An ancient form of touch therapy is effective at relieving pain and nausea in people with cancer, according to a small new study.
The therapy, called Jin Shin Jyutsu, involves patients being lightly touched over their clothing at 52 points on the body called "Safety Energy Locks," as well as points on the upper calf, upper arm and lower leg that are called "flows."
"It was interesting to note that regardless of age, sex or diagnosis, cancer patients received a statistically significant improvement in the side effects from treatment," study researcher Jennifer Bradley, a Jin Shin Jyutsu integrative practitioner at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, said in a statement. "It is encouraging to note that Jin Shin Jyutsu made improvements in these areas without adding additional unwanted effects that so often occur with medication interventions."
The study, which was presented at the 2012 Markey Cancer Center Research Day but was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, included 159 people with cancer. They all received Jin Shin Jyutsu, and then were asked after the session to rate their nausea, stress and pain on a 10-point scale.
Generally, the touch therapy was linked with a 2- to 3-point reduction in scores for pain and nausea, researchers found.
However, researchers did say that they didn't control for the amount of time between each Jin Shin Jyutsu session, or the duration of the session. Further research will take these factors into account, Bradley said.
Recently, a study in the journal Cancer showed that yoga could help people who have had breast cancer to be less fatigued, Reuters reported. Physical therapy and acupuncture can also sometimes be used to treat fatigue in cancer survivors.