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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 5 (2008), Issue 1, Pages 103-105
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nel111
Original Article

Single-Blind and Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trials of Palmtherapy®, an Alternative Medical Approach, for Anxiety before Cardiac Catheterization

1Department of Cardiology, Barzilai Medical Center Campus, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2 Histadrut Street, Ashqelon 78306, Israel
2Invasive Cardiology Unit, Barzilai Medical Center Campus, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Ashkelon, Israel
3Department of Psychiatry, Barzilai Medical Center Campus, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Ashkelon, Israel
4Director of Nursing, Barzilai Medical Center Campus, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Ashkelon, Israel

Received 4 August 2006; Accepted 4 December 2006

Copyright © 2008 Yossef Blaer et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Alternative medicine is widely used, but lacks consensus regarding its amenability to scientific investigation. Anxiety increases morbidity and mortality in ischemic heart disease. We performed two studies of Palmtherapy®, an alternative treatment, for anxiety before cardiac catheterization. In the first study, patients were randomized to receive pressure at particular points on the palm, or at incorrect locations, for about 50 min, while the therapist conversed with them. In the second study, the conversation was conducted by a second, ‘blind’ investigator. In both studies, patients and nurses, all blind to treatment assignment, completed visual analog scale and National Institute of Mental Health measures of anxiety, respectively. Twenty-three subjects completed study 1, and 17 completed study 2. In study 1, palm therapy was superior to sham therapy for both outcome measures. In study 2, palm therapy was superior for self-reported anxiety, but not for nurses’ assessments of anxiety. Future studies should attempt to separate possible mechanistic effects of Palmtherapy® from therapist-related variables. Whether alternative medicine deserves to be studied at all remains controversial. Palmtherapy® may offer anxiolytic benefit without the harm attributable to drugs.