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The results indicated that most studies expressed a positive and significant association between therapeutic touch and dependent variables nausea, pain, quality of life, fatigue and temper. The sample size ranged from 35 to participants. The participants were adults with an age range of 18 to 83 who had not a wide range of cancer diagnoses except in the study of Weze breast, gastrointestinal, gynecological, lung, undisclosed and in the study of Post-white with two breast and gynecology cancers. All the participants in the studies varied in degree from the stage 1 up to the advanced, metastatic cancer.

All the studies had used control groups in order for comparison with the intervention and only the study by Weze was a single group study The number of therapeutic touch sessions ranged from one session 20 to six sessions A variety of measurement instruments were used to assess fatigue, pain, and nausea across the studies. However, Matourpour only made use of the check list. In a single-blind clinical trial study conducted by Matourpour et al.

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TT was immediately performed after chemotherapy. The results showed that the nausea was significantly shorter for the intervention group compared to the placebo and the control groups. However, the TT intervention did not result in the reduced the severity of nausea in the intervention group. Moreover, the number of incidence of nausea in the acute phase was also significant in the intervention group in comparison with the other two groups Post-white et al. The results demonstrated a greater relaxed feeling and short-term pain reduction, along with less disturbed mood and fatigue in the patients in the intervention group with the touch and massage therapies compared to the patients in the control group.

The researchers concluded that the use of various methods of alternative medicine to relieve pain in patients with chronic pain may be more beneficial than relying on a single approach Moreover, Cook et al. In this study, the intervention group had a greater improvement than the control group in terms of quality of life. Additionally, the improvement in physical function, pain and vitality was observed in the intervention group compared to the control group The results of this study indicate that therapeutic touch can cause the pain reduction in the breast and oncology cancers.

Furthermore, the results of a study by Weze et al. In the studies on cancer patients, significant findings have been reported. Even in the absence of significant results in outcomes studied, therapeutic touch recipients often reported subjective benefits, including improved mood, well-being, and interpersonal relationships, reduction in pain, nausea, anxiety, and fatigue, increase in vitality, and satisfaction with the touch therapy.

In a descriptive study on patients with fibromyalgia, Diener et al. Moreover, the participants reported relaxation, spiritual uplifting, and greater mobility In addition, Meehan et al. Evanoff by investigating the effect of therapeutic touch on the degree of pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee came to the conclusion that therapeutic touch can reduce pain and improve function in patients The results obtained from four studies on elderly people proved to be positive regardless of the diagnosis.

Effect of Therapeutic Touch in Patients with Cancer: a Literature Review

Physical status such as pain, appetite, and sleep were enhanced; behavioral markers such as worry, outbursts, and restlessness were decreased; and behaviors that made the jobs of the staff easier, such as compliance with daily routine, decreased medications, and increased functional ability, all supported the use of TT for this population Significant decreases in pain, nausea, and anxiety were immediately observed following the intervention on post-operative days one and two, and in pain and anxiety on the post-operative day three compared with the pre-intervention levels.

These findings indicated that the TT intervention was feasible and acceptable to patients undergoing bariatric surgery, and significantly improved pain, nausea, and anxiety in them Coakley believes that the energy therapy can be used to improve various symptoms in patients with cancer. In a similar vein, studies have also shown that such holistic interferences are greatly demanded by the patients The goal of TT is to restore balance, harmony, and a sense of well-being. TT is based on a compassionate intention directed through light touch or placement of the hands just off the body which is often performed by nurses Various mechanisms have been proposed to enhance the TT effectiveness.

Physiologically, bio-field therapies such as TT appear to affect the autonomic nervous system, altering the high frequency to low frequency ratio of heart rate variability, reflecting a greater parasympathetic tone and decreasing the sympathetic activation Some studies suggested that biofield healing may decrease stress and enhance immune function 30 , It is also possible for the relaxation response to help explain the effects of TT TT has been shown to increase well-being in cervical and breast cancer patients during radiation 21 , 23 and to reduce distress and fatigue during chemotherapy TT has also a series of benefits in reducing anxiety, increasing relaxation, decreasing pain, diminishing depression, and increasing a sense of well-being 36 , Although treatment for cancer is recognized as stressful and impairing to quality of life, few TT interventions have been shown to be efficacious in lessening treatment-related symptoms The ease of training and feasibility in multiple settings without the need for special tools also make touch therapy a good option for many patients and caregivers.

Thus, TT might be a convenient measure for patients undergoing cancer treatment. The current study indicates that some limitations are notable in the conducted studies. None of the studies included in this review provided a clear rationale for the treatment specificity or duration. Moreover, the studies showed substantial differences in frequency of interventions which were performed every day, once a week, and twice a week. The length of treatment sessions ranged from 10—40 minutes; however, the average time was usually from 10—45 minutes In the most reviewed studies, the role of some intervening variables such as physical activity, psychological problems and gender was overlooked, or not mentioned.

Moreover, methodology differences are observable in the reviewed studies, the most important of which is the failure to provide any credible references to indicate the number of TT sessions. The length of the study ranged from one day to six weeks; however, the average length was 4 - 6 weeks 11 , Most samples selected in the studies were diagnosed with breast cancer which was probably due to their greater prevalence and better uniformity in the designs of the studies.

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Moreover, given the high incidence of cancer, it is necessary to investigate the TT function and impacts on individuals and men with various types of cancer. Participants generally reported the improved quality of life physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.


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Studying the different research in the field of TT revealed that none of the studies had pointed to any considerable side effects. However, some patients with chronic diseases were reported to have light-headedness, dizziness, irritability following the bio-field therapy This study was conducted in the form of a literature review.

A search strategy was created with the help of an information specialist. To reduce subjective selection bias, the inclusion process and the quality of the articles were carefully assessed by four independent researchers. However, there are some limitations to this study. First, the searches were limited to the period between and early Second, there was a risk of language bias as the papers in any language other than English were excluded. Third, there was a possibility for selecting only positive research due to the publication bias. Therefore, further studies are required to be conducted to reduce such limitations.

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Based on the results of this review, an affirmation can be made regarding the use of therapeutic touch as a non-invasive intervention for improving the health status in patients with cancer. It also seems that this method can be used as a safe method in the management of physical function, pain, anxiety, and nausea in cancer patients. Training TT to those interested to the field can possibly be of great help in caring for cancer patients and reducing complications of the disease.

However, further studies are needed to explore the impact of TT on additional clinically relevant measures. Europe PMC requires Javascript to function effectively. Recent Activity.

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  • Med Arch. Published online Apr 1. PMID: Corresponding author: Mansoureh Zagheri Tafreshi. E-mail: moc. Received Feb 15; Accepted Mar This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Background: The use of complementary and alternative medicine CAM techniques has been growing.


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    • Methods: Electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, Scholar Google, and Science Direct were searched from the year to to locate potentially relevant peer-reviewed articles using the key words therapeutic touch, touch therapy, neoplasm, cancer, and CAM. Results: The number of articles was found on the basis of the key words, of which 17 articles related to the clinical trial were examined in accordance with the objectives of the study. Conclusion: Based on the results of this study, an affirmation can be made regarding the use of TT, as a non-invasive intervention for improving the health status in patients with cancer.

      Keywords: therapeutic touch, touch therapy, cancer, literature review. FINDINGS The number of articles was found on the basis of the key words, of which articles were excluded after carrying out the investigation process and 17 articles related to the clinical trial were examined in accordance with the objectives of the study. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Table 1.

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      Outcome measures A variety of measurement instruments were used to assess fatigue, pain, and nausea across the studies. The length of the study ranged from one day to six weeks; however, the average length was 4 - 6 weeks 11 , 34 Most samples selected in the studies were diagnosed with breast cancer which was probably due to their greater prevalence and better uniformity in the designs of the studies. Strengths and limitations of this review This study was conducted in the form of a literature review.

      Cancer statistics CA Cancer J Clin. Daher M. Opioids for cancer pain in the Middle Eastern countries: a physician point of view. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol.