External therapies of anthroposophical medicine in a children’s oncological ward – from a feasibility study to a randomized controlled design

Conference Paper/Poster - Jun 10, 2021

CAM, Complementary Medicine, Integrative Oncology, Paediatric Oncology

Meda Spaccamela V, Tillmann C, Schlaeppi M, L'allemand D, Kahlert C, Lauener R, Greiner J (2021). External therapies of anthroposophical medicine in a children’s oncological ward – from a feasibility study to a randomized controlled design.
Conference Paper/Poster (English)
Conference Name
Annual Meeting of the Swiss Society for Paediatrics SGP 2021 (-)
Publication Date
Jun 10, 2021
EMH Media (Muttenz)
Brief description/objective

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is of
growing interest in parents of pediatric cancer patients. Among CAM,
external anthroposophical therapies are particularly attractive, because
they enable parents to actively take part in the healing process by learning
to perform them. External CAM techniques may serve as an additional
supportive therapy. So far there is no study of CAM external therapies
in pediatric oncology.

Material and methods:
In the present retrospective observational study, data of patients 0 - 18 years old with a diagnosis of tumour and one or more external nursing therapies of CAM was collected in our oncology ward between 2015 and 2018. The following therapies were offered: Aurum Lavandula comp. chest compress, Oxalis Folium 20% abdominal
compress, Plantago and Cera flawa compress and Homunculus
foot massage. Additionally, an evaluation questionnaire was completed
by the nursing staff before and after the study.

Out of an average of 50 patients per year with oncological inpatient
care, 12 patients in 2015, 21 patients in 2016, 21 patients in 2017
and 14 patients in 2018 underwent one or more CAM external nursing
applications. The following effects were documented as observed by
the nurses: relaxation, falling asleep and reduction of pain. No side effects were observed. Data collected from the nursing staff on feasibility of CAM on a pediatric oncological ward and its influence on the process of care will be presented.

While the present observations show the feasibility of CAM nursing external application on a pediatric oncological ward, they
also highlight the ethical and scientific challenges of studies in seriously
ill children. As next step, we will perform a randomized study in oncological hospitalized patients with 3 treatment groups: 1. CAM nursing external application, 2. standard massages with almond oil and 3. regular standardised talks between patients and nurses. The duration of supportive treatment will be the same in each group. Before and after treatment, respiratory and pulse rate, blood pressure, skin conduction and cortisol level in saliva and blood will be measured, pain will be scored using a visual analogue scale and a questionnaire completed by patients and/or parents. Statistical analysis will evaluate, whether CAM nursing external applications have a specific impact on pain and stress levels of children under oncological treatments.