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.

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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.

RELATED: Patient Reported Outcomes Are Changing Drug Trials and Clinical Oncology

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.


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  8. 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.
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  11. 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.