Samueli Institute Funded Research Indicates ‘Biofield Healing’ Reduces Fatigue and Improves Hormonal Functioning in Cancer Survivors

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Results of study, conducted by Dr. Shamini Jain, recently published in Cancer

Samueli Institute, a recognized leader in integrative medicine research, has released the results of a blinded, randomized controlled trial (RCT) that finds “biofield healing therapies” reduce fatigue and increase cortisol variability (a biological marker that has been linked to fatigue and depression) in breast cancer survivors. The full results of the study entitled, “Complementary Medicine for Fatigue and Cortisol Variability in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” was recently published in the February 1, 2012 issue of the journal Cancer, a peer-reviewed Interdisciplinary International Journal of the American Cancer Society. A link to the abstract for the study can be found on the publisher’s website (

Dr. Shamini Jain, Senior Scientist and Program Manager at Samueli Institute and Assistant Professor at University of California San Diego, was the Principal Investigator of the study. Funded by the National Institute of Health/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as well as Samueli Institute, the study was conducted at the University of California San Diego.

“Approximately one-third of cancer patients experience significant fatigue up to ten years or more after treatment,” said Dr. Jain. “Even worse, fatigue is often associated with additional problems such as depression and sleep disturbance, interfering with patients’ daily lives. Many times, these patients are too tired to even engage in basic self-care practices like exercise. Unfortunately, there are no gold-standard treatments for treating this persistent fatigue, which is why we wanted to investigate whether biofield healing could offer hope to fatigued cancer survivors as a non-invasive, complementary treatment.”

Biofield therapies, also often referred to as “hands-on-healing,” include techniques such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, and Healing Touch. These therapies are thought to work by affecting energy fields that surround and penetrate the human body. A previously published systematic review conducted by Dr. Jain and colleague Dr. Paul Mills of University of California San Diego suggested that biofield therapies are useful in reducing acute pain in a number of populations.
“The take-home message is that there is hope for reducing cancer-related fatigue for these survivors,” noted Dr. Jain. “These and other related therapies can be used as complementary care for cancer patients and survivors. If further larger-scale studies confirm these results, it suggests that these therapies may be very useful to integrate into standard care for cancer patients to reduce and possibly prevent these negative symptoms.”

Along with Dr. Jain, co-authors of the study include Dr. Paul Mills, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego; Dr. John Ives, Director, Brain, Mind and Healing Program at Samueli Institute; Dr. Ian Coulter, Samueli Institute Chair in Policy for Integrative Medicine at RAND Corporation; and Dr. Wayne Jonas, President and CEO, Samueli Institute.

For further information on details of this rigorously designed study, please contact Samueli Institute at


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David Hutcheson
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