SKEPTICISM: Dispute of Therapeutic Touch

Kathryn Aegis (
Wed, 1 Apr 1998 18:38:04 +0000

>From the AP wire:


A study conducted by a 9 year old girl for a science project and
published in a distingished medical journal concludes that
'therapeutic touch,' in which a healer supposedly manipulates a
patient's energy field, is bunk.

Emily Rosa, the daughter of a registered nurse and an inventor, found
that 21 experienced practitioners were unable to detect the field
they supposedly manipulated to heal. Her study was published in today's Journal of the American Medical
Association and immediately drew fire from supporters of the
practice, who say it is respected worldwide.

Thereaputic touch has been used to treat problems ranging from burns
to cancer. The technique is practiced in at least 80 North American
hospitals and taught in more than 100 colleges and universities in 75
countries, said the study, written by the Lovelace, Colorado, fourth
grader, her parents, and a Pennsylvania doctor who works to uncover

Those who practice the technique say an energy field emanates from
every person and is detectable above the skin through a tingling
sensation or a feeling of hot and cold. Emily set up a cardboard
screen through which practitioners put their hands. With their sight
blocked, she asked them to identify which of their hands was near one
of hers. The 21 practitioners chose the correct hand 44 percent of
the time. That was slightly less than the 50 percent chance they
would have had of choosing the correct hand by guessing, authors