Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies


Holistic Health

First Advisor

Carol Geisler


Holistic Health Studies


Hospital nurses form the backbone of patient care in America. Due to the highly charged, stressful environment, hospital nurses self-report increases in stress, fatigue, anxiety, health concerns and declining well-being which can lead to burnout, impaired patient care, or career changes. Holistic interventions such as Healing Touch (HT) relieve stress and promote healing. The purpose of our research is to describe the impact of HT on stress levels in hospital nurses. For this empirical, quasi-experimental pilot study, with a pre-test post-test design, we used a convenience sample of urban hospital nurses (n=11) and paired them up with a Healing Touch Practitioner (HTP) to receive 3-4 sessions of HT prior to their shifts over a 6-week period. Instruments included the Depression Anxiety Stress Survey (DASS-21), Stress Thermometer, BP measurements, and journaling. Changes in BP measurements were not significant. However, changes in the DASS-21 were statistically significant. In their journals, most nurses reported stress relief, a sense of calmness, and centered mindfulness, whereas a few nurses reported no change from the HT. Qualitative and quantitative data suggest that HT reduces stress levels in hospital nurses, but more research is needed to look at the lasting effects and researchers would do well to compare to shifts with HT sessions before them to shifts without HT sessions. HT shows promise for stress relief for nurses and hospitals should consider offering HT sessions as a stress-reducing intervention. Implications for future research include conducting the study for a more extended period, use of daily Stress Thermometers, a larger sample size (including a control group), increased resources, and having only one journal question.