Monday, April 12, 2010


Healing is not always high tech

What does it mean to heal? Webster’s Dictionary lists the primary definition of “healing” as “to make or become healthy, sound or whole.” This describes perfectly the therapeutic potential for a patient experiencing a Healing Touch session.

Healing Touch is an energy medicine in which the practitioner uses light or near-body touch to clear, balance and energize the human energy system in an effort to promote healing for the mind, body and/or spirit.

Healing Touch works with the body’s energies to support the natural ability to heal. In this time of high-tech medicine, it is used to complement traditional treatments by providing the patient with a time to relax, re-focus and resolve any feelings of anxiety and fear that often accompany a hospital visit. Amid the machines, tests and pills, a gentle, loving touch can be the ideal experience to help restore the balance of mind, body and spirit.

Although they are often thought of as synonymous, healing is not the same as curing. Healing is about being in balance and may sometimes refer to the acceptance of difficult life events, repairing relationships or releasing old wounds. Curing is the absence of disease and symptoms.

It is possible for a person to be cured but not healed, healed but not cured. Experiencing Healing Touch can help both patients and family members release stress and find acceptance during difficult times.

Patients, family members, nurses or physicians can request that I give sessions to hospitalized patients by calling me at 860-889-8331 or by calling our Center for Healthcare Integration at 860-889-8331, ext. 2483. I also teach classes for people who want to learn the technique.

As a registered nurse and a Healing Touch practitioner, I am truly humbled when I am asked to give a healing session. Healing Touch is like an intimate dance between the “healer” and the “healee” — from the first light touch given by the Healer a connection is formed. As the session continues the Healer works from the heart to follow founder Janet Mentgen’s vision of doing “whatever is for the client’s highest and best good.”

Healing Touch is performed with a passionate desire to bring peace and tranquility to the mind and spirit — and physical comfort to the body.

I frequently see patients who are visibly frightened, and can see and feel their energy change during a session. Often a healing session provides the only time of true rest and relaxation for long-term patients, and the changes that occur in their physical and emotional demeanors tell me that they had a necessary and gratifying experience.

When I am able to use Healing Touch to assist someone in releasing their pain and reach a calm, peaceful state, the gifts of energy balance are received by both the patient and myself.

Healing Touch has many beneficial outcomes for patients, family members and even healers. It helps us strive, in an uncomplicated way, for our own healing. It helps us find balance in our lives and to truly embrace all the ways in which we define what it means to heal.

Paula Novak, a registered nurse and certified Healing Touch practitioner, is the Clinical Coordinator for Healing Touch and Integrative Care at The William. W. Backus Hospital. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your physician. E-mail Ms. Novak or any of the Healthy Living columnists at To comment on this or other Healthy Living columns, click below or go to the Healthy Living blog at

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