Healing: A Core Foundation of Healing Touch
The root/origin of the word “heal” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word, “haelen” which means to be or to become whole. Nurse theorist and researcher Janet F. Quinn PhD, RN, FAAN defines “healing” as the emergence of right relationship at one or more levels of the body-mind-spirit system. Quinn, J. “Healing: A Model for an Integrative Health Care System,” Advanced Practice Nursing Quarterly 3, no. 1 (1997): 1-7.
The Science and Art of Healing
Patricia Donahue PhD, RN notes in her beautiful book, “Nursing, the Finest Art: An Illustrated History”, that her profession has long been defined as both an art and a science, with the primary emphasis, however, on the scientific aspects with little consideration given to its state as an art. She notes that nursing is a fine art… and according to Florence Nightingale, it is “the finest of arts”… not merely a technique but a process that incorporates the elements of soul, mind, and imagination. Its very essence lies in the creative imagination, the sensitive spirit, and the intelligent understanding that provide the very foundation for effective nursing care.”
Those of us practicing complementary therapies, especially energy or biofield therapies such as Healing Touch, have been necessarily required to scientifically validate our work with evidence-based practice, even as we know that our work is more resembling a collaborative dance between practitioner and patient/client, between body, mind, emotion, soul and spirit.
The Healing Arts and Patient-Centered Care
Traditional “healing arts” include creative practices that foster and support healing, wellness, resiliency, and personal transformation. They may include creative practices such as writing prose or poetry, dancing, painting, singing, playing an instrument, and dramatic acting. For purposes of patient-centered care, these practices are facilitated by trained therapists, combining creative expression and psychological awareness.
An expanded description of the “healing arts” includes many of our “complementary” or “integrative” therapies, and are focused not only upon the science, but upon the art of care, compassion, fostering wholeness, and service…recognizing the individual in their entirety, and the greater environment within which they reside. These healing arts include, but are not limited to (meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, yoga, tai chi, and hypnosis); manual/manipulative therapies (massage, chiropractic, reflexology) energy/biofield therapies (Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, Qi Gong); and whole medical systems (Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Indigenous Healing Traditions). These therapies and systems work from a humanistic perspective, acknowledging the important role of beliefs, emotions, social connections, stress, spirituality, cultural foundations, the greater community and society, and interdependence to the greater whole.
Studies indicate that healing arts and integrative therapies can fill gaps in treatment effectiveness, particularly for patients with complex, chronic health conditions and those seeking health promotion and disease prevention.
We invite you to submit your proposal(s) for conference presentations as a workshop presenter and share your expertise to strengthen, support,and inspire the healing arts community.