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Mind-Body Practices Good for Cancer Patients
Mind-body practices , such as yoga and Tai Chi, can be very helpful to people with cancer. M. D. Anderson studies have examined these practices for patients with rectal, breast and prostate cancer, as well as renal cell carcinoma and lymphoma.

"We know from our research that a mind-body practice is useful for helping to improve sleep, reduce anxiety and distress, and improve mood in general," Cohen says. "It's also helpful in promoting a calm and relaxed state. And we've also seen from the physiological side that mind-body practices decrease stress hormones and blood pressure, and also improve aspects of physical function and physical well-being.

Cohen's recommendation stems from the results of ongoing research at M. D. Anderson involving cancer patients practicing Tai Chi, Qigong, Hatha yoga, Tibetan yoga , meditation and relaxation techniques

"So we encourage all cancer patients to engage in some type of mind-body practice throughout their cancer treatment into recovery and survival and to incorporate it as a daily activity for the rest of their lives."
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Video: Tibetan Meditation for Cancer Patients
Tibetan Meditation Takes Patients ‘Home’
By Deborah E. Thomas

A type of meditation that originated in Tibet may help alleviate the pain and discomfort of cancer and cancer treatment, allowing some patients to decrease their medication.

Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., adjunct assistant professor in the Integrative Medicine Program at M. D. Anderson, teaches Tibetan meditation at M. D. Anderson’s Place … of wellness.

“Medication and meditation aren’t an odd couple,” he says. “Actually, they go very well together. Often, the more you meditate, the less medication you might need.”

Make a connection

The main objective of Tibetan meditation is to connect to the “heart mind,” using breathing and vocalization of simple sounds, Chaoul says.

The heart mind is not the restless mind that jumps from thought to thought. It is the calm, centered mind, also called “home.”

Goal is to clear the mind

“In Tibetan meditation, body, energy and mind are thought of as the three doors to the main castle that is home,” Chaoul says.

As the mind settles, obstacles are swept away, leaving the mind clear. The goal is to bring the clarity achieved through meditation into everyday life.

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