Effect of non-contact therapeutic touch on the healing rate of full thickness dermal wounds

Author: Wirth DP
Conference/Journal: Subtle Energies
Date published: 1990
Other: Volume ID: 1 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 1-20 , Word Count: 247

The effect of Noncontact Therapeutic Touch (NCTT) on the rate of surgical wound healing was examined in a double-blind study. Full-thickness dermal wounds were incised on the lateral deltoid region using a skin punch biopsy instrument, on healthy subjects randomly assigned to treatment or control groups. Subjects were blinded both to group assignment and to the true nature of the active treatment modality in order to control placebo and expectation effects. Incisions were dressed with gas-permeable dressings, and wound surface areas were measured on Days 0, 8, and 16 using a direct tracing method and digitization system. Active and control treatments were comprised of daily sessions of five minutes of exposure to a hidden Therapeutic Touch practitioner or to sham exposure.

Results showed that treated subjects experienced a significant acceleration in the rate of wound healing as compared to non-treated subjects at day 8 (Mann-Whitney U;z = -5.675; n = 44; p<0.001; 2 tailed), and at day16(X2 = 16.847, df = 1; P<0.001). Statistical comparisons are dominated by the complete healing of 13 of 23 treated subjects vs. O of 21 control subjects by day 16. Placebo effects and the possible influences of suggestion and expectation of healing were eliminated by isolating the subjects from the Therapeutic Touch practitioner, by blinding them to the nature of the therapy during the study, and by the use of an independent experimenter who was blinded to the nature of the therapy. The findings of this study demonstrate, at least, the potential for NC±T in the healing of full-thickness human dermal wounds.