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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Researchers say 'rub it better'
Woman's hands
Touch-healing involves applying gentle pressure to a patient's body
Healing by "rubbing it better" really could help treat injuries and illnesses, according to a new study.

University of Cumbria researchers said the technique, popular with parents of young children, actually helps relieve pain and reduce stress.

The data, from 300 patients, was provided by the Centre for Complementary Care in Muncaster.

The research team stressed that the method could complement, but not replace, conventional medicine.

Gentle touch-healing involves applying non-invasive pressure to the patient's head, chest, arms, legs and feet.

All those treated showed significant improvements in psychological and physical functioning, particularly in stress reduction, pain relief, increased ability to cope and increased general health.

Substantial improvements

Clients with cancer, musculo-skeletal ailments and with mental health disorders or psychological stress showed clear benefits.

Substantial improvements were seen in clients with the most severe symptoms.

Helen Leathard, Professor of Healing Science at the University of Cumbria, said: "On the basis of this sound evidence, healing by gentle touch should play a part in the treatment of people with cancer, mental health problems, or a wide variety of illnesses where help with pain or stress reduction will enhance their wellbeing.

"The treatment provided at the Centre for Complementary Care is beneficial and well regarded by many doctors and nurses in the Cumbria area, where this research was conducted."

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