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Biofield Therapies and Cancer Pain

Joel G. Anderson
Ann Gill Taylor
CJON 2012, 16(1), 43-48 DOI: 10.1188/12.CJON.43-48

The public and healthcare professionals have become increasingly aware and accepting of the benefit in physical, psychological, social, and spiritual support for patients with cancer. Patients with cancer often seek nonpharmacologic interventions to complement conventional care and decrease the pain associated with cancer and its treatment. Most often referred to as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), these supportive therapies consist of a heterogeneous group of modalities used as adjuncts to allopathic health care. Biofield therapies are CAM modalities that involve the direction of healing energy through the hands to facilitate well-being by modifying the energy field of the body. This critical review of studies of biofield therapies emphasizes research using these modalities to decrease pain in patients with cancer. Although the therapies have demonstrated clinical efficacy, additional research is warranted. Oncology nurses should familiarize themselves with biofield therapies so they can offer informed recommendations to patients with cancer experiencing pain.

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