Research at a Glance
Research studies have found that Therapeutic Touch® reduces anxiety, regulates and supports the immune function, alters the perception of pain and encourages general healing. One of the earliest research studies on Therapeutic Touch was a study conducted by Dolores Krieger. Her research found that the hemoglobin levels of patients who received Therapeutic Touch increased.
Since the early research done by Dolores Krieger, there continues to be a large number of Therapeutic Touch research studies being published.This website accordion lists the most recent Therapeutic Touch research under alphabetical categories, with shortened annotations. If you want to have a print copy of this research summary you may download a copy of Research at a Glance here: Research at a Glance [Feb. 2020]
For the full annotated bibliography please see the Annotated Bibliography of Published Therapeutic Touch® Research 2004-2017. This bibliography gives more information about the research studies. Download it here: Annotated Bibliography of Published Therapeutic Touch Research July 2004 to August 2017
This list will be of use to all those who are seeking to introduce Therapeutic Touch to their health care facility or to do Therapeutic Touch research . The links lead either to the article itself, or, more often, to the abstract. From the abstract there are links to the instructions for purchasing the full-text article.
If you are a recently published author of Therapeutic Touch research, and would like to have your article listed in this bibliography, please send the relevant information to the TTNO office.
Larden, Cheryl, M. Lynne Palmer and Patricia Janssen. “Efficacy of Therapeutic Touch in Treating Pregnant Inpatients Who Have a Chemical Dependency.” Journal of Holistic Nursing 22.4 (2004): 320-332. Print. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15486152
To examine the outcomes of Therapeutic Touch™ with complications from chemical dependency during pregnancy of fifty-four hospitalized pregnant women. Anxiety scores were significantly less on Days 1, 2, 3 for the group receiving Therapeutic Touch. There were no significant findings related to withdrawal symptoms measured on the Symptom Checklist. The authors conclude Therapeutic Touch may be of value as an adjunctive measure in the treatment of chemical dependency among pregnant women.
ALZHEIMER'S * DEMENTIA
Doherty, Donna, Stephen Wright, Barry Aveyard and Meg Sykes. “Therapeutic touch and dementia care: an ongoing journey.” Nursing Older People 18.11 (2006): 27-30. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17260598
Touch is considered a core aspect of care provision and therapeutic relationships. Therapeutic touch allows nurses to facilitate healing and forge therapeutic relationship through touch or non-touch and maintain channels of communication often lost in dementia as the disease progresses”(27).
Hawranik, Pamela, Pat Johnston and Judith Deatrich. “Therapeutic Touch and Agitation in Individuals With Alzheimer’s Disease.” Western Journal of Nursing Research 30.4 (2008): 417-434. http://wjn.sagepub.com/content/30/4/417.long
“This study provided preliminary evidence for the potential of TT in dealing with agitated behaviors by people with dementia. TT may be an important intervention that is not costly, can be implemented by family or staff and may prevent or delay the use of pharmacotherapy and other strategies that may decrease the quality of life of the resident” ( 432).
Woods, C.G., C.G. Rapp, and C. Beck.” Escalation/de-escalation patterns of behavioral symptoms of person with dementia.” Aging and Mental Health 8.2 (2004): 126-132. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14982717
“This study supports the use of therapeutic touch as a preventive intervention that, when administered twice daily to persons with ADRD [Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia] at risk for disruptive vocalization, can decrease the probability of this behavior” (131).
Woods, DL, RF Craven and J. Whitney. “The effect of therapeutic touch on behavioral symptoms of persons with dementia.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 11.1 (2005): 66-74.
“Therapeutic touch offers a nonpharmacological, clinically relevant modality that could be used to decrease behavioral symptoms of dementia, specifically manual manipulation (restlessness) and vocalization, two prevalent behaviors” (66 ).
Aghabati, Nahid, Eesa Mohammadi and Zahra Esmaiel. “The Effect of Therapeutic Touch on Pain and Fatigue of Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy.” eCAM 7. 3 (2010): 375-381. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2887328/?tool=pubmed
“To examine the effect of therapeutic touch (TT) on the pain and fatigue of the cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy ... The TT(significant) was more effective in decreasing pain and fatigue of the cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy than the usual care group, while the placebo group indicated a decreasing trend in pain and fatigue scores compared with the usual care group”(375).
Gronowicz, Gloria, Ankur Jhaveri, Libbe Clarke, Michael Aronow and Theresa Smith. “Therapeutic Touch Stimulates the Proliferation of Human Cells in Culture.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 14. 3 (2008): 233-239. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18370579
The researchers chose the biofield therapy, Therapeutic Touch, for these experiments “… because it is a highly disciplined method, and requires extensive training to become an advanced practitioner” (233).
“A specific pattern of TT treatment produced a significant increase in proliferation of fibroblasts, osteoblasts, and tenocytes in culture. Therefore, TT may affect normal cells by stimulating cell proliferation” (233).
See also: UConn Advance to read about this research
Gronowicz G, Secor ER, Flynn, JR, Jellison, ER, & Kuhn LT “Therapeutic Touch Has Significant Effects on Mouse Breast Cancer Metastasis and Immune Responses but Not Primary Tumor Size.” Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 May 31. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2015/926565/
Mice were injected with metastatic 66cl4 mammary carcinoma cells. Therapeutic Touch or mock Therapeutic Touch was offered twice a week for 10 minutes by two experienced Therapeutic Touch practitioners.
Therapeutic Touch had no significant effect on the primary tumor but produced significant effects on metastasis and immune responses in mice.
Jhaveri, Ankur, Stephen Walsh, Yatzen Wang, MaryBeth McCarthy, Gloria Gronowicz. “Therapeutic Touch Affects DNA Synthesis and Mineralization of Human Osteoblasts in Culture.” Journal of Orthopaedic Research 26.11 (2008): 1541-1546. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18524012
“Therapeutic Touch appears to increase human osteoblast DNA synthesis, differentiation and mineralization, and decrease differentiation and mineralization in a human osteosarcoma-derived cell line” (1541).
Stephen, Joanna, Gina Mackenzie, Sarah Sample and Jennifer Macdonald. “Twenty years of therapeutic touch in a Canadian cancer agency: lessons learned from a case study of integrative oncology practice.” Support Care Cancer 15 (2007): 993-998. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17609994
“TT is a safe and beneficial intervention for cancer patients that can be integrated within a conventional setting, providing that the program evolves with changing patient and organizational needs. Lessons gleaned include (1) positioning TT within the context of research and evidence-based practice, (2) developing and adhering to standards of practice and professionalism, and (3) maintaining a nonpartisan attitude and communicating a plausible rational” ( 993).
Gregory, Sue and Julie Verdouw. “Therapeutic touch: Its application for residents in aged care." Australian Nursing Journal 12.7 (2005):1-3. Print. http://www.healthyoutlook.com.au/images/0502_clin_update.pdf
To explore the extent to which Therapeutic Touch may be used to facilitate wellbeing and quality of life for residents in institutionalized settings an exploratory study using pre-test/post-test design involving residents in a care facility. ... The results are consistent with previous studies indicating Therapeutic Touch assists in the alleviation of stress and anxiety in aged care residents, and increases the length and quality of their sleep. It also appears to moderately alleviate pain experienced from a range of conditions.
Marta, Baldan, BertonIPavam,da Silva.“The effectiveness of Therapeutic Touch on pain, depression and sleep in patients with chronic pain: clinical trial”. Rev Esc Enferm USP 2010; 44(4):1094-100. http://www.scielo.br/pdf/reeusp/v44n4/en_35.pdf
The results suggest that, as a complementary and noninvasive treatment mode, the Therapeutic Touch can benefit elderly people with chronic pain, depressive symptoms and attitudes and bad sleep quality.
Monroe, Carolyn. “The Effects of Therapeutic Touch on Pain.” Journal of Holistic Nursing 27. 2 (2009): 85-92. http://jhn.sagepub.com/content/27/2/85.abstract
Conclusion: Because there are no identified risks to Therapeutic Touch as a pain relief measure, it is safe to recommend despite the limitations of current research. Implications: Therapeutic Touch should be considered among the many possible nursing interventions for the treatment of pain” (85).
Smith, Ann, Sanford Kimmel and Sheryl Milz. ‘Effects of Therapeutic Touch on Pain, Function and Well Being in Persons with Osteo-Arthritis of the Knee: A Pilot Study.” The Internet Journal of Advanced Nursing Practice 10.2 (2009): 1-25. http://ispub.com/IJANP/10/2/10007
“Findings in this study indicate that therapeutic touch applied twice a week for eight weeks decreases pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis in the knee. Therapeutic touch does not appear to affect range of motion or stability of the knee as indicated by the examination results of the KSS [Knee Society Score]” (2-3)
Berger L., Tavares M, Berger B. "A Canadian experience of integrating complementary therapy in a hospital palliative care unit." Journal of Palliative Medicine. 16.10 (2013): 1294-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24020920
The palliative care unit of a Canadian hospital developed a complementary therapy pilot project within the interdisciplinary team to explore potential benefits of complementary therapies. Massage, aromatherapy, Reiki, and Therapeutic Touch™ were provided in an integrated approach. Findings in this study suggest that an integrated complementary therapy program enhances regular symptom management, increases comfort, and is a valuable addition to interdisciplinary care.
Coakley, Amanda and Mary Duffy. ‘The Effect of Therapeutic Touch on Postoperative Patients.” Journal of Holistic Nursing 28.3 (2010): 193-200. http://jhn.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/06/26/0898010110368861.abstract
“Compared with those who received usual care, participants who received TT had significantly lower level of pain, lower cortisol level, and higher NKC [natural killer cells] level. Evidence supports TT as a beneficial intervention with patients. ... There is evidence to support incorporating TT into nursing practice” (193).
Domínguez, Rosales R, Marín MJ Albar , García B. Tena, Pérez M.T. Ruíz, Real M.J. Garzón, Poveda M.A. Rosado, Caro E. González. [Article in Spanish] "Effectiveness of the Application of Therapeutic Touch on Weight, Complications, and Length of Hospital Stay in Preterm Newborns Attended in a Neonatal Unit. " Enferm Clin. 19:(1):(2009):11-5 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19233016
The application of Therapeutic Touch reduces the length of hospital stay and the presence of complications. Nevertheless, further research in larger samples is required.
Hanley, MA. "Therapeutic Touch With Preterm Infants: Composing a Treatment." Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. 4:4 (2008): 249-58. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18602618
“Narrative inquiry and qualitative descriptive methods were used to discover knowledge about how TT is used with preterm infants…The description that emerged from the practitioners’ narratives of the TT treatment process for preterm infants provides preliminary data for the systematic use and evaluation of TT as an adjunct to facilitating preterm infants’ physiological, behavioral, energy field development and well-being” (249).
Whitley, Julie Anne and Bonnie Rich. “A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial Examining the Safety and Efficacy of Therapeutic Touch in Premature Infants.” Advances in Neonatal Care 8.6 (2008): 2-19. http://journals.lww.com/advancesinneonatalcare/Abstract/2008/12000/A_Double_Blind_Randomized_Controlled_Pilot_Trial.13.aspx
“In this pilot trial, HPV [Heart Period Variability] showed an increase for the TT group compared with the NTT [Non-TT] group. The study reveals no adverse effects of TT in preterm infants” (2).
A complementary therapy, such as therapeutic touch (TT), that does not require physical touch presents a potential approach to the dilemma of comfort and stress reduction in the extremely premature infant" ( 2 ).
Monzillo, Eloise and Gloria Gronowicz. “New Insights on Therapeutic Touch: A Discussion of Experimental Methodology and Design That Resulted in Significant Effects on Normal Human Cells and Osteosarcoma” Explore 7.1 (2011): 44-51. Print. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21194672?dopt=Abstract
The authors examine the research design and approaches which led to the significant outcomes of Therapeutic Touch on cells .... The authors encourage well designed research to learn more about the human biofield.
Movaffaghi, Zahra, Morteza Hasanpoor, Mohammad Farsi, Poory Hooshmand and Fatemeh Abrishami. “Effects of Therapeutic Touch on Blood Hemoglobin and Hematocrit Level.” Journal of Holistic Nursing 24. 1 (2006): 41-48. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16449745
“Significant changes of both variables in TT [Therapeutic Touch] and MT [Mimic Therapeutic Touch] groups suggest that more careful precision might be needed while selecting individuals as sham therapies in further experiments (p 41) …There were no significant changes in the control group (44).
Strickland, Mallory and Helen Boylan. “Using Enzyme Folding to Explore the Mechanism of Therapeutic Touch: A Feasibility Study.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 16.7(2010): 715-721. Print. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20618097
To study outcomes of Therapeutic Touch, the folding of ribonuclease A, a controlled energy-requiring system, was measured. ... While more research is needed, an enzyme–folding model may provide a useful means of studying the energy exchange in Therapeutic Touch.
Newshan, Gayle and Dona Schuller-Civitella. “Large Clinical Study Shows Value of Therapeutic Touch Programs.” Holistic Nursing Practice 17. 4 (2003): 189-192. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12889546
Representing the largest published sample size of therapeutic touch (TT) outcomes to date, data from this continuous quality improvement (CQI) clinical study suggest that TT, when provided in the clinical setting promotes comfort, calmness, and well-being among hospitalized patients. In addition, patients are highly satisfied with TT. The newly developed Patient Satisfaction Survey and TT Performance Improvement Tool provide an effective means by which to evaluate a TT program” (189).