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14 Aug

A study by Fawzy Fawzy, MD et al on the effects of support groups using imagery and relaxation with early-stage melanoma patients showed that after 6 months these patients had significantly decreased negative mood states and significantly increased natural killer cell activity.

Citation: Fawzy FL, Fawzy NW , Hyun CS, Elashoff R, Guthrie D, Fahey JL, Morton DL. Malignant melanoma: Effects of an Early Unstructured Psychiatric Intervention, Coping, and Affective Recurrence and Survival 6 years later, Archives of General Psychiatry. 1993 Sep;50(9):681-9
14 Aug

Coping, life attitudes, and the immune responses to imagery and group support after breast cancer treatment.

Blair Justice, Mary Ann Richardson and their cohorts at the University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health, conducted a pilot study to differentiate the effects of imagery vs. support on coping, attitude, immune function and emotional well-being after breast cancer. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups: standard care, weekly support (for 6 weeks) or imagery sessions (for 6 weeks).  

14 Aug

Katherine Kolcaba, PhD, RN (U of Akron) and Christine Fox, PhD, (U of Toledo) found guided imagery to be an effective intervention for increasing comfort and reducing anxiety in 53 women with early stage breast cancer undergoing Radiation Therapy. The investigators designed and recorded imagery specifically for this study. Subjects were most likely to listen just before a treatment.

Citation: Kolcaba K, Fox C. The effects of guided imagery on comfort of women with early stage breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy. Oncol Nurs Forum. 1999 Jan-Feb; 26(1):67-72

14 Aug

The effects of a 6 week psychosocial intervention group on the survival of 21 breast cancer and 29 prostate cancer patients in rural Pennsylvania.

The 6 2-hour class topics emphasized imagery and stress reduction techniques, along with covering attitudes, feelings, self-esteem, spirituality, nutrition and exercise.

The intervention group lived significantly longer than the matched controls, suggesting that short-term psychosocial interventions that encourage the expression of feeling, provide social support and teach coping skills can influence survival. But Self-selection for these groups could have biased this sample.

Citation: Schrock D, Palmer R, Taylor B. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, May, 1999; Vol 5, #3:49-55.

14 Aug

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.  

14 Aug

The team of Cunningham, Phillips, Lockwood, Hedley and Edmonds, from the Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital, report in a recent issue of Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, that when patients dedicatedly employ a variety of psychological self-regulating strategies, (relaxation, guided imagery, cognitive restructuring and meditation), there is a life-prolonging effect.

In this prospective, longitudinal, correlative study, 22 patients with varying kinds of medically incurable, metastatic cancer were followed for one year, as they engaged in weekly group psychological therapy.

14 Aug

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.

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.
14 Aug

Nonpharmacologic group treatment of insomnia: a preliminary study with cancer survivors.
14 Aug

Mitch Golant PhD, Research Director of The National Wellness Community, in collaboration with Stanford University and UCSF, has been spearheading an important new study with David Spiegel MD, the Irv Yalom-trained psychiatry guy who’s done so many groundbreaking studies on psychosocial support for oncology patients.

"The Effectiveness of Internet vs. Face-to-Face Support Groups for Women With Breast Cancer" is an ongoing, randomized study comparing their face-to-face support groups and electronic support groups with their "usual care" educational programs.

14 Aug

A review of the impact of hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery and individual differences on aspects of immunity and health.

A group of London researchers at Marie Curie Cancer Care conducted randomized, controlled, clinical trials to compare the effects of massage alone to massage with essential oils (aromatherapy) on cancer patients in palliative care. The study randomly assigned 103 patients, to either receive massage using a carrier oil (massage) or massage using a carrier oil plus the Roman chamomile essential oil (aromatherapy massage). Outcome measurements included the Rotterdam Symptom Checklist (RSCL), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and a semi-structured questionnaire, administered 2 weeks postmassage, to explore patients'' perceptions of massage. The study found all massage to be helpful. There was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety after each massage on the STAI (P < 0.001), and improved scores on the RSCL: psychological (P < 0.001), quality of life (P < 0.01), severe physical (P < 0.05), and severe psychological (P < 0.05) subscales for the combined aromatherapy and massage group. The aromatherapy group''s scores improved on all RSCL subscales at the 1% level of significance or better, except for severely restricted activities. The massage group''s scores improved on four RSCL subscales but these improvements did not reach statistical significance. The study concludes that massage, with or without essential oils, appears to reduce levels of anxiety. The addition of Roman chamomile oil seems to enhance the effect of massage and to improve physical and psychological symptoms, as well as overall quality of life.

Citation: Gruzelier JH. A review of the impact of hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery and individual differences on aspects of immunity and health. Stress 2002 Jun;5(2):147-63.

14 Aug

Researchers from B. J. Medical College in Ahmedabad, India, studied numeric measures of respiratory function, cardiovascular parameters and lipid profiles of those practicing Raja Yoga meditation. The profiles of short and longterm meditators were compared with those of non-meditators.

The study found that vital capacity, tidal volume and breath holding were significantly higher in short and longterm meditators than in non-meditators. Longterm mediators had significantly higher vital capacity and expiratory pressure than short term meditators.
14 Aug

Long-term meditating subjects as well as energy healers who work in the altered state have long reported that the mind state that initially produced spotty transcendental experiences at isolated moments during their beginning practice, evolved to subjectively co-exist in a steady, everyday way with normal waking and sleeping states. Researchers at the Maharishi University in Fairfield, IA investigated the neurophysiological correlates of this integrated state by recording EEG in experienced meditators who reported this integration to subjectively be the case. Investigators recorded EEG in these subjects and in two comparison groups (17 in each condition) during simple tasks and tasks requiring close attention (called contingent negative variation or CNV tasks).