Therapeutic touch as a nursing intervention

Author: Meehan TC
Department of Nursing Studies, University College Dublin, National University of Ireland
Conference/Journal: J Adv Nurs
Date published: 1998
Other: Volume ID: 28 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 117-25 , Special Notes: Review , Word Count: 150

Therapeutic Touch (TT) is being proposed as a nursing intervention. Its proponents claim that it is integral to the art of nursing practice and can facilitate comfort and healing in a wide range of patients. However, the practice of TT is also controversial, primarily because it does not usually involve physical contact and is based on energy field theoretical frameworks. The development of TT and its conceptualization as an energy field interaction are reviewed, and points of controversy discussed. The method of practice is described. Review of controlled efficacy studies indicates limited and inconclusive scientific support for its proposed effects. The intrinsic relationship between TT and the placebo phenomenon is discussed. The potential of TT to enhance the placebo effect requires further exploration but should not be discounted in seeking to relieve discomfort and distress and facilitate healing. For some patients, TT may serve as a beneficial adjuvant nursing intervention.