Healing Touch, a form of energy work practiced by some massage therapists, has been shown by research to lessen chronic headaches, relieve fatigue and nausea among leukemia patients, and benefit patients undergoing radiation therapy.

New research shows Healing Touch may benefit cervical-cancer patients as well, by moderating effects of chemoradiation on cellular immunity and depressed mood, according to a report on www.pubmed.gov.

The report details a study conducted by researchers at the University of Iowa.

This study of 60 women examined effects of Healing Touch versus relaxation training and usual care for supporting cellular immunity, improving mood and quality of life, and reducing treatment-associated toxicities and treatment delay in cervical cancer patients receiving chemoradiation, the pubmed report noted.

“Patients receiving chemoradiation for cervical cancer are at risk for distress, chemoradiation-related side-effects, and immunosuppression,” the report noted.

The women who received Healing Touch had minimal decrease in natural killer cell cytotoxicity over the course of treatment, whereas those who received relaxation training and usual care saw their natural killer cell cytotoxicity decline sharply during radiation, according to the report.

However, Healing Touch patients showed greater decreases in two different indicators of depressed mood: CESD depressed mood subscale and POMS depression scale, compared to the two other groups.

“Healing Touch may benefit cervical cancer patients by moderating effects of chemoradiation on depressed mood and cellular immunity,” the researchers noted. “Effects of Healing Touch on toxicities, treatment delay, [quality of life] and fatigue were not observed.”

The study was published in the journal “Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

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