What are energy therapies?
Energy therapies include two different types of therapies:
- Biofield energy therapies or subtle energy therapies using touch, stimulation, or non-touch energy from a therapist
- Therapies based on bioelectromagnetics, such as pulsed fields, magnetic fields, or alternating or direct current fields
What are the benefits of using these therapies?
Biofield energy therapies aim to restore and revitalize the flow of energy in your body. These therapies are based on the premise that energy fields surrounding and penetrating your body can be manipulated to relieve symptoms, restore health, or reduce the risk of disease. The mechanism of action is not yet scientifically understood.
Therapeutic electromagnetic fields and direct currents provide benefits for some side effects and symptoms common with cancer, including pain, anxiety, depression, and dry mouth.
Both types of therapies have been recommended in clinical practice guidelines for managing cancer symptoms and side effects and may improve your quality of life. Energy therapies are most likely beneficial across a wide range of cancers, but evidence to date does not support using energy therapies as stand-alone treatments for cancer.
Insurance plans may cover some but probably not all energy therapies.
Are they safe?
While most energy therapies involve little risk, we encourage you to seek competent, trained practitioners. Licensing options and requirements vary by therapy.
In healing touch and Therapeutic Touch®, hands are placed near, but not on, the recipient. This may be especially appealing if you prefer or need to avoid physical touch. Tai chi and qigong may be practiced on your own (instructional videos are readily available), but instruction from a competent practitioner is helpful, especially if you are new to these practices.
Review the safety information in our reviews and consult your healthcare team before using a therapy if you have any concerns.