Effects of Healing Touch on Postsurgical Adult Outpatients

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This prospective pilot study was implemented to determine whether a Healing Touch (HT) treatment postoperatively would have an effect on pain, anxiety, blood pressure, and pulse rate in adult postoperative outpatients. Using a randomized control trial design, participants were assigned to a control or intervention group. The control group received traditional nursing care (TNC), and the intervention group received a HT treatment in addition to TNC. Pre- and postdata collection included measurement of pain, anxiety, blood pressure, and pulse. HT treatment was at least as effective as TNC for reduction in pain and more effective in reducing anxiety. Posttreatment anxiety ratings in the intervention group had a significant decrease (0.55; p = .029), while the reduction in anxiety in the control group was not significant (0.25; p = .22). Neither group showed any difference pre- versus posttreatment in blood pressure or pulse. The intervention group had a decrease in pain rating of 1.0 (p < .001), and the control group had a decrease of 0.64 (p = .02). There was a trend toward a decrease in the use of narcotics with HT. HT is an appropriate modality to decrease anxiety, may be appropriate for pain reduction, and may decrease the amount of narcotics needed postoperatively. Patient comments reflected the relaxing effects of receiving HT. The findings support the use of HT as an effective complementary intervention for surgical outpatients, however additional research is recommended.