Stress has already turned into epidemic that threatens physical and psychological stability of all population layers. Numerous health promotion programs have been designed to prevent and cope with the consequences of stress.

Traditional medical approaches have been used where western medicine was unable to address stress. Therapeutic touch is only one of numerous alternative medical solutions that may help promote healthy existence without stress.World Health Organization defines traditional medicine as “health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being” (WHO, 2008).Traditional medicine is mostly used in the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America: in these geographical locations, traditional medicine replaces the lack of professional primary health care and counts for 80% of the overall medical support (WHO, 2008).Industrialized countries use a different term for describing traditional medicine: the word “alternative” demotes the meaning and applications of traditional medicine in western world.Although traditional medicine was always applied with caution, scientific research has proved the usefulness and safety of the majority of complementary medical approaches.

“Scientific evidence from randomized clinical trials is only strong for many uses of acupuncture, some herbal medicines and for some of the manual therapies” (WHO, 2008).More than 25% of modern medical preparations are made of “traditional” recipes and plants; traditional medicine may soon turn into a separate area of health promotion, especially in the areas where western medicine approaches were useless. Traditional medicine may soon be generally applied to problematic areas of health promotion, with stress being the most difficult and the most threatening medical problem in modern health environment.“The healing power of touch has been a resonant idea in the human mind into the annals of recorded history” (Mathuna & Ashford, 2003).

Therapeutic touch is used to “remove the irregularities of the energy field that cause disease” (Mathuna & Ashford, 2003).The problem is not in that therapeutic touch belongs to the so-called “traditional medicine”; the problem is in that we usually operate anecdotal evidence about possible dangers and benefits that traditional medical approaches represent for human health. Therapeutic touch is not an exception. In 1998, Rosa, Rosa & Sarner published a thorough research of therapeutic touch, its benefits for the human organism, and its relevance to stress management.

The researchers were trying to distinguish whether therapeutic touch manipulated human energy field to address stress issues. “Twenty-one practitioners with TT experience for from 1 to 27 years were tested under blinded conditions to determine whether they could correctly identify which of their hands was closest to the investigator’s hand” (Rosa, Rosa & Sarner, 1998).The simple test has revealed that the use of therapeutic touch in stress management was groundless and unjustified: the majority of the practitioners have failed to identify investigator’s hand. Furthermore, the researchers have discovered TT practitioners’ reluctance to be tested by those who do not support the use of TT in medicine.In 2003, Mathuna and Ashford (2003) were investigating the effect of TT on healing wounds. Although the effect of TT on healing varied, the authors found “no evidence that TT promotes healing of acute wounds” (Mathuna & Ashford, 2003).

The researchers have not identified any possible threats of complications as a result of using therapeutic touch in stress management, but the results of their studies imply that therapeutic touch can hardly be beneficial to treating complex stress problems.            ConclusionIn many instances, traditional medicine successfully replaces western medical approaches. The case is different with therapeutic touch. Scientific researches have not confirmed effectiveness of therapeutic touch in dealing with stress. Therapeutic touch remains the instrument of traditional medicine rooted in mysticism and lacking scientific grounds when applied to stress or any other type of health issue.