Healing by Gentle Touch/Cancer

Evaluation of healing by gentle touch in 35 clients with cancer

Clare Weze a, Helen L. Leathard , , a, John Grange b, Peter Tiplady c and Gretchen Stevens d

a School of Health, Medical Sciences and Social Work, Faculty of Health & Social Care, St. Martin's College, Lancaster LA1 3JD, UK b Centre for Infectious Diseases and International Health, Royal Free and University College Medical School, 46 Cleveland Street, London W1P 6DB, UK c Meadowcroft, Wetheral, Carlisle, Cumbria CA4 8JG, UK d Centre for Complementary Care, Eskdale, Cumbria CA18 1RT, UK


An uncontrolled, preliminary evaluation of healing by gentle touch in clients with cancer was carried out at The Centre for Complementary Care in Eskdale, Cumbria.

All clients attending The Centre between 1995 and 2001 were invited to participate. Data were collected from 35 clients with cancer.

Outcome measures included pre- to post-treatment changes in physical and psychological functioning. Assessments were made 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 psychological and physical functioning, with positive effects on quality of life.

The most pronounced improvements were seen in ratings for stress and relaxation, severe pain/discomfort, and depression/anxiety, particularly in those with the most severe symptoms on entry.

The study found no adverse effects resulting from the treatment.

These findings indicate that healing is a safe and effective adjunct to conventional medical treatment with the potential to ameliorate some of the more stressful aspects of cancer, including those inherent in current cancer treatment strategies.

Rigorous evaluation of this modality by prospective, randomised, controlled trial is strongly warranted, as are investigations into its potential for use in palliative care.

European Journal of Oncology Nursing Volume 8, Issue 1 , March 2004, Pages 40-49

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