Polarity Therapy

Polarity Therapy

PEP Topic 
Fatigue
Description 

Polarity therapy promotes healing, relaxation, and well-being by unblocking and balancing energy flow and reestablishing homeostasis within the human energy field. A trained therapist uses anatomical hand positions (connectors) to examine energy flow, discover trigger points, and restore homeostatic energy flow.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Mustian, K. M., Roscoe, J. A., Palesh, O. G., Sprod, L. K., Heckler, C. E., Peppone, L. J., . . . Morrow, G. R. (2011). Polarity therapy for cancer-related fatigue in patients with breast cancer receiving radiation therapy: a randomized controlled pilot study. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 10, 27–37.

doi: 10.1177/1534735410397044
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Study Purpose:

To examine the efficacy of polarity therapy (PT) for reducing cancer-related fatigue and improving health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in women receiving radiation treatments for breast cancer.

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

Patients were treated with one of three arms: standard clinical care, standard clinical care plus three modified massages, or standard clinical care plus 3 PT treatments. Patients were asked to lie on their back and stomach, and treatments lasted about 75 minutes. For the PT treatments, the therapist used hand positions to examine energy flow, discover trigger points, and restore homeostatic energy flow. For the modified massage treatments, therapists used a modified Swedish massage applied over the clothing, and areas to be massaged were left to the discretion of the patients. Information was collected through daily diaries and weekly questionnaires completed by the patients. Participants were recruited by a clinical research coordinator with a referral from their treating oncologist.

Sample Characteristics:

  • Final sample size used for the analysis was 43 female participants.
  • Mean age was 52.9 years. 
  • All participants were diagnosed with breast cancer (stage 0–IV).
  • Thirty-eight of 43 patients were Caucasian.

Study Design:

This was a randomized, controlled trial.

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

  • The Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) was used for the primary outcome measure. 
  • Daily fatigue diaries were used to assess fatigue at its worst during the day and were completed at bedtime.
  • HRQOL was assessed using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT)–Fatigue.

Results:

The baseline BFI showed a significant difference in baseline fatigue scores. The standard care group had a mean of 1.8, the massage mean was 3.0, and the PT mean was 3.7.  BFI scores, fatigue diaries, and HRQOL measures across the three intervention weeks showed no significant differences between the three groups.

Conclusions:

This study did not show a significant improvement in fatigue scores between the groups. The interventions were well received by participants, and no adverse effects were reported, suggesting that this intervention could be further studied with a larger sample size.

Limitations:

  • The study had a control group that received less attention due to a lack of therapeutic interventions compared to the other two groups, but the massage arm seemed to suggest an effective method to control for attention.
  • The study group was comprised of one diagnosis and gender.

Roscoe, J. A., Matteson, S. E., Mustian, K. M., Padmanaban, D., & Morrow, G. R. (2005). Treatment of radiotherapy-induced fatigue through a nonpharmacological approach. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 4, 8–13.

doi: 10.1177/1534735404273726
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Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

The intervention involved polarity therapy for a 60- to 70-minute session. A trained therapist used anatomical hand positions (connectors) to examine energy flow, discover trigger points, and restore homeostatic energy flow. Polarity therapy promotes healing, relaxation, and well-being by unblocking and balancing energy flow and reestablishing homeostasis within the human energy field.

Sample Characteristics:

  • The sample included 15 women older than 18 years in the third week of radiotherapy for breast cancer with a fatigue level greater than 2.
  • Average age was 52.5 years (range 35–72).
  • Fourteen of 15 patients were Caucasian.

Setting:

Single radiotherapy center

Phase of Care and Clinical Applications:

Patients were undergoing the active treatment phase of care.

Study Design:

This was a pilot study with three arms:

  • Arm 1:  standard care
  • Arm 2:  one polarity therapy treatment
  • Arm 3:  two polarity therapy treatments one week apart.

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

  • Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI)
  • Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Fatigue (FACIT-F)

Results:

A statistically significant improvement was observed in fatigue and health-related quality of life in 10 patients who received polarity therapy versus five who did not. There may have been a dose effect. Eight of 10 patients reported improvement.

Limitations:

  • The study had a very small sample.
  • Certification was required.

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