CONTEXT: The use of complementary therapies in conjunction with conventional care has great potential to address patient pain, complication rates, and recovery time. Few studies of such therapies have been conducted in hospital settings where some of the most stressful procedures are performed on a regular basis. OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that patients receiving healing touch (HT) would see improved outcomes. DESIGN: Patients were randomized into 1 of 3 treatment groups: no intervention, partial intervention (visitors), and an HT group. SETTING: This study was conducted in an acute-care hospital in a large metropolitan area. PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Patients undergoing first-time elective coronary artery bypass surgery were invited to participate. There were 237 study subjects. INTERVENTION: HT is an energy-based therapeutic approach to healing that arose out of nursing in the early 1980s. HT aids relaxation and supports the body's natural healing process. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: This study consisted of 6 outcome measures: postoperative length of stay, incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation, use of anti-emetic medication, amount of narcotic pain medication, functional status, and anxiety. RESULTS: Analysis was conducted for all patients and separately by inpatient/outpatient status. Though no significant decrease in the use of pain medication, anti-emetic medication, or incidence of atrial fibrillation was observed, significant differences were noted in anxiety scores and length ofstay. All HT patients showed a greater decrease in anxiety scores when compared to the visitor and control groups. In addition, there was a significant difference in outpatient HT length of stay when compared to the visitor and control groups.
MacIntyre B, Hamilton J, Fricke T, Ma W, Mehle S, Michel M. Cardiovascular Telemetry, HealthEast Saint Joseph's Hospital, St Paul, Minnesota, USA. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 Jul-Aug;14(4):24-32.