Researchers from Cyprus University of Technology and the University of Athens conducted a randomized, controlled study, testing the effectiveness of guided imagery and progressive muscle relaxation as stress reducing interventions in 236 patients with prostate and breast cancer who were being treated with chemotherapy.
Subjects were randomly assigned to either the control group or the intervention group (PMR and GI), and were observed for a total duration of 3 weeks. In total, 104 were randomized to the control group and 104 to the intervention group.
Investigators from San Diego State University (SDSU) & University of California, San Diego (UCSD), conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effects of randomized, controlled yoga interventions on self-reported fatigue in cancer patients and survivors. The online electronic databases, PubMed and PsycINFO, were used to search for peer-reviewed research articles reporting on randomized, controlled studies.
The main outcome of interest was change in fatigue from pre- to post-intervention. Interventions of any length were included in the analysis. Risk of bias using the format of the Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing risk of bias was also examined across studies.
Ten articles met the inclusion criteria and involved a total of 583 participants who were predominantly female, breast cancer survivors.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Nursing in Madison evaluated the feasibility and potential efficacy of a patient-controlled cognitive-behavioral intervention for pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbance, during treatment for advanced cancer.
This one group pre- and post-test design consisted of 30 adults with advanced (recurrent or metastatic) colorectal, lung, prostate, or gynecologic cancer receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Participants completed baseline measures (demographics and symptom inventory) and received education and training to use an MP3 player loaded with 12 cognitive-behavioral strategies (e.g., relaxation exercises, guided imagery, nature sound recordings, etc).
Researchers from United Lincolnshire Hospitals and Queen's Medical Centre in the UK performed a randomized, controlled trial to evaluate the immuno-modulatory effects of relaxation training and guided imagery on 80 women with breast cancer.
Patients underwent chemotherapy followed by surgery, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy. Those in the intervention group were taught relaxation and guided imagery. Patients kept diaries of the frequency of relaxation practice and imagery vividness.
Researchers from the Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University of Chicago, used a non-randomized, controlled design to evaluate the effect and feasibility of a mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) program on immune function, quality of life (QOL), and coping in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer.
Early stage breast cancer patients, who did not receive chemotherapy, self-selected into an 8-week MBSR program or into an assessment-only control group. Outcomes were evaluated over time. The first assessment was at least 10 days after surgery and prior to adjuvant therapy, as well as before the MBSR start-up. Further assessments were mid-MBSR, at completion of MBSR, and at 4-week post-MBSR completion.
A recent study by Gwen Wyatt and her team at Michigan State University concludes that reflexology as a single complementary therapy is a feasible option for women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Investigators at The College of Nursing, Michigan State University, compared patients who chose (1) reflexology, (2) guided imagery, (3) guided imagery plus reflexology or (4) interview-only, in this non-randomised, unblinded trial with 96 women undergoing chemotherapy for various cancers.
Data on demographics, depression, anxiety, and functional status were collected using established instruments. Quality of life (QOL) and patient characteristics were assessed in relation to which complementary therapy was chosen.
Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center find that self-administered stress management training for chemo patients, via audio, video and print materials, was as effective as a live human doing the training.
Researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center & University of South Florida in Tampa studied responses of 411 randomly assigned cancer patients about to begin chemotherapy, comparing the effects of (1) standard psychosocial care only, (2) a professionally administered form of stress management training (which included deep breathing, progressive relaxation + imagery and affirmations), or a patient self-administered form of the same stress management training, using video, audio and printed guidance.
Ninety-six women with newly diagnosed, large or locally advanced breast cancer were randomly assigned to either standard care, or standard care plus relaxation training and guided imagery (imagining host defences destroying tumor cells) at the University of Aberdeen Behavioural Oncology Unit in the UK. They were tested for mood and quality of life before each of the six cycles of chemotherapy and 3 weeks after cycle six. Clinical response to the chemo was also assessed. As hypothesized, the relaxation/imagery patients were more relaxed, had better quality of life, and less emotional suppression. There was no difference in clinical outcomes or pathological response to the chemotherapy. The study concludes that these simple, easy-to-implement and inexpensive interventions should be offered to patients wishing to improve their quality of life during the rigors of chemotherapy.Read more »
Citation: Walker, Walker, Ogston, Heys, Ah-See, Miller, Hutcheon, Sarkar and Eremin. The British Journal of Cancer 1999 April;80(1-2): pp 262-268.
Preparing patients for cancer chemotherapy: effect of coping preparation and relaxation interventions.
Burish, Snyder and Jenkins, the highly regarded Vanderbilt University team known for its many studies of imagery and chemotherapy, assessed the effectiveness of biofeedback and relaxation training in reducing the aversive side effects of cancer chemotherapy on 81 patients.
A study of chemotherapy patients at The UCSF Mt. Zion Infusion Center by Phaedra Caruso, PhD and Trudy Helge, PhD (at the time doctoral candidates in psychology), compared two kinds of guided imagery - self-generated, unique, fill-in-the-blank type imagery vs. "canned" imagery - standardized, physiologically-based, scripted imagery - along with a third condition: a progressive relaxation tape. All three interventions were recorded by the same person - imagery expert Martin Rossman MD - and offered as part of a four-session course.Read more »
When the data were analyzed and broken down, Caruso and Helge found that both kinds of guided imagery performed equally well, and significantly better than the progressive relaxation, in reducing depression and anxiety for the patients - indeed, increasingly so over time.