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Relaxation training and guided imagery for mood and quality of life before chemotherapy

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.
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