Relaxation techniques can also reduce tension, depression and anxiety, yet few cancer treatment programs use these techniques on a regular basis.
Relaxation techniques learned prior to undergoing cancer treatment proved more effective at reducing anxiety than techniques taught while the patient was undergoing aggressive treatment to eradicate or slow the cancer, says lead study author Karin Luebbert of the University Hospital Hamburg.
Teaching relaxation techniques involves very little of a professionals time -- usually less than two hours -- making the intervention inexpensive, according to the study published in the February issue of Psycho-Oncology.
Relaxation techniques may help patients achieve a physical restfulness that reduces their anxiety and reactivity to unpleasant stimuli. The muscular relaxation that results from these techniques may also ease the physiological cascade that leads to nausea and vomiting, the authors say.
Besides some of the documented emotional benefits of relaxation training, these techniques may also help patients feel more in control of their treatment, especially if they are encouraged to practice on their own, they say. Cancer patients can often feel helpless and hopeless Relaxation affords an active coping strategy for them.
Twelve types of side effects commonly associated with cancer treatment were addressed in the review. These included four treatment-related symptoms, namely nausea, pain, blood pressure, and pulse rate; and eight emotional adjustment issues: anxiety, depression hostility, tension, fatigue, confusion, vigor and overall mood. Investigators also
Contact: Monika Hasenbring
Center for the Advancement of Health