Barlow, Fiona, Lewith, George T. and Walker, Jan
The experience of proximate spiritual healing in women with breast cancer, who are receiving long term hormonal therapy
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14, (3), . (doi:10.1089/acm.2007.0601).
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Background: This paper presents the research protocol for a pragmatic study of the experience of spiritual healing. This unique qualitative study seeks to identify any qualitative benefits of hands-on or proximate spiritual healing for women experiencing adverse reactions to hormonal treatments. Healing will be administered as adjuvant therapy for the long-term management of breast cancer.
Design: A purposive sample of up to 20 women who have completed their initial treatments at least 6 months previously will be recruited through the Oncology Department at Southampton General Hospital. The study will take place at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility within Southampton General Hospital, where spiritual healing will be provided by healers who are National Federation of Spiritual Healers registered. Patients will be offered up to 10 weekly healing sessions.
Outcome: Patients will be asked to keep a daily log noting any changes they have noticed during or after the healing sessions and their attributions of these. Audio recorded in-depth interviews will be carried out after completion of the final healing. Participants will also be invited to attend focus group meetings to discuss any effects of healing. Data will be analyzed initially using an ethnographic approach allowing further analysis using other appropriate qualitative methodologies. Depending on the findings, this study will also form the preliminary stage of a further study to develop and evaluate a healing-specific questionnaire.
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