A new study, by researchers in Colorado, claims that patients recovering from a bone marrow transplant heal faster with touch and massage therapy. Researchers said that in the recent years people are becoming more aware of alternative therapies which have been shown by research to have a positive effect. Among these therapies, Therapeutic touch therapy and massage therapy have received much scrutiny. Researchers, who explained that touch is a natural and essential instrument of healing, involved, for the study, patients who were assigned to either a touch therapy group, a massage therapy group, or a friendly visit group. The subjects were given their respective intervention the day after they started chemotherapy and then every three days until they were discharged from the program.
Researchers found that there was significant improvements in patient perceptions and comfort levels when touch or massage therapy was provided. Patients receiving massage therapy also had fewer central nervous system or neurological complications. The study's positive results however, must be taken with a pinch of salt, as there were other aspects, like high patient withdrawal(27 dropouts from the initial target of 88) and unhappiness of patients in being assigned to a particular group, that do not completely warrant the outcomes. However, researchers believe massage and touch therapies hold a potential to help ease suffering among patients and that more clinical trials are necessary to examine the efficacy and effectiveness of these therapies.