Complementary therapy improves the patient experience in a group of patients receiving intensive chemotherapy for haematological malignancies.

The Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand has a new initiative involving an energy-based bio-field modality, using a mind-body approach to support health and well-being.

Aim

This offers a supportive, complementary, hands-on intervention for patients undergoing inpatient treatment for haematological malignancies. The pilot project will evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of delivering the Healing Touch Therapy sessions to patients twice weekly, by a team of eight trained practitioners.

Method

Individual patients are allocated a single practitioner who delivers sessions lasting 45-60 minutes. Pre and post treatment evaluations from these patients are being collected using a modified Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy- FACT- questionnaire and a Brief Symptom Perception Tool.

Result

Preliminary results show that “Healing Touch” is well received by the patients. Patients report an improvement in well-being and relaxation including in anxiety and muscle tension. Of the 25 patient responses, so far, 13 found the sessions very helpful, the rest were somewhat or quite a bit helpful and only one patient, on one occasion, did not find it helpful at all. One particular set of patient evaluations over six sessions, showed an increasing benefit over time.

Anecdotal comments include; “Today was great, so relaxed I fell asleep.” Male 28 years This has been a very enjoyable thing to be involved in, let’s hope it keeps going.” Male 46 years. “Leg restlessness mitigated since session” Male 24 years.

Conclusion

“Healing Touch” therapy continues to be offered to all inpatients and evaluation is ongoing. We are hoping to integrate complementary therapies throughout the haematology service.

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