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School of Nursing Faculty Publishes in Journal of Holistic Nursing

Marty Downey

Marty Downey, associate professor in the School of Nursing, along with the Wood River St Luke’s Research Fellowship team, published an article in the Journal of Holistic Nursing in Oct. 2015.

The article, “Effects of Healing Touch on Postsurgical Adult Patients”, outlines a study designed to determine whether a healing touch treatment would have an effect on pain, anxiety, blood pressure, and pulse rate in adult postoperative out-patients. The study consisted of two groups of out-patients, one being treated with traditional nursing care and one being treated with healing touch in addition to traditional nursing care

Healing touch is an energy-based approach to health and healing. The goal of healing touch is to restore harmony and balance in the energy system, enhancing the client’s ability to self-heal. The human energy field is affected by healing touch as it facilitates balance by using intention and light touch between practitioner and patient to promote relaxation and self-healing.

According to their results, healing touch treatment was at least as effective as traditional nursing care for reduction of pain and more effective in reducing anxiety. However, neither group showed any difference in blood pressure or pulse after treatments. The results of the study showed that healing touch is an appropriate modality to decrease anxiety, may be appropriate for pain reduction, and may decrease the amount of narcotics needed postoperatively. The findings support the use of healing touch as an effective complementary intervention for surgical outpatients, however, the authors recommend additional research. Read the full article here.