Healing as a complement to traditional medical therapy for patients with lung cancer.
B Hammarstrom, L Rindstam, H Riska, C Lindholm
A pilot study involving “healing” for patients with lung cancer was conducted at the Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden.
Four patients in the experimental group received “healing” once a week in combination with the traditional medical treatment with chemotherapy.
Five patients served as a control group receiving only traditional medical treatment. Healing was administered through a form of spiritual healing (Hodges p. 205). The specific method used was the Swedish Rindstam method involving the activation of spinal energy centres combined with acupressure.
The influence of healing on peripheral circulation was analysed with infrared technique measuring the temperature of the skin, which showed a significant increase after healing. The patient’s subjective experience of increased warmth and heat radiating through the body corresponded to results with the infrared heat camera. The study on quality of life shows tendencies to differences between the two groups. Patients in the group receiving healing had, in all situations, felt better at the completion of chemotherapy than had patients in the control group. It is difficult to draw any general conclusions from this material, however, no negative effects of healing were recorded during this study.
The Swedish committee for Alternative medicine stated in an official report to the Ministry of health and social affairs (SOU 1989:60) that research in alternative and complementary therapies is important. This investigation revealed that 20 percent of the Swedish population choose alternative forms of treatment when they were ill. Healing is one of these alternative treatment forms. The word healing comes from the German word heil, which means whole. Healing is considered to be a process whereby the body uses its own healing recourses to return to a state of wholeness: in emotions, psyche and soul. Healing can be described as:
"The direct interaction between one individual, the healer, and a second, sick individual with the intention of bringing about an improvement or cure of the illness. Any healing effect results from the channelling of an, as yet unrecognised, energy through the healer to the patient".
(Hodges, R.D. & Scofield, A.M. 1995, s 203.)
Healing as a complement to traditional medical therapy is seldom practised in Sweden. In England the General Medical Council has amended its ethical rulebook so that doctors can recommend patients to healers. Even the Department of Health has changed its administrative rules to allow general practitioners to employ these practitioners in their practices. There are 8000 registered healers in England who practice both within and outside of the National Health Service. Research on alternative medicine is ongoing in England and the United States (Bendor, D.J, 1993. Hodges, R.D. & Scofield, A.M, 1995.) There is, to our knowledge, no comparative research on alternative and complementary therapies in Sweden.
The purpose of this pilot study is to study and compare medical effects and quality of life for patients who receive healing as a complement to medical treatment with patients who receive only medical treatment.
• Can a tendency be shown that healing has an effect on the temperature of the skin?
• Can differences in quality of life parameters be shown for patients receiving healing compared with those who do not receive healing?
• What are patient’s subjective experiences of healing?