Meditation, which is the practice of training one’s mind, has been gaining a lot of steam lately thanks to an abundance of new scientific research showing the practice has real benefits. As you probably already know, meditation is a helpful tool for relieving stress, so it should come as no surprise that meditation can benefit patients who have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, such as breast cancer.
In a 2011 Cure Today post, data presented by the American Society of Breast Surgeons in Washington, D.C. was summarized. The data reflected the findings of a study conducted at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.
The study examined 68 women who were cancer patients at the hospital, including 52 survivors. The women were randomly placed in either a treatment group or a control group – 48 in the treatment group, and the remaining 20 in the control group. The treatment group underwent tow-hour meditation classes, once per week for eight weeks.
After eight weeks of meditation classes, the women in the treatment group showed significant signs of improvement, according to the researchers; however, the women in the control group – those who did no meditation – did not show any significant signs of improvement.
The type of meditation the women practiced was “mindfulness meditation,” which trains the mind to focus exclusively on the now. By focusing only on the present moment, the patients were able to quiet recurring thoughts of past trauma.
The study’s head researcher, Dr. Ruth Lerman had this to say, “I think that the health value of meditation is remarkable. And it’s becoming accepted now in Western medicine.” She then went on to add, “Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, to what’s happening in the present moment without judgment… There’s a good, solid body of research about its benefits, but the studies are not as rigorous. People in my field really want the scientific evidence rather than an anecdotal report.”
Not surprisingly, another study conducted at the University of Missouri also found that mindfulness meditation is extremely beneficial to breast cancer survivors. In that study, 19 women practiced mindfulness meditation, and another 17 were placed in a control group. The women who practiced meditation regular had lower blood pressure and heart rates, as well as lower cortisol levels, at the end of the study.
Note: Specifically, with regards to medical issues, always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Web site.