Therapeutic Touch Healing Comforting Hands dissertation

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Physically, massage or TT eases muscle tension and improves circulation. In turn, it improves digestion and breathing, enhances mental clarity, and encourages better sleep. TT is particularly useful to terminally ill patients in reducing or mitigating pain to the extent of making prescription painkillers unnecessary. Emotionally, TT or massage is a gentle and compassionate experience for the dying. It reduces the sense of isolation by providing him or her with physical connectedness. It can also re-establish dwindling or lost self-esteem and self-acceptance on account of disease. As a result, it contributes to increased quality of life and a much-needed release of emotions. Medicare as yet does not cover massage therapy for hospice settings but an increasing number of group have been lobbying for its inclusion.

Useful Alternatives to Pain and Discomfort Management

These alternatives have shown to be effective in easing spiritual, emotional and psychological pain that contribute to the physical pain of disease or illness.

TT transfers subtle energy, which accounts for the effectives of these alternatives. They include Reikli or TT, acupuncture and homeopathy. Reiki masters use energy to soothe psycho-social discomfort. It not only controls anxiety and pain but also addresses spiritual suffering behind anxiety and pain. Preliminary research on biological markers provides evidence that Reiki is able to elicit relaxation response.

Effect of TT on the Pain of Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy

A randomized experimental study found that TT is more effective on this group of patients than on any other groups of patients.

Cancer pain has remained poorly managed in about 80% of these patients. This study investigated the effect of TT on 3 groups of 90 patients needing care. Of the 90, 30 were undergoing chemotherapy, 30 were on placebo and 30 on control. They received TT for 30 minutes daily in 5 days. Findings showed that TT significantly reduced pain and fatigue in these cancer patients as compared with the other two.

The two traditional approaches to cancer pain are pharmacological and non-pharmacological.

But cancer patients are apprehensive about tolerance, physical dependence, and psychological addiction as regards medications. Some of those who experience severe cancer pain also develop other symptoms induced by opiate painkillers. The control of pain essentially leads to the re-examination of options with the least side effects and this is TT.


TT was developed by Dora Krunz and Dolores Krieger in 1972 as an alternative treatment method. It involves the manipulation of the patient's energy field by the practitioner to bring about a healing or control of symptoms. Although unaccepted by the Western medical community, it has been widely practiced by health professionals and interested non-professionals. Some evidence exists that it reduces pain and discomfort, especially among hospice patients, who are terminally ill and at the end-of-life stage. But other researches attest to a lack of formal design, under-reporting or the lack of effect on disease. All in all, current scientific evidence is generally inconclusive on its effectiveness. #


Aghabati, N et al. (2010). The effect of therapeutic touch on pain and fatigue of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Evidence-based Complementary Alternative

Medicine: PubMed. Retrieved on June 16, 2011 from

Catlin, A. (2009). Hospice massage: easing the pain of a life-limiting illness (Part 1).

vol 9 # 3, Massage Today: MPA Media Publications. Retrieved on June 19, 2011


CIMER (2011). Therapeutic touch -- detailed scientific review. CIMER: Complementary

Integrative Medicine Education Resources: MD Anderson Center. Retrieved on June

16, 2011 from

Marble D.C. 1996). The alternate treatment modality of therapeutic touch. Reiki News:

International Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine. Retrieved on June 16, 2011 from

Nursing Homes (2005). Delivering comfort and dignity: the role of hospice in pain management. Medquest Communications, LLC. Retrieved on June 18, 2011 from;content

Stanek, S. (2009). Reducing total pain at the end of life. Health Skin: Medline Industries,

Inc Retrieved on June 16, 2011 from

Thomas, B.J. (2009). Massage offers therapeutic benefits to hospice patients. Ezine Articles: Retrieved on June 16, 2011 from

Wurges, J. (2011). Therapeutic touch. Encyclopedia of Nursing & Allied Health:, Inc. Retrieved on June 16, 2011 from

Jennifer Wurges, Therapeutic Touch (Encyclopedia of Nursing & Allied Health:, Inc., 2011) at

ibid ibid op cit ibid ibid

David C. Marble, The Alternate Treatment Modality of Therapeutic Touch. (Reiki News:

International Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 1996). Available at ibid ibid

Ann Catlin, Hospice Massage: Easing the Pain of a Life-Limiting Illness (Massage Today: MPA Media Publications, 2009). Available at

ibid ibid ibid

CIMER, Therapeutic Touch: Detailed Scientific Review (Complementary Integrative Medicine Education Resources: MD Anderson Center, 2011). Available at


Nursing Homes, Delivering Comfort and Dignity: the Role of Hospice in Pain Management (Medquest Communications LLC: Gale Group, 2005). Available at;content ibid

Brandon J. Thomas, Massage Offers Therapeutic Benefits to Hospice Patients (Ezine:, 2009). Available at


M. Susan Stanek, Reducing Total Pain at the End of Life (Healthy Skin: Medline Industries, Inc., 2011) Available at


Nahid Aghabati et al., The Effect of Therapeutic Touch on Pain and Fatigue of Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy (Evidence-based Complementary Alternative Medicine: PubMed, 2010). Available at

ibid ibid[continue]

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