HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Boston, Massachusetts, USA or Virtually from your home or work.

7th Edition of Nursing World Conference

October 16-18, 2023 | Boston, Massachusetts, USA

October 16 -18, 2023 | Boston, Massachusetts, USA
NWC 2018

Helena Martins

Speaker at Nursing World Conference 2018 - Helena Martins
Portuguese Catholic University, Portugal
Title : Therapeutic touch at neonatology – Development a model for nursing practice


During the presentation we will talk about Therapeutic Touch, its applicability and benefits in neonatology according to the review of the literature and will present the study project in progress.

Therapeutic Touch, also called the Krieger-Kunz method, was developed in the 1970s by Dolores Krieger, Professor of Nursing at New York University, along with Dora Kunz as a complementary therapeutic method. It´s an autonomous nursing intervention, which consists of the laying on of hands over the body of a person with the intention to harmonize the human energy field by directing the energy in order to restore the balance of the affected areas: weakened, absent or excess of energy. The practice of therapeutic touch requires a conscious, intentional and compassionate attitude of helping the other, being the nurse considered here as a perceptual extension of the patient.

According to the data of the World Health Organization 15 million babies are born prematurely each year, and 1 million of these children die in the first year of life from complications associated to prematurity. Portugal has a rate of premature babies' births which goes around 9%, being among the highest in Europe.

The scientific articles analysed in the literature review refer the importance of the use of TT intervention to promote relaxation in the new-born, with improvement on the vital parameters of the basal metabolism, with a decrease in pain, with improvement on weight and behavioural evolution. It is recommended a completion of further studies with well-defined methodologies, which assess the gains in health, as well as the cost and its effectiveness with this population, which is so vulnerable and sensitive to health care.


Given these recommendations, the study proposes to develop part of the following research question:

-Is the intervention of therapeutic touch in neonatology effective for health gains?

Aims to:

1) Develop a model of intervention, using the Therapeutic Touch technique, for the practice of nursing in Neonatology

2) Evaluate the effectiveness of this model in obtaining health gains

The intervention model of TT to develop will be based on the doctorate work directed by Mary Anne Hanley in her research, Therapeutic Touch with Preterm Infants: Composing the Treatment published in 2008.

A quantitative experimental study will be performed, developed in three phases, with the completion of a previous pilot study to test the instruments, setting the size of the sample and then the randomized controlled clinical trial with the intervention of TT, applied to population of hospitalized premature infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at a hospital in Northern Portugal.

Various physiological variables will be evaluated, behavioral, incidence of complications, delay of admission, and assessing the degree of satisfaction of parents and professionals from the team with the use of therapeutic touch.

At the end of the presentation we will perform a brief relaxation session and practice of therapeutic touch directed to the interested participants.

Audience Take Away:

  • Assess the state of the art about using TT in neonatology.
  • Identify the benefits of TT practice in Neonatology.
  • To identify the possible gains in health with the practice of TT in Neonatology.
  • To recognize the TT technique as a form of empowerment for nursing.
  • To acquire knowledge about the practice of TT
  • The results of the study allow stimulating the development of TT practice in neonatology.
  • During the presentation, a brief explanation will be made about the practice of the TT technique, which can be used in the practice of nursing care or in self-application.
  • This study aims to contribute to increase the current scientific knowledge on TT in neonatology
  • This research may help other researchers to expand their research on the topic.
  • It can stimulate the practice of TT in other health units.
  • It can improve the quality of the nursing practice in neonatology.
  • It can increase the satisfaction on the health working teams and parents of children in neonatology.
  • It can help design education programs and standardize TT intervention practices in neonatology in order to be used in health organizations.
  • It can be used as a basis for dissemination to the general public and for promotion of the TT as a way to emphasize the relationship between premature infants and their parents, and to promote joint work with associations of parents of premature infants.


Helena Martins is a nurse since January 1986, graduated in nursing with specialisation in Medical Surgical Nursing by the Portuguese Catholic University; she is also a student of the XIII Doctorate Course in Nursing from the Health Sciences Institute of the UCP.

She is currently the head nurse of the Pediatrics service at the Hospital of Braga, Portugal; worked in operating room, emergency service, bed management and training department. For 7 years she was the responsible for the training department of nursing in the Hospital of Braga, and during 2 years she was the national coordinator of nursing training at the CUF Academy, from José de Mello Saúde.

She has TT training certification from the Therapeutic Touch International Association. She is the nurse coordinator of the Holistic Nursing Center Enjoy Oneself, which is a Global Associates representing the Watson Caring Science Institute in Portugal. She has several participations on Therapeutic Touch in several national and European scientific events