Touch May Speed Healing in Older Patients

EAST LANSING, Mich., May 28 (UPI) — Osteopathic manipulative medicine — increasing muscle motion — was linked to faster healing of older pneumonia patients, U.S. researchers found.

The randomized, controlled clinical trial at seven sites in five states, published in Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care, found pneumonia patients receiving conventional care alone stayed in the hospital one day more than pneumonia patients additionally receiving osteopathic manipulative medicine.


Osteopathic manipulative medicine is a drug-free form of hands-on care focused on increasing muscle motion, explained a study investigator, Kari Hortos of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

“The results suggest a role for osteopathic manipulative medicine to support conventional therapy in the treatment of pneumonia, which is the fourth most common hospital diagnosis in the country,” Hortos said in a statement. “Besides the obvious benefit of getting people home quicker, the cost savings could be enormous.”

Hortos and colleagues looked at the impact on patients age 50 and older of either conventional care alone, added osteopathic manipulative treatment, or another added treatment called light touch — defined as a light form of massage.

“Human contact, both from a physical and emotional aspect, seems to help patients heal faster,” Hortos said. She noted even light-touch showed some results versus conventional care alone — though not as significant as those for osteopathic treatments.

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