Therapeutic Touch 2Researchers from the UCLA Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research, Los Angeles, California think Reiki, therapeutic touch, and healing touch warrant further research.

First, the details.

  • 66 studies with a variety of biofield therapies in different patient populations were reviewed.

And, the results.

  • Studies were of medium quality, overall.
  • There was strong evidence for biofield therapies for…
    • Reducing pain intensity in people with pain.
  • There was moderate evidence for…
    • Reducing pain intensity in people hospitalized or with cancer.
    • Reducing negative symptoms in dementia and decreasing anxiety in hospitalized patients
    • Negative symptoms include apathy, social withdrawal and emotional disengagement, and some experts think they contribute to functional impairment caused by cognitive (reasoning) deterioration
  • It was unclear it there was any effect on…
    • Fatigue and quality of life in cancer patients
    • Comprehensive pain outcomes and affect in pain patients
    • Decreasing anxiety in cardiovascular patients was equivalent.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded there’s a need for further high-quality studies.

In addition, “In order to better inform patients of the potential benefits or non-benefits of these biofield-based interventions, clinicians and scientists… should familiarize themselves with current theory, practice and research of such techniques.”

10/31/09 22:47 JR; updated 5/17/11 11:39 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.