What are mind-body therapies?
Mind-body therapies enhance your mind’s capacity to influence your body’s function and symptoms. Some interventions focus on calming your mind, improving focus, enhancing decision-making capacity, managing stress, or resolving conflict. Other interventions have a goal of relaxing both your mind and your body. Spiritual practices and consciousness-changing (psychedelic) therapies are part of this group, as well as practices such as meditation, psychotherapy, and mindful movement therapies such as yoga or qigong.
Mind-body interventions are often used in combination, such as guided imagery with progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation with breathing techniques.
What are the benefits of using these therapies?
Many mind-body therapies are linked to lower levels of symptoms and side effects common in cancer, such as pain, fatigue, stress, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, depression, and sleep disruption. Many people with cancer engage in mind-body therapies to support well-being and quality of life.
Some mind-body therapies may help optimize your body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more, creating an environment within your body less supportive of cancer development, growth, or spread.
Are they safe?
While most mind-body approaches are inherently health-promoting, we encourage you to consult your healthcare team before starting a therapy. Some therapies may not be appropriate for your situation, and many are more effective with professional instruction, guidance, and supervision. You may also ask your physician for a referral to a class or practitioner for many mind-body approaches.