The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Biofield Therapies: Helpful or Full of Hype?

    Therapeutic Touch 2Researchers from the UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Los Angeles, California think Reiki, therapeutic touch, and healing touch warrant further research.

    First, the details.

    • 66 studies with a variety of biofield therapies in different patient populations were reviewed.

    And, the results.

    • Studies were of medium quality, overall.
    • There was strong evidence for biofield therapies for…
      • Reducing pain intensity in people with pain.
    • There was moderate evidence for…
      • Reducing pain intensity in people hospitalized or with cancer.
      • Reducing negative symptoms in dementia and decreasing anxiety in hospitalized patients
      • Negative symptoms include apathy, social withdrawal and emotional disengagement, and some experts think they contribute to functional impairment caused by cognitive (reasoning) deterioration
    • It was unclear it there was any effect on…
      • Fatigue and quality of life in cancer patients
      • Comprehensive pain outcomes and affect in pain patients
      • Decreasing anxiety in cardiovascular patients was equivalent.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded there’s a need for further high-quality studies.

    In addition, “In order to better inform patients of the potential benefits or non-benefits of these biofield-based interventions, clinicians and scientists… should familiarize themselves with current theory, practice and research of such techniques.”

    10/31/09 22:47 JR; updated 5/17/11 11:39 JR

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