Therapeutic touch for anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are a common occurrence in the general population and have considerable impact on quality of life. This review aimed to assess the effectiveness of therapeutic touch on anxiety disorders. However no randomised controlled trials investigating the effects of therapeutic touch for anxiety disorders were identified, and highlights the need for high quality randomised controlled trials on this topic.

Authors' conclusions: 

Given the high prevalence of anxiety disorders and the current paucity of evidence on therapeutic touch in this population, there is a need for well conducted randomised controlled trials to examine the effectiveness of therapeutic touch for anxiety disorders.

Read the full abstract...

Anxiety disorders are a common occurrence in today's society. There is interest from the community in the use of complementary therapies for anxiety disorders. This review examined the currently available evidence supporting the use of therapeutic touch in treating anxiety disorders.


To examine the efficacy and adverse effects of therapeutic touch for anxiety disorders.

Search strategy: 

We searched the Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Controlled Trials Registers (CCDANCTR-Studies and CCDANCTR-References) (search date 13/01/06), the Controlled Trials website and Dissertation Abstracts International. Searches of reference lists of retrieved papers were also carried out and experts in the field were contacted.

Selection criteria: 

Inclusion criteria included all published and unpublished randomised and quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing therapeutic touch with sham (mimic) TT, pharmacological therapy, psychological treatment, other treatment or no treatment /waiting list.The participants included adults with an anxiety disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV),the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), validated diagnostic instruments, or other validated clinician or self-report instruments.

Data collection and analysis: 

Two review authors independently applied inclusion criteria. Further information was sought from trialists where papers contained insufficant information to make a decision about eligibility.

Main results: 

No randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of therapeutic touch for anxiety disorders were identified.