As many of you know, I am going to invest a considerable amount of time and energy researching mind-body medicine modalities in the oncological setting. Partially because mind-body modalities modalities, when combined with standard treatment, show great promise to increase quality of life, reduce anxiety and pain intensity.
Right now I just wanted to bring awareness on research that is being done at Cyprus University. The following abstract by Andreas, C. (2011). The effect of progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery in improving psychological well-being and quality-of-life for breast and prostate cancer patients: Initial report just appeared in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine.
Introduction: This study aimed to determine whether relaxation and guided imagery techniques have the potential to cut anxiety, depression, pain intensity and improve quality-of-life for prostate and breast cancer patients.
Materials and method: Two-hundred patients with breast and prostate cancer were randomly allocated to either the intervention group (n = 100) or the control group (n = 100). Only patients in the intervention group received relaxation and guided imagery sessions. Each participant received 4 sessions of relaxation followed by guided imagery. Saliva was collected before and after the sessions and analyzed. Other measurements included assessment of quality-of-life (EORTC QLQ-30, Breast Module-BR23, and Prostate Module-PR25), pain intensity (pain intensity rating scale), depression (Beck Depression Inventory) and anxiety (Self-Rating Anxiety Scale-SAS).
Results: Even though the study has not yet been completed initial results show that the amylase level was significantly decreased after the relaxation and guided imagery sessions in the intervention group compared to the control group. Similarly, cortisol levels were also found to be lower in the intervention group compared to the control group, however to a lesser degree. Quality-of-life (P = 0.003), anxiety (P = 0.008), depression (P = 0.004), and pain ratings (P = 0.005) also show a positive response to the interventions.
Conclusion: Salivary α-amylase levels were significantly reduced and reacted more rapidly than cortisol levels to the interventions, suggesting that it is a better relaxation index. The use of Mind-Body techniques appears effective in reducing the levels of anxiety, depression and body discomfort in patients who have breast or prostate cancer. These simple, inexpensive and non-invasive interventions have the potential to enhance the psychological and physical wellness in these patients.
If you are a cancer patient or a caretaker/loved one of a cancer patient you might be interested in Mind-Body Skills Groups forming in West Michigan. We’ll be exploring Guided Imagery mentioned in this study and many other Mind-Body modalities. For more information visit my page about Mind-Body Skills Groups.
Andreas, C. (2011). The effect of progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery in improving psychological well-being and quality-of-life for breast and prostate cancer patients: Initial report. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 3(3), e125. doi:10.1016/j.eujim.2011.05.044