Researchers study effects of ‘healing’ touch

July 7th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 7 (IANS) Often, a mother’s touch lulls her bawling baby into quietude and restfulness. Now, as part of a new study, researchers are pairing ‘Healing Touch’ therapy with mild sedation to see if it calms patients undergoing minor procedures, ScienceDaily reported.

‘Healing Touch’ is a series of techniques seeking to harmonise energies within a person’s body, mind and soul. It can be used along with other traditional medical treatments.

Nathan Schmulewitz, of the University of Cincinnati and co-author of the study, said people undergoing procedures often have problems falling asleep because of anxiety.

Schmulewitz specialises in endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), a technique for imaging and accessing deep structures in the chest and abdomen near the gastrointestinal tract. EUS is used as a screening tool for cancer or other suspicious polyps.

If a patient is unable to fall asleep with intravenous sedation, it might be necessary to use stronger anaesthesia that is expensive and not often covered by insurance companies.

The study is examining whether ‘Healing Touch’ with mild sedation prior to an EUS procedure can help relax patients, avoiding problems with anaesthesia and making the procedure run more smoothly.

Judy Bowers, a nurse at University Hospital, ‘Healing Touch’ practitioner and co-author of the study, has been doing this therapy for about seven years and has administered it to over 40 patients involved in this study.

As part of the study, a third party calls the patient two days after the procedure to ask a number of questions about how ‘Healing Touch’ affected the patient during the EUS and recovery.

The results are being analysed, but Bowers said she’s observed some fairly positive responses.

“Some of the patients are asleep before they even receive intravenous sedation,” she said, noting that she stays with patients throughout the procedure in order to continue sharing her energy with them and maintaining the balance.

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