By Wendy Risdon

In 2008 I began using “Healing Touch” as part of my nursing role at the Canterbury University to assist young people experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Funding for this initiative came through the University Health Centre and depended on a person’s health classification or medical diagnosis and their age.

Of recent times Practices have been provided this funding to use as they see fit and it has now expanded to cover enrolled patients of any age who have mental health problems and who have been referred by a doctor, nurse or counsellor.

Healing Touch sessions are approximately one hour long and are individualised to each client. By creating a safe nurturing environment for the patient to rest and relax, along with calming music and relaxing aromas, the body’s relaxation response is activated. Guided imagery and connecting with the breath are techniques I often utilise with the overall goal of promoting relaxation leading to improved wellbeing. The techniques that seem to have had the most effect are Noel’s Mind Clearing and Chakra Connection/Energising.

Feedback from these Healing Touch sessions has been very positive and over the last nine years there has been an increased uptake among young males, possibly due to the fact that they have been given an option to choose something that is non-pharmaceutical or maybe because of the feedback that has been given to the doctors from other patients who have found it beneficial.