Researchers from the Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, Beth Israel Medical Center, evaluated the impact of guided imagery on patients undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer.

Eligible patients receiving guided imagery sessions were monitored via biofeedback before and after each session.  Monitored measures included blood pressure, respiration rate, pulse rate, and skin temperature.

In addition, a quality of life questionnaire (the EuroQoL Group's EQ-5D) was used for subjective assessment, and patient feedback was collected at the end of radiation therapy through a satisfaction survey.

Measured parameters revealed statistically significant improvement from baseline, with decreases noted in respiration rate and pulse rate, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Skin temperature increased, indicating more peripheral capillary flow secondary to a decrease in the sympathetic response.

Overall, 86% of participants described the guided imagery sessions as helpful, and 100% said they would recommend the intervention to others.

The results of this study illustrate the positive impact of guided imagery, as measured through subjective and objective parameters, supporting the value of such practices into standard practice as part of improving the overall care offered to patients with breast cancer. 

Citation: Serra D1, Parris CR, Carper E, Homel P, Fleishman SB, Harrison LB, Chadha M. Outcomes of guided imagery in patients receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2012 Dec;16 (6): pp. 617-23. [email protected]