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The effectiveness of therapeutic touch for decreasing pain in elders with degenerative arthritis.

20 Sep

Therapeutic Touch is found to decrease pain in elders with degenerative arthritis, compared with progressive muscle relaxation or routine treatment

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing in Eau Claire investigated whether Therapeutic Touch (TT) decreased pain in elders with degenerative arthritis, as compared with routine treatment and progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).

Eighty-two noninstitutionalized subjects, age 55 or older, were randomly assigned to TT or PMR treatments. Subjects served as their own controls for 4 weeks and then received six treatments at 1-week intervals. Visual analogue scales (VAS) for pain intensity and distress were used.

Significant differences from baseline to post-sixth treatment were found within groups. TT decreased pain (t(46) = 7.60, p = < .001) and distress (t(44) = 7.08, p = < .001). PMR decreased pain (t(36) = 6.58, p = .005) and distress (t(36) = 6.90, p = < .001). Scores were lower for PMR, showing that pain and distress were more improved by Therapeutic Touch.

Citation: Eckes Peck SD. The effectiveness of therapeutic touch for decreasing pain in elders with degenerative arthritis. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 1997 Jun;15 (2): pages 176-98.

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