Studies on the Efficacy of Energy Therapies and Spiritual Healing
Energy therapies in oncology nursing (2012)
Source: COAKLEY, A.B., BARRON, A.M. Energy therapies in oncology nursing. Seminars in Oncology Nursing [online]. 2012 Feb;28(1):5563. doi: 10.1016 /j.soncn.2011.11.006 [cit. 2018-07-28]. Available from:
Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Seminars in Oncology Nursing – www.seminarsoncologynursing.com .
Detail: To review the published research related to the interventions of Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, and Healing Touch representing energy therapies in relation to oncology nursing.
Conclusion: There is growing evidence that energy therapies have a positive effect on symptoms associated with cancer. While there is need for further research, it is clear that an appreciation for the value of research methods beyond the randomized control trial is important. Energy therapies offer additional strategies for oncology nurses providing integrated nursing care to alleviate suffering and symptom distress of patients with cancer.
Energy therapies in advanced practice oncology: an evidence-informed practice approach (2013)
Source: POTTER, P.J. Energy Therapies in Advanced Practice Oncology: An Evidence Informed Practice Approach Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology [online]. 2.013 MayJun; 4 (3): 139-151. Published online 2013 May 1, PMCID: PMC4093427 [cit. 2018-07-28]. Available from:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4093427/ ; www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25031994
Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Journal of the Advanced Practitioner in Oncology (JADPRO) – www.advancedpractitioner.com/about-jadpro .
Detail: This article offers an EIP approach to energy therapies, namely, Therapeutic Touch (TT), Healing Touch (HT), and Reiki, as supportive interventions in cancer care; a description of the author's professional experience with TT, HT, and Reiki in practice and research; an overview of the three energy healing modalities; a review of nine clinical studies related to oncology; and recommendations for EIP.
Conclusion: These studies demonstrate a response to previous research design critiques. Findings indicate a positive benefit for oncology patients in the realms of pain, quality of life, fatigue, health function, and mood. Directionality of healing in immune response and cell line studies affirms the usual explanation that these therapies bring harmony and balance to the system in the direction of health. Foremost, the research literature demonstrates the safety of these therapies. In order to consider the varieties of evidence for TT, HT, and Reiki, EIP requires a qualitative examination of patient experiences with these modalities, exploration of where these modalities have been integrated into cancer care and how the practice works in the oncology setting, and discovery of the impact of implementation on provider practice and self-care. Next steps toward EIP require fleshing out the experience of these modalities by patients and health-care providers in the oncology care setting.
Evidence for Correlations Between Distant Intentionality and Brain Function in Recipients: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Analysis (2006)
Source: ACHTERBERG, J., COOKE, K., RICHARDS, T. et al. Evidence for Correlations Between Distant Intentionality and Brain Function in Recipients: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine [online]. January 2006, DOI: 10.1089 / acm.2005.11.965. [cit. 15-05-2018]. Available from:
Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, January 2006, DOI: 10.1089 / acm.2005.11.965.
Abstract: This study, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology, demonstrated that distant intentionality (DI), defined as sending thoughts at a distance, is correlated with an activation of certain brain functions in the recipients. Eleven healers who espoused some form for connecting or healing at a distance were recruited from the island of Hawaii. Each healer selected a person with whom they felt a special connection as a recipient for DI. The recipient was placed in the MRI scanner and isolated from all forms of sensory contact from the healer. The healers sent forms of DI that related to their own healing practices at random 2-minute intervals that were unknown to the recipient. Significant differences between experimental (send) and control (no send) procedures were found (p 0.000127). Areas activated during the experimental procedures included the anterior and middle cingulate area, precuneus, and frontal area. It was concluded that instructions to a healer to make an intentional connection with a sensory isolated person can be correlated to changes in brain function of that individual.
A randomized, blinded study of the impact of intercessory prayer on spiritual well-being in patients with cancer (2012)
Source: OLVER, I.N., DUTNEY A. A randomized, blinded study of the impact of intercessory prayer on spiritual wellbeing in patients with cancer. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine [online]. 2012 SepOct;18(5):1827. Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre, South Australia, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org [cit. 2018-07-28]. Available from:
Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine – www.alternative-therapies.com .
Detail: Participants were patients at the cancer center between June 2003 and May 2008. Of 999 participants with mixed diagnoses who completed the baseline questionnaires, 66.6% provided follow-up. The average age was 61 years, and most participants were married/de facto (living with partners), were Australians or New Zealanders living in Australia, and were Christian. Intervention The research team asked an external group offering Christian intercessory prayer to add the study's participants to their usual prayer lists. They received details about the participants, but this information was not sufficient to identify them.
Conclusion: Results The intervention group showed significantly greater improvements over time for the primary endpoint of spiritual well-being as compared to the control group (P = .03, partial η2 = .01). The study found a similar result for emotional wellbeing (P = .04, partial η2 = .01) and functional well-being (P = .06, partial η2 = .01). Participants with cancer whom the research team randomly allocated to the experimental group to receive remote intercessory prayer showed small but significant improvements in spiritual well-being.
Complementary spiritist therapy: systematic review of scientific evidence (2011)
Source: LUCCHETTI, G., LUCCHETTI, A.L., BASSI, R.M. et al. Complementary spiritist therapy: systematic review of scientific evidence. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine [online]. 2011;2011:835945. doi: 10.1155/2011/835945. Epub 2011 May 11, Research Department, São Paulo Medical Spiritist Association, Avenida Juriti 367 SP Apto 131, 04520000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil [cit. 2018-07-28]. Available from:
Published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine – www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/ .
Detail: Spiritism is the third most common religion in Brazil, and its therapies have been used by millions worldwide. These therapies are based on therapeutic resources including prayer, laying on of hands, fluidotherapy (magnetized water), charity/volunteering, spirit education/moral values, and disobsession (spirit release therapy). This paper presents a systematic review of the current literature on the relationship among health outcomes and 6 predictors: prayer, laying on of hands, magnetized/fluidic water, charity/volunteering, spirit education (virtuous life and positive affect), and spirit release therapy. All articles were analyzed according to inclusion/exclusion criteria, Newcastle-Ottawa and Jadad score.
Conclusion: At present, there is moderate to strong evidence that volunteering and positive affect are linked to better health outcomes. Furthermore, laying on of hands, virtuous life, and praying for oneself also seem to be associated to positive findings. Nevertheless, there is a lack of studies on magnetized water and spirit release therapy. In summary, science is indirectly demonstrating that some of these therapies can be associated to better health outcomes and that other therapies have been overlooked or poorly investigated. Further studies in this field could contribute to the disciplines of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by investigating the relationship between body, mind, and soul/spirit.