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Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients

Women report improved emotional and mental health in study

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Transcendental meditation reduces stress and improves the emotional and mental well-being of breast cancer patients, new study findings suggest.

The two-year trial included 130 patients at Saint Joseph Hospital in Chicago, aged 55 and older, randomly assigned to either a transcendental meditation group or to a usual care control group. Quality of life was assessed every six months.

"Emotional and psychosocial stress contribute to the onset and progression of breast cancer and cancer mortality," study author Sanford Nidich, senior researcher at the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, said in a news release from Saint Joseph Hospital.

"The transcendental meditation technique reduces stress and improves emotional well-being and mental health in older breast cancer patients. The women in the study found their meditation practice easy to do at home and reported significant benefits in their overall quality of life," Nidich added.

"It is wonderful that physicians now have a range of interventions to use, including transcendental meditation, to benefit their patients with cancer. I believe this approach should be appreciated and utilized more widely," study co-author Dr. Rhoda Pomerantz, chief of gerontology at Saint Joseph Hospital, said in the release.

The study, published in a recent issue of the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies, received funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about meditation.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Saint Joseph Hospital, news release, October 2009

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