We thank all the cancer survivors as well as the practitioners who participated in this study, and Patricia Ganz, MD for her helpful comments on the manuscript.
Complementary medicine for fatigue and cortisol variability in breast cancer survivors†
A randomized controlled trial
Article first published online: 5 AUG 2011
Copyright © 2011 American Cancer Society
Volume 118, Issue 3, pages 777–787, 1 February 2012
How to Cite
Jain, S., Pavlik, D., Distefan, J., Bruyere, R. R. L., Acer, J., Garcia, R., Coulter, I., Ives, J., Roesch, S. C., Jonas, W. and Mills, P. J. (2012), Complementary medicine for fatigue and cortisol variability in breast cancer survivors. Cancer, 118: 777–787. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26345
- Issue published online: 20 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 5 AUG 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 MAY 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 29 APR 2011
- Manuscript Received: 10 FEB 2011
- complementary and alternative medicine;
- randomized controlled trial
Fatigue is a chief complaint in cancer patients, and warrants effective treatment. Biofield therapies are complementary medicine approaches used by cancer populations. There is little information about their efficacy.
This blinded, randomized controlled trial examined the effects of 4 weeks (eight 1-hour sessions) of biofield healing compared with mock healing and a waitlist control group on fatigue in 76 fatigued breast cancer survivors (stages I-IIIa). Secondary outcomes were diurnal cortisol variability (via estimates of cortisol slope), depression, and quality of life (QOL). Treatment belief was assessed to explore whether belief predicted outcomes. Data were analyzed via hierarchical linear modeling.
There were no significant differences between biofield healing and mock healing on belief; 75% thought they received biofield healing. Compared with controls, biofield healing significantly decreased total fatigue (P < .0005, Cohen's d = 1.04), as did mock healing (P = .02, Cohen's d = 0.68), with no significant differences between biofield healing and mock healing. Cortisol slope significantly decreased for biofield healing versus both mock healing and control (P < .04 in both cases; Cohen's d = 0.58). Belief predicted changes in QOL over and above group (P = .004, Cohen's d = 0.84). Belief did not impact fatigue or cortisol variability.
Nonspecific factors are important in responses to biofield interventions for fatigue. Belief predicts QOL responses but not fatigue or cortisol variability. Biofield therapies increase cortisol variability independent of belief and other nonspecific factors. There is a need to further examine the effects of specific processes of biofield healing on outcomes for cancer populations. Cancer 2012;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.