• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

**healing By Touch**


Well-Known TRIBEr
I merely wanted to point out that if an intelligent, highly educated, rational person such as my mother fell for bullshit (after some time, of course), I have no doubt that the average person does it much quickerl, since most people don't have a decade of science education to use to rationally decide what works and what doesn't.

Other than that, I have nothing more to say on the matter.
Cannabis Seed Wedding Bands


Well-Known TRIBEr
I just remembered something about strokes and brain injuries: There are people with these that insist that they can move the paralyzed side of their bodies (and they tell everyone that they actually are moving), there are patients with amputated limbs who insist that they still have their limbs, and there are patients that insist they are reading a book when they really aren't...

Miracles? No, just brain damage.


TRIBE Member
there is a plethora of literature that supports the validity of Theraputic Touch as a treatment for anxiety, decreasing stress, evokes the relaxation response, decreases pain, and promotes wound healing in acute, experimentally induced wounds.

for your reading pleasure:

Heidt P. Effect of therapeutic touch on the anxiety level of hospitalized patients. Nurs Res. 1981;30(1):32-37.

Turner J, Clark A, Gauthier D, Williams M. The effect of therapeutic touch on pain and anxiety in bum patients. JAdv Nurs. 1998;28(1):1020.

Kramer, N. Comparison of therapeutic touch and casual touch in stress reduction of hospitalized children. Pediatr Nurs. 1990; 16(5):483-485.

Krieger D, Peper E, Ancoli S. Therapeutic touch: searching for evidence of physiological change. Am J Nurs. 1979;79:660-662.

Gordon A, Merenstein J, D'Amico F, Hudgens D. The effects of therapeutic touch on patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. J Fam Pract. 1998;47(4):271-277.

Wirth D, Richardson J, Eidelman W, O'Malley A. Full thickness dermal wounds treated with non-contact therapeutic touch: a replication and extension. Complement Ther Med. 1993; 1:127-132.


Well-Known TRIBEr
J Nurs Scholarsh. 2000; 32(3): 279-85.

Evidence-based practice and reviews of therapeutic touch.

O'Mathuna DP.

PURPOSE: To present principles for accurately representing research for evidence-based practice and health care policies, and to evaluate how original research results indicated adherence to those principles in literature reviews of therapeutic touch.

ORGANIZING CONSTRUCTS: Critical thinking and scientific integrity.

SOURCES: Reviews of therapeutic touch literature published in nursing journals between 1994 and 1998 and the research studies cited in those reviews. METHODS: Statements made in reviews about the efficacy of therapeutic touch were compared with the results and conclusions of the research cited. General conclusions reported in reviews were evaluated against a broad range of therapeutic touch (TT) research studies, including many not cited in reviews. How accurately reviewers represented the research studies was evaluated by comparing reviewers' conclusions with those of the researchers. Findings were organized into principles to guide evidence-based reviews.

FINDINGS: Literature reviews about therapeutic touch often cited only research with favorable findings. When citing studies with contradictory findings, only the favorable findings were usually mentioned. In many reviews, research cited as indicating the efficacy of therapeutic touch indicated it was ineffective. Every review examined had at least one significant mistake concerning how research studies were represented. CONCLUSIONS: Accurate presentation of original research results is needed to make evidence-based decisions and to ensure that limited healthcare resources are used effectively and safely. Evidence-based principles should be followed in reviewing therapies and practices, including alternative therapies.
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


TRIBE Member
^^^ Halleluhia!

I recently read a book you might enjoy.

Robert Park's:

Voodoo Science: the road from foolishness to fraud

It covers everything from the Cold Fusion fiasco, to Homeopathy, to cancer from hydro lines. Up your alley, I think.


Well-Known TRIBEr
Sounds good, but I'll probably just go skim it at Chapters.

Too many things I read are basically preaching to the choir... perhaps some of the other people in this thread should have a long hard look at it though...


TRIBE Promoter
postMOD/gasper...do you actually know what that critical review is stating? If you're thinking that it's definitve evidence against alternative therapies, I suggest you look at it again.


TRIBE Member
It's as challenging to prove that something doesn't work as it is to prove it's validity.

In my mind, I need to be convinced that it stands the test of scientific trials. Simply relying on evidence such as "this therapy has been used for 2000 years" or "it works because I feel better" doesn't cut it for me.


Ever heard of Emily Rosa? At the age of 11, she was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It was her 4th grade science fair project that led to the article.

She designed a simple experiment that demonstrated "touch therapists" inability to detect someone's "energy field". They scored a lower than chance success rate in even being able to detect the presence of a patient. If one thinks that a touch therapist can reshape someone's energy field without even being able to detect it, one must be extremely naive, IMO.
Last edited:
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


TRIBE Member
From http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/tt.html

In 1996, the James Randi Educational Foundation offered $742,000 to anyone who could demonstrate an ability to detect a "human energy field" under conditions similar to those of our study. Although more than 80,000 American practitioners claim to have such ability, only one person attempted to demonstrate it. She failed, and the offer, now at $1 million, has no further takers despite extensive recruiting efforts, including a direct appeal to Dr. Krieger.

million dollar prize


TRIBE Promoter
Oh, I'm huge on evidence based practice. I worked for the department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at McMaster Hospital for years at the Health Information Research Unit reviewing meta analyses and critical reviews for the Cochrane Library - a huge international database for evidence-based health care.

I'm just concerned that people misread statistics.

For me to use a therapy or provide treatment or recommend a therapy, I really have to have concrete proof as well.

I couldn't ethically say "Yes, go to a Reiki practitioner."

I can ethically say "I have several client who use Reiki as part of their therapy...but you would be best to investigate it yourself and make up your own mind."

judge wopner

TRIBE Member
good points sen,

i guess we are beating a dead horse at this point,
essentially some people feel that any medical modality must satisfy science first, and the healing of a patient second.

this is unfortunate, as there are many diseases that mystify scientists and doctors around the world. these diseases act in ways that science cannot predict or adequately explain, preventing the creation of a possible cure.

many many people die every day or suffer unduly becuase doctors cannot figure out waht is wrong them.

perhaps science will develop enough to understand cancer one day to cure it, and perhaps it will develop enough one day to grasp many alternative medicines to understand how they work and dont work.

if disease doesnt have to confiom to rational scientific principles to kill, why should our treatments if they heal?


TRIBE Promoter
Because I work in the insurance industry, approved (an mostly evidence-based practice) is all that will be paid for. However, in dealing with people who have had pain define their lives for decades, they are - at that point - willing to try anything.

However, consider this.

Who here has hear of using nitroglycerine to treat heart ailments?

Probably everyone. It's a defacto industry standard that's been used for 100 years.

However, until 2002, no one knew how it worked...just that it did decrease chest pain, but increased headaches...Even now, we're still not exactly sure why or how it works.

Sometimes science needs to catch up to the treatment.

I'm not a proponent of "quackery" or of fleecing already desperate people with snake oil "cures" or of any practicioner who has a ready answer purporting to be able to cure absolutely anything, affect your DNA, etc. etc. And I'm definitely wary of people completely stopping something that has proven beneficial effects in lieu of something less proven (e.g. stopping chemo to do qi gong) but in the end, if the consumer is informed and they make an informed decision...

What i am a proponent of is a) keeping an open mind b) facilitating HOPE in patients.

False hope, however, is a dangerous thing.

I prefer the term adjunct or complementary therapies as I do think that using these therapies in combination with Western medicine is likely the best way - an integrated approach to health care. Holistic in reality, not just in name.
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


TRIBE Promoter
Originally posted by DeepSix
I couldn't ethically say "Yes, go to a Reiki practitioner."

I can ethically say "I have several client who use Reiki as part of their therapy...but you would be best to investigate it yourself and make up your own mind."

haha self-quote!

i've never done that before.

I should also state that I would also say the same thing about chemo, radical mastectomies, spinal fusion, etc. etc.

Any major life decision should be that of the informed client, not of the practitioner. A person needs to know the pros and cons of any treatment before they make any decision.


TRIBE Member
Hey Polish

Has your mother tried Biotape?
Check it out. I've never tried it but it looks very interesting and possibly a cure for pain.
Its talked about on a talk show late at night sometimes on city tv.




TRIBE Member
no we havent heard of this..
i may try to read up on it..thanks

p.s: This doctor that is helping my mom is heading over to Poland soon to try to help the POPE. So i dont think that he is some type of Quack.


TRIBE Member
ahhhhhh tribe, how i have missed your closed-minded, misinformed jibbajabba.

therapeutic touch has been around for thousands of years, practiced in a wide variety of cultures and used for an incredibly wide range of purposes in many forms. why? because it works.

regardless of how it works, whether it does actually cause the body to change on a cellular level to affect the body's homeostatic state (which i do believe it does, and which evidence supports), or "otherwise" (meaning simply psychological/mental/emotional in that placebo way some of you are convinced of, regardless of your research on the topic)... therapeutic touch has and can be scientifically demonstrated to have significant effects on the body - primarily enducing the relaxation effect (ie. decrease sympathetic nervous system firing) as well as promoting sleep, reducing anxiety/stress, increasing lymphatic flow and wbc production, etc....

IN TURN... this places the body in a better state to be able to deal with whatever the affliction is. The treatment is not necessairly -directly- targeting the problem but can have an amazing impact on the body's ability to heal itself and return to proper homeostatic balance.

Unfortunately, people true to the western style of therapy consider a pill or surgery to be the only real treatment options and would never consider something like this an option. Because healing therapies like massage therapy, reiki, shiatsu, therapeutic touch, etc... can't be validated or measured in the same way most western medicine can, it's ignored and considered bollocks. fortuntately more and more people are discovering the benefits and more $$ is being placed into research, and more and more people are being treated with these therapies.

say what you want but this sort of thing has been around for a LONG time, and as long as it's still working for people, i'd say it's a MUCH better option to more pills and surgeries.

tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


Well-Known TRIBEr

Spontaneous Remission and the Placebo Effect

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

When someone feels better after using a product or procedure, it is natural to credit whatever was done. However, this is unwise. Most ailments are self-limiting, and even incurable conditions can have sufficient day-to-day variation to enable quack methods to gain large followings. Taking action often produces temporary relief of symptoms (a placebo effect). In addition, many products and services exert physical or psychologic effects that users misinterpret as evidence that their problem is being cured. These "Dr. Feelgood" modalities include pharmacologically active herbal products, quack formulas adulterated with prescription drugs, colonic irrigations (which some people enjoy), bodywork, and meditation. Scientific experimentation is almost always necessary to establish whether health methods are really effective. Thus it is extremely important for consumers to understand the concepts of spontaneous remission and the placebo effect.

Spontaneous Remission

Recovery from illness, whether it follows self-medication, treatment by a scientific practitioner, or treatment by an unscientific practitioner, may lead individuals to conclude that the treatment received was the cause of the return to good health. As noted by Medical historian James Harvey Young, Ph.D.:

John Doe does not usually realize that most ailments are self-limiting and improve with time regardless of treatment. When a symptom goes away after he doses himself with a remedy, he is likely to credit the remedy with curing him. He does not realize that he would have gotten better just as quickly if he had done nothing! Thousands of well-meaning John and Jane Does have boosted the fame of folk remedies and have signed sincere testimonials for patent medicines, crediting them instead of the body's recuperative power for a return to well-being. . . .

The unscientific healer does not need to observe the restraints of reputable medicine. Where true medical science is complex, the quack can oversimplify. . . . Where ailments are self-limiting, the quack makes nature his secret ally [1].

It is commonly said that if you treat a cold it will disappear in a week, but if you leave it alone it will last for seven days. Even many serious diseases have ups and downs. Rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis are prime examples. On rare occasions, even cancer can inexplicably disappear (although most testimonials for quack cancer remedies are based on faulty original diagnosis or simultaneous administration of effective treatment).

Quackery's victims are not the only ones who can be fooled by the placebo effect, spontaneous remissions, and other coincidental events. The gratitude and adulation of people who think they have been helped can even persuade charlatans that their methods are effective!

The Placebo Effect

The power of suggestion has been demonstrated by many investigators in a variety of settings. In a classroom, for example, a professor sprayed plain water about the room and asked the students to raise their hands as soon as they detected an odor. Seventy-three percent managed to smell a nonexistent odor.

Persons with a dominant or persuasive personality often have considerable impact on others through their ability to create confidence, which enhances suggestibility. Many individuals who are taken in by a charlatan later tell their doctors, "But he talked to me; he explained things; he was so nice."

Individuals who are psychologically susceptible to suggestion often feel better under the influence of counseling or reassurance. Several years ago, an airline flight attendant told me, "I take a multivitamin pill that Consumer Reports says is useless. But I don't care. It makes me happy."

Gullibility and wishful thinking are common human characteristics. People are willing to believe in untrue things in varying ways and to varying degrees. Even scientifically sophisticated people may respond to the power of suggestion.

In medicine the effect of suggestion is referred to as the "placebo effect." The Latin word placebo means "I shall please." A placebo effect is a beneficial response to a substance, device, or procedure that cannot be accounted for on the basis of pharmacologic or other direct physical action. Feeling better when the physician walks into the room is a common example.

A placebo may be used in medicine to satisfy a patient that something is being done. By lessening anxiety, placebo action may alleviate symptoms caused by the body's reaction to tension (psychosomatic symptoms). In certain circumstances, a lactose tablet (sugar pill) may relieve not only anxiety but also pain, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. The patient expects the "medication" to cause improvement, and sometimes it does.

Many studies suggest that placebos can relieve a broad range of symptoms. In many disorders, one third or more of patients will get relief from a placebo. Temporary relief has been demonstrated, for example, in arthritis, hay fever, headache, cough, high blood pressure, premenstrual tension, peptic ulcer, and even cancer. The psychologic aspects of many disorders also work to the healer's advantage. A large percentage of symptoms either have a psychologic component or do not arise from organic disease. Hence, treatment offering some lessening of tension can often help. A sympathetic ear or reassurance that no serious disease is involved may prove therapeutic by itself. Psychologist Barry Beyerstein, Ph.D., has observed:

Pain is partly a sensation . . . and partly an emotion. . . . Anything that can allay anxiety, redirect attention, reduce arousal, foster a sense of control, or lead to . . . reinterpretation of symptoms can alleviate the agony component of pain. Modern pain clinics put these strategies to use every day. Successful quacks and faith healers typically have charismatic personalities that make them adept at influencing these psychological variables that can modulate pain. . . . But we must be careful that purely symptomatic relief does not divert people from proven remedies until it is too late for them to be effective [2].

Confidence in the treatment -- on the part of the patient and the practitioner -- makes it more likely that a placebo effect will occur. But the power of suggestion may cause even a nonbeliever to respond favorably. The only requirement for a placebo effect is the awareness that something has been done. It is not possible to predict accurately or easily a particular patient's reaction to a placebo at a particular moment. However, the psychologic predisposition to respond positively to placebos is present to some extent in most people. Some are very likely to obtain relief from placebos in a wide variety of situations, whereas others are very unlikely to do so. Most people's response lies somewhere inbetween.

Another factor that can mislead people is selective affirmation -- a tendency to look for positive responses when improvement is expected. As former National Council Aghainst Health Fraud president William T. Jarvis, Ph.D., has noted:

A culturally significant setting can also produce a potent effect, as folk healers know well. Effective settings can be as divergent as the trappings of an oriental herb shop to Asians, a circle of witchcraft paraphernalia to a primitive tribesman, or the atmosphere of a modern clinic to a modern urban American. Social expectations can also play a role, as occurs in stoic cultures where people are taught to endure pain and suffering without complaining. . . .

Operant conditioning can occur . . . when behavior is rewarded. . . . Thus, people with a history of favorable responses to treatment are more apt to react well to the act of treatment [3].

Moreover, says Dr. Jarvis:

People suffering from chronic symptoms are often depressed, and depression often produces symptoms that the patient attributes to the underlying disease. If the quack's promises make the patient feel hopeful, the depressive symptoms may resolve, leading the patient to conclude -- at least temporarily -- that the quack's approach has been effective against the disease [4].

Responses to the treatment setting can also be negative ("nocebo effects"). In one experiment, for example, some subjects who were warned of possible side effects of a drug were given injections of a placebo instead. Many of them reported dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and even mental depression. A recent review of 109 double-blind drug trials found that the overall incidence of adverse events in healthy volunteers during placebo administration was 19% [5].

Placebo responses, such as feeling less pain or more energy, do not affect the actual course of the disease. Thus placebo responses can obscure real disease, which can lead to delay in obtaining appropriate diagnosis or treatment.

The placebo effect is not limited to drugs but may also result from procedures [6]. Devices and physical techniques often have a significant psychologic impact. Chiropractors, naturopaths, and various other nonmedical practitioners use heat, light, diathermy, hydrotherapy, manipulation, massage, and a variety of gadgets. In addition to any physiologic effects, their use can exert a psychologic force that may be reinforced by the relationship between the patient and the practitioner. Of course, devices and procedures used by scientific practitioners can also have placebo effects.

Ethical Considerations

Doctors are confronted by many people who complain of tiredness or a variety of vague symptoms that are reactions to nervous tension. Far too often, instead of finding out what is bothering them, doctors tell them to take a tonic, a vitamin, or some other type of placebo.

A recent study has challenged the widely held view that the placebo effect is a major factor in the outcome of clinical trials. Most placebo-controlled trials compare the active treatment with a placebo, not with no treatment. This design cannot distinguish an effect of placebo from the natural course of the disease, regression to the mean (the tendency for random increases or decreases to be followed by observations closer to the average), or the effects of other factors. After analyzing 114 randomized trials that had a "no-treatment" group in addition to active treatment and placebo groups, the authors concluded:

  • Placebos appeared to produce modest benefit in studies of pain and in other studies where the outcome being measured was similarly subjective.
  • Some of the reported benefit may be the result of placebos may be the result of patients wishing to please their doctors.
  • There is no justifiable placebo use outside of clinical trials [7].

An accompanying editorial stated that placebo use should be sharply reduced but may still be justified in carefully selected situations where pain relief is needed [8]. The study also casts doubt on the widely promoted notion that "alternative methods" may work by stimulating a placebo effect

Quacks who rely on the placebo effect pretend that (a) they know what they are doing, (b) they can tell what is wrong with you, and (c) their treatment is effective for just about everything. Many of their patients play the equivalent of Russian roulette. Medical doctors who use vitamins as placebos may not be as dangerous, but they encourage people to habitually use products they don't need. Because most people who use placebos do not get relief from them, their use is also a financial rip-off.

1. Young JH. Why quackery persists. In Barrett S, Jarvis WT, editors. The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America. Amherst, N.Y., 1993, Prometheus Books.
2. Beyerstein BL. Testing claims of therapeutic efficacy. Rational Enquirer 7(4):1-2, 8, 1995.
3. Jarvis WT. Arthritis: Folk remedies and quackery. Nutrition Forum 7:1-3, 1990.
4. Jarvis WT. Personal communication to Dr. Stephen Barrett, Dec 18, 2001.
5. Rosensweig P and others. The placebo effect in healthy volunteers: Influence of experimental conditions on the adverse events profile during phase I studies. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 54:578-583, 1993.
6. Turner JA and others. The importance of placebo effects in pain treatment and research. JAMA 271:1609-1614, 1994.
7. Hrobjartsson A, Gotzsche PC. Is the placebo powerless? An analysis of clinical trials comparing placebo with no treatment. NEJM 344:1594-1602, 2001.
8. Bailar JC III. The powerful placebo and the Wizard of Oz. NEJM 344:1630-1632, 2001.