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Effects of integrating therapeutic touch into a cognitive behavioral pain treatment program.

15 Aug

A group of researchers from the University of Southern Maine took a look the effects of offering Therapeutic Touch (TT) as an adjunct to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for people with chronic pain. Patients were randomized to a relaxation training condition alone or relaxation training plus Therapeutic Touch. All participants attended a relaxation training classes. Preprogram and postprogram data were examined to identify patterns of change in pain intensity, self-efficacy, disability, and perceived distress. In addition, patterns of attrition were examined. The study found that subjects in the study who received TT in addition to the relaxation training fared statistically better in terms of enhanced self-efficacy and unitary power, as well as having lower attrition rates. In addition, there were trends associating TT with less distress and disability. This pilot study lacked a true control condition, and the numbers of subjects are not specified in this abstract. Nonetheless, this pilot suggests that offering TT as an adjunct to CBT may help to improve clinical outcomes, reduce program attrition, and promote self-efficacy in those who suffer from chronic pain.

Citation: Smith DW, Arnstein P, Rosa KC, Wells-Federman C. Effects of integrating therapeutic touch into a cognitive behavioral pain treatment program. Report of a pilot clinical trial. Journal of Holistic Nursing 2002 Dec; 20 (4): pp. 367-87.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award