Stress and cancer are
closely related, that is, greater the stress level poorer the health outcomes
in cancer patients. Researchers from the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of
Integrative Medicine, Jefferson Hospital, Philadelphia, USA, observed that the
brain of women with breast cancer participating in the eight week
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program responded positively and
their anxiety and stress levels reduced significantly after eight weeks.
Daniel Monti, the Director
of the Jefferson-Myrna Centre who led the study, and his team, discovered that
Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT) can be beneficial for cancer patients in
mitigating stress levels and alleviating the quality of life.
Monti mentioned, "This
type of expressive art and meditation program has never before been studied for
physiological impact and the correlation of that impact to improvement in
stress and anxiety."
diagnosed between six months and three years earlier with breast cancer and not
involved in active treatment, were enrolled for the study and randomly assigned
to the MBAT program or an education program control group. MBAT group included
MBSR curriculum (awareness of emotions, eating, walking, listening, and
awareness of breathing) combined with expressive art tasks and offered
opportunities for adequate self-expression, simplifying coping strategies and
were noted on the cerebral blood flow of the MBAT group as compared to the control
group. The test group showed increases in the emotional centers of the brain
dealing with perception of emotions, regulation of stress responses, and reward
system. This positively affected the reduction of stress and anxiety among the
Prof. Monti said,
"Our goal was to observe possible mechanisms for the observed psychosocial
effects of MBAT by evaluating the cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes associated
with an MBAT intervention in comparison with a control of equal time and attention."
He further added,
"This type of expressive art and meditation program has never before been
studied for physiological impact and the correlation of that impact to
improvements in stress and anxiety."
It helps express
emotional information in an effective and powerful manner.
Daniel Monti focused
on decreasing stress and anxiety in women with breast cancer with the
expectation of having a positive effect on their cancer outcomes.
The scientists concluded that women who practice
yoga, breathing exercises, walking, and other such activities are in a better
position to respond in a meaningful manner and cope with cancer.