The therapeutic power of touch is an amazing thing. Weather it be a hug from your mom, a shoulder squeeze from a friend or an adjustment from a Chiropractor (Thanks Kristin). Touch can be a really powerful therapeutic tool. In school we learn the physiology, anatomy and mechanics of why touch works but why does touch from a hand with no formal education have a positive effect? I think it's all about the intent of the touch and the acceptance of that intent by the person being treated. If as a therapist you approach the patient with the intent to be present in the moment for them, to relieve some of their stress and to act as a "master fulcrum" (for my osteo friends) then the treatment is more likely to be successful. The other side of a therapeutic touch is the person receiving it. If your patient is open, accepting and trusting of that therapeutic touch then this is therapy in its purest form.
Today I had the opportunity to give an Osteopathic treatment to a young sprinter. She is a 400-meter runner and three weeks ago she injured her hip. She could not recall a specific incident but she explained that she had feelings of discomfort when flexing her left hip that were made worse with powerful push off when sprinting. I assessed her and realized that her iliac (hip) bone was stuck posterior on her left side. I had the opportunity to do a muscle energy technique, some soft tissue work on her low back and an adjustment of her iliac bone. When I reassessed, it had worked. I love it when it works! Her hips were moving evenly and she said she was pain free :) Days like these make me smile. They really solidify my love of what I do and push me to keep working hard to learn more.
I have been to a number of educational workshops and courses and have interacted with a wide variety of therapists throughout my career. I have realized that there isn't ONE magic therapy that is better then all the rest. There is tremendous value to many different forms of therapy. I think what differentiates a good therapist from a great therapist is their approach to what they do. A great friend once said to me "It isn't about the method, it's the message". Thanks Petti-balls!
The best practitioners that I know recognize themselves as both a student and a teacher, they are humble and recognize that they don't fix people they assist people to heal themselves. When they work with patients their intent is focused and their hands are specific to the needs of that person. Their message is "I'm here for you".