Therapeutic touch for elders in pain who are undergoing OT after surgery: A research article review

Non-contact therapeutic touch (NCTT) is a holistic healing modality, this is a review of a research study done on elders who are undergoing Occupational Therapy (OT) after surgery to reduce pain. This study demonstrated that NCTT is in fact effective for reducing perceived pain in elders. ‘Using non-contact therapeutic touch to manage post-surgical pain in the elderly’ is a remarkable article that demonstrates the value of health care providers to practice therapeutic touch on patients to reduce pain and increase well-being. NCTT promotes good health, wellness, and healing which improves all areas of life. A brief overview NCTT is the practice of directing healing energy to the client by centering, using mindfulness meditation and setting the intention to help or heal (Guy, McCormack, 2009). NCTT practitioners learn to relax so they can allow optimal healing ability. Energy healing is done by channeling life force energy through the hands and into the client. The frequencies coming from the hands of the healer are similar to the Earth’s frequencies and facilitates homeostasis in the person’s body (McCormack, 2009). Having a good imagination, understanding of consciousness, and connection to higher power is important for this energy healing practice to work. NCTT is performed in four phases: centering, assessment, un-ruffling the field, and intervention or modulation (McCormack, 2009). NCTT effects the electro bio-magnetic field of the client and tests were done to verify the changes in the energy field of the client. NCTT invokes a relaxation response to reduce anxiety and improve the mood. NCTT is widely used throughout hospitals, rehab centers, hospice care, and assisted living facilities because there are many benefits from NCTT such as improved sleep, immune function, increased social interactions, and improved daily functions (McCormack, 2009).

  The purpose of this research study was to find out the effects NCTT had on the perceived pain of elders who were receiving OT after having surgery. Participants were randomly selected from a convenience sample of 90 elders. Numerous tests were given to the experimental group after receiving NCTT.  The control group and placebo group had no NCTT. Most all of the experimental group experienced a decrease in pain after receiving NCTT when the other two groups experienced an increase in pain. The reduction in pain supports the efficacy of NCTT to help elders cope with post surgical pain, also NCTT can be integrated with medications to improve the lives of elders (McCormack, 2009). NCTT is cost effective way for OT’s to integrate into their therapy and with studies such as this, there should be an increase in usage of energy healing modalities used throughout the health care system.


McCormack, G. (2009). Using non-contact therapeutic touch to manage post-surgical pain in the elderly. Occup.Ther. Int. 16 (1): 44-56. DOI: 10.1002/oti.264

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