Meditation is one of the important relaxation techniques used for warding off some symptoms of cancer and side effects of conventional treatment in cancer patients. Meditation has been an important part of ancient Eastern religions including countries like India, China, and Japan. But due to its relaxing effects it has gained popularity worldwide. Meditation can be described as a wakeful physiologic trance. Controlled and deliberate breathing and focused thinking are integral part of meditation. It is a mind-body process involving focus and concentration.

There are many types of meditation. It helps to calm and relax both body and mind. It is one of the safest complementary therapies for cancer. Mostly it is done in sitting position but there are also moving meditation such as qigong, walking and aikido. Transcendental Meditation is most commonly practiced type of meditation involving chanting a mantra and focusing on that. Other popular form is Mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing on one’s own thoughts and sensations. Meditation can be self-directed, or guided. Patients can take help from doctors, psychiatrists or other mental health professionals. There are different schools of meditation such as Zen meditation, Tibetan meditation, Transcendental Meditation and many more.

Practitioners claim that meditation can help in improving mood and boosting immune system. It also increases mental efficiency, self-awareness and alertness. Researches on meditation show that it can help in reducing anxiety, stress, blood pressure, chronic pain, and insomnia. When used with cancer survivors, meditation caused positive changes including openness to change, self-control, self-awareness, personal growth and increase spirituality. Meditation helps to manage some symptoms of cancer and side effects of its treatment. It improves mood and concentration and reduces depression. It also boosts immune system.

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has many benefits as far as mental and physical health is concerned. It helps to lower heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. Some of its benefits are listed below:-

  • It helps to decrease symptoms of depression in cancer patients and it has long term effects.
  • Meditation considerably lowers stress in patients coping with cancer and its treatment.
  • Meditation can help in managing chronic pain, which is a common symptom among cancer patients.
  • It also improves sleep and is beneficial for cancer patients as they commonly encounter difficulty with sleep.
  • It also improves cognitive functions.
  • It also reduces fatigue.
  • It improved attention and awareness.
  • It increased expression of emotions in a rightful way.
  • It increases self-awareness and promotes desire to attain well being.
  • It improves other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic low back pain and attention-deficit disorder by reducing stress.
  • It lessens feeling of suffering and strengthens patients by improving their capability of emotional bonding in relationships.
  • It also reduces anxiety and helps in reducing high blood pressure.

It can take time to get desired results from meditation but it gets easier with practice and ultimately results in a self composed and relaxed demeanor.

Complications with Meditation

Complications with meditation are rare. But some patients may feel disoriented or anxious and may have negative feelings. Patients suffering from mental diseases are more likely to have these feelings. They may suffer from aggravated depression, anxiety, mania or psychosis. Relying solely on meditation for cancer treatment is dangerous as it cannot cure the disease. It is a complementary therapy. Patients should consult their oncologist before doing any type of meditation.