This study describes the phenomenon of caring touch from the patients' perspective in an anthroposophic clinical context where caring touch is often used to promote health and alleviate suffering. The aim of the study was to explore and phenomenologically describe the phenomenon of caring touch from the patients' perspectives. The study has been carried out with a Reflective Lifeworld Research approach in order to understand and describe human existential phenomena. Ten female patients were interviewed in an anthroposophic clinic in Sweden. The findings show how caring touch has multifaceted meanings and makes the patients' feel present and anchored in a meaningful context. The patients' feel that they are seen, accepted and confirmed. Furthermore, touch creates a caring space where the patients become receptive for care and has the power to alleviate the patients' suffering, as well as to frighten and cause or worsen the suffering. In order to take advantage of the caring potential, the patient needs to be invited to a respectful and sensitive form of touch. An interpersonal flexible space is necessary where the touch can be effective, and where a dynamic interplay can develop. In conclusion, caring touch is an opportunity for carers to support well-being and health. The carers need to approach their patients in both a sensitive and reflective way. A caring science perspective can serve as a help to further understand touch as a unique caring act.
Keywords: anthroposophy; caring science; caring touch; lifeworld; patient perspective; phenomenology.
© 2015 Nordic College of Caring Science.