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Fighting Cancer through Meditation

Fighting Cancer through Meditation

2015 - 04 - 10

Meditation

When you hear the word meditation, you probably think about people sitting on the ground chanting 'om'. While this may seem strange to some people, meditation is one way that cancer patients are fighting back against their diagnosis.

Meditation is an important aspect of holistic medicine. Through concentration and relaxation, a person is able to calm his or her mind and relax his or her body. Techniques such as meditation are often recommended to patients with chronic pain or going through chemotherapy. Meditation is even approved by the National Institutes of Health to be of possible benefit for better health.  It has been found to reduce pain, anxiety, mood and stress for people who use it. While meditation does not have a direct impact in combating cancer, it has been found to improve the quality of life for patients.

Studies have shown that meditation has a positive impact on cancer patients.A 2001 study from Supportive Care in Cancer followed 89 patients who used regular meditation for up to six months after finishing chemotherapy.  The study found that regardless of the diagnosis or stage of cancer, all patients reported a decrease in mood disturbance and stress symptoms. Even the American Cancer Society recommends meditation as a way to relax and relieve anxiety.

There are many types of meditation that people use.  The most recognizable form of meditation is transcendental meditation, in which a person focuses on a single image or repeats a mantra such as the word 'om'. Mindfulness meditation requires users to be aware of everything happening around them and letting it pass through their minds without judgment. Some meditations involve movement, such as aikido or tai chi. Meditation can either be self-directed or guided by another person.

Meditation can be a powerful tool to those with cancer or those who are feeling stress in their lives. With the many types of meditation available, it is possible for anyone to find one that works for them. While it requires practice and much concentration, meditation can improve the quality of life for anyone.

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References:

[1] http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/ mindbodyandspirit/meditation

[2] Nowinski, J. "How meditation can support cancer treatment". Huffington Post, May 10, 2011.

[3] Carlson, Linda, Zenovia Ursuliak, Eileen Goodey, Maureen Angen and Michael Speca. "The effects of a mindfulness meditation-based stress reduction program on mood and symptoms of stress in cancer outpatients: 6-month follow-up." Supportive Care in Cancer 9.2 (2001): 112-123

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