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Relaxation and guided imagery techniques in improving cancer discomfort.

23 Mar

Researchers from Barcelona, Spain find that relaxation and guided imagery reduce anxiety, depression and body discomfort in isolated cancer patients undergoing brachytherapy (radioactive seed implantation).

Sixty-six patients were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (n=32) or the control group (n=34). Patients in both groups received training regarding brachytherapy, but only the first group received training in relaxation and guided imagery. Results were assessed with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and on quality of life prior to, during and after brachytherapy.

The imagery group demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in anxiety (p=0.008), depression (p=0.03) and body discomfort (p=0.04) as compared with the control group.

The researchers conclude that relaxation techniques and guided imagery are effective in reducing the levels of anxiety, depression and body discomfort in patients who must remain isolated while undergoing brachytherapy. It was found to be a simple and inexpensive intervention that enhances the psychological wellness.

Citation: Leon-Pizarro C, Gich I, Barthe E, Rovirosa A, Farrus B, Casas F, Verger E, Biete A, Craven-Bartle J, Sierra J, Arcusa A. A randomized trial of the effect of training in relaxation and guided imagery techniques in improving psychological and quality-of-life indices for gynecologic and breast brachytherapy patients. Psychooncology. 2007 Feb 20; [Epub ahead of print]
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award