Rheingans, J.I. (2007). A systematic review of nonpharmacologic adjunctive therapies for symptom management in children with cancer. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing: Official Journal of the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses, 24(2), 81–94.doi: 10.1177/1043454206298837
To assist the health care practitioner by summarizing research studies that have examined the use of nonpharmacologic adjunctive therapies (NATs) for symptom management in pediatric oncology patients
Investigators retrieved and reviewed 41 studies. Their review related to symptoms studied, modalities used, study design, sample size, and study results. The analysis included all 41 studies. The studies pertained to multiple modalities, including hypnosis, imagery, breathing, distraction, relaxation, cognitive behavioral therapy, art therapy, and music therapy.
Over all the studies, the results are mixed in regard to the effect of NATs on procedural pain. Some studies indicated that hypnosis produced promising results in reducing procedural pain. Cognitive behavioral therapy and distraction showed both an effect and no effect on pain. One study (based on observation and self-reporting) indicated that NATs had no effect on procedural pain. In a few studies, hypnosis (along with distraction and relaxation and cognitive behavioral therapy) produced significant pain reduction. Studies found that music therapy had little to no effect on the pain of bone marrow aspiration.
This review of NATs produced mixed results.
More research needs to be done in this area. Health care practitioners, patients, and families need education about NATs and their application to pediatric oncology.