Methodological reflections on body-mind intervention studies with cancer patients

Adriaan Visser*, Alexandra Schoolmeesters, Machteld van den Berg, Nicole Schell, Rianne de Gelder, Bart van den Borne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Methodological reflection on the content, results and limitations of three body-mind intervention studies with cancer patients (CPs) in order to improve the quality of studies on body-mind interventions and to raise the potential value for CPs. Methods: A secondary analysis of a study on haptotherapy and two studies applying relaxing face massage, using a variety of well-being effect measures. Six methodological themes are discussed: (1) drop-out; (2) characteristics of participating patients, (3) participation of patients in other complementary interventions; (4) satisfaction of participants; (5) effects of the three interventions, and (6) role of response shift. Results: The three interventions showed limited effects after controlling for relevant confounding factors. They are mainly the small sample sizes, the low intensity of the intervention, the possible inadequate measure moments and the use of other CAM that may be responsible for the absence of effects. Conclusions: Body-mind interventions require more methodological reflections to develop attractive and effective interventions for CPs. Attention needs to be paid to measuring short term effects, practically fitting research designs, and response shift. Practice implications: Interventions should be intensive, repeated and not too short. The implementation of interventions requires attention to several organizational factors in the health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Body-mind interventions
  • Haptotherapy
  • Relaxing face massage
  • Cancer patients
  • Well-being
  • Quality of life
  • Methodology

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