Objectives: Our objective was to assess the effect of Therapeutic Touch (TT) on the proliferation of normal human cells in culture compared to sham and no treatment. Several proliferation techniques were used to confirm the results, and the effect of multiple 10-minute TT treatments was studied.
Design: Fibroblasts, tendon cells (tenocytes), and bone cells (osteoblasts) were treated with TT, sham, or untreated for 2 weeks, and then assessed for [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation into the DNA, and immunocytochemical staining for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). The number of PCNA-stained cells was also quantified. For 1 and 2 weeks, varying numbers of 10-minute TT treatments were administered to each cell type to determine whether there was a dose-dependent effect.
Results: TT administered twice a week for 2 weeks significantly stimulated proliferation of fibroblasts, tenocytes, and osteoblasts in culture (p = 0.04, 0.01, and 0.01, respectively) compared to untreated control. These data were confirmed by PCNA immunocytochemistry. In the same experiments, sham healer treatment was not significantly different from the untreated cultures in any group, and was significantly less than TT treatment in fibroblast and tenocyte cultures. In 1-week studies involving the administration of multiple 10-minute TT treatments, four and five applications significantly increased [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation in fibroblasts and tenocytes, respectively, but not in osteoblasts. With different doses of TT for 2 weeks, two 10-minute TT treatments per week significantly stimulated proliferation in all cell types. Osteoblasts also responded to four treatments per week with a significant increase in proliferation. Additional TT treatments (five per week for 2 weeks) were not effective in eliciting increased proliferation compared to control in any cell type.
Conclusions: A specific pattern of TT treatment produced a significant increase in proliferation of fibro-blasts, osteoblasts, and tenocytes in culture. Therefore, TT may affect normal cells by stimulating cell proliferation.