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Physical touch in nursing studies: a literature review

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Abstract

Physical touch in nursing studies: a literature review

In nursing contexts a distinction is made between two types of touch: physical touch and therapeutic touch. Physical touch may be experienced as therapeutic, but that is not its explicit purpose in the same way as with therapeutic touch. Most of the touch studies reviewed in this article are from the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom and thus represent the culture of modern western society. The area covered by these studies is far from coherent, and even the results are to some extent contradictory. It follows that it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions from this review of the concepts, methods and main results of touch studies.

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