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The effects of Spiritual Healing for women undergoing long-term hormone therapy for breast cancer: a qualitative investigation

The effects of Spiritual Healing for women undergoing long-term hormone therapy for breast cancer: a qualitative investigation
The effects of Spiritual Healing for women undergoing long-term hormone therapy for breast cancer: a qualitative investigation
Background: Spiritual Healing is widely available and used, but is a neglected area for research and its biologic and psychologic mechanisms are not understood. The side-effects of long-term hormonal therapy for breast cancer 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 precancer 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.
1075-5535
211-216
Barlow, F.
4a7b2d64-e647-4b56-a283-916beb6c692d
Walker, J.
991d793e-2b84-403b-a9ee-0a802b90f06d
Lewith, G.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625
Barlow, F.
4a7b2d64-e647-4b56-a283-916beb6c692d
Walker, J.
991d793e-2b84-403b-a9ee-0a802b90f06d
Lewith, G.
0fc483fa-f17b-47c5-94d9-5c15e65a7625

Barlow, F., Walker, J. and Lewith, G. (2013) The effects of Spiritual Healing for women undergoing long-term hormone therapy for breast cancer: a qualitative investigation. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 19 (3), 211-216. (doi:10.1089/acm.2012.0091). (PMID:23020610)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: Spiritual Healing is widely available and used, but is a neglected area for research and its biologic and psychologic mechanisms are not understood. The side-effects of long-term hormonal therapy for breast cancer 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 precancer 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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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 28 September 2012
Published date: 20 March 2013
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 366202
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/366202
ISSN: 1075-5535
PURE UUID: c1b27314-2adc-46b8-902f-f8cad3bbe750

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Date deposited: 23 Jun 2014 12:43
Last modified: 12 Dec 2018 17:41

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