Breast Cancer Patients Reduce Stress With Transcendental Meditation
By Deborah Mitchell
A new study published in the September issue of Integrative Cancer Therapies reports that women who have breast cancer can reduce their stress and improve their emotional and mental well-being by practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique.
According to the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that regular meditation can reduce chronic pain, high blood pressure, anxiety, and blood levels of cortisol, one of the stress hormones.
Transcendental Meditation study
The Transcendental Meditation study involved 130 women aged 55 years or older who had breast cancer. The two-year study was a collaboration between the Center for Healthy Aging at Saint Joseph Hospital, Northwestern University, Indiana State University, and the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management.
The women were randomly assigned to practice the Transcendental Meditation technique or to a group of usual care (control group). All the women were administered quality of life measures every six months for two years. The women who practiced Transcendental Meditation reported significant benefits in their overall quality of life and found that the meditation was easy to practice at home.
Meditation, stress, and breast cancer
Research shows that stress and anxiety are contributing factors in the onset and progression of breast cancer and mortality, according to Sanford Nidich, the study's lead author and a senior researcher at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management.
A study recently completed by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston reported that meditation programs are effective at reducing cognitive impairment associated with cancer, as well as stress, fatigue, nausea, pain, and sleep problems. The authors proposed that meditation should be investigated as an adjuvant to cancer treatment.
In the Phoenix area, the Maharishi Enlightenment Center of Phoenix offers introductory lectures on Transcendental Meditation every week. Reservations are required.
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