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The effects of therapeutic touch and relaxation therapy in reducing anxiety.


This study examines the effects of two noninvasive procedures on experienced anxiety. Thirty-one inpatients of a Veterans Administration psychiatric facility were randomly assigned to one of two treatment conditions, (therapeutic touch and relaxation therapy) or to a therapeutic touch placebo condition. An additional 13 patients were excluded because of failure to meet criteria for the study or failure to complete the procedures. Each subject completed a self-report anxiety measure and was rated for amount of motor activity before and after each of two 15-minute treatment sessions in a 24-hour period. Subjects' belief in the effectiveness of the intervention was measured. Expectancy did not correlate with outcome and was not analyzed further. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed that whereas relaxation therapy provided significant reduction of anxiety on the self-report measure and the movement measure, the nursing intervention of therapeutic touch resulted in significant reductions of reported anxiety. The control group showed small but nonsignificant effects. Results suggests that both relaxation and therapeutic touch are effective palliatives to experienced anxiety. Implications for nursing theory are discussed.

Authors+Show Affiliations


Togus Veterans Administration Medical, ME.


Archives of psychiatric nursing 8:3 1994 Jun pg 184-9


Anxiety Disorders
Middle Aged
Multivariate Analysis
Patient Satisfaction
Psychiatric Nursing
Relaxation Therapy

Pub Type(s)

Clinical Trial
Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.



PubMed ID