The Benefit of Meditation as a Complementary Therapy for Cancer Patients

Meditation is one of several relaxation methods evaluated and found to be of benefit to cancer patients. Research suggests it is an effective complementary therapy for treating chronic pain and sleeping problems such as insomnia. Meditation does not treat cancer; rather it may help to improve the quality of life for people with cancer.

Quality of Life

Regular meditation can reduce chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, cholesterol, substance abuse, and stress hormones. It can improve mood and immune function, mental efficiency, alertness and it raises self-awareness, all of which contribute to relaxation.

How to Meditate

Meditation may be done while sitting, but there are also moving forms of meditation. One commonly practiced type involves repeating a word or phrase, called a mantra, either silently or aloud. Another is mindfulness meditation, in which a person observes sensations, perceptions, and thoughts without judgment as they arise. Meditation can be self-directed, or guided by doctors, psychiatrists, other mental health professionals, or yoga masters. The Christian practices of centering prayer and contemplative prayer are forms of meditation, as is the practice of lectio divinia.

Cancer Navigators retreats and 8 week groups offer meditation instruction.

Before Meditation

Those with cancer should talk with their doctors before starting any type of meditation that involves movement of joints and muscles.