Spiritual Healing / Power of Touch
Feasibility of Energy Medicine in a Community Teaching Hospital: An Exploratory Case Series
Francois Dufresne, MD,1 Bonnie Simmons, DO,1 Panagiotis J. Vlachostergios, MD, PhD,1 Zachary Fleischner,2 Ramsey Joudeh, MD,1 Jill Blakeway, LAc,3 and Kell Julliard, MA1
1NYU Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY.
2St. George's University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies.
3YinOva Center, New York, NY.
Background: Energy medicine (EM) derives from the theory that a subtle biologic energy can be influenced for therapeutic effect. EM practitioners may be trained within a specific tradition or work solo. Few studies have investigated the feasibility of solo-practitioner EM in hospitals.
Objective: This study investigated the feasibility of EM as provided by a solo practitioner in inpatient and emergent settings.
Design: Feasibility study, including a prospective case series.
Settings: Inpatient units and emergency department.
Outcome measures: To investigate the feasibility of EM, acceptability, demand, implementation, and practicality were assessed. Short-term clinical changes were documented by treating physicians.
Participants: Patients, employees, and family members were enrolled in the study only if study physicians expected no or slow improvement in specific symptoms. Those with secondary gains or who could not communicate perception of symptom change were excluded.
Results: EM was found to have acceptability and demand, and implementation was smooth because study procedures dovetailed with conventional clinical practice. Practicality was acceptable within the study but was low upon further application of EM because of cost of program administration. Twenty-four of 32 patients requested relief from pain. Of 50 reports of pain, 5 (10%) showed no improvement; 4 (8%), slight improvement; 3 (6%), moderate improvement; and 38 (76%), marked improvement. Twenty-one patients had issues other than pain. Of 29 non–pain-related problems, 3 (10%) showed no, 2 (7%) showed slight, 1 (4%) showed moderate, and 23 (79%) showed marked improvement. Changes during EM sessions were usually immediate.
Conclusions: This study successfully implemented EM provided by a solo practitioner in inpatient and emergent hospital settings and found that acceptability and demand justified its presence. Most patients experienced marked, immediate improvement of symptoms associated with their chief complaint. Substantial practicality issues must be addressed to implement EM clinically in a hospital, however.
Source : Journal Alternative and complementary Medicine
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Sympathetic arousal during a touch-based healing ritual predicts increased well-being
Karin Meissnera , M.D., Ph.D., Anne Kochb , Ph.D.
a Institute of Medical Psychology, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany
b Institute for the Study of Religion, Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany
Objective: There is mounting evidence that more elaborate treatment rituals trigger larger nonspecific effects. The reasons for this remain unclear. In a pilot field study, we investigated the role of psychophysiological changes during a touch-based healing ritual for improvements in subjective well-being.
Methods: Heart rate, respiratory rate, and skin conductance levels (SCL) were continuously assessed in 22 subjects before, during, and after a touch-based healing ritual. Participants rated their expectations and subjective well-being was assessed before and after the ritual by a questionnaire on current burden (SQD).
Results: Subjective well-being increased significantly from before to after the ritual. The analysis of psychophysiological changes revealed a significant increase in respiratory rate from baseline to ritual, while skin conductance, heart rate and heart rate variability did not change. Increases in SCL as well as decreases in respiratory rate from baseline to ritual were significantly associated with improvements in current burden. Regression analyses showed increases in SCL to be the only significant predictor of improvements in well-being.
Conclusion: Higher sympathetic arousal during a touch-based healing ritual predicted improvements in subjective well-being. Results suggest that moderate arousal may precede non-specific intervention effects of touch-based healing rituals. Results suggest the occurrence of an anticipatory stress response, i.e. a state of enhanced sympathetic activity that is known to precede relaxation.
Source : Evidence Based complementary and Alternative Medicine
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Spiritual Healing in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Exploratory Single Centre, Parallel-Group, Double-Blind, Three-Arm, Randomised, Sham-Controlled Trial
Henning Bliddal,1 Robin Christensen,1,2 Lars Højgaard,3 Else Marie Bartels,1 Karen Ellegaard,1 Robert Zachariae,4 and Bente Danneskiold-Samsøe1
1The Parker Institute, Department of Rheumatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg, Nordre Fasanvej 57, 2000 Copenhagen, Denmark
2Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
3Danish Healing Research Center, Stationsvej 16, 3210 Vejby, Denmark
4Unit for Psychooncology and Health Psychology, Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital and Department of Psychology and Behavioral Science, Bartholins Allé 9, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Our objective was to investigate the efficacy of “energy/spiritual healing” in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Eligible patients were women with RA on stable medication. The design was a randomised, blinded, sham-controlled trial; the third group included an external unblinded control of the natural course of RA. Participants in both groups received 8 sessions with “perceived healing” over 21 weeks with 8 weeks of follow-up. Active healing (AH) treatment comprised healing with no physical contact, and sham healing (SH) included exactly the same healing with a sham healer. During intervention, participants wore hearing protectors and were blindfolded. No healing (NH) only had their outcomes assessed. Coprimary outcomes were disease activity score (DAS) for 28 joints and Doppler ultrasound. All 96 patients randomised were handled as the intention-to-treat population, using a baseline-carried forward approach to replace the missing data. Eighty-two (85%) participants completed the 29-week trial. At end point (week 29), mean difference in DAS28 between AH versus SH was statistically but not clinically significant in favour of AH (0.62 DAS28 points; 95% CI: 0.13 to 1.11; P=0.014), while no differences between groups occurred in Doppler ultrasound. There are no clear physiological or psychological explanations for the findings in this tightly controlled study. The trial data indicates a need for independent replication.
Taken together the results showing that “active healing” differed statistically, not clinically, from “sham healing,” but not from “no healing,” suggest two alternative interpretations. The most conservative explanation would be that the study stumbled upon a group of patients receiving active healing, which by chance experienced a decrease in arthritis activity in comparison with the sham healing group. Chance differences are not uncommon, and the validity of the findings can only be determined by replication of the study. An alternative interpretation is that “energy healing” is in fact able to influence biological processes relevant to rheumatoid arthritis through mechanisms not yet understood by conventional science. While supported by successful efforts to avoid bias through randomisation and blinding, which rules out the possibility that patients receiving healing improved due to effects of expectation or improved psychological coping skills, the latter interpretation is weakened by the results that no healing group showed equally improved outcomes and that the differences generally did not correspond to clinically significant improvement.
In the present well-controlled study, healing was associated with a statistically significant objective outcome in spite of the clinicians’ scepticism and the low expectations by the participants. The result is likely to be regarded as a chance of finding by traditional researchers and, in contrast, as an evidence of efficacy, when interpreted by alternatively inclined health providers. The growing interest in CAM from patients and the results from the current study suggest that further well-controlled trials would be relevant to provide evidence for or against the efficacy of spiritual healing.
Source : Journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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Effects of Spiritual Healing for Women Undergoing Long-Term Hormone Therapy for Breast Cancer:A Qualitative Investigation
Fiona Barlow, PhD, MBACP(Accred),1Jan Walker, PhD,2and George Lewith, MD, FRCP3
Background:Spiritual Healing is widely available and used, but is a neglected area for research and its biologicand psychologic mechanisms are not understood. The side-effects of long-term hormonal therapy for breastcancer are onerous and have been reported to lead to ‘‘drug holidays’’ that could diminish the long-term treatment benefits. It was investigated whether Spiritual Healing could support patients with breast cancer undergoing this treatment.Methods:The qualitative observation study took place in a specialist research facility in a general hospital.Spiritual Healing was provided by 4 healers registered with the National Federation of Spiritual Healers. Twelve(12) patients with breast cancer undergoing long-term hormone treatment and who found the effects onerous,self-referred themselves and were given ten weekly sessions of approximately 40 minutes each. Data collected included participant’s daily records, direct observations noted by healers, the researcher’s field diary and a one-to-one semi-structured interview.
Findings:The positive effects of Spiritual Healing included alleviation of the physical side-effects of their treatment, increased energy levels, enhanced well-being, emotional relaxation, and re-engagement with pre-cancer activities. Although 1 participant admitted considering a drug holiday prior to joining the study, none of the participants felt tempted to stop their hormonal treatments while receiving Spiritual Healing.
Conclusions:These qualitative findings indicate that Spiritual Healing has the potential to support patients with breast cancer in the maintenance of their long-term orthodox treatments. Further research is needed to test Spiritual Healing as a cost-effective complementary therapy, for those undergoing long-term cancer treatments
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Effect of Biofield Therapy in the Human Brain
Seiya Uchida, Takehiko Iha, Kiyoshi Yamaoka, Kazuo Nitta, and Hisanobu Sugano.
1MOA Health Science Foundation, Sizuoka, Japan.
2Korinkai Okinawa Clinic, Okinawa, Japan.
(Biofield therapies are considered to be complementary and alternative medicine. These types of therapies consist of practices based on subtle energy fields (also called biofields) and generally reflect the concept that human beings are infused with subtle forms of energy.1 Examples of biofield therapies include external qi (chi) therapy (EQT),2–5 Reiki,6 healing touch,7 Johrei,8,9 and Okada purifying therapy (OPT).10–12 )
Objectives: The effects of Okada Purifying Therapy (OPT), a form of subtle energy (biofield) therapy that originated in Japan, were investigated. Electroencephalograms and the Profile of Mood States scores were measured using a crossover design during OPT and placebo sessions.
Participants: Nineteen (19) healthy Japanese adults (mean age±standard deviation: 40.8±11.2 years; 10 females) with no previous experience of biofield therapy participated in this study.
Methods: Each session lasted 15 minutes. A single-blind, randomized design with a protocol consisting of regular cycles with eyes open followed by eyes closed was used. The power spectral value was calculated in θ (4.0–7.9 Hz), α (8.0–12.9 Hz), and β (13.0–29.9 Hz) frequency ranges.
Results: The power spectral value of the α band at Fp1, Fp2, F7, Fz, F8, C3, Cz, C4, and Pz increased significantly in the OPT session compared with the placebo session. Mood state was improved after both sessions, and no significant difference was found between the two sessions.
Conclusions: OPT was more effective in increasing α waves in the frontal and central cortex than a placebo treatment.
Source : The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. September 2012, 18(9): 875-879. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0428.
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Touch Therapy Helps Reduce Pain, Nausea in Cancer Patients, Study Suggests
A new study by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center shows that patients reported significant improvement in side effects of cancer treatment following just one Jin Shin Jyutsu session. Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient form of touch therapy similar to acupuncture in philosophy.
Presented at the 2012 Markey Cancer Center Research Day by Jennifer Bradley who is the Jin Shin Jyutsu integrative practitioner at Markey, the study included 159 current cancer patients. Before and after each Jin Shin Jyutsu session, Bradley asked patients to assess their symptoms of pain, stress and nausea on a scale of 0-10, with 0 representing no symptoms.
The study found that in each session patients experienced significant improvement in the areas of pain, stress, and nausea with the first visit and in subsequent visits as well. The mean decreases experienced were three points for stress and two points for both pain and nausea.
"I was pleased to see quantitatively the improvements that patients noted in these primary areas of discomfort," said Bradley. "It was interesting to note that regardless of age, sex or diagnosis, cancer patients received a statistically significant improvement in the side effects from treatment. It is encouraging to note that Jin Shin Jyutsu made improvements in these areas without adding additional unwanted effects that so often occur with medication interventions."
Funded by a grant from the Lexington Cancer Foundation, Jin Shin Jyutsu is considered part of an integrative treatment plan available at the UK Markey Cancer Center. Bradley offers Jin Shin Jyutsu to all cancer patients at no charge. Patients may self-refer, though half are referred by their physician or Markey staff.
During a Jin Shin Jyutsu session, patients receive light touches on 52 specific energetic points called Safety Energy Locks as well as fingers, toes, and midpoints on the upper arm, upper calf and lower leg in predetermined orders known as "flows." Patients remained clothed except for shoes and all hand placements are done over clothing.
Sessions were performed in the Jin Shin Jyutsu Treatment Room, Chemotherapy Outpatient Clinic, or in the patient's hospital room. The study also noted that the greatest overall improvement came from sessions held in the Jin Shin Jyutsu Treatment Room, where sessions are generally of a longer duration.
The study did not include controls for several parameters including the time between sessions or location and duration of service. Bradley's next study will control more of these variables, and her team will access patients' medical records over the time period of their participation to evaluate changes in patients' medication usage for cancer and symptom management of pain, stress and nausea.
"The American Cancer Society has noted that quality of life is an issue for all cancer patients; those undergoing treatment, late stage patients, and cancer survivors," Bradley said. "There is a need for additional research to develop evidence-based interventions that have a positive impact on the quality of life for all of these individuals without adding to their burden. From what I have seen in my office and the results shown in the study, I believe that Jin Shin Jyutsu has great promise in this area."
Source : Science Daily
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How the power of touch reduces pain and even fights disease
When Jim Coan scanned the brains of married women in pain, he spotted changes that may help to shed light on an age-old mystery. As soon as the women touched the hands of their husbands, there was an instant drop in activity in the areas of the brains involved in fear, danger, and threat. The women, who had been exposed to experimental pain while they were scanned, were calmer and less stressed, and a similar, but smaller, effect was triggered by the touch of strangers.
"It's the first study of the brain's reactions to human touch in a threatening situation, and the first to measure how the brain is involved in the health-enhancing properties of close social relationships," said Dr Coan, a neuroscientist at Virginia University.
Touch, a key component of traditional healing, is being increasingly studied in mainstream medicine, with some trials showing symptom benefits in a number of areas, from asthma and high blood pressure to migraine and childhood diabetes. Other research findings hint that not only does touch lower stress levels, but that it can boost the immune system and halt or slow the progress of disease.
The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine says it has carried out more than 100 studies into touch and found evidence of significant effects, including faster growth in premature babies, reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease symptoms, lowered glucose levels in children with diabetes, and improved immune systems in people with cancer.
At the Institute for Postgraduate Dental Education in Sweden, a small trial involving 10 patients with fibromyalgia syndrome found that eight benefited from touch therapy. "The results of the pilot study are so encouraging that they warrant an extended study,'" said the researchers.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital is one of a number of leading health centres in the US that now uses healing touch therapy. "Research has demonstrated that patients who receive healing touch experience accelerated wound healing and relaxation, pain relief and general comfort," said a spokesman.
According to a Stanford University report, several studies are showing significant benefits in wound healing, pain and anxiety. It says touch therapy may also have positive effects on fracture healing and arthritis. But some studies have failed to find an effect for touch, while others have had mixed results. One review of 11 separate studies found that seven showed a beneficial effect, three showed no effect, and one had a negative effect. Two out of four studies found a significant effect, but the others showed that those who did not get the touch therapy progressed better.
Some believe the power of touch is all down to the placebo effect. "If you touch your partner they feel relaxed, but if someone else touches they may not feel as relaxed," said Professor Edzard Ernst, a professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter. "That is very much mind over matter. It has nothing to with the sensations of being touched, it is the expectation and the context of the intervention, rather than the specific effect of that intervention."
While touch is used extensively for stress and anxiety and in palliative care, research is now increasingly focussing on whether it can impede the progress of a number of diseases, including depression and cancer.
At the Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio, a pilot study has begun involving 120 men with localised prostate cancer, to see whether hand-healing through the complementary therapy reiki affects levels of anxiety and progression of the disease. One of the hopes is that the advance of the disease can be halted or slowed.
And at the University of Iowa, a study is looking at the effects of healing touch on 64 women with advanced cervical cancer. Researchers say the aim is to see whether touch can boost the immune system and improve the body's natural defences against the disease.
While research such as this may suggest beneficial effects, the mechanisms that could be involved are far from clear. One of the most common findings from research, including a study at the Institute of Neurological Sciences in Glasgow, is that touch lowers heart rate and blood pressure. But how? Work at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, may provide an answer. It has shown that touch and massage can cut levels of stress hormones, which have been implicated in increasing the risk of a number of diseases. Touch many also increase levels of melatonin and of the feel-good hormone, serotonin.
Researchers at Ohio State University have found that psychological stress can increase the blood levels of hormones that then interfere with the delivery of cytokines, key immune system elements, to the site of an injury. The result, they say, is a slowing down of the wound healing process.
They also found that wounds took a day longer to heal when the patient had been involved in an argument with a loved one, and that in married couples who did not get on, wound healing took two days longer. "Wounds in the couples who were hostile healed at only 60 per cent of the rate of couples with low levels of hostility," said Dr Janice Kiecolt-Glaser.
That finding, plus those of Dr Coan, may explain why the touch of a loved one can be therapeutic. But they do not explain why the touch of practitioners and strangers can have a similar effect. At DePauw University in Indiana, Dr Matthew Hertenstein may have found an answer. He has discovered that touch communicates emotions. When people were touched by a stranger they could not see, who had been instructed to try to communicate a particular emotion, they were able to tell the emotional state of the other person with great accuracy.
The findings show that people can communicate several distinct emotions through touch alone, including anger, fear, disgust, love, gratitude, and sympathy. Accuracy rates ranged from 48 per cent to 83 per cent, comparable with those found in studies of emotions shown in faces and voices. "The evidence indicates that humans can communicate several distinct emotions through touch," said Dr Hertenstein. "Our study is the first to provide rigorous evidence showing that humans can reliably signal love, gratitude and sympathy with touch. These findings raise the interesting possibility that touch may convey more positive emotions than the face.''
What it suggests, too, is that touch is a much more sophisticated tool that previously thought. It could also explain why different trials on the therapeutic effects of touch can get differing results. It may be that touch works, but that it needs the right person, in the right mood, doing the touching.
How hugs can heal
* Hugging your partner could lower his or her blood pressure.
* Researchers have found that in younger women, the more hugs they get, the lower their blood pressure.
* Researchers at the University of North Carolina who investigated 69 pre-menopausal women showed that those who had the most hugs had a reduced heart rate.
* Exactly what could be responsible is not clear, but the psychiatrists who carried out the work also found that blood levels of the hormone oxytocin were much higher in the women who were hugged the most.
* Other research finds that oxytocin is released during social contact and that it is associated with social bonding, while a study at Ohio State University shows that when it is put into wounds in animals, the injuries heal much more quickly.
* Work at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences suggests that oxytocin can induce anti-stress-like effects, including reduction in blood pressure and levels of the stress hormone cortisol: "It increases pain thresholds and stimulates various types of positive social interaction, and it promotes growth and healing. Oxytocin can be released by various types of non-noxious sensory stimulation, for example by touch and warmth," they say.
Source : The Independent
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