History of Touch For Health®
Dr. John F. Thie, a chiropractor from Pasadena, California, developed Touch for Health (TFH) Kinesiology in the early 1970’s for patient education and self-care.
Touch for Health is a synthesis of ancient knowledge of the Chinese acupuncture meridians and techniques derived from chiropractic, naturopathy, osteopathy, and even person-centered counseling, including acupressure, a variety of touch reflexes, meridian tracing, nutrition, and other mind-body techniques for balancing the subtle energies while focusing on meaningful personal goals.
Touch for Health has helped influence and enrich the lives of millions of people across the globe. It has been a major influence and contribution to the emerging field of Energy Kinesiology, Energy Psychology, and Energy Medicine worldwide. TFH has been incorporated into many professional healthcare practices from massage to sports medicine, to psychology, to Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Touch for Health remains part of the cutting edge of the future of health care.
What Inspired Dr. John Thie to Create Touch for Health®?
Touch for Health Kinesiology has its roots in the work of Detroit chiropractor, George Goodheart.
Dr. Goodheart began using muscle testing to evaluate muscle strength or injury in relation to postural imbalances in the early 1960s. His muscle-testing procedures were based on the Muscle Testing / Kinesiology texts of physical therapists Kendall & Kendall from the 1940s.
Goodheart realized that muscles that sometimes performed as if weak did not necessarily have the expected atrophy shrinkage due to disuse.
He soon found that muscles dramatically improve function in response to a variety of touch reflexes, including Neurovascular reflexes developed by Terrance Bennett DC and Neurolymphatic reflexes developed by osteopathic physician Frank Chapman (both discovered in the 1930s) as well as acupuncture points, meridians, and energy pathways from Traditional Chinese Medicine, nutritional and emotional factors, and hundreds of other techniques.
Dr. George Goodheart developed a system called Applied Kinesiology.
Dr. Goodheart then shared his system with physicians who are licensed to diagnose (medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, dentists, etc.) and assistants under their supervision for the evaluation and treatment of imbalances in posture, physiology, organs, nutrition, emotions, etc.
John Thie, DC, was one of the early promoters of Goodheart’s work.
This encouraged Dr. Thie to begin organizing basic workshops for lay people and clinical assistants/paraprofessionals. But there was a concern that some lay people might start to represent themselves as doctors and attempt to use muscle testing by itself to attempt to diagnose and treat named diseases (which would be both unreliable and illegal!).
Looking for an alternative model to medical diagnosis and treatment that would be appropriate for home self-care, Dr. Thie based the Touch for Health® system on the holistic energy balancing model of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In keeping with the original ideals of chiropractics to teach people to maintain their health and prevent disease by keeping their posture in balance, the TCM model also fits well with Western ideas of personal development and self-care that became popular in the early 1970s. This encouraged Dr. Thie to begin organizing basic workshops for laypeople and clinical assistants/paraprofessionals.
Touch for Health® Begins Inspiring the World
Dr. Thie released the book Touch for Health in 1973 and that same year established a Vocational School in Pasadena, California to begin training Touch for Health® Instructors.
Originally called Health from Within, Touch for Health embraces a philosophy of self-care and personal development (as opposed to diagnosis and treatment), taking a grassroots “each-one-teach-one” approach to sharing these simple, safe, and profound methods.
The original model for the TFH workshops for laypeople and professionals was based on the “Effective Communication” workshops of Thomas Gordon, a protégé of Carl Rogers. And integrated philosophies of person-centered therapy exemplified by Rogers, Virginia Satir, and others. Dr. Thie’s wife, Carrie was already teaching workshops in “Person-Centered Psychology” and both Dr. Thie and his wife Carrie had studied with Tom Gordon and Virginia Satir and were profoundly influenced by these experiences before developing the TFH Teaching program.
Personal Empowerment for Wellbeing
Touch for Health was designed to empower every person to become active in the creation, maintenance, and restoration of their own health and well-being, and to allow families a system to enhance their self-care by reinforcing the concept of internal harmony from Traditional Chinese Medicine, and using postural balancing from chiropractic and Applied Kinesiology. It utilizes a person-centered approach that starts from the assumption that the human being will naturally come into a state of balance, harmony and health, through self-awareness and congruence. Enabling a deeper awareness of one’s aspirations, aligning thoughts, emotions and attitudes, and improving posture by rebalancing how muscles work together, are all aspects of TFH balances.
Touch for Health techniques were designed to be simple and accessible enough for anyone to use in their lives right away. Both the concepts and techniques of TFH can be profoundly life-affirming and life-changing as self-care as a part of a holistic wellness personal-development model, rather than in the disease-treatment model.
The TFH Foundation
At the same time, the members of the TFH Foundation who organized an annual conference in the United States wanted to continue gathering, sharing and supporting both students and practitioners of Touch for Health. They formed the Touch for Health Council that drew up bylaws and legally became the Touch for Health Kinesiology Association (TFHKA) which has continued as an independent, member-run association, with a conference every year.
The History of the Touch for Health Kinesiology Association
The Touch for Health Kinesiology Association (TFHKA) was established in 1990 as a member-run organization to continue promoting the growth of Touch for Health in the USA. (It was originally called the Touch for Health Foundation, which was founded by Dr. Thie in 1975.)
Norma Harnack stepped forward in 1990 and volunteered to be the TFHKA’s first Executive Director. She ran the organization out of St. Louis, MO. Norma offered to do this for free for the whole first year to get the Association on its feet, to become a viable, self-sustaining entity. She fulfilled this incredibly generous mission, and it has continued with many, many generous member-volunteers ever since in order to keep the association going and growing.
The TFHKA office was in St. Louis, MO for the first 3 years, then the office was moved to California. It has since moved to offices in Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, and now maintains only a “virtual office” with Board members from across the US and abroad, and additional member-volunteers giving their time with various committees and special projects to support the success of our association and help build our community.
TFHKA currently holds a 501c6 status as a non-profit organization and is currently registered in the state of IDAHO. This means we are a membership association of people with a shared business interest (promoting Touch for Health) but we don’t generate a profit, or pay shares of dividends, and donations are not tax-deductible. (However, check with your accountant, if you’re interested in donating, you may be able to do it as a business expense. Donations to our Scholarship Fund, or to help with general operating expenses, and special projects are always welcomed and appreciated!)
The Touch for Health Kinesiology Association is an organization with a rich history, laying the foundation for most of the different forms of Kinesiology that are taught today, and continuing to be a vital key resource for the promotion of TFH education as a system for effective self-care and enhanced wellness that can be easily learned by all.
We are proud to continue the legacy of Dr. John & Carrie Thie by striving to serve in the tradition of the original TFH Foundation.
- The year 2023 marks the 48th consecutive year that there will have been a Touch for Health Conference held in the United States.
- TFHKA publishes a Journal of articles annually (to coincide with our Annual Conference).
- TFHKA helps to maintain records of classes, students, and instructors in the USA.
- TFHKA keeps records for our Membership Directory and provides networking opportunities for members within our association, as well as to help connect prospective TFH students and those who are interested in becoming TFH Instructors with Certified TFH Instructors in their local area.
- TFHKA provides a Quarterly eNewsletter for members and people interested in learning more about using Touch for Health.
- TFHKA provides ongoing support for USA TFH Instructors/Consultants.
- TFHKA provides access to TFH resources through our online store, blog, and archive.
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