I’ve heard that relaxation techniques, meditation and mindfulness can help reduce anxiety about cancer treatment. Is that really true?
Yes. Many mind-body techniques that utilize forms of relaxation training can be helpful in reducing a wide range of symptoms and experiences. These techniques help you to cope with stressful situations, provide some sense of control in an otherwise “out of control” experience. They often lower physiological arousal which helps you to feel less overwhelmed and anxious. We encourage all patients and caregivers to learn at least one relaxation strategy to use throughout the cancer experience. It can include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation that involves tightening and then relaxing muscle groups, guided imagery and meditation practices. There is evidence that these techniques reduce anxiety, depression and improve overall well-being. The good part about these techniques is that they have no side effects and they will not interact with your other medications or treatment. In addition, there are indications that they help reduce the effects of stress which may have long term im