Originally written by joseph-nowinski, clinical psychologist.
There is good news when it comes to meditation as a complementary treatment, and that is that a number of rigorous clinical trials are underway. Using controlled clinical trials, these investigators are studying the effects of both types of meditation on health issues such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and the side effects of cancer treatment. The common denominator driving this research is a general recognition that chronic stress is linked to a variety of health problems, such as increased heart disease, compromised immune system functioning and premature cellular and cognitive aging. It makes sense, then, to take a closer look at how meditation can help. Here is a sample of what researchers have discovered and verified so far:
· In a study of 60 breast cancer survivors, women who practiced meditation reduced the number and severity of hot flashes and also reported improvements in mood and sleep.
· A study of 63 people with rheumatoid arthritis found that mindfulness meditation helped to improve quality of life and reduce psychological distress.
· A study of 298 college students found that transcendental meditation helped students reduce stress and improve coping strategies.
· A “meta-analysis” of 10 studies found that mindfulness meditation improves the overall mental health of cancer patients.
The above should be encouraging to those who are facing cancer and contemplating a comprehensive treatment plan. As with the other complementary treatments looked at in this series, there is no evidence as yet that meditation arrests or cures cancer. That said, comprehensive treatment should include mental health as well as reductions in the pernicious side effects of cancer treatment.