Friday, January 6, 2017

Introducing Touch for Health

This blog posting is a departure for me – not a client story,
but sharing information about a wellness technique that every home
should have on hand – right alongside the alcohol wipes and bandages!
And there's a course coming up where you can learn all about it:
Touch For Health, Level One
February 4-5, 2017
Details below! 

What if I told you that there was a simple technique that you could use to greatly diminish or even resolve many aches and pains?

What if it was easy to use and can take just minutes? And anyone could learn it?

Well, there is! It’s called Touch for Health


• Your child has a headache. A few quick muscle checks indicate which regions along the spine to rub, then spots on the head to gently hold. Soon her headache is completely gone. 
• Your spouse has finished a construction project, and has some aches and pains to show for it. A few muscle checks indicate which areas of the body to deeply massage (surprisingly, perhaps not the aching muscles themselves), and which points to hold. Soon he can move much more comfortably. 
• You've learned some upsetting news and you're now experiencing tension or anxiety. You do some muscle checks - on yourself - and learn just where to apply a bit of gentle rubbing, and then which meridian line to trace your hand along. Soon you find yourself feeling much more emotionally balanced. 
• No pills, no trip to the doctor - just a very natural way of maintaining health for your family! 

How could these changes come about so simply and easily? 

I'll be sharing exactly that with you in this article: principles behind these Touch for Health techniques, what you learn when you participate in a course, and what a Touch for Health session looks like. 

I’ll also share some stories, including the one my husband tells about the time I “saved his life” while on holiday in Germany. Yes, this is an exaggeration, but the truth is, I really thought we would need to get him to a hospital. Touch for Health absolutely saved the day – and it took only about ten minutes.

What is Touch for Health, and how is it learned?

Touch for Health (TFH) is a system for quickly identifying the source of physical and emotional challenges – from postural misalignments and aches and pains, to feeling out of sorts or even experiencing deep emotional distress – and then using simple touch techniques to resolve them.

The entire TFH program is taught in a series of four courses, but many people take only the Level One course and simply use those tools forever. I used the Level One work with great success for years, before I ever had a chance to take Level Two, and I have yet to take Level Three! I use what I know all the time.

Many Brain Gym® instructors are also trained in Touch for Health; in fact, these techniques are so very helpful, and mesh so beautifully with the Brain Gym work, that the Touch for Health course qualifies as part of the curriculum for becoming licensed as a Brain Gym instructor. It was actually through his contact with TFH that Paul Dennison (Brain Gym co-founder) experienced many aspects of the mind/body connection, so once you learn Touch for Health, you'll see its techniques throughout the Brain Gym work.

Where did Touch for Health come from?

In the 1960s, renowned chiropractor George Goodheart began exploring the relationship between muscle response, postural alignment, and specific health issues. He eventually developed an entire system that would come to be called Applied Kinesiology. 

In the 1970s, chiropractor John F. Thie began creating a way to share the simplified basics of Applied Kinesiology with the layman – so it could become a tool for health and wellbeing in every home. This became Touch for Health.

John Thie published his first Touch for Health manual in 1973. He and his authorized instructors have trained thousands of people around the world in this system, who use it to improve the lives of friends, family, and clients. Since John Thie's passing in 2005, his work has been carried on by his son, Matthew Thie.   

What are the principles behind Touch for Health?

First, I want to say that it’s really not necessary to understand all these principles in order to learn Touch for Health. When I took my first Touch for Health course I didn’t understand much of this at all, and learned it a bit at a time over the years. My intention here is to show you how elegant the system is, and how the pieces fit together. Consider this your “first taste” of these concepts, so that when you hear them mentioned in class, you’ll already have some familiarity with them.

So, as an introduction, here are five basic concepts behind this technique:

1) Subtle energy flows throughout the body along lines called meridians, which were first identified by the ancient Chinese. It is at specific points along these meridians that acupuncturists may insert needles to treat various health conditions. 
     More recently, meridians and acupuncture points have been scientifically mapped.[1] Acupuncture is now accepted in the modern medical world, and is even covered by many insurance programs.
     Touch for Health is not acupuncture, but does use touch or massage techniques on some of these same points, as well as light tracing along the meridian lines themselves.

2) There are fourteen principal meridians. Each meridian is named (for the organ or body system it's associated with) and identified separately, and has a specific beginning and ending point; however, each one ends near to where the next one begins, so these individual sections become a continuous flow. 

3) The flow of subtle energy throughout the body can become blocked when we experience stressful situations such as illness, physical accidents, or challenging emotional events. When these blocks are identified and released, people often experience improvements in their physical and emotional wellbeing, and they function more comfortably in life.

4) Each meridian is related to a specific muscle of the physical body. For example, the quadricep (thigh muscle) is associated with the Large Intestine meridian. A facilitator can use muscle checking (seeing if the muscle “holds” against slight pressure) to assess the state of each meridian, and determine which are “flowing” and which are “blocked.”

5) When a block is identified, the facilitator can use specific touch processes (ultra-light touch or deeper rubbing on a specific points, tracing along the meridian line, etc.) to release the block in that meridian.

What does a Touch for Health session look like?

Using the simplest (Level One) protocols, a Touch for Health session looks like this: Just like in Brain Gym balancing, the facilitator supports you in creating a goal for the kind of change you’d like to see, and you get a current baseline for it by acting it out in some way (pre-check). This “pushes the button” so the blocks to energy flow in your meridians will show up clearly.  
     Then the facilitator begins with the first meridian and checks the muscle associated with it. If  the muscle check doesn’t hold (indicating blocked flow in the meridian) the facilitator does one or more simple touch options (which are clearly shown in the manual). At a certain point, checking the muscle again will show that it is now “on,” indicating that energetic flow has been restored in that meridian.  
     The facilitator then goes on to the next meridian and repeats the process. Some meridians may require no intervention at all; others may require two or three techniques. When the facilitator has taken you through the entire meridian system, having checked and resolved any blocks in all fourteen meridians, the session is complete. At this point, a replay of acting out your goal (post-check) will likely feel much more comfortable and integrated.  
     I have done full Touch for Health sessions with someone in as little as a few minutes; more often it takes a bit longer, especially if several meridians need to be addressed. It all depends on how strongly the person's mind/body system is experiencing the stress of his issue.

Learning the process

When you take a Touch for Health course, you’ll learn these concepts a bit at a time, and apply them with increasing ease. When I took Touch for Health, I was surprised to realize that over two days I’d not only learned how to muscle check someone, but I’d learned all fourteen muscle checks for the fourteen meridians. The instructor had made the learning simple and fun, and I'd had plenty of opportunity to practice in class.

Also - there’s no need to memorize everything because there’s a clear, simplified "level one" manual. You’ll learn the process, with which you’ll become increasingly familiar, and you’ll learn how to refer to your manual for whatever details you need. For a long time, I used the manual for everything. Through repetition over the years I now know the muscle checks and meridians, but I still use the manual to be sure I know which points to hold or massage.

Experiences using Touch for Health

I love how this information can help me understand my life.

When my husband and I were planning the remodeling of our kitchen we had many significant decisions to make over a period of months, about things that were to be permanent, expensive elements of our home. Key word here: stress. At certain points I’d feel completely drained and overwhelmed – like I just couldn’t make one more choice. Not only that, I was feeling increased tension in both sides of my head! I checked my meridians and found that my Gall Bladder meridian was off. This made total sense because...
    One more thing you'll learn is that each meridian also has an associated metaphor - related to an aspect of how we move through life. When the meridian is flowing, then so is that metaphoric aspect. The metaphor for the Gall Bladder meridian is (would you believe it?) decision making! Plus, this meridian begins on the sides of the face and tracks repeatedly through the head, before running down through the torso to its endpoint on the foot.
    Through the simple techniques of Touch for Health, I was able to continually release blocks I was experiencing. I’d get back into the flow of decision making, and the tension in the sides of my head vanished. And I love our new kitchen! 
But my most amazing experience with Touch for Health was this one:

My husband and I were on holiday in Germany on 9/11, a day of shock and trauma. Three days later my husband developed stomach pain so severe he couldn’t eat. Fearing the worst, and ready to ask at our hotel about the nearest hospital, I somehow thought to take out my travel-size Touch for Health folio. My husband’s stomach meridian (key concept: digesting/processing what is coming in) was blocked and I used the techniques I’d learned to release that energy flow. (We realized later that “what he’d taken in” was the overwhelm of traumatic news.) Within a half hour he was feeling 80% better and could actually eat a light dinner; by the next morning he was 95% better. Needless to say, we were both incredibly relieved. We continued to use Touch for Health along with Brain Gym balancing throughout what remained of our time in Germany and travel home, under exceedingly stressful circumstances. These are truly indispensable tools.

I have had the good fortune to learn Touch for Health from someone who has been using and teaching it for 30 years Colleen Carroll Gardner. It was during her involvement with the Touch for Health foundation that she came in touch with Paul Dennison, and was captivated by his Educational Kinesiology work, and eventually became the first member of the Edu-K international faculty. She not only brings decades of both areas of her training to every class she teaches, but has used Touch for Health throughout her years as a parent and world adventurer. She says:

My Touch for Health skills have been invaluable throughout my life — from dealing with my children’s aches, pains, and sports injuries, to keeping everyone healthy as I trekked through Nepal with college students, to balancing for health and wellbeing, for myself and others, through life’s biggest emotional challenges. These tools are incredibly helpful to have at hand.
Ready to learn Touch for Health?
You'll have tools forever, that will literally be at your fingertips!

Licensed instructors for the Touch for Health program offer courses around the world. 
Click here to find courses in the United States.

And – If you live in or near Phoenix, Arizona 
or would like to visit, 
Touch for Health is coming to YOU!

I’m delighted to say that I’m sponsoring 
Touch for Health, Level One, 
taught by Colleen Carroll Gardner
February 4-5, 2017
No prerequisite – everyone is welcome!

and click here for the flyer, with registration form on Page 2. 

I hope you can join us for this wonderful learning opportunity!

Kathy Brown, M.Ed.
Educational Kinesiologist
Licensed Brain Gym® Instructor/Consultant
Author of Educate Your Brain

[1] There are many articles about the science behind meridians. This one is from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health:
Brain Gym® movement photographs Copyright© Laird Brown Photography. All rights reserved
Photograph of wooden figures with acupuncture points Copyright© Claudio Curro, through iStock/Getty Images
©Copyright 2016 Kathy Brown. All rights reserved.
Brain Gym® is a registered trademark of the Educational Kinesiology Foundation  •  Ventura, CA  •
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  1. I just wanted to thank you for your encouraging blogs. Learning new things can often feel overwhelming to me. I appreciate your presentation and encouragement!

  2. Dear Leslie,
    Thank you so much for your kind words! You've made my day!
    I'm glad to know that my writing helps you to understand this work. That's my goal - to simplify and "de-mystify" Brain Gym (and in this case, Touch for Health) - so that people will appreciate the many benefits, see that they really can learn the process, and take classes through which they can transform their experience of life, and help others as well.
    With warm regards,
    Kathy Brown