Several of you have asked me if anything in particular was most helpful as I coped with the side effects of my own cancer treatments. I haven't written much until now, because it's hard to separate out what made a difference from what didn't. I used many alternative therapies and mind-body techniques at the same time (along with conventional treatments.) And anyway, we are all so different. What helped me cope may not help you cope and vice versa.
Healing touch is a little hard to describe. It might not even entail touch. It is an energy medicine practice in which a practitioner - often a nurse - moves her hands over your body in way that's meant to balance the energy fields in your body.
A friend of mine who is certified in healing touch came over and did healing touch for me several times during chemotherapy and radiation therapy. I found it very calming, and it even seemed to lessen the pain I was experiencing. Perhaps it was the placebo effect - or just the peaceful feeling that goes along with being nurtured. Or maybe it had nothing to do with the healing touch -- she did after all bring dinner those days, sparing me from having to cook for 4 kids. But it did make me head to the journals to check out studies that have been published on healing touch, and clinical trials currently in progress that are evaluating healing touch. Check out some of the findings in this article: