Review Article

Energy Therapies in Advanced Practice Oncology: An Evidence-Informed Practice Approach

Pamela J. Potter, DNSc, RN, CNS

From University of Portland School of Nursing, Portland, Oregon

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence to: Pamela J. Potter, DNSc, RN, CNS, University of Portland School of Nursing, 5000 North Willamette Boulevard, MSC 153, Portland, OR 97203. E-mail: potter@up.edu


J Adv Pract Oncol 2012;4:139–151 | DOI: 10.6004/jadpro.2013.4.3.2 | © 2013 Harborside Press®


  

ABSTRACT

Advanced practitioners in oncology want patients to receive state-of-the-art care and support for their healing process. Evidence-informed practice (EIP), an approach to evaluating evidence for clinical practice, considers the varieties of evidence in the context of patient preference and condition as well as practitioner knowledge and experience. 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. 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.




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