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Mindfulness – Meditation

Core practices are: sitting meditation (breath awareness, focused attention), body scan (awareness of sensations in the body, 45 minute exercise), Hatha Yoga (mindful movement), walking meditation and insight meditation. The two most used mindfulness-based clinical interventions in oncology are: mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

When our immune system struggles, it’s like a welcome sign for infection and disease.

Article source:  mindful.org

It is so wise that the immune system has even been referred to as our “floating brain,” aptly named for its ability to communicate with the brain through chemical messages that float around inside our body. This means that if our immune system is weakened, perhaps as a result of chronic stress or invading pathogens, our whole body system won’t operate as usual. When our immune system struggles, it’s like a welcome sign for infection and disease.


This study with a group of meditators and a control group includes the following:
We also gave everybody in both groups a flu vaccine at the end of the program to see how their immune systems would respond. Would the meditators show a stronger immune response in the form of antibodies produced against the influenza virus in the vaccine than the control group? In fact, they did. Not only that. When we plotted the degree of change in the brain (the right to left shift) versus the antibody response of the immune system in the meditators, we found that there was a linear relationship between the two. The greater the brain change, the greater the immune response. There was no such relationship in the control group.

This study says:
In conclusion, across 20 RCTs and more than 1600 participants, we found tentative evidence that mindfulness meditation modulates some select immune parameters in a manner that suggests a more salutogenic immune profile. Specifically, mindfulness meditation appears to be associated with reductions in proinflammatory processes, increases in cell-mediated defense parameters, and increases in enzyme activity that guards against cell aging.


Mindfulness-based clinical interventions are mind-body modalities that may encompass multiple components: psycho-educational elements, mindfulness meditation exercises, cognitive-behavioral interventions and movement exercises. Core practices are: sitting meditation (breath awareness, focused attention), body scan (awareness of sensations in the body, 45 minute exercise), Hatha Yoga (mindful movement), walking meditation and insight meditation. The two most used mindfulness-based clinical interventions in oncology are: mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).

Evidence can be drawn from the analysis of six systematic reviews including nine controlled clinical trials. Overall summary of results shows that the two most widely used mindfulness-based clinical interventions have moderate benefits for relief of psychological symptoms, as they improve psychosocial adjustment of cancer patients concerning their disease. Reduction of emotional distress shows a moderate overall effect size (Cohen’s d 0.58). The effects of MBSR and MBCT on physical health show contradicting evidence.

MBSR and MBCT are considered to be safe in supportive cancer care.

Meditation May Help Teens Cope With Cancer

Source: Womenshealth.gov

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Meditation could help improve mood, sleep and quality of life in teens with cancer, according to a small new study.

Canadian researchers assigned eight teens with cancer to eight sessions of mindfulness-based meditation. Another five teenage cancer patients were assigned to a “control group” that was put on a waiting list.

Practitioners of mindfulness-based meditation focus on the present moment and the link between mind and body. The weekly sessions lasted 90 minutes each.

After the eight sessions, the teens in the meditation group had fewer depression symptoms than those in the control group, the University of Montreal researchers said.

Girls in the meditation group said they slept better and had developed greater meditation skills than boys.

The study was scheduled for presentation March 13 at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in San Francisco.

Previous research has found that meditation can benefit adults with cancer. These findings suggest the same might be true for teens with cancer, although the research did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

“The social support provided to the adolescents in the mindfulness group could possibly explain observed benefits on mood and sleep,” study author Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise said in a university news release. “Nonetheless, mindfulness-based interventions for teenagers with cancer appear as a promising option to lighten psychological inconveniences of living with cancer.”

Teens with cancer often experience anxiety over issues such as the physical and emotional pain of the illness and treatment, disease progression, and the challenges of living with cancer, Malboeuf-Hurtubise and her colleagues said. Fears about cancer returning after treatment are another common concern.

Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about teens and young adults with cancer.

Yoga, Meditation, Mindfulness Improves Health after Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Source: EmaxHealth
By Kathleen Blanchard

Stress reduction training that includes yoga, meditation and body awareness is found by University of Missouri researchers in the Sinclair School of Nursing to help women with breast cancer improve their emotional and physical well-being.

The meditation technique, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a type of mindfulness training that blends meditation, yoga and physical awareness, was found by Yaowarat Matchim, a former nursing doctoral student; Jane Armer, professor of nursing; and Bob Stewart, professor emeritus of education and adjunct faculty in nursing, to improve breast cancer survivors’ health.

“MBSR is another tool to enhance the lives of breast cancer survivors,” Armer said. “Patients often are given a variety of options to reduce stress, but they should choose what works for them according to their lifestyles and belief systems.”

The technique should be practice routinely, according to Armer who says MSBR gives breast cancer survivors a “new way of thinking” that improves long-term health outcomes from helping women gain more control over their lives.

Group sessions, over eight to ten weeks, lowered the women’s blood pressure and heart rate, improved mood and helped them learn coping techniques, facilitated through discussion of how the body responds to stress.

“Post diagnosis, breast cancer patients often feel like they have no control over their lives,” Armer said. “Knowing that they can control something—such as meditation—and that it will improve their health, gives them hope that life will be normal again.”

The study is published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research. According to background information from the authors, 50 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer experience depression.

Practicing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) that incorporates yoga, meditation and physical awareness, was found to improved emotional and physical well-being, which should be continued after training sessions end.

WJNR: doi:10.1177/0193945910385363
“Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Health Among Breast Cancer Survivors”
Yaowarat Matchim et al.
December, 2011

6 easy ways to meditate for good health

Source: EmaxHealth

Just sitting quietly and letting go of our thoughts can calm harmful cytokines that promote disease. Meditation lowers stress hormone levels and alters our genes. Mindfulness involves sitting or lying quietly and paying attention only to the breath without changing how we breathe.

Walking in a circle or up and down a short path can help us focus on the moment. Rather than walking for exercise, the goal is to simply pay attention to the sensation of walking or the act itself. Walk at a slow pace and focus inward. Pay attention to how it feels and set a mental focus that might include mentally ‘saying’ step right, step left. Pay attention to the soles of your feet, your knees and then you hips. You can also focus on breathing when you walk. For some, walking and meditating is easier than sitting to cultivate mindfulness.

Prayer can also be a way to develop mindfulness, especially repetitive praying. When we pray out loud and repeat, it is much like performing a traditional Hindu mantra that keeps the mind focused.

Music for meditation
Listening to soothing music can also be used to cultivate mindfulness for better health. When we focus on any one thing and keep the mind clear of other thoughts we are gaining health and well-being. Listening to music has physical and emotional benefits that can reduce anxiety and boost immunity. Music also boosts levels of dopamine in the body that is a brain chemical that makes us feel good.

Mindful eating
Mindful eating has gained some focus in studies. The act of eating slowly, chewing our food well and savoring the smells and textures of food can be a form of meditation that can help us lose weight even. The truth is, any activity that we perform in our daily lives can turn into a type of meditation – even the simple act of washing the dishes and focusing totally on the moment can be a form of meditation that helps us relax.

Practicing Yoga at any level keeps the mind focused and cultivates awareness of the body. The good news is you can start at any level. Yoga can also be performed in a chair for those with disabilities. It can also be practiced using only standing or only sitting postures. Contrary to some beliefs, you do not have to be extremely flexible to enjoy Yoga. The idea is to perform the postures and breathing to the best of your individual capability. There are also many tools available including blocks and straps that can help with balance and posture.

Published Clinical Trials / Studies / Reviews

Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) on Health Among Breast Cancer Survivors

A Randomized, Wait-List Controlled Clinical Trial: The Effect of a Mindfulness Meditation-Based Stress Reduction Program on Mood and Symptoms of Stress in Cancer Outpatients

Mindfulness-based stress reduction in relation to quality of life, mood, symptoms of stress and levels of cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) and melatonin in breast and prostate cancer outpatients

One year pre–post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients

The efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction in the treatment of sleep disturbance in women with breast cancer: An exploratory study

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as supportive therapy in cancer care: systematic review

Cancer Treatment Options

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