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Healing Touch Addresses Chronic Pain Without Medication

Imagine picking up a one-pound rock and holding it in your hand with your arm extended. Easy, right? Keep holding it…keep holding it…and it won’t take long before your arm begins to hurt. The longer you hold the rock, the more it hurts. Of course, you could put the rock down but let’s say you take it and tuck it into your backpack. Now pick up another rock, and another, and another. Soon you’re struggling to carry a whole pack full of rocks.

This metaphor describes the kind of weight that people accumulate and carry for years. It’s this weight that becomes chronic pain. Ask someone about their pain, and they’ll likely have a story to tell.

  • Simone has been experiencing migraines every two weeks for as long as she can remember, along with indescribable fatigue. “When you’re in chronic pain it depletes your energy, it sucks everything out of you,” she says. Simone can’t pinpoint the cause of her migraines, but knows they’re often triggered by stress.
  • Jeffrey is looking for relief from significant overall muscle pain and a has a desire to interrupt the armoring pattern he knows he’s been carrying for a long time. He reports a history of verbal abuse from his father, reignited recently when a colleague was relentlessly critical and demanding.
  • The pain Roxanne experiences is emotional. She rates her anxiety at a 10, as high as it can get. She wants to understand why. “How can I dissolve it rather than shut it down or mask it with medications?”
  • Connie turned to Healing Touch to facilitate healing of a broken arm, but as she was about to get on the table she started to cry, saying, “I’m so sensitive. My husband died ten years ago and I’m still grieving.”

Each of us has our story. We may have different circumstances and varying ways that we experience pain, but there is one thing in common: it hurts!

Healing Touch for chronic pain

Healing Touch is a great option for treating chronic pain. It’s a holistic, energetic approach for all ages and health circumstances that encompasses physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. It complements conventional medical and psychological care and is well documented in the benefits it provides for pain relief without medication.

During a Healing Touch session, I assess my client’s energy using my hands to scan for pain ridges or pain spikes. I might also detect disruptions in the field, such as prickly congestion or a sense of emptiness. The edge of the field may feel diffuse rather than strong.

A variety of Healing Touch techniques can be used to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, and other physical ailments. Healing Touch is also a gentle, effective way to resolve emotional, mental, and spiritual pain.

Simone’s a good example of this. When she came to see me she wasn’t experiencing an active migraine, but I could feel a spike emanating three feet from the right side of her head. I administered Magnetic Passes: Hands in Motion for several minutes to gently clear the spike, followed by the Chakra Connection to balance her chakras and strengthen her field. She reported feeling calm, more centered, and grounded. I taught Simone how to do the Self Chakra Connection and encouraged her to practice it every day, citing evidence that chakra balancing can help diminish the frequency and intensity of migraines.

During Jeffrey’s session I did 30 passes of Magnetic Clearing, combing my fingers through his energy field from head to toe to clear energetic physical, emotional, and mental congestion, until the tingling I was feeling in his field subsided. It felt like peeling layers of an onion. Jeffrey said he felt lighter and the pain was greatly reduced, from an 8 to a 3. We plan to meet weekly to continue with pain relief, strengthening his energy, and releasing the trauma.

Roxanne’s sessions have focused on calming her anxiety with a variety of techniques, including Magnetic Clearing as well as Mind Clearing. She enjoys the breath work that we use at the beginning of each session and has incorporated it into her daily self-care routine. At the end of a recent session she told me, “the anxiety is now a slight whisper rather than a giant roar.” Overall, she reports that Healing Touch helps her feel more calm and centered and less reactive with her family

Connie’s grief was palpable in her energy field, especially above her heart. After administering a Pain Drain, her breathing was even and she drifted into a deep sleep.

Root causes
It’s wonderful when the intensity of pain is reduced, but the ultimate goal is to energetically address the root cause and release the stuck energy associated with the pain. This is especially true in cases of persistent stress and trauma.

Carolyn Myss, a highly regarded intuitive healer, has coined the phrase, “Your biography becomes your biology.” Our life experiences are held energetically in cellular memory. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly apparent in our practice at WholeHealth Chicago that a large percentage of fibromyalgia patients have a biographical profile that includes childhood trauma or abuse.

Healing Touch can reduce or eliminate the energetic charge associated with trauma and decrease the intensity of chronic pain. Clients report feeling “more neutral” about their troubling life experiences and better able to move forward. When I observe a client giving a deep sigh of relief during a session, it lets me know they have let go of a heavy burden they’ve been carrying for a long time.

It’s helpful to realize that the body often has messages for us. Pain can become an opportunity to consider the question, “What is my body trying to tell me?”  In Your Body Speaks Your Mind: Decoding the Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Messages That Underlie Illness, author Deb Shapiro does a wonderful job of outlining “how your thoughts and feelings directly affect your physical health” and ways in which “the body shows us what we are unconsciously ignoring, denying, or repressing.”

Working the exercises in the book and listening to the accompanying CD help bring awareness into what the pain might be trying to communicate. It’s empowering to tune in to your body, discern what you might be holding onto, and shift the feelings and energetic charge. The result? Greater insight and often sweet relief.

Many skeptics of the effects of energy therapies claim it’s merely a placebo effect (another topic for another time) or complain that the healing stories we hear are anecdotal and not based in science.  Yet, Healing Touch is nationally accredited and being practiced in hospitals and healthcare centers throughout the world. Mimi Guarneri, MD, cardiologist at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, utilizes Healing Touch as a regular part of her patients’ health plan. Says Guarneri: “It may sound anecdotal but when you see it enough times it becomes medicine.”

In fact there’s a growing body of research that supports the efficacy of energy healing, specifically measuring the effect of using Healing Touch as a potent non-pharmacological adjunct in the treatment of pain.

In one study, researchers looked at patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who were suffering from pain, limited joint function and mobility, and even depression. They found that biofield therapies like Healing Touch improved these issues without medication.

Another study revealed that participants “experienced notable quantitative shifts in physical symptoms, such as less pain and reduced medications” with Healing Touch.

At its most basic level, Healing Touch elicits the relaxation response, a term first used by Herbert Benson, MD, founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Institute. This phenomenon is known to promote a whole cascade of psychological and physiological benefits, including pain relief. Carol Komitor, one of the elders in the Healing Touch Program, created this helpful illustration of the relaxation response.

Are you looking for relief from chronic pain? What might you be carrying? Are you ready to start unpacking your backpack?

If so, please join Renee Zambo, WholeHealth Chicago’s yoga therapist, and me on May 15 and 22 for an experiential workshop entitled Self Care for Chronic Pain With Yoga Therapy and Healing Touch.

To your best self,
Katie Oberlin
Healing Touch Certified Practitioner and Shamanic Healing Practitioner



Leave a Comment

  1. Lyne says:

    Will these two day courses be online courses or at the Chicago location?

  2. Chris says:

    I have osteoarthritis in my knee and have some range of motion issues. Would this class be difficult for me to participate in the yoga portion?

  3. Debbie Morton says:

    Very informative!

  4. Renee says:

    Hi Chris,
    The yoga portion would not be too difficult at all. We will mostly practice some breath and body awareness techniques that either will be done in a chair, or can be. The light, gentle movement we perform will have many options to make sure everyone is comfortable and at ease. Thanks for this question!

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