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The latest research on Healing Touch and cancer is listed here.   More complete information about these studies is available in the Healing Touch International Research Survey. [MORE...] 

The Effect of Healing Touch on Radiation-Induced Fatigue in Women Receiving Radiation Therapy in Women with Gynecological or Breast Cancer. Cynthia Loveland Cook, PhD, MSW, RN, Joanne Guerrerio, RN, BSN, CHTP, and Vicki Slater, PhD, RN, CHTP

A randomized clinical trial was conducted with 62 women receiving radiation treatment for gynecological and breast cancer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Comparisons of scores before and after the six treatment sessions showed significant changes in improved quality of life and proportionately larger reductions in fatigue in the Healing Touch group than the control group. The Healing Touch group demonstrated more pronounced improvements in their levels of depression, anxiety and anger compared to the control group.

The Effect of Therapeutic Massage and Healing Touch on Cancer Patients.  Janet Post-White, RN, PhD, FAAN, Mary Ellen Kinney, RN, BA, CHTP, Carol Wilcox, RN, MS, I.J. Lerner, MD, and J. Bernsten, RN, MS

The study measured the effects of therapeutic massage and Healing Touch on pain, nausea, fatigue and anxiety in 230 chemotherapy patients in comparison to caring presence alone or standard cancer treatment alone. There was a significant immediate (after individual treatment) and overall (at the end of the four visits) effect for both massage therapy and Healing Touch. Both Healing Touch and massage reduced B/P and heart rate and level of pain in comparison to presence. Healing Touch and massage reduced mood disturbance during the intervention periods, although there were no specific effects on anxiety-tension. Fatigue was less in the Healing Touch period. There were no significant immediate or overall effects on nausea with massage or Healing Touch. Participants rated both interventions highly regarding overall helpfulness and satisfaction.

Preliminary Data Analysis of the Healing Partners Program. Kathy Turner, MS, RNC, CHTP

A study of the experience of 26 women enrolled in the Healing Partners program at Stanford Medical Center Hospital was conducted for the purpose of program evaluation. The program provides Healing Touch sessions to participants (women with a diagnosis of breast cancer) on a weekly basis for six months. After three and six months there was a decrease in depression, anxiety, improved quality of life and energy. These initial findings suggest a beneficial effect of Healing Touch in this population which warrants further investigation.
Healing Touch as a Supportive Intervention for Adult Acute Leukemia Patients: A Pilot Investigation of Effects on Distress & Treatment-Related SymptomsSuzanne C. Danhauer, Ph.D. , Janet A. Tooze, Ph.D. , Paige Holder, B.S. , Christina Miller, B.S. , Michelle T. Jesse, M.S. , Suzanne Carroll, R.N., M.S., A.O.C.N. , Deborah Larrimore, R.N., LMBT, CHTP/I, Cassie R. Campbell, M.A. & Kathi J. Kemper, M.D., M.P.H.

The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the feasibility of conducting a study of Healing Touch for acute leukemia patients; and to obtain preliminary data on its effectiveness for psychological distress and treatment-related symptoms. The study involved 40 hospitalized patients over a one year time frame (2006-2007). These individuals completed questionnaires on psychological distress, treatment-related symptoms, and sleep pre- and post-intervention. In the total group the majority of patients almost 71% indicated an interest in using HT at the present time or in the future. For those 12 patients who received an HT intervention, there were statistically significant pre-post session improvements in fatigue and nausea; and there were observed improvements in distress and pain but they were not statistically significant. Ratings and qualitative feedback on the HT sessions were positive, and focused on feeling relaxed/calm following HT sessions. The conclusion was that it is feasible to recruit and retain patients during initial hospitalization for acute leukemia.

A Patient Satisfaction Survey for Cancer Patients Experiencing Healing Touch at the Cancer Wellness Center.  Judy Brannon, RN, BSN
Surveys were sent to 92 participants of Healing Touch sessions in a cancer wellness center. Forty-three patients responded.  The patient responses agreed or strong agreed that the Healing Touch improved relaxation (98%); improved sense of well-being (92%); provided a positive change in energy (87%); decreased pain (85%); decreased side effects of cancer treatments (77%); improved sense of control (75%); and improved interpersonal relationships (63%).
The Lived Experience of Healing Touch with Cancer Patients.  Charlene Christiano, MSN, RN

This study explored the pattern of interaction between the Healing Touch Practitioner and participants who had cancer in this phenomenological study. The patterns indicated that between the patient and the Healing Touch Practitioner there was caring (for each other), connecting (to each other and themselves), opening (trust, receptibility, intuition), co-creating, and being-one-with (sense of bonding, being as one with each other). There was a reported experience of being without boundaries that allowed the patients to see themselves as whole, being unified with themselves (body-emotion-mind-spirit) and having a sense of wellbeing.


The Experience of Healing Touch in Women with Breast Cancer.  Diane Kopecki, MS, RN, OCN, HTP

This study explored the experience of three women with breast cancer participating in a program that offered Healing Touch as a complementary therapy. Three essential themes representing the experience of Healing Touch in this study emerged as: Unity/Connectedness/Belonging; Inner Wellness; and Getting Me Through/Keeping Me Going. For women in this study, the essence of the Healing Touch experience was one of connection with others, leading to a sense of a strengthened self. Through the primary experiences of human touch, caring and concern, and unity with others, a new state of enhanced physical, emotional and spiritual well-being was reportedly created. Study findings suggest that providing Healing Touch for enhancing quality of life is a useful modality for women with breast cancer at differing stages of the survivorship journey.


Therapeutic effects of Massage Therapy and Healing Touch on Caregivers of Patients Undergoing Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant.  Stephanie Rexilius, MSN, RN, CMT, Carla Mundt, MA, MSN, RN, APRN, CHTP, Mary E. Megel, PhD, RN, CHTP, and Sangetta Agrawal, MS, SJ

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of massage therapy and Healing Touch on anxiety, depressions, subjective caregiver burden, and fatigue experienced by caregivers of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients with 26 caregivers. The caregivers in the control group received usual nursing care and a ten-minute supportive visit from one of the researchers and caregivers in the treatment groups received two 30-minute massages or Healing Touch treatments per week for three weeks. Anxiety and depression scores decreased for the Healing Touch group but did not achieve statistical significance. Fatigue scores increased. In the post-study questionnaire most of the Healing Touch group found the treatments very relaxing and provided a time when they could focus on themselves and not worry about their family member.


The Lived Experience of Receiving the Chakra Connection of Women with Breast Cancer Who are Receiving Chemotherapy: A Phenomenological Study. Kathy Moreland, MScN, CHTP

The study explored the experience of receiving the chakra connection in women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer and compared these themes to those in the Therapeutic Touch literature. The six participants were asked to "describe your experience of receiving the touch therapy. Share your thoughts, perceptions and feelings about the experience with as much detail as possible". The women received Healing Touch during intravenous chemotherapy. Overall, the experience was holistic and caring. It was reported to alter the participants' perception of self, time and the environment. This facilitated "getting through" the experience of the intravenous chemotherapy.


The Effect of Healing Touch and Other Forms of Energy Work on Cancer Pain.  St. Clare's Center for Complementary Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Oncology Complementary Medicine Pilot Program, Patricia Merritt, RN, HTP, CRT, and David Randall, RN, HTP

The pilot program was conducted during the period from June 15 through September 9, 1998. The complementary therapies of meditation, Healing Touch, reflexology, reiki, cancer massage and acupuncture were administered to outpatients referred by their practitioner. Eighteen patients received 143 treatments. Treatments provided that used Healing Touch and reflexology demonstrated a reduction in the average pain by 48 when using a pain assessment questionnaire.


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