Non-contact therapeutic touch intervention and full-thickness cutaneous wounds: a replication

Author: Wirth DP//Richardson JT//Martinez RD//Eidelman WS//Lopez ME
Affiliation: Healing Sciences Research International. California, USA
Conference/Journal: Complementary Therapies in Medicine
Date published: 1996
Other: Volume ID: 4 , Pages: 237-240 , Word Count: 277


The study described here utilized a randomized double blind methodological protocol in order to examine the effect of non-contact therapeutic touch (NCTT) on the healing rate of full-thickness human dermal wounds. This study is the fifth experiment in a series of extensions based on the original research design, and is an exact methodological replication of the second study in the series. Thirty-two healthy subjects were randomly divided into treatment and control groups and biopsies were performed on the lateral deltoid and assessed at day 5 and day 10. Treatment and control group conditions included 5 min of exposure to a hidden non-contact therapeutic touch practitioner, who was working through a one-way mirror and control exposure, respectively.

The results of the study indicated a statistically significant rate of wound re-epithchialization at day 10, although in the opposite direction from that hypothesized. While the study was inconclusive in demonstrating the efficacy of non-contact therapeutic touch therapy, the findings of the experiment were nevertheless considered important because of the possible inhibitory response exhibited by the treatment group. This response was indicated by data analysis which demonstrated that the treated group inhibited no fully healed wounds by day 10, in comparison to the control group which exhibited four fully healed wounds. This fact, coupled with the observation that the healer's ill health resulted in the treatment group subjects experiencing adverse physiological reactions during the healing sessions, indicated that an inhibitory effect had occurred.

The study is the first of its kind to indicate an inhibitory effect utilizing a randomized double-blind methodological protocol wherein the healer was physically isolated from the subjects, and the participants were concomitantly unaware of the physical and psychological state of the healer.

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