Cancer Pain Relief After Healing Touch and Massage.

Author: Gentile D1, Boselli D2, O'Neill G1, Yaguda S1, Bailey-Dorton C1, Eaton TA3
Author Information:
11 Department of Supportive Oncology, Levine Cancer Institute , Atrium Health (Formerly Carolinas Healthcare System), Charlotte, North Carolina.
22 Cancer Biostatistics Levine Cancer Institute , Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina.
33 Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation , Atrium Health, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Conference/Journal: J Altern Complement Med.
Date published: 2018 Sep/Oct
Other: Volume ID: 24 , Issue ID: 9-10 , Pages: 968-973 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1089/acm.2018.0192. , Word Count: 240


OBJECTIVES: To establish and compare the effectiveness of Healing Touch (HT) and Oncology Massage (OM) therapies on cancer patients' pain.

DESIGN: pretest/post-test, observational, retrospective study.

SETTINGS/LOCATION: Outpatient oncology setting at an academic hybrid, multisite, community-based cancer institute.

SUBJECTS: n = 572 cancer outpatients.

INTERVENTIONS: Patients reported pain before and after receiving a single session of either HT or OM from a certified practitioner.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Pain scores from 0 = no pain to 10 = worst possible pain.

RESULTS: Two hundred ninety-one patients (50.9%) receiving HT and 281 (49.1%) receiving OM reported pretherapy and post-therapy pain. Pretherapy mean pain was higher in HT patients (M = 5.1, ±2.2) than OM (M = 4.4, ±2.2), p < 0.001; post-therapy mean pain remained higher in HT patients (M = 2.6, ±2.1) than OM (M = 2.0, ±1.8), p < 0.001. Both HT (p < 0.01) and OM (p < 0.01) significantly reduced pain. Unadjusted rates of clinically significant pain improvement (defined as ≥2-point reduction in pain score) were 0.68 HT and 0.71 OM. Adjusted for pretherapy pain, OM was associated with increased odds of pain improvement (odds ratio [OR] 1.49 95% confidence interval (1.02-2.19); p = 0.041). For patients with severe pretherapy pain, OM was not more effective in yielding clinically significant pain reduction (p = 0.236) when adjusting for pretherapy pain score.

CONCLUSIONS: Both HT and OM provided immediate pain relief. Future research should explore the duration of pain relief, patient attitudes about HT compared with OM, and how this may differ among patients with varied pretherapy pain levels.

KEYWORDS: Healing Touch; Oncology Massage; cancer pain; nonpharmacologic pain management

PMID: 30247960 DOI: 10.1089/acm.2018.0192

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