Debbie Nicholson

Healing touch and hypnotherapy found to provide significant clinical reduction in symptoms

Just last year the Department of Defense had designated several billion dollars and the U.S. Army four million dollars for grants to be used for research into alternative medicine to treat and heal conditions of veterans. Those conditions had included PTSD. It appears that the monies dedicated for research may have been a good move on the part of the DOD as new research reveals that healing touch and hypnotherapy technique of guided imagery provides significant clinical reductions in PTSD symptoms in Marines who were combat –exposed active military duty.

View slideshow: CAM and the VA

This new study funded by a grant from The Taylor Family Foundation and conducted by researchers at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego, California.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is still significant problem in returning military and warrants swift and effective treatment according to the abstract.

Researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial of returning active-duty Marines at Camp Pendleton from July 2008 and August 2010. A total of 123 participants were divided at random in two separate groups; one group received TAU (treatment as usual) for PTSD and the second group TAU as well as healing touch (HT), a practitioner based treatment that works with the participants energy field to support natural healing ability and guided imagery program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state.

After six sessions within a three week period those in the healing touch/guided imagery group reported remarked improvement in PTSD symptoms as a result of these combined therapies.

Dr. Mimi Guarneri , MD, and Rauni King, RN,BSN, MIH , founders of Scripps Center of Integrative Medicine, principal investigators and designers of this study.

Dr. Guarneri stated “Scores for PTSD symptoms decreased substantially, about 14 points and below the clinical cutoffs for PTSD.” “This indicates that the intervention was not just statistically significant, but actually decreased symptoms below the threshold for PTSD diagnosis. It made a large difference in reducing PTSD symptoms.”

Dr. Wayne Jonas, resident and Chief Executive Officer of the Samueli Institute as well as a Professor of Family Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Family Medicine, states Service members are seeking out non-drug complementary and integrative medicine as part of their overall care and approach to wellness.”

“This treatment pairs deep relaxation with a self-care approach that can be used at home .The results of this study underscore the need to make effective, non-stigmatizing treatments for PTSD available to all our service members.”

This study appears in the September issue of Military Medicine.

Healing Touch and Guided Imagery

Healing touch is an energy-based, non-invasive treatment that restores and balances the human biofield to help decrease pain and promote healing. Healing touch is often used as an adjunct to surgery and other medical procedures to assist in pain reduction, decrease anxiety and elicit relaxation.

Guided imagery is a way of using the imagination to help a person, reduce stress, decrease pain and enhance overall well-being through visualization. For the purposes of this study, guided imagery was administered to the subjects through a recorded CD simultaneously with Healing Touch and then listed to independently by subjects at least once daily.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was the subject of the meeting held May 17, 2011 in Washington DC. In a survey presented at the meeting had revealed that 89% of VA facilities offer CAM therapies.

Today a high percentage of soldiers, retirees and dependents are now using complementary and alternative medicine.

, Congress has passed, and the President has signed into law, legislation establishing a permanent chiropractic care benefit for both active duty military personnel and veterans.

Eighteen veterans will commit suicide every day—a horrific consequence of post-traumatic stress (PTS). In fact, more veterans die by suicide every year than are killed annually in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Over 500,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 suffer from PTS
  • 40% of all homeless people are veterans
  • Health care costs for all veterans with PTS are an estimated $6.2 billion biannually