Spotlight: Cynthia Hutchison
by Colleen M. Quinn
If you’ve never heard of the Healing Touch Program, chances are that you probably will in the near future. A form of energy work, Healing Touch has been gaining recognition over the years as an effective way of facilitating physical and emotional healing. It may be a doctor who will tell you about Healing Touch or may refer you to a practitioner. This is because many medical professionals are now seeing the benefits Healing Touch offers their patients. Some of them are also trying Healing Touch, or HT, themselves.
Dr. Cynthia Hutchison, RN, MSN, DNSc, HTCP/I, can tell you that it’s an incredible experience.
Cynthia speaks of her work in HT with a passion and love that only comes from someone who’s found their true calling. But it wasn’t always that way. Cynthia started as a psychiatric nurse aiding others with their own healing. After a few years however, she became disheartened.
“I felt I really wasn’t helping others, and it was disappointing that I hadn’t become the Florence Nightingale I hoped to be,” Cynthia says.
Deciding that more education would help uncover what she really needed, Cynthia received a Masters in Mental Health Nursing in 1979, and started teaching nursing herself. But it still wasn’t the missing piece she was looking for, and continued with yet more education by pursuing a doctorate in nursing.
It was during this time that she was introduced to Therapeutic Touch, the original Western form of energy work founded by Dolores Kreiger, PhD, RN, and introduced to American nurses in the early 1970s. As she studied this practice, she was eventually introduced to HT and took her first class in the program in 1992.
“That first class changed my life,” Cynthia says simply. “I finally became someone who was fulfilled by their work. My work transformed into my vocation in life.”
Through teaching HT, Cynthia has seen how and why it appeals to so many. “Cultures and places may be different, but people are the same the world over,” she says of people’s need to heal. “HT is not dogmatic … you don’t have to change any beliefs to do it. That’s why it’s so universally accepted.”
Perhaps the best part of HT is that it’s beneficial not just to the receiving person, but to the practitioner as well. Because of this, HT changed Cynthia’s life not just in how she helps others, but also for herself in physical, emotional, and spiritual ways. “Physically I’m healthier and more vital,” she says. “It’s not just knowing the techniques; I have a more grounded relationship with my body, I’m more aware of how my body is doing.” She says that HT has also helped her to achieve a more peaceful mindset, and has greatly benefitted her spiritual life.
The sense of community that Cynthia and others have found through HT is vast and supportive. As HT grows internationally, connection with other practitioners in other countries is easier. “I know such incredible people, literally all over the world!” she says, “I’m so blessed in that.”
HT is a form of energy work created over twenty years ago by Janet Mentgen, a registered nurse. Janet Mentgen developed the Healing Touch Program becasue she found that physical healing could be facilitated through a light touch that influences the body’s energy field in a positive, supportive way.
As much as the physical body needs care and attention, so does the energy body -- the energy field that penetrates through and extends from the physical body. Through the techniques developed by Janet, HT practitioners use their hands either above the body or with a light touch to positively influence this energy field.
On the outside, it may look like the practitioner is simply waving their hands over a person, but in reality they are stimulating the body’s energy. For someone receiving HT, all that is needed is calm and relaxation – their body naturally accepts the energy work. As they lie on a massage table, a client simply relaxes and closes their eyes. They may even fall asleep, which is natural and totally acceptable. It’s helpful, says Cynthia, if the person also focuses on their intent, which is what they hope to gain from the session, whether it’s physical or emotional healing.
Then with a light touch or hands above the body, the practitioner gently works over the body in the energy field, sometimes placing his or her hands gently on arms or legs, or moving hands above the body. Throughout the session, the client may enter a state of very deep relaxation, and feel extremely peaceful. Depending on the person, someone may feel a slight tingling in the limbs or an overall feeling of energy throughout their body. Relaxation is so easy that the session is over before you know it!
After a session, it’s normal to feel a number of things: energized, relaxed, or just have an overall feeling of well being. If a session addressed a certain physical ailment a person may feel some changes in the physical condition, often with reduced or eliminated pain, decreased symptoms, and a more positive outlook. In the days and weeks after a session, a person may notice a clear acceleration in the mind-body-spirit healing. Even if someone isn’t working on any physical issues, a HT session is very beneficial, as it can help emotional and mental healing as well. A person may notice a subtle but distinct positive change in one’s emotions.
“HT appeals to so many people because it’s well established, especially in modern health care,” says Cynthia. There’s a growing research base that is fifteen years old, and the Healing Touch Program has the endorsement of the American Holistic Nurses Association, making it one of about ten programs the association has endorsed, according to the Healing Touch Program’s website. Just as other medical professionals do, HT practitioners adhere to a strict code of ethics and scope of practice.
In 1995, Cynthia created the first program for HT research. According to Cynthia, it was hard initially to battle the skepticism many mainstream doctors had for HT. But fortunately that is becoming an attitude of the past. “Now many hospitals are embracing it,” she says, adding that some institutions are working to make HT a regular part of patients’ treatments. In fact, some hospitals now hire practitioners specifically to administer HT. More information can be found at www.healingtouchprogram.com.
The Healing Touch Program is an internationally standardized program, adhering to Janet’s original curriculum. The beauty of this, says Cynthia, is that it makes it easier for students to take classes when and where they can – no matter where a Healing Touch Program class is offered, the material and methods will be consistent. HT classes are now offered in all 50 states in the U.S., as well as being available in 30 countries.Through both researchand personal accounts, HT is beneficial to patients of all types, including surgery patients. The body undergoes a great amount of stress from surgery and anesthesia, and as any surgery patient can tell you, the recovery can be long and painful.
“If a person receives HT before surgery, and is therefore more calm, the body is more receptive (to the procedure)”, says Cynthia. “It truly sets the stage for everything to go very well.” Patients who’ve received HT before and after a surgical procedure tend to recover much faster and usually with less pain. Cynthia has also administered HT during surgical procedures, which is becoming a more widespread practice.
Furthermore, it’s simply nice receiving a caring touch when you’ve experienced an illness or surgery. “A light, loving touch just feels good!” says Cynthia, and that good feeling can go a long way as well. Even if a person’s physical issue remains, HT promotes feelings of peace or being more capable of strength through the process, Cynthia says that it’s already made a world of difference. “It’s very healing when someone holds a sacred space for you like that.”
Janet’s goal with HT is teaching this energy work to as many people as possible, so that in the future, there would be “a pair of healing hands in every household.”
“It’s becoming a reality,” Cynthia says. Healing Touch is certainly on its way, and a healing reality for a great many people already.
About Colleen Quinn
Colleen Quinn graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication. A writer for most of her life, she has been writing for Whisperingtree.net for over two years. In that time, she’s had the opportunity to meet with many practitioners and masters of the healing arts. Using her years of customer service experience and time as an intern reporter, Colleen provides a unique means of expression for each practitioner she meets. She believes that honest interest and open ears are paramount for learning and understanding the world around us. Through her writing, Colleen offers readers a valuable insight into the work of those who are doing so much to help others.
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