was controlled for the first time in years. From this experience, she was drawn to training in HT, and she became certified in October 1999.
“God was pulling me in a different way than I was going,” she says. “I believe Healing Touch is my ministry.” She’s part of the Caregivers group at Mt. Olivet, and teaches workshops there on HT.
“Doctors don’t always understand what Healing Touch is,” she explains, “but patients are beginning to ask for it. I prefer referring to this and other non-traditional medical techniques as ‘integrated’ (not alternative) medicine, since the whole person is being treated.
“Healing takes the ego out. It is a philosophy of caring. I am the instrument through which God’s energy flows. It is a partnership between God, the patient and the practitioner. My aim is to restore energy and balance and enable the person to self-heal.”
Fran Klette, a member at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, is a spiritual director who also does HT. She started exploring Healing Touch after hearing a sermon in which the phrase ‘He touched me,’ referring to Christ’s healing power, was used repeatedly. The phrase spoke to her in a profound way.
Klette believes that Healing Touch is particularly suited to the elderly. “We’re a touch-starved nation. I can see this being used more and more in the Senior community.”
As to how receptive Lutherans are to this healing technique, Klette suggests, “They’re learning, and becoming more open to learning about it.”
A member at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, Barbara Schommer is a public health nurse in the metro area. She’s also in private practice, where she utilizes HT. People routinely point out positive results. Schommer says, “Healing Touch is complementary with all other medical techniques. I’ve worked with people going into surgery, and they have better luck and recover faster than if they hadn’t been treated with Healing Touch. A study is currently being done at HealthEast, and preliminary results show that people experiencing Healing Touch need less pain medication, their anxiety is lower, and they get out of the hospital earlier than others.”
For more information, visit the Healing Touch International website, www.healingtouch.net, or call Mary Cowden, 763/545-1839.
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By Jean Johansson
After my brain hemorrhage in 2000, Fran Klette offered me the gift of a Healing Touch session. A year later, she reminded me that the offer was still available. In early Spring, 2001, not knowing quite what to expect, I arrived at Fran’s house for the session.
Fran welcomed me at the door with Maggie, a Bichon Friese, in her arms. Two white cats wandered around the cozy living room, in the middle of which sat a high table, resembling a bed, covered with blankets. As Fran and I sat in wingback chairs, she explained to me what was to occur. I had to laugh when she said that she thought that Healing Touch was something Lutherans could be comfortable with, since you kept your clothes on. (I had commented to a co-worker as I left the Metro Lutheran office for Fran’s home that I’d always resisted going for a massage because I knew I would have to take off my clothes!)
Fran explained that, in a Healing Touch session, actual laying on of hands, or holding the hands over a person’s body, was paired with prayer. Energy that may have been blocked was realigned in the body, opening the possibility for healing to occur more easily.
Lying on the table, a comfortably warm electric blanket was beneath me and I was covered with lightweight blankets. We were ready to begin. I closed my eyes as Fran stood behind my head, holding it gently, but firmly, centering me, as it were, for what was to take place. She then walked down to my feet, held them, and said a prayer acknowledging openness to God’s work of healing, where it was needed most.
Starting at my left leg, Fran placed her hands for several minutes at a time on my body, as she moved along my side. When she reached my head, she repeated the procedure on my right side. Next she used oil and massaged my right, then my left, arm from the elbow down. She removed my socks and massaged my feet with oil. At the end of all this, she said a prayer that echoed the one with which she had started, then anointed my forehead.
Fran’s usual way to do a Healing Touch session is in silence. If the client has questions, becomes scared, or wants to talk about something, she is happy to oblige. Lying there, I could hear life going on around me — a ticking clock, the jingle of dogtags on Maggie’s collar, a plane flying overhead, a cat playing with a toy. Above all, I felt cared for and at peace.
After an hour, my session was complete. During my session, I had felt sensations below my chin, in the sinuses under my eyes, and a cough in the making, but which short-circuited the two times I felt it. Was this energy realigning itself?
Fran provided bottled water and advised me to drink it, and plenty more, when I got home, to eliminate toxins. She had me get off the table carefully and sit for a while before heading home. I had entered this experience, as I do anything new or unfamiliar, as an adventure and with an open mind. The prayers, present like bookends during the procedure, seemed natural and right, so I left the session feeling somewhat like a wet noodle, but relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated.
In the weeks that followed, I was unaware of any dramatic impact on my health. I remain open to the possibility that the healing power of my mind and body may have been enhanced by the HT session, in ways too subtle for me to detect.
Before you go to a Healing Touch session:
* Get references.
* Discuss any fee with the practitioner.
* Discuss with the practitioner what to expect during the session.
* Discuss allergies you may have to pets or substances that may be present in the location of the session so that accommodations can be made. (Fran removes her pets from the area in which the session occurs, if requested.)
* Wear loose-fitting pants and a short-sleeved top, ankle socks (or no socks), and no jewelry that might be damaged by the oil used in massaging the hands.