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Public Health. 2005 Jan;119(1):3-10.

Evaluation of healing by gentle touch.

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Faculty of Health and Social Care, School of Health, Medical Sciences and Social Work, St Martin's College-Lancaster, Lancaster LA1 3JD, UK.



To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of healing by gentle touch in clients attending The Centre for Complementary Care (CCC) in Eskdale, Cumbria.


An evaluation of data collected by questionnaire over 6 years.


All clients attending the CCC between 1995 and 2001 were invited to participate in this study, and data were collected from 300 subjects with a wide range of ailments who received four treatment sessions within 6 weeks. Exclusion criteria were: recent treatment at the CCC; failure to complete four treatment sessions; and age under 16 years. Outcome measures included comparison of pre- and post-treatment levels of physical (pain, disability, immobility, sleep disturbances, reliance upon medication, daily activities) and psychological (stress, panic, fear, anger, relaxation, coping, depression/anxiety) functioning; these were assessed using a questionnaire with visual analogue scales for subjective rating of symptoms and the EuroQoL (EQ-5D), a generic state-of-health measure.


Wilcoxon signed ranks tests showed statistically significant improvements in both psychological and physical functioning, particularly in stress reduction (median stress levels fell by four points), pain relief (median pain ratings fell by two points), increased ability to cope (median improvement of three points) and increased general health ratings (median improvement of 20 points) between study entry and end of treatment (P < 0.0004 for all these symptoms). The most substantial improvements were seen in those with the most severe symptoms at study entry. No adverse effects of treatment were documented.


This audit of treatment outcomes provides evidence consistent with the hypothesis that healing, as provided at the CCC, was associated with improved psychological and physical functioning in the majority of subjects, and is worthy of further evaluation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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