Does Therapeutic Touch Help Reduce Pain and Anxiety in Patients With Cancer?

Nursing Department, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA.
Clinical journal of oncology nursing (Impact Factor: 0.91). 03/2008; 12(1):113-20. DOI: 10.1188/08.CJON.113-120
Source: PubMed


With more than 10 million patients with cancer in the United States, pain and symptom management is an important topic for oncology nurses. Complementary therapies, such as therapeutic touch, may offer nurses a nonpharmacologic method to ease patients' pain. Using 12 research studies, the authors examined the evidence concerning the effectiveness of this type of treatment in reducing pain and anxiety.

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    • "Biofield Therapies and Cancer-Related Symptoms: A Review © Renphoto/iStockphoto P atients with cancer can experience several treatmentrelated symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression, which can negatively influence their health-related quality of life (QOL) (Jackson et al., 2008). Conventional care focuses primarily on cure and survival without a holistic approach to the patient (Anderson & Taylor, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with cancer can experience several treatment-related symptoms, and conventional care focuses primarily on cure and survival without a holistic approach to disease. Subsequently, an increasing number of patients are accustomed to complementary modalities to improve well-being. Biofield therapies (BTs) are complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities based on the philosophy that humans have an energetic dimension. Physical and psychological symptoms may cause imbalance, and BTs are believed to balance disturbance in the energy field. This article provides a study review of the main BTs (i.e., therapeutic touch, healing touch, and Reiki) in the treatment of cancer-related symptoms. Although BTs are among the most ancient healing practices, data on their effectiveness are poor and additional multicenter research with larger samples are necessary. BTs may eventually become an autonomous field of nursing activity and allow professionals to build a relationship with the patient, thereby improving motivation. The idea that this method can be self-managed and may effectively reduce pain for patients with cancer can improve satisfaction challenges experienced by the current healthcare system.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Clinical journal of oncology nursing
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    • "This modality, which incorporates ancient healing practices, involves intention, centering, visualization , and touch that may or may not involve physical contact (Krieger, 2002). Recently, Jackson et al. (2008) analyzed 12 TT research articles involving oncology patients and concluded that it is a highly effective modality that helps to increase health and psychological well-being, while decreasing pain and anxiety. Even when the touch aspect of TT is not used, being centered and having an intention to help contributes immeasurably to effective care of patients in pain. "
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    ABSTRACT: Pain, in all probability, is the most common symptom experienced by individuals who interact with health care providers. It is understood as a complex and highly individual experience. This complexity is reflected in the paradoxical relationship between patient satisfaction and patient reported pain scores. Using a holistic, caring approach, nurses can optimize the effect of analgesia and facilitate comfort for the person living in pain. Caring for the patient in pain begins with heartfelt compassion and intention to help the person who is suffering. The author describes how the complex relationship and interchange between the patient and the holistic nurse explains the paradox.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2009 · Journal of Holistic Nursing
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    ABSTRACT: Pain is a global public health problem affecting the lives of large numbers of patients and their families. Touch therapies (Healing Touch (HT), Therapeutic Touch (TT) and Reiki) have been found to relieve pain, but some reviews have suggested there is insufficient evidence to support their use. To evaluate the effectiveness of touch therapies (including HT, TT, and Reiki) on relieving both acute and chronic pain; to determine any adverse effect of touch therapies. Various electronic databases, including The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, AMED and others from their inception to June 2008 were searched. Reference lists and bibliographies of relevant articles and organizations were checked. Experts in touch therapies were contacted. Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) or Controlled Clinical Trials (CCTs) evaluating the effect of touch on any type of pain were included. Similarly, only studies using a sham placebo or a 'no treatment' control was included. Data was extracted and quality assessment was conducted by two independent review authors. The mean pain intensity for completing all treatment sessions was extracted. Pain intensity from different pain measurement scales were standardized into a single scale. Comparisons between the effects of treatment groups and that of control groups were made. Twenty four studies involving 1153 participants met the inclusion criteria. There were five, sixteen and three studies on HT, TT and Reiki respectively. Participants exposed to touch had on average of 0.83 units (on a 0 to ten scale) lower pain intensity than unexposed participants (95% Confidence Interval: -1.16 to -0.50). Results of trials conducted by more experienced practitioners appeared to yield greater effects in pain reduction. It is also apparent that these trials yielding greater effects were from the Reiki studies. Whether more experienced practitioners or certain types of touch therapy brought better pain reduction should be further investigated. Two of the five studies evaluating analgesic usage supported the claim that touch therapies minimized analgesic usage. The placebo effect was also explored. No statistically significant (P = 0.29) placebo effect was identified. Touch therapies may have a modest effect in pain relief. More studies on HT and Reiki in relieving pain are needed. More studies including children are also required to evaluate the effect of touch on children.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2008 · Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online)
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