Trying alternative mesothelioma therapies can seem like a scary science experiment. They can be expensive and outlandish with dubious results. Maybe it’s time to give meditation a try. It’s simple, free and one of the hottest well-being trends right now for everyone, not just cancer patients. But mesothelioma patients may stand to gain more than most by learning this gentle, ancient practice. Reported evidence suggests that mesothelioma patients who practice meditation can improve their quality of life.
What is Meditation?
Meditation, also known as mindfulness, is a mind-body process that uses concentration to relax the body and calm the mind. It has been defined as the intentional self-regulation of attention.
While meditation’s roots are in Buddhism, many people today practice a non-religious form of mindfulness that requires nothing more than sitting quietly and focusing on your breath – and thinking about nothing. It’s not always easy. The mind wanders. But the trick is to rein it back in by refocusing on breathing.
Mediation as an Alternative Therapy for Mesothelioma
Meditation is one of several alternative therapies evaluated and found to be of possible benefit by an independent panel convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The panel found that it might be a useful complementary therapy for treating chronic pain and problems such as insomnia. Some cancer treatment centers offer meditation or relaxation therapy with standard medical care. “Scientific evidence does not suggest that meditation is effective in treating cancer or any other disease; however, it may help to improve the quality of life for people with cancer,” the American Cancer Society says. About 25% of mesothelioma patients reportedly meditate to ease their mesothelioma symptoms.
Meditation can be used in combination with other alternative mesothelioma treatments we’ve discussed here at Mesothelioma Circle, including massage, yoga and acupuncture.
Meditation and Cancer – The Back Story
In the 1970s, scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn was introduced to Buddhist meditation as a student earning a PhD in molecular biology at MIT. Intrigued, he removed meditation from Buddhism to study it in a scientific framework. Now Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Kabat-Zinn helped prove that meditation could improve mental and physical health. He documented how it eased suffering and stress in cancer patients. His evidence was so compelling that hospitals around the world began using meditation as an alternative therapy to promote the well-being of cancer patients and others.