What is Aura Therapy and the history of the process?

The exact origin of aura therapy is unknown, but historical references to it date back about 5,000 years. East Indian, Chinese, Jewish, and Christian faiths all have references to auras as energies that vibrate through physical matter. The energies are seen as colors and represent such states of being emotional, mental, astral, and celestial. Halos have also been considered a kind of aura. Historically, it was believed that the special powers of a psychic, mystic, or clairvoyant were needed to see auras. Today, there are many New Age centers that teach the art of aura reading and therapy.

In the late 1890s, the scientist and inventor Nicola Tesla (1856–1943) became the first person to photograph an aura. Auric photography took a big leap forward in the late 1930s when Semyon and Valentina Kirlian introduced a high-voltage imaging process that became known as Kirlian photography . Although there have been challenges to the use of Kirlian photography, the process was designed to photograph aura energy emitted by life forms, including plants, animals, and humans. A newer variation is aura imaging photography, which uses a special camera to take instant photos of a person’s aura. The size, shape, and color of the aura can then be analyzed to reveal specific physical, emotional, and mental problems.

Types of aura therapy
Since the early 1970s, several different forms of aura therapy have emerged within the alternative medicine field. Some brief descriptions follow.

Aura color therapy
Aura color therapy is more closely related to light therapy than to such other forms of aura therapy as therapeutic touch . In aura color therapy, the proportions of the colors in a person’s aura as well as their clarity or intensity are analyzed and treated. Aura color therapists maintain that the aura of a healthy person will have an undistorted oval shape around the body, with clear lines of light energy and a perfect balance of the seven colors of the rainbow. Muddy colors, bulges or swirls in the energy lines, or an absence of any of the major colors signal energy imbalances. For example, a depressed person will have large amounts of blue and green in the aura with no orange or yellow. A chronically angry person will have too much red and little or no blue.

Color therapy treatment consists of adding extra colors to a dull or depleted aura or using complementary colors to correct a color imbalance in the aura. For example, orange, which is the complementary color of blue, would be used to treat the aura of a depressed person. Several different techniques may be used to add or balance the colors, the most common being the use of colored lights to irradiate the client’s body, or the placement of colored gemstones on the client’s body while he or she lies on the floor or on a massage table. In another variation of aura color therapy, the client is advised to wear clothing in colors intended to balance or correct the aura.

Therapeutic touch (TT)
Therapeutic touch, or TT, is a form of energy therapy that was developed in the United States in 1972 by Dora Kunz, a psychic healer, and Dolores Krieger, a professor of nursing at New York University. In TT, the practitioner alters the patient’s energy field through a transfer of energy from his or her hands to the patient. When illness occurs, it creates a disturbance or blockage in the aura or vital energy field. The TT practitioner uses her/his hands to discern the blockage or disturbance. Although the technique is called “therapeutic touch,” there is generally no touching of the client’s physical body, only his or her energetic body or biofield. TT is usually performed on fully clothed patients who are either lying down on a flat surface or sitting up in a chair.

A therapeutic touch session consists of five steps or phases. The first step is a period of meditation on the practitioner’s part, to become spiritually centered and energized for the task of healing. The second step is assessment or discernment of the energy imbalances in the patient’s aura. In this step, the TT practitioner holds his or her hands about 2–3 inches above the patient’s body and moves them in long, sweeping strokes from the patient’s head downward to the feet. The practitioner may feel a sense of warmth, heaviness, tingling, or similar cues, as they are known in TT. The cues are thought to reveal the location of the energy disturbances or imbalances. In the third step, known as the unruffling process, the practitioner removes the energy disturbances with downward sweeping movements. In the fourth step, the practitioner serves as a channel for the transfer of universal energy to the patient. The fifth step consists of smoothing the patient’s energy field and restoring a symmetrical pattern of energy flow. After the treatment, the patient rests for 10–15 minutes.

Tellington touch (Ttouch)
Tellington touch, which is also known as Ttouch, is an interesting instance of an alternative therapy that began in veterinary practice and was later extended to humans. Ttouch was developed in England by Linda Tellington-Jones, a graduate of Feldenkrais training. The Feldenkrais method, which is usually considered a bodywork therapy, originated with Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904–1984), a scientist and engineer who was also a judo instructor. The Feldenkrais method is based on redirecting the client’s habitual patterns of body movement, but it is unusual among bodywork therapies in its emphasis on new patterns of thinking and imagination as byproducts of the body’s reeducation. Tellington-Jones, who was employed as a horse trainer, began using Feldenkrais techniques on horses in 1975. In 1983 she developed the pattern of circular touching motions known as Tellington touch.

In the 1980s, Ttouch expanded from treating behavioral problems in horses to treating cats, dogs, and other household pets. In the 1990s, Ttouch was introduced into nursing school curricula for the treatment of humans. It has been used to treat patients suffering from such chronic conditions as pain syndromes, Alzheimer’s disease , arthritis, and multiple sclerosis as well as patients recovering from traumatic injuries or stroke . Ttouch is growing in popularity among hospice nurses as an alternative treatment for patients facing death.

In Ttouch, the practitioner touches the client’s skin but does not manipulate the underlying muscles or bones. The practitioner imagines the face of a clock on the client’s body and places a lightly curved finger at the 6-o’clock position. He or she then pushes the skin clockwise around the face of the clock for one and one-quarter circles, maintaining a constant pressure. The client’s body is gently supported with the practitioner’s free hand, which is placed opposite the hand making the circle. After each circular touch, the practitioner gently slides the hand down the body and repeats the circle.

Aura therapy is generally designed to bring imbalances in the aura back into physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance. The benefits can be subtle (like a general feeling of peace and well-being) or dramatic (like experiencing a spiritual transformation or feelings of ecstasy). Changes may be immediate or can occur over several days. Repeated therapy sessions can maintain and deepen the aura energy balance.

Persons who have received therapeutic touch or Tellington touch from nurses frequently mention “com-fort” or “humanizing of health care” as important benefits.

Therapeutic touch and Tellington touch appear to benefit patients in intensive care units (ICUs), who frequently develop mild psychiatric disturbances from being isolated and from the fact that ICU equipment interferes with normal human sensory perception. It is thought that TT and Ttouch help to break down the patient’s feelings of isolation and disconnection from other people.

Traditionally, an aura is a protective psychic and spiritual energy field that surrounds the physical body. Energy from an aura is usually not static. It is constantly flowing, flashing, vibrating, expanding, and decreasing. The colors detected usually indicate emotions, such as:

lavender and purple for spirituality
red/orange for sexual passion
white for truth
rose or pink for love
red for anger
yellow for intellect
Slow, deep breaths expand the aura while fast, shallow breaths decrease it. Spaces or gaps in the aura usually signify disease. These gaps often appear near the affected area, such as around the heart to signify heart disease . In general, auras have seven levels. Physical and ethereal auras extend up to a foot from the body, imagination and emotional auras extend about two feet, while the mental, archetypal (destiny), and spiritual auras extend about three feet.

There seems to be a general consensus among aura therapists that more than one session is required for optimal balancing. Many suggest three sessions within two or three weeks. The first session focuses on the physical aura, the next on the emotional, and the third on the spiritual. Once the aura levels are in balance, follow-up sessions are encouraged every six months to a year. Aura therapy is not covered by medical insurance. The cost can range from $50 to $100 or more per session.

No advance preparation is required. However, many aura readers and therapists say the patient should have a genuine desire for better health and happiness. Also, many therapists suggest patients abstain from recreational drugs, alcohol, and sex for several days before the therapy for a better sense of clarity and focus.

There are no known precautions associated with aura therapy.

Side effects
No negative side effects associated with aura therapy have been reported, although a small minority of patients treated with TT or Ttouch report feeling uncomfortable with being touched by strangers.

Research & general acceptance
Aura color therapy is considered a New Age treatment and is not generally accepted as valid by the conventional medical community. Skeptics argue that there are no scientific studies documenting the benefits of aura therapy or the existence of a human biofield. Most reports of the benefits of aura color therapy are anecdotal and appear in New Age journals and magazines.

Although therapeutic touch has become a popular alternative/complementary approach in some schools of nursing in the United States and Canada, acceptance by the mainstream medical community varies. Many hospitals permit nurses and staff to perform TT on patients at no extra charge. On the other hand, however, therapeutic touch became national news in April 1998 when an elementary-school student carried out research for a science project that questioned its claims. Twenty-one TT practitioners with experience ranging from one to 27 years were blindfolded and asked to identify whether the investigator’s hand was closer to their right hand or their left. Placement of the investigator’s hand was determined by flipping a coin. The TT practitioners were able to identify the correct hand in only 123 (44%) of 280 trials, a figure that could result from random chance alone. Debate about the merits of TT filled the editorial pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association for nearly a year after the news reports.

Tellington touch training is offered by some schools of veterinary medicine in the United States, and as of 2003 is also offered in continuing education programs in schools of nursing. It appears to be gaining wider support from the mainstream medical community as a useful technique in calming patients facing unpleasant or painful procedures. One study found that patients awaiting venipuncture who received Ttouch were more relaxed before the procedure and had significantly less dis-comfort afterward.

Training & certification
No formal training or certification is required to practice aura reading, aura color therapy, TT, or Ttouch. However, a number of alternative medicine and New Age healing schools offer formal training and certification. Therapeutic touch and Tellington touch have their own training and certification programs.