Mind-body therapy for cancer patients

Meditation; CWM management of cancer-related symptoms typically involves pharmacological images-1treatments, such as analgesics, or sedatives. However, these medications may have unacceptable side effects or worsen some symptoms. In contrast, mind–body therapies have few or no negative side effects and may even improve symptoms in addition to the target symptom (Kwekkeboom et al. 2010).

Mind–body therapies provided for pain relief may also reduce anxiety and facilitate relaxation. Mind-body techniques can be particularly useful for patients who prefer active involvement and participation. Relaxation and imagery training can reduce pain and analgesic use, thus reducing analgesic side effects in some patients (Foley et al., 2010).

Relaxation therapies minimize sympathetic nervous system response which in turn decreases oxygen demand, slows heart rate, and lowers blood pressure. The mindfulness-based meditation therapies may have significant benefits for cancer survivors (Elkins et al. 2010).

images-4Yoga; Yoga, in comparison with a waitlist control group, showed improvements for mental health, depression, fatigue, positive affect, and spirituality in breast cancer patients (Danhauer et al. 2009).

After completion of a 12-week program, Yoga group showed improvement in quality of life and psychosocial functioning in breast cancer patients (Speed-Andrews et al., 2010).

Another pilot study with metastatic breast cancer reported lower levels of pain and fatigue after participation in the Yoga of Awareness Program (Carson et al. 2009).

Unknown-2Tai-chi; In breast-cancer survivors, Tai-chi group showed a significant improvement in hand-grip strength, flexibility, and quality of life (Mustian et al., 2006).

Compared to the standard support therapy, Tai-chi group had significantly increased levels of bone formation markers and IL-6 levels, as well as decreased bone resorption markers and a trend for decreased IL-2 levels (Peppone et al. 2010).

Hypnosis; Clinical hypnosis can be defined as an altered state of consciousness, awareness, or perception. Hypnotic relaxation is the most frequently cited form of non-pharmacological cognitive pain control. Hypnotherapy for the management of chronic pain has been demonstrated to provide relief for the symptoms of pain in cancer (Elkins et al. 2007).

imagesSelf-hypnosis can increase patients’ feeling of self-efficacy and mastery of their internal and external environment (Jensen et al. 2006). Self-hypnosis training for 15–20 min can reduce pain, fatigue, and discomfort in breast-cancer surgery patients.

Hypnotic effects on post-surgical pain are at least partially mediated by changes in response expectancies and emotional distress. Patients using hypnosis tend to develop more positive expectations for symptom control and experience reduced distress (Montgomery et al. 2010).