* Originally published in Knowledge & Society12, 319–341, published by JAI Press. It is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author and JAI Press.
Therapeutic touch and postmodernism in nursing*
Version of Record online: 7 JAN 2004
Volume 2, Issue 3, pages 196–212, October 2001
How to Cite
Glazer, S. (2001), Therapeutic touch and postmodernism in nursing. Nursing Philosophy, 2: 196–212. doi: 10.1046/j.1466-769X.2000.00061.x
1 The Colorado State Board of Nursing accepted the courses for continuing education credits. The state board dropped continuing education requirements for relicensure in January 1994.
2 In 1994, a committee of professors in nursing, medicine and psychiatry convened by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center concluded, ‘There is virtually no acceptable scientific evidence concerning the existence or nature of these energy fields’ (quoted in Glazer, 1995a, p. 16).
3 Interview by Sarah Glazer with Susan Gortner, December 1999.
4Gross & Levitt (1998, p. 139) argue that Kuhn is ‘a firm believer in scientific progress and in the power of science to “solve puzzles”’.
5 The National Cancer Institute (NCI) rejected the recommendations of the National Institutes of Health panel. The NCI recommended in 1997 that women in their 40s have mammograms every 1–2 years. Critics of this recommendation charged it was the result of political pressure from members of Congress, rather than a scientifically based conclusion.
6 Over 25 research reports claiming to use Heideggerian philosophy were published in nursing journals between 1987 and 1997. Many reports include references to both Husserl and Heidegger. The notion of applying Heideggerian thought to nursing was introduced by P. Benner, according to Draucker (1999).
7 It is not clear that Husserl's use of the term ‘brackets’ means what nurses say it means when they claim to ‘bracket’ their biases in research, thus presumably eliminating them. Nurses have been criticized by John Paley (1997) for misconstruing Husserl's concept. In Husserl's own words ‘We may also radically leave the natural attitude, put the subjects we were concerned with there in brackets (my emphasis) and instead reflect on our own consciousness and its structures' (quoted in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1998, p. 575).
8 Interview by Sarah Glazer with Susan Gortner, December 1999.
9 E-mail from Kevin Courcey to Sarah Glazer, 5 December 1999.
10 Interview by Sarah Glazer with Linda Rosa, 22 December 1999.
- Issue online: 7 JAN 2004
- Version of Record online: 7 JAN 2004
- therapeutic touch;
Abstract Therapeutic touch, a healing technique based upon the laying-on of hands, has found wide acceptance in the nursing profession despite its lack of scientific plausibility. Its acceptance is indicative of a broad antiscientific trend in nursing. Adherents of this movement use the jargon of postmodern philosophy to justify their enthusiasm for a variety of mystically based techniques, citing such postmodern critics of science as Derrida and Michel Foucault as well as philosophical forerunners Heidegger and Husserl. Between 1997 and 1999, 94 articles in nursing journals referred to postmodernism, according to a database search. This paper criticizes the postmodern movement for abandoning the biological underpinnings of nursing and for misreading philosophy in the service of an antiscientific world-view. It is also suggested that nursing can retain its tradition of ‘caring’ without abandoning the scientific method.