Online Program

Why patients receive biofield therapy? Qualitative study among Japanese chronic disease patients

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hideaki Tanaka, PhD, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL
H. Virginia McCoy, PhD, Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Aims: The aim of the research was to identify reasons  patients diagnosed with chronic illness decided to receive Okada Purification Therapy ([OPT] a biofield therapy).

Methods: This study was the second phase of an explanatory mixed methods research on the subject of complementary and alternative medicine and Japanese chronic disease patient’s quality of life and perceived stress.
The study used grounded theory methods as the qualitative method of inquiry. One on one interview were conducted with 25 patients, who were 18 years of age or older, having prior knowledge and at least one time experience of receiving OPT, diagnosed with chronic illness. Patients were sampled conveniently based on the patient’s availability and voluntary consent. The interviews took place at an integrative medicine clinic located at the heart of Tokyo, Japan. The indepth interviews followed a semi structured interview guide with questions concerning the process of the patients’decision to practice OPT. Data analysis was conducted through three phases of coding--open coding, axial coding, and selective coding.

Results: Analysis indicated 1 theme, 4 clusters, and 13 categories. The theme was chosen from one of the 13 categories, because this was most applicable to all of the other categories and best explained the reason why interviewed patients decided to receive OPT. The theme is: Feelings of extreme desperation “clutch at a straw.” The four clusters which formed  were “how patients understand OPT” “what triggered individuals to receive OPT,” “reasons for continuing OPT,” and “thoughts on conventional medicine”. The categories which emerged to create these clusters were “perception towards OPT,” “effects of OPT,” “understanding of how OPT works,” “suffering from symptoms,” “to practice as a therapist towards family or friends suffering from disease,” “unexpected positive results from receiving OPT for the first time,” “benefits of OPT,” “positive relationship and satisfaction with staff and doctors of integrative medicine clinic,” “limits of conventional medicine,” “dissatisfaction with western medicine,” “feelings of extreme desperations, “clutch at a straw,” “letting others know about OPT,” and “family member.” Feelings of desperation due to unrelieved symptoms of disease seemed to be the principal reason for most patients’ practice of OPT. Although many patients expressed feeling doubts towards the practice of OPT at first, many seemed satisfied with the results of the practice, mainly because they were able to manage their symptoms and gain a sense of control. This may have led to an increase in QOL.

Conclusion:Chronic disease patients selected OPT because they felt desparate in their ability to control their disease symptoms.  The decision-making process may apply to other CAM practices and to other cultures.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Identify the reasons why chronic diseased patients in Japan decide to practice Okada Purifying Therapy [OPT (bio-field therapy)] which is one of complementary health practices provided in a integrative medicine clinic in Japan. Describe what a biofield therapy is, explain characteristics of OPT. OPT channels biofield energy or subtle energy to cure illness by purifying the body at the root cause.

Keyword(s): Chronic Disease Management and Care, Quality of Life

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My interests lies in the field of integrative medicine and complementary and alternative medicine focusing on health promotion and disease prevention. I have had previous experience of collecting survey data at the integrative medicine clinic offering OPT (biofield therapy) towards patients. Most recently, during the past summer I conducted my dissertation research focusing on the reasons why patients decide to receive OPT, which is the topic of this current presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
MOA international Integrative medicine Third party sponsor for graduate school tuition

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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