Remember the comfort you felt as a child when someone held or touched your hand during a particularly stressful time? Nine times out of 10 that touch eased worry and provided a sense of calm and peace—a comfort touch.
What is the Origin of Comfort Touch®?
Sometimes those who are elderly, alone or battling advanced illness no longer know the simple joy and healing benefits of human touch. But they remember that childhood touch was a comfort in their time of need.
In 1989, a licensed massage therapist started to see hospice patients in Boulder, Colorado. Her experience with these patients, who benefited from the simple act of touch, changed her life on both a professional and personal level. As a result of her observation, Mary Kathleen Rose developed Comfort Touch specifically for her patients who were elderly and compromised by pain and illness. Chapters Health System and its affiliates—Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice—offer this therapy to patients who can benefit from decreased pain and stress relief.
What is Comfort Touch Exactly?
Comfort Touch is based on six guiding principles. The provider:
- Slows down to connect with the patient
- Maintains a clear intent to offer comfort
- Demonstrates an attitude that is respectful of the patient being touched
- Applies pressure directly into the center of the body part being touched
- Provides contact that is broad
- Provides contact that is encompassing
Comfort Touch is also the following:
- A type of complementary therapy
- A form of acupressure applied to promote deep relaxation and relief from pain
- Not a massage but rather rhythmic gentle pressure to specific points on the hands and feet
How Can Comfort Touch Help Hospice Patients?
If part of a hospice patient’s plan of care, Comfort Touch assists in managing symptoms and promoting quality of life. Since it does not require the use of oil or lotion, patients are fully clothed for the therapy. Comfort Touch is performed wherever patients call home—residence, assisted living facility, nursing home or inpatient facility.
Please note that Comfort Touch may not be appropriate for all hospice patients.