Efficacy of therapeutic touch in patient recovery

Author/Title Source Year Research






Data Suggested


Gregory, S. & Verdouw, J.

Therapeutic touch (TT): Its application for residents in aged care.

Australian Nursing Journal, 12(7), 23-25 2005 Exploratory study (Pre-test/post-test design.) 121 Improved physiological condition (e.g. ulcers, edema) Improved behavioral outcomes (dementia, depression, anxiety) 92% of physical diagnosis cases showed improvement after TT treatment e.g. reduced edema


92% of control and test subjects; 1 study noted moderate positive outcomes.


“…therapeutic touch has the potential to enhance the wellbeing of older residents in institutional facilities” (p. 24). Supports use of TT in widespread conditions needing care.


Effectiveness of subjective-self reporting as a cause-effect measure still remains questionable.


Gleeson, M. & Higgins, A. Touch in mental health nursing: An exploratory study of nurses’ views and perceptions. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 16(4), 382-389. 2009 Qualitative exploratory (descriptive) study 10 Perception themes 4 themes emerged:


An essential aspect of practice


Using touch with sensitivity


Using touch in practice


Being cautious


Cautious use of touch in psychiatric settings. Need to further evaluate use. Provides possible hindrances for use of TT in psychiatry.
Frank, L. S., Frank, J. L., March, D., Makari-Judson, G., Barham, R. B. & Mertens, W. C.


Pain Medicine, 8(5), 419-424. 2007 Experimental randomized allocation, single-blind experiment. 82 (42 actual therapeutic touch treatment given; 40 sham treatments given). “Changes to pain and anxiety measured by visual analog scales immediately before and after stereotactic core biopsy.” Pain, nervousness, restlessness, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and pulse measures were statistically similar between TT group and sham group. No significant benefit of Therapeutic touch under the study settings. Enlightens on limitation of effectiveness of therapeutic touch. Suggests that positive results in other studies could be due to design rather that effect.


Aghabati, N., Mohammadi, E. & Esmaiel, Z. P. The effect of therapeutic touch on pain and fatigue of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Evidence Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, 7(3), 375-381. 2008 Experimental study design, Random assignment of subjects to study groups (experiment, placebo and control). 30 Reduction of pain and fatigue receiving therapeutic touch treatment. Significant reduction in pain scores of the experimental group in comparison to placebo and control group.


Significant reduction in fatigue scores of the experimental group in comparison to placebo and control group.


TT has significant benefit on pain and fatigue reduction in cancer patients. Positive result of therapy demonstrated


Reliability and validity of measures taken into account.

Doherty, D., Wright, S., Aveyard, B. & Sykes, M.

Therapeutic touch and dementia care: An ongoing journey.

Nursing Order People, 18(11), 27-30. 2006 Qualitative exploratory study. 32 for staff interviews


4 for effectiveness assessment.

Opinion on perceived client benefit from therapeutic touch.


Well being as measured by Dementia Care Mapping (DCM) and Positive Response (PR) tools.


26 of 32 nurse respondents supported the view that therapeutic touch bettered patient well being.


Increased well being but limited for DCM data.


Study findings support value of therapeutic touch in dementia settings. Positive association of therapeutic touch with better care outcomes


Small sample size (patients) could affect results.

Eschiti, V. S. Healing touch: A low-tech invention in high-tech settings. Dimensions of Critical Care, 26(1), 9-14. 2007 Conceptual article N/A Evidence from literature review. N/A Important critical care nurse to gain knowledge on effectiveness and use of therapeutic touch due to increased use of complementary therapies by patients.


Provides good background on the concept of therapeutic touch and its possible uses and effectiveness.
Leder, D. & Krucoff, M. W.

The touch that heals: The uses and meanings of touch in the clinical encounter.

The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(3), 321-327 2007 Conceptual article N/A Perspectives advanced in literature. N/A Unique “properties of touch as a medium of perception, action and expression” could make it a healing promoter during clinical encounters. Explains aspects of touch that could make it a potential candidate for improving care outcomes different settings. Provides a basis to evaluate suggested ways through which touch could improve outcomes.


MacIntyre, B., Hamilton, J., Fricke, T., Ma, W., Mehle, S. & Michel, M.

The efficacy of healing touch in coronary artery bypass surgery recovery: A randomized clinical trial

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 14(4), 24-32 2008 Experimental design with random assignment to any of 3. 237 Post operative length of stay.


Incidence of post operative atrial fibrillation.


Use of antiemetic medication.


Amount of narcotic pain medication.


Functional status.




Significant differences in length of stay and anxiety scores.

No significant decrease in pain or antiemetic medication or atrial fibrillation incidence.

Improved patient care therapy could result from therapeutic touch. Non blinded methodology could have resulted in bias.
Salazmann-Erikson, M. & Erikson, H.

Encountering touch: A path to affinity in psychiatric care.

Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 26(8), 843-852. 2005 Qualitative exploratory study. 4

(2 men and 2 women)

Identity meanings from the interviews. 4 meanings identified:


To need and to yearn.


To feel connected and to belong.


To communicate feelings.


To be acknowledged.

Physical contact generates a sense of community hence can promote a higher degree of mental health through a feeling of being acknowledged. Provides a client’s perspective of touch.


Supports use of touch as a therapeutic nursing approach.


Small sample size could affect results applicability across different settings.


Vickens, C. R.

Healing touch and therapeutic touch in the psychiatric setting :

Implications for the advanced practice nurse.

Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science, 15(1), 46-52 2008 Conceptual article N/A Evidence from literature review.


Author’s experiences.

N/A Therapeutic touch approach presents a prudent treatment modality for use in psychiatric settings. Provides support for use of TT in psychiatric settings.


Need to substantiate author’s experiences through other studies.

find the cost of your paper