Integrative review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of therapeutic touch as a therapeutic intervention

2017-02-08T05:17:41Z (GMT) by Colgan, Stephen
In 1972, Dolores Krieger and Dora Kunz developed Therapeutic Touch as a healing modality for use by health professionals. Proponents of Therapeutic Touch claim that the effectiveness of the practice is well supported by a substantive amount of rigorously controlled and methodologically sound scientific research. In recent years Therapeutic Touch has come under increasing criticism from members of the nursing profession and skeptical organizations in Australia and the United States. This study examined the effectiveness of Therapeutic Touch using a prototype research design for integrative review and meta-analysis developed by Smith & Stullenbarger (1991). A total sample of forty-one studies into Therapeutic Touch were collected, of which 15 (37%) were examined in the integrative review and seven (17%) in the meta-analytic components of the study. The effect sizes of the seven studies in the meta-analysis combined to return large positive treatment effects. The probability values (one-tailed) associated with these results were such that they were extremely unlikely to have occurred simply due to chance. The Fail-safe number of 29.79 associated with these results is inadequate and so the results of this meta-analysis are very likely to be overturned by future research. The diffuse comparison of significance levels and effect sizes, disjoint cluster analysis and funnel plotting, all demonstrated significant heterogeneity. Indicating that the studies in the meta-analysis may be seen to represent different sub-populations of study outcomes, which may not be representative of the total population of Therapeutic Touch studies. The findings of this study did not support the claims of Therapeutic Touch proponents. The findings of this study, within the limitations imposed by the sample and the methodology used, provide support for the findings of the Claman Report (University of Colorado Report on Touch Therapy). To date, the limited amount of research into Therapeutic Touch and the quality of that research is insufficient to establish the efficacy of the practice. Statistical and meta-analytic calculations within the study were performed using SPSS version 6.1 (Student edition) and Mullen's (1989) Advanced BASIC Meta-analysis program.