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Relaxation Techniques Increase Cancer Patients’ Self-Esteem

Instead of cancer survivors feeling strong after combating cancer, many of them suffer from low self-esteem. This disease may negatively impact patients' thoughts and feelings towards themselves due to its effects on their physical and mental status. Previous studies have shown an association between practicing relaxation techniques and increased self-esteem, so researchers decided to test the impact of these relaxation techniques on cancer patients.

For this study, published in Supportive Care in Cancer, 80 patients were randomly divided into experimental and control groups. For the patients in the experimental group, relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing were performed once a day for 30 minutes for 60 consecutive days. The patients also received routine care during this time. The patients in the control group only received routine care. Before and after the intervention, patients had to self-report feelings of self-esteem in regard to four areas: general, social, familial, and educational/professional.

The results revealed that participants showed a significant increase in self-esteem in all four areas tested after the relaxation techniques were performed. In the control group, a significant decrease in scores was found in all four areas.

The study authors, led by Mehdi Harorani, a faculty member at Arak University of Medical Sciences, conclude, "The relaxation program seems to be effective in improving self-esteem of patients with cancer. Further studies, particularly randomized clinical trials with higher sample size and more power, are needed to confirm our findings. In addition, we suggest that future studies examine the effect of relaxation on other symptoms and complications of cancer."

For More Information

Harorani M, Zamenjani MN, Golitaleb M, et al (2019). Effects of relaxation on self-esteem of patients with cancer: a randomized clinical trial. Support Care Cancer. [Epub ahead of print] DOI:10.1007/s00520-019-05025-3

Image Credit: Yoga4love

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