Guided Imagery Reduces Anxiety, Depression, Pain, Insomnia in Breast Cancer Patients after Chemotherapy

Researchers from Mackay Memorial Hospital and Medical College in Taipei City, Taiwan, evaluated the impact of guided imagery and relaxation on patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy in this randomized, 2-group, pretest-posttest, quasi-experimental study.

Sixty-five breast cancer patients were enrolled in the study and randomly assigned to the experimental group (n = 32) or to the control group (n = 33). Both groups received chemotherapy self-care education, but the experimental group also received relaxation with guided imagery training.

The training on relaxation with guided imagery was conducted before chemotherapy, and the patients were supplied with a compact disc of relaxation with guided imagery, to be listened to for 20 minutes daily, at home, for 7 days post chemotherapy.

The experimental group showed significant decreases in insomnia (-0.34 ± 0.83, P < 0.05), pain (-0.28 ± 0.58, P < 0.05), anxiety (-3.56 ± 2.94, P < 0.00), and depression (-2.38 ± 2.70, P < 0.00) between the pretest and the posttest.

Comparing the two groups, statistically significant differences were found in overall symptom distress (B = 0.11, P < 0.05), insomnia (B = 0.50, P <0.05), depression (B = 0.38, P < 0.05), and physical numbness (B = 0.38, P < 0.05), as well as in anxiety (B = 3.08, P < 0.00) and depression (B = 1.86, P < 0.00) in psychological distress.

The investigators conclude that one week of relaxation with guided imagery can significantly improve the overall symptoms of distress, insomnia, depression, physical symptoms and anxiety, and can decrease psychological distress in breast cancer patients after chemotherapy.

Chen SF1, Wang HH2, Yang HY3, Chung UL4. Effect of Relaxation With Guided Imagery on The Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2015 Nov 28;17(11):e31277. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.31277. eCollection 2015

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