Healing Touch

Healing Touch

PEP Topic 
Sleep-Wake Disturbances

Healing touch is an energy-based therapeutic approach to healing that uses touch to influence the body’s energy system, thus affecting physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health (Mentgen, 2001). The goal of healing touch is to restore balance in patients' energy systems, thereby placing them in positions to self-heal.

Mentgen, J. (2001). Healing touch. Holistic Nursing Care, 36, 143–157.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Weze, C., Leathard, H. L., Grange, J., Tiplady, P., & Stevens, G. (2004). Evaluation of healing by gentle touch in 35 clients with cancer. European Journal of Oncology Nursing, 8, 40–49.

doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2003.10.004

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

The healing touch method was a noninvasive, noncondition-specific method in which hands were placed on various parts of the body for about 40 minutes; particular attention was given to areas of pain or discomfort. Four one-hour sessions were conducted over four to six weeks (or withdrawn).

Sample Characteristics:

  • The sample was comprised of 35 patients (11 men and 23 women reported).
  • Mean age was 57 years (range 24–80).
  • About half of the sample had cancer for less than a year, and about half had cancer for one to five years.
  • Cancer types were mixed, but 40% of patients had advanced disease.


  • Outpatient center for complementary care
  • Eskdale, Cumbria

Phase of Care and Clinical Applications:

Patients were undergoing the active treatment and long-term follow-up phases of care.

Study Design:

The study used a one-group, pre- and posttest feasibility design.

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

  • EuroQol EQ-5D
  • Visual analog scales:  Sleep disturbance was scored from 0 to 3 (sleeping too much), 4 to 7 (sleeping well), and 8 to 10 (sleeping poorly).


A statistically significant improvement was found from pre- to posttest for sleep disturbance.


  • The study had a small sample size.
  • Healthcare providers must be trained in healing touch.
  • Participants’ baseline scores served as their own controls.