The effects of therapeutic touch on pain

J Holist Nurs. 2009 Jun;27(2):85-92. doi: 10.1177/0898010108327213. Epub 2009 Mar 19.


Purpose: To better understand how Therapeutic Touch can be used in today's health care arena, this integrative literature review will examine current research that will help answer the question, Does Therapeutic Touch reduce pain?

Method: An extensive search was conducted of the online databases MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, PsychLIT, and PubMed to retrieve research articles published from 1997 to 2007.

Findings: Seven studies that were conducted between 1997 and 2004 were found and only five of the seven were included as pertinent evidence to answer the question. All of the research that was reviewed to answer whether Therapeutic Touch could significantly reduce pain revealed a majority of statistically significant positive results for implementing this intervention.

Conclusion: Because there are no identified risks to Therapeutic Touch as a pain relief measure, it is safe to recommend despite the limitations of current research.

Implications: Therapeutic Touch should be considered among the many possible nursing interventions for the treatment of pain.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Holistic Health*
  • Holistic Nursing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Pain / nursing*
  • Therapeutic Touch / methods
  • Therapeutic Touch / nursing*
  • Treatment Outcome