Regaining Calm After the Cancer Storm

Breast cancer winners benefit from mindfulness training

(RxWiki News) After being diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer, a woman's world can become fuzzy and a little darker than before. Depression is common. And now researchers are finding a way to calm away these blues.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - a type of meditation technique - enhances the emotional and physical well-being of women who have experienced the adventure of breast cancer.

"Learn to meditate - it's good for your body, mind and soul."

Several members of the School of Nursing at the University of Missouri - worked with women who had recently undergone breast cancer treatment to see if MBSR eased depression and increased physical energy.

The technique combines meditation, yoga and physical awareness.

Yaowarat Matchim, a former nursing doctoral student; Jane Armer, professor of nursing; and Bob Stewart, professor emeritus of education and adjunct faculty in nursing, conducted the study.

The MBSR course involves group sessions that last 8-10 weeks. During these sessions, the women learn and practice meditation skills and talk about how their bodies respond to stress. They also learn coping skills.

The women who learned MBSR experienced lower blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates. In addition, participants said their moods improved and they had more mindfulness - clarity, presence and equanimity.

"MBSR teaches patients new ways of thinking that will give them short- and long-term benefits," Armer said.

For best results, meditation should be practiced regularly and ideally daily, according to Amer.

The study was published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research.

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Review Date: 
December 30, 2011