Research: WALLACE, Department of Ve

Listed in Issue 24


WALLACE, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Western New York Health Care System USA writes that a review of the literature regarding relaxation and imagery interventions for cancer pain is required because major review articles have excluded nursing research or were written prior to the publication of controlled studies conducted by nurses regarding cancer pain . The author reviews (45 references) published nursing/medical/psychological literature of adults with cancer pain which had been conducted between 1982-95.




This body of literature contained few controlled studies, weak theor-etical frameworks, few complete descriptions of the pain problem and lack of control over interventions. Most studies had small numbers and could not demonstrate significant effects, and the intervention methods and lengths were highly variable. However, despite these design shortcomings, relaxation and imagery appear to reduce the sensory experience of pain, have equivocal effects upon affective measures and appear to have no effect upon functional status.


: There is a need for more experimental studies with more complete description of pain, improved statistical reporting, controls over adequacy of and compliance to interventions, use of single interventions and use of more complex measures of affective outcomes.


Wallace KG. Analysis of recent literature concerning relaxation and imagery interventions for cancer pain. Cancer Nurs. 20(2): 79-87. Apr 1997.


Reading between the lines of the above research studies lies a plea for more research to be carried out by nurses and for greater acknowledgement and recognition of the research which is carried out and published by nurses. Although nurses have been in the vanguard for carrying many complementary healthcare techniques into the hospital care setting massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, visualisation they are frequently not given the credit for such valuable work by their medical colleagues, nor by the complementary medical professions. To read further about the extensive impact nurses are making toward the practice of complementary therapies, readers are referred to the major special feature in this issue of Positive Health starting on page 15.

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