TAC-TIC therapy with premature infants: a series of investigative studies.

: This article provides a synopsis of a series of studies exploring the effects of TAC-TIC (Touching And Caressing-Tender In Caring) therapy with premature infants. Study 1 looked at the short and long-term effects and found enhanced mental development in the stroked infants at 15 months. In study 2 the physiological effects of an abbreviated version of TAC-TIC with high-risk ventilated infants were examined and it was concluded that TAC-TIC exerted no harm to these vulnerable infants. The behavioural reactions of a sample of premature and low birthweight infants to TAC-TIC and parental responses to administering it were explored in study 3. The infants were found to respond predominantly with arm and leg movements to TAC-TIC while fathers and mothers reported enjoying performing TAC-TIC and elicited a similar pattern and frequency of behavioural reactions. In study 4 the question of whether TAC-TIC benefits preterm infant learning and/or sucking behaviour was investigated. The conclusion reached was that TAC-TIC may potentially benefit cognitive performance within the neonatal period and that this may be an early indicator of long-term cognitive gains reported by previous studies. Using a matched subjects design, study 5 explored the impact of TAC-TIC upon the digestive system by analysing gastric aspirates before and after TAC-TIC and a control period of time. It was concluded that TAC-TIC appeared to induce a more suitable stomach environment for digestion.