An intervention known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) showed a trend toward improving psychological outcomes by reducing mood disturbance in women who had survived early-stage breast cancer.
MBSR incorporates meditation, yoga, and physical awareness. In a recent study reported in the Western Journal of Nursing Research (2011;33(8):993-995), nurse researchers at the University of Missouri–Columbia (MU) administered MBSR group sessions over a period of 8 to 10 weeks. During these sessions, the breast cancer survivors practiced meditation skills, discussed how bodies respond to stress, and learned coping techniques.
Compared with a control group that received no MBSR training, participants who learned MBSR experienced statistically significant reductions in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate; increased their mindfulness state, and experienced improvements in mood.
Although the effects of MBSR on reducing stress were statistically significant on the physiological outcome (morning cortisol) at the measurement after the intervention completion, this effect was not sustained at 1-month follow-up. Coinvestigator and MU professor of nursing Jane Armer recommended in a separate statement that patients practice mindfulness-based meditation every day or at least routinely to garner short- and long-term benefits.