Research: LU and COLLEAGUES,

Listed in Issue 255


LU and COLLEAGUES, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Dr Lu); and College of Nursing (Dr Hart and Mrs Oh), Department of Psychology (Dr Lutgendorf), and Department of Medicine, College of Medicine (Dr Silverman), University of Iowa conducted a randomized prospective trial comparing the efficacy of healing touch (HT) and relaxation therapy (RT) with patients undergoing stem cell transplant SCT.


Stem cell transplant (SCT), considered the current standard of care for adults with advanced cancers, can lead to substantial deconditioning and diminished well-being. Attending to life quality of SCT recipients is now viewed as essential. The objective of this study was to identify the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of healing touch (HT) and relaxation therapy (RT) with patients undergoing SCT.


A randomized prospective design compared 13 SCT patients who received HT daily while hospitalized to 13 similar SCT patients who received daily RT. The clinical outcomes of the 2 groups were also compared with retrospective clinical data of 20 patients who received SCT during the same year.


The mean age of participants was 57 years, with 54% receiving autologous and 46% receiving allogeneic transplants. All patients assigned to the HT group completed the protocol. Only 60% of the relaxation group completed the intervention. Both interventions produced improvement in psychosocial measures and a shorter hospital length of stay (LOS) than the historical group. Differential results for LOS were related to the type of transplant received. The LOS differences were not statistically significant but could be clinically significant.


Healing touch was a better tolerated modality by this population. Future research is needed to validate the LOS advantage of the HT and RT interventions, explore the differences in effect found with different transplant types, and identify patients who can tolerate RT. Implications For Practice: The LOS reduction could result in decreased cost. Second, mood and function improvements support quality of life during SCT treatment.


Lu DF1, Hart LK, Lutgendorf SK, Oh H, Silverman M. Effects of Healing Touch and Relaxation Therapy on Adult Patients Undergoing Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant: A Feasibility Pilot Study. Cancer Nurs. 39(3):E1-E11. May-JunĀ  2016. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000272.

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