The ancient practice of healing by the laying on of hands dates back at least to Bible times. Treating the sick and infirm was a central focal point of the ministry of Jesus Christ, and played a large part in the practices of the early Christian church.
The gospels have many stories about how Jesus healed the sick and He commanded his followers to go forth and do likewise. Although the ministry of Jesus and His commandments have continued on through the ages. His commandment to heal the sick has largely fallen by the wayside, as that responsibility has become the purpose of doctors and hospital.
Research for the past few decades has gradually demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is a strong connection between the mind and the body, and spirituality can be a powerful addition to most conventional medical treatments. And one of the most powerful one-on-one evidences of this is the laying on of hands.
Studies conducted at the Touch Research Institute in Miami, Florida, have proven that human touch is an essential component to human health in general.
Because the largest organ in the body is the skin, which contains millions of receptors whose sole function is to send messages to the brain, it naturally follows that a simple touch can quickly reduce the heart rate, lower blood pressure levels, and reduce emotional stress.
Contribution by Janet Mentgen
Janet Mentgen, a nurse, developed the Healing Touch as a complement to traditional medicine in 1989. Mentgen knew that touch could be used as a way to help the body's natural curing processes by rebalancing and redirecting the energy fields created by the receptors in a person's skin.
During this session, practitioners gently put their hands above or on a patient's fully clothed body. About 30,000 nurses in the United States use this technique to reduce anxiety or tension in medical settings. The techniques are also used to enhance the treating of wounds, relax patients, and reduce post-surgical pain, and the need for pain medication.
Contribution by Linda Smith
Linda Smith took this concept and used it as the basis for founding the Healing Touch Spiritual Ministry in the 1990s, with the purpose of reconnecting the practice to the commandments of Jesus for followers to go forth and heal people.
According to Smith, these practitioners are instruments of God, delivering the energy of the divine to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a person's being.
The word "heal" is based on an Old English word that means "to make whole." So it naturally follows that it is a process of restoring balance to the mind, soul, and body of a sick person. Even if the underlying illness isn't cured, this process can have great power in helping to alleviate symptoms.
The practice of hands-on healing is growing in churches around the world, including Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Congregational churches. The work is done by clergymen, parish nurses, hospice volunteers, chaplains, and prayer teams specifically created to offer the Healing Touch ministry.
The ministry helps to reassure people that no matter what happens during the course of their illness or disease, they are loved and cared for, and God is taking care of them. The sense of grace and blessing that it brings to troubled people offers a deep relaxation and sense of peace that nothing else in the world can bring.