COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE WITH CURATIVE INTENT: MACROBIOTICS AND FAITH HEALING

FUNDING SOURCE: CDC PRC Special Interest Project, U48/CCU409664 SIP 6-00 (2000 – 2002)

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Jane Teas, PhD

CO-PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS: Joan Cunningham, PhD and Andrew Cousins, PhD

This study focused on the use of macrobiotics as a complementary therapy used by cancer patients, and faith/spiritual healing for physical and mental ailments.  Both of these therapies have in common that they are patient - initiated. Neither can be studied in conventional randomized studies.  Both work in parallel to biomedicine, and neither is well understood by conventional physicians.  The contributions these two practices might make to improving the quality of life and increasing the length of life are potentially vast.  To understand these modalities, we interviewed people who use these therapies and healers who advocate these therapies.  We also reviewed associated literature that support or critique these therapies or otherwise address fundamental aspects of mechanism.  In addition, we completed a Best Case series analysis of people whose use of macrobiotics may have altered the course of their cancer, and for whom medical documentation of their disease course and therapies was available.

PUBLICATIONS:

Kushi LH, Cunningham JE, Herbert JR, Lerman RH, Bandera EV, & Teas J (2001). The macrobiotic diet in cancer. Journal of Nutrition, 131(11 Suppl), 3056S-3064S.

Whetstone J (2000). Miso soup and support groups: Macrobiotic practice [Master’s Thesis]. Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.