Previous studies on healing by gentle touch in clients with various illnesses indicated substantial improvements in psychological well-being, suggesting that this form of treatment might be helpful for people with impaired quality of mental health. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of healing by gentle touch in subjects with self-reported impairments in their psychological well-being or mental health. One hundred and forty-seven clients who identified themselves as having psychological problems received four treatment sessions. Pre- to post-treatment changes in psychological and physical functioning were assessed by self-completed questionnaires which included visual analogue scales (VAS) and the EuroQoL (EQ-5D). Participants recorded reductions in stress, anxiety and depression scores and increases in relaxation and ability to cope scores (all P < 0.0004). Improvements were greatest in those with the most severe symptoms initially. This open study provides strong circumstantial evidence that healing by gentle touch is safe and effective in improving psychological well-being in participants with self-reported psychological problems, and also that it safely complements standard medical treatment. Controlled trials are warranted
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