Therapeutic Touch has provided relaxation, eased pain for Stirling Manor residents for 20 years

For more than 20 years, Stirling Manor residents have been receiving Therapeutic Touch®, a practice life enrichment manager Melanie Cannons says has benefited people affected by a myriad of conditions from Huntington’s disease to dementia.

Therapeutic Touch was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Dolores Krieger and her mentor, Dora Kunz. It is a holistic approach to helping people relax, easing their pain and reducing anxiety.

Through the process of Therapeutic Touch, practitioners place their hands near the body of the person receiving the therapy. The theory behind Therapeutic Touch is that the practitioner’s hands can manipulate the patient’s “energy field” to provide comfort.

Therapeutic Touch is never used to replace residents’ medical treatment, but rather as an integrative therapy to enhance the effects of regular medical care, Cannons says.

Recognized Therapeutic Touch practitioners Alison Cooke and Suzette Morgan visit the Stirling, Ontario long-term care home weekly to provide the service to 33 of the 75 residents.

Cannons says the staff members have seen first-hand many benefits they attribute to Therapeutic Touch.

“Some of the benefits that have been noted are improved sleep patterns, fewer psychosomatic illnesses, improved circulation (and) reduced anxiety,” Cannons says.

A former resident who had Huntington’s disease, a genetic neurodegenerative disorder, found that the treatment provided relief from the uncontrolled, constant motion the condition produces in the body, Cannons notes.

“She was grateful for this relief that was evident right up until she passed away,” Cannons says.

Another resident who often experiences agitation can often be calmed with Therapeutic Touch, falling asleep shortly after receiving the treatment.

“This is a great gift for (the resident) … since she is rarely free of anxiety and has trouble sleeping,” Cannons says.

Therapeutic Touch has a unique impact on residents with cognitive impairment, she adds.

“Once the practitioner starts describing Therapeutic Touch and makes the movements with their hands, they remember Therapeutic Touch and how it makes them feel and (the residents) nearly always nod their head to say they would like to have (the treatment) that day,” Cannons says.

For more information about Therapeutic Touch, please visit The Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario website.