Holistic OT Research: CATs and CAPs

Holistic OT Research: CATs and CAPs

Complementary and Integrative Health in AOTA’s CATs and CAPs

The American Occupational Therapy Association puts out lists of Critically Appraised Topics (CATs) and Critically Appraised Papers (CAPs) to support our profession’s mission to use evidence-based practice. Many of us in the Holistic OT community are witnessing a return to roots of holistic care, and these at-a-glance summaries show us some of the best current research available to us about our interests. If you are a fan of research, look no further for current and national research. We put together all the CATs and CAPs available on the OT CATs website that relate to complementary and integrative health. Enjoy!


So what is a CAT? Critically Appraised Topics (CATs) are short and sweet summaries of evidence about a topic of interest, typically involving a clinical question. CATs and CAPs provide us with some of the best research to date. CATs typically include more than one study—if they include only one study, they would be a CAP!


There is fair evidence (level 2b) to support the use of massage following surgical and traumatic hand injuries to increase wrist active ROM —Kristen Elvery, 2004


CAPs are similar to CATs except that they involve one study and zoom in on the process. They may cover methods, findings, and study limitations of specific articles or studies of OT interventions.

Emotional Freedom Technique

Patterson, S.L. (2016). The effect of emotional freedom technique on stress and anxiety in nursing students: A pilot study. Nurse Education Today, 40, 104-110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.nedt.2016.02.003


Bader, C., Grosh, A., Marlow, A., Richter M., and Stevenik, J., (2012). Mindfulness-­‐Based Interventions and Chronic Pain: A Critical Appraisal of the Topic.

Amen, A., Fonareva, I., Haas, M., Lane, J. B., Oken, B. S., Wahbeh, H., & Zajdel, D. (2010). Pilot controlled trial of mindfulness meditation and education for dementia caregivers. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 16(10), 1031–1038. http://dx.doi.org/1089/acm.2009.0733

Bower, J. E., Crosswell, A. D., Stanton, A. L., Crespi, C. M., Winston, D., Arevalo, J., … & Ganz, P. A. (2015). Mindfulness meditation for younger breast cancer survivors: A randomized controlled trial. Cancer, 121, 1231–1240. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.29194

Jeitler, M., Brunnhuber, S., Meier, L., Ludtke, R., Bussing, A., Kessler, C., & Michalsen, A. (2015). Effectiveness of Jyoti meditation for patients with chronic neck pain and psychological distress – A randomized controlled clinical trial. Journal of Pain, 16(1), 77-86. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2014.10.009

Pinniger, R., Brown, R. F., Thorsteinsson, E. B., & McKinley, P. (2012). Argentine tango dance compared to mindfulness meditation and a waiting-list control: A randomised trial for treating depression. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 20(6), 377-384. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2012.07.003


Donoyama, N., Suoh, S., & Ohkoshi, N. (2014). Effectiveness of Anma massage therapy in alleviating physical symptoms in outpatients with Parkinson’s disease: A before-after study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 1–11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.07.010

Tai Chi

Gao, Q., Leung, A., Yang, Y., Wei, Q., Guan, M., Jia, C., & He, C. (2014). Effects of Tai Chi on balance and fall prevention in Parkinson’s disease: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation, 28(8), 748– 753. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269215514521044

Taylor, D., Hale, L., Schuler, P., Waters, D., Binns, E., McCracken, H.,… Wolf, S. L. (2012). Effectiveness of Tai Chi as a community-based falls prevention intervention: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of The American Geriatric Society, 60, 841–848. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.0398.x

Taylor-Piliae, R. E., Newell, K. A., Cherin, R., Lee, M. J., King, A. C., Haskell, W. L. (2010). Effects of Tai Chi and western exercise on physical and cognitive functioning in healthy community-dwelling older adults. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 18(3), 261-279. http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/japa.18.3.261


Bilderbeck, A. C., Brazil, I. A., & Farias, M. (2015). Preliminary Evidence That Yoga Practice Progressively Improves Mood and Decreases Stress in a Sample of UK Prisoners. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, 1-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/819183

Fishbein, D., Miller, S., Herman-Stahl, M., Williams, J., Lavery, B., Markovitz, L.,… Johnson, M. (2016). Behavioral and psychophysiological effects of a yoga intervention on high-risk adolescents: A randomized control trial. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25(2), 518–529. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0231-6

Koenig, K. P., Buckley-Reen, A., & Garg, S. (2012). Efficacy of the Get Ready to Learn yoga program among children with autism spectrum disorders: A pretest-posttest control group design. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66, 538–546. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.004390

Rakhshani, A., Nagarathna, R., Mhaskar, R., Mhaskar, A., Thomas, A., & Gunasheela, S. (2012). The effects of yoga in prevention of pregnancy complications in high-risk pregnancy: A randomized controlled trial. Preventive Medicine 55(4), 333–340. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.07.020

Siedentopf, F., Utz-Billing, I., Gairing, S., Schoenegg, W., Kentenich, H., & Kollak, I. (2013). Yoga for patients with early breast cancer and its impact on quality of life – a randomized controlled trial. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd, 73(4), 311–317. http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0032-1328438

Stoller, C. C., Greuel, J. H., Cimini, L. S., Fowler, M. S., & Koomar, J. A. (2012). Effects of sensory-enhanced yoga on symptoms of combat stress in deployed military personnel. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66, 59–68. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.001230

Taso, C. J., Lin, H. S., Lin, W. L., Chen, S. M., Huang, W. T., & Chen, S. W. (2014). The effect of yoga exercise on improving depression, anxiety, and fatigue in women with breast cancer: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nursing Research, 22(3), 155-164. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/jnr.0000000000000044

Want more information?

Are you interested in research related to the Holistic OT community? Check out our Holistic OT conversation from 2016, Researching OT and Holistic/Integrative Health with Emmy Vadnais, OTR/L and Stacy Levon, MS, OTR/L. In this conversation, we talk about research basics and encourage our community to document their work through simple research techniques like case studies. Please note to listen to this recorded conversation you will need a password given to our members. If you are already a member, please search your inbox for your “Welcome to the Holistic OT Community” email. If you are not yet a member, you can become a free member by signing up for our email list on our homepage. You can also check out our research page for more scholarly articles.

Do you have research that you would like to share? Let us know and we will add it to our website. Want to develop your own research? Let us know that too so we can gauge interest for future content. There are many simple ways to conduct research of your own!


Mental Health CATS. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2017, from http://commons.pacificu.edu/otmh/

OTCATS: Occupational Therapy Critically Appraised Topics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2017, from http://otcats.com/

Research Guides: PBC Occupational Therapy: Start Research. (n.d.). Retrieved September 21, 2017, from http://libraryguides.nau.edu/pbcot

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