Meditation Brings Peace
An individual’s physical and psychological state are interconnected. One way to combat the emotional toll that cancer therapy can take on a patient is through anti-anxiety and depression medications, which can have negative side effects.
For some patients, acts such as meditation can have a positive effect on their psychological state without the risk of side effects.
Several studies, including a meta-analysis of patients with breast cancer found that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has a positive effect on the mental health of patients, alleviating some symptoms of anxiety and depression to current patients and survivors who may have residual emotional issues.9,10
Acupuncture Shows Promise
Researchers at the S. João and Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho Hospital Centers in Oporto, Portugal, performed an acupuncture and moxibustion protocol to determine if patients undergoing chemotherapy may experience improved immunity and, if so, whether that correlates with overall well-being and quality of life.11
Moxibustion is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves the burning of mugwort, a spongy herb, to facilitate healing and strengthen the blood.
The researchers of this pilot study of 18 patients with colon cancer concluded that acupuncture and moxibustion may stimulate anticancer immunity, promote a myeloprotective effect, and improve emotional well-being, while minimizing the side effects of chemotherapy. A study of a larger population group will help further explain how these practices may improve patients’ mind-set and overall health.
Although some patients may be aware of some of these integrative approaches, it is important for the oncology team to be aware of them and to make recommendations when appropriate. There is no question that patients with cancer need traditional therapies, but their hearts and minds may need healing as well.
- Ryan JL, Heckler C, Dakhil SR, et al. Ginger for chemotherapy-related nausea in cancer patients: A URCC CCOP randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 644 cancer patients. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27(15s): (suppl; abstr 9511).
- Stix G. Is Chronic Inflammation the Key to Unlocking the Mysteries of Cancer. Scientific American. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/chronic-inflammation-cancer/. Published November 9, 2008.
- Weil A. Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Pyramind. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/PAG00361/anti-inflammatory-food-pyramid.html. Accessed November 11, 2014.
- Radhakrishnan VM, Kojs P, Young G, et al. pTyr421 cortactin is overexpressed in colon cancer and is dephosphorylated by curcumin: Involvement of non-receptor type 1 protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTPN1). PLoS One. 2014;9(1):e85796.
- Chohan M, Naughton DC, Opara EI. Determination of superoxide dismutase mimetic activity in common culinary herbs. Spingerplus. 2014;3:578.
- Wang YC. Medicinal plant activity on Helicobacter pylori related diseases. World J Gastroenterol. 2014;20(30):10368-10382.
- Lin CH, Lu WC, Wang CW, et al. Capsaicin induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human KB cancer cells. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013;13:46.
- Sakr SA, Nooh HZ. Effect of Ocimum basilicum extract on cadmium-induced testicular histomorphometric and immunohistochemical alterations in albino rats. Anat Cell Biol. 2013;46(2):122-130.
- Zainal NZ, Booth S, Huppert FA. The efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction on mental health of breast cancer patients: a meta-analysis. Psychooncology. 2013;22(7):1457-1465.
- Charlson ME, Loizzo J, Moadel A, et al. Contemplative self healing in women breast cancer survivors: a pilot study in underserved minority women shows improvement in quality of life and reduced stress. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014;14:349.
- Pais I, Correia N, Pimentel I, et al. Effects of acupuncture on leucopenia, neutropenia, NK, and B cells in cancer patients: a randomized pilot study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:217397.