MONDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Biofield healing is associated with a significant reduction in fatigue and cortisol slope in breast cancer survivors, independently of belief, according to a study published online Aug. 5 in Cancer.
Shemini Jain, Ph.D., from the Samueli Institute in Alexandria, Va., and colleagues examined the efficacy of biofield therapy to reduce fatigue in cancer survivors. A total of 76 breast cancer survivors (stages I to IIIa) with fatigue received four weeks (eight one-hour sessions) of biofield healing therapy (27 subjects), mock healing (30), or were in a waitlist control group (19). Fatigue reduction was the primary outcome measure, with diurnal cortisol variability, depression, and quality of life (QOL) as the secondary measures. Individual treatment belief was evaluated to assess whether belief was a predictor of outcomes.
The investigators found that there were no significant differences between biofield and mock healing in terms of belief, with 75 percent of the patients thinking they had received biofield healing. Both biofield and mock healing significantly reduced total fatigue, compared to the controls, with no significant differences between biofield and mock healing. Cortisol slope significantly decreased for the biofield group compared to both the mock healing and control groups. Belief in treatment was a significant predictor for changes in QOL over and above the group, but had no impact on fatigue or cortisol variability.
"Belief predicts QOL responses but not fatigue or cortisol variability. Biofield therapies increase cortisol variability independent of belief and other nonspecific factors," the authors write.