A pilot study of healing touch and progressive relaxation for chronic neuropathic pain in persons with spinal cord injury

J Holist Nurs. 2006 Dec;24(4):231-40; discussion 241-4. doi: 10.1177/0898010106289840.


This pilot study assessed the role of Healing Touch (HT), an energy-based therapy, in modulating chronic neuropathic pain and the associated psychological distress from post spinal cord injury. Twelve veterans were assigned to either HT or guided progressive relaxation for six weekly home visits. The instruments selected showed sensitivity, although there was a large variation among the groups. There was a significant difference in the composite of interference on the Brief Pain Inventory (t = -2.71, p = .035). The mean score of the fatigue subscale of the Profile of Moods decreased (ns) in the HT group and in the subscale of confusion yet remained stable in the control group. The Diener Satisfaction With Life Scale showed increased well-being in the HT group and no change in the control group. Participants reported various experiences with HT sessions indicating that it may have benefit in the complex response to chronic pain.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuralgia / etiology
  • Neuralgia / psychology
  • Neuralgia / rehabilitation*
  • Pain / rehabilitation
  • Pilot Projects
  • Quality of Life
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / psychology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Therapeutic Touch / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome