Therapeutic touch (commonly shortened to “TT”), known by some as “non-contact therapeutic touch” (NCTT), is a pseudoscientific energy therapy which practitioners claim promotes healing and reduces pain and anxiety. “Therapeutic Touch” is a registered trademark in Canada for the “[s]tructured and standardized healing practice performed by practitioners trained to be sensitive to the receiver’s energy field that surrounds the body;…no touching is required.”
Practitioners of therapeutic touch state that by placing their hands on, or near, a patient, they are able to detect and manipulate what they say is the patient’s energy field. One highly cited study, designed by the then-nine-year-old Emily Rosa and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1998, found that practitioners of therapeutic touch could not detect the presence or absence of a hand placed a few inches above theirs when their vision was obstructed. Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst concluded in their 2008 book Trick or Treatment that “the energy field was probably nothing more than a figment in the imaginations of the healers”.The American Cancer Society has noted, “Available scientific evidence does not support any claims that TT can cure cancer or other diseases.” A 2014 Cochrane review found no good evidence that it helped with wound healing.