Buddha teaches us to view every meal as if we were reluctant cannibals: Samyukta Agama Sutra 373, the Four Nutriments
Letting Go — letting go of past, letting go of future, letting go is the hardest thing to do: Na Tumhaka Sutta
Becoming Gesar, the fearless Buddhist: How to overcome fear in uncertain times, according to Pali Sutta, Mahayana Sutra and Tantra
The Hand of Buddha defeats the three poisons : Vajrapani (literally, “Vajra Hand”) — Guardian of Shakyamuni Himself; Vajrapani, the power of the mind to overcome obstacles such as pride, anger, hate and jealousy
Tonglen video: Why giving and taking practice is an important kindness meditation and Bodhichitta practice; how to do it: taught by Zasep Rinpoche
Understanding Dependent Co-Arising is critical to Buddhist practice: The Great Causes Discourse Maha-nidana Sutta
Pali Sutta for Our Age: Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Book Review of a Classic
The bridge between science and Buddhism, atoms and no atoms, theism and athiesm; Yidam deity meditation and the Cognitive Science of Tantra
“Every one has Buddha Nature.” A teaching video: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche with mantra chanting by Yoko Dharma
Cankama Sutta: Walking Meditation Sutra: put some mileage on your Buddhist practice with formal mindful walking
Milam Sleep Yoga: lucid dreaming can bring us closer to experiencing non-dualistic “reality” than waking meditation
2017 Tsog Dates: Happy Dakini Day — Introducing the Wisdom of the Female Enlightened Dakinis
Guan Yin and the ten great protections of the Goddess of Mercy: Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion
The Maha Samaya Sutta: The Great Meeting Sutra: refuge from fear in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Soma Sutta: Sister Soma gets the better of Mara — what difference does being a woman make in Buddhism? None
Healing video: full Medicine Buddha guided meditation with Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche; with Medicine Buddha Mantra chanting by Yoko Dharma
Phurba or Kila: the most potent of wrathful ritual implements in Vajrayana Buddhism, symbolizes the Karma activity of the Buddhas
Happy Birthday Venerable Zasep Rinpoche: May the pure white light of your peerless wisdom shine undiminished until the end of existence
Buddha: How to protect wealth, associate with virtuous friends and relate to your spouse, employer, children: guidance for lay practitioners in Sigalovada Sutta
“Mind is the creator of our own happiness or suffering”—Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche teaches Lojong  Seven-Point Mind Training
The Path of Purification? No, my friend. Ratha-vinita Sutta (Chariot Relay Sutra) teaches us not to confuse the seven purifications, with the destination, Nirvana
Atisha’s Great Praise: 11th century wisdom.
Why Buddha Nature is one of the most important understandings in Mahayana Buddhism and why Tathagatagarbha Buddha Nature is not the soul
Why do Buddhas and Enlightened Beings need offerings? The simple answer: they don’t. The better answer is…
Book Review: Tara in the Palm of Your Hand: a guide to the practice of the twenty-one Taras in the Surya Gupta lineage
Amitabha Sutra: cutting delusions with one-pointed blissful contemplation of Amitabha Buddha and the Pure Land
Reviving the genuine Dharma ritual art traditions: an interview with Vajra artisan and craftsman Rigdzin Pema Tuthob
Great Compassion Mantra: Purification, healing and protection, the Maha Karuna Dharani Sutra — benefiting all beings
Video: Why is Mantra important to daily practice? For protection: “We are human beings. We have many problems.”
A Sutra for Troubled Times: Usnisa Vijaya Dharani Sutra and Mantra— Purify Karma, Eliminate Illness and Prevent calamities
Naked wisdom for degenerate times: Vajrayogini, enlightened wisdom queen, leads us to bliss, clear light and emptiness, despite modern obstacles
Headed for darkness or light? Of world’s 7.5 billion people, Tamonata Sutta says there are four types of people, two headed to darkness
Interview Lama Dr. Shannon Young: Dzogchen teacher focuses on bringing Dharma practice into daily life and bridging heritage with modern life
H.H. 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje in Canada for one month, arrived in Toronto for teachings
What’s so special about Hayagriva? This wrathful Heruka emanation of Amitabha, with horse head erupting from fiery hair, literally neighs with the Hrih scream of Wisdom
Mahāsatipaṭṭhāna Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Awareness; mindfulness of body, feelings, mind, mental qualities
Research: Meditation Proven to Reduce Pain, Anxiety and Tiredness during Breast Cancer Biopsy

Research: Meditation Proven to Reduce Pain, Anxiety and Tiredness during Breast Cancer Biopsy

Feature Contributor Anne Green*

“The meditation comprised a loving/kindness message that focused on building positivity through greater compassion for oneself and for others. It also aimed to rid the patient of negative emotions… those in the meditation group reported experiencing less pain during the biopsy, compared to those in the other two groups.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in the world. When breast cancer is suspected, owing to an abnormal mammogram or lump, a biopsy may be required – a small piece of tissue is taken for testing, to determine whether or not cancer is present. Women react in different ways when they are told they need a biopsy; for many, the fear of waiting and the procedure itself, can be highly stressful, despite the fact that most biopsies result in benign findings. Normal fears include the possibility of having to undergo surgery, or of receiving treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Buddha-Weekly-Breast Cancer Awareness Four Women-Buddhism

Replacing Medication with Meditation

Thus far, anxiety, pain and fatigue caused by breast biopsies have been treated with anti-anxiety medication such as intravenous benzodiazepine. The latter has been found to reduce pain and discomfort by 55 per cent, making it the preferred anxiety reduction treatment of choice. However, scientists have constantly sought a more natural way to reduce pain, tiredness and stress, since medication makes patients groggy and tired. The answer, researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute have discovered, lies in meditation. Although biopsies are highly effective at diagnosing breast cancer, their potential for causing pain and stress, can have a negative impact on patient care in the long run. When patients are anxious, for instance, they can move during the biopsy, thereby reducing its effectiveness. Those who develop a deep fear because of pain experienced during the procedure, meanwhile, can refuse to attend follow-up screenings.

Buddha-Weekly-Relaxing important in treatment of cancer-Buddhism

The Value of Natural Alternatives to Sedatives

The impact of stress and pain should not be minimized, since especially where follow-up procedures are required. Natural stress relief methods should be welcomed for many reasons. First, they reduce the costs associated with serious health conditions. Secondly, they successfully battle the prescription pill epidemic that is taking over many countries across the globe. Finally, they teach patients lifetime skills (such as controlled breathing and mindfulness), which are useful for battling stress, anxiety and pain, throughout their lifetime, even when its illness and symptoms have disappeared.

Buddha-Weekly-Breast Cancer Awareness-Buddhism

The Duke Cancer Institute Study

The researchers worked with 121 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, randomly assigning them three different methods of anxiety reduction while they were undergoing their biopsies: recorded meditation, music, or standard care with a health technologist offering conversation and support to the patient. The meditation comprised a loving/kindness message that focused on building positivity through greater compassion for oneself and for others. It also aimed to rid the patient of negative emotions. Patients in the music group chose form a wide variety of genres, to suit their tastes – these included classical music, natural sounds, jazz, world music, etc. Those who received standard care, meanwhile, engaged in comforting conversation with the radiologist or technologist.

Buddha-Weekly-Mamogram test-Buddhism

The patients were given questionnaires to complete before and after the biopsy procedure, in order to measure anxiety and nerves, pain, and the sensation of weakness or tiredness. The findings showed that the patients in the meditation and music groups had significantly lesser anxiety and fatigue after a biopsy than those in the standard care group. Moreover, those in the meditation group reported experiencing less pain during the biopsy, compared to those in the other two groups.

The researchers concluded that meditation could be a good therapy for use during standard biopsies, since it is a simple and inexpensive activity with no side-effects and without the ability to produce addiction. They stated that more studies needed to be carried out, to see if meditation could be useful for other practice and procedures.

Additional Research Linking Meditation to Better Functioning and Wellbeing in Women with Breast Cancer

The above mentioned study is the latest of its kind but certainly not the only one which shows that meditation and other mindfulness practices such as yoga, can aid women. Another interesting study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed that yoga can help lower stress hormones and improve the quality of life of women receiving radiotherapy for breast cancer.

The study was carried on a total of 191 women, who were once again placed into three groups. The first performed yoga three times a week for a total period of six weeks; the second group simply did stretching exercises, while the third was placed on a waiting list. At the beginning and end of the research period, participants filled in questionnaires regarding their levels of depression, tiredness and sleep quality. They also answered these questions one, three and six months after the end of the study. In addition, saliva samples were taken from participants, to ascertain their levels of stress hormone, cortisol.

Numerous peer-reviewed studies of mindfulness meditation have proven the real benefits to health and mind.
Numerous peer-reviewed studies of mindfulness meditation have proven the real benefits to health and mind.

The findings showed that the women who had taken part in regular yoga (with its strong emphasis on mindfulness, pranayamic breathing and mind-body coordination and control) had the sharpest drops in stress hormone levels. This group also stated that they had been able to find some meaning from their experience with cancer, growing from the experience rather than becoming more fearful or negative. They also experienced less fatigue, and enjoyed better sleep quality, than the groups who had not engaged in yoga or other mindfulness activities.

Mindfulness Meditation Staves Off Depression

Yoga and mindfulness have also been found to stave off depression; the latter is a devastating mental condition that can arise when a woman is battling breast cancer, since it is normal to fear a poor outcome and its effect on family and loved ones. Meditation and other mindfulness pursuits can help keep the mind in the present moment, encourage a state of greater positivity and bring relief from symptoms of depression. Indeed, many would argue that the incorporation of mindfulness activities as a natural alternative to sedatives and anti-depressants, makes sense in a world where people have grown too dependent on opioids for pain relief and sedatives for stress. Meditation can be practiced by anyone, anywhere in the world, and its ability to relieve and prevent illness is only beginning to be discovered.

  • DISCLAIMER: Always consult your medical practitioner. The information in this feature are intended for inform and should not be taken as advice. 

Further Reading:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/dumc-mep020116.php

http://www.sciencealert.com/world-first-evidence-suggests-that-meditation-alters-cancer-survivors-cells

http://www.tm-women.org/cancer/

http://www.compareni.com/insurance/pre-existing-medical-conditions.htm

http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2014/03/03/JCO.2012.48.2752.abstract

http://www.iflscience.com/brain/does-mindfulness-physically-alter-cells-cancer-survivors0/

http://www.wcrf.org/int/cancer-facts-figures/data-specific-cancers/breast-cancer-statistics

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876382012000698

Leave a reply

Are you a Sentient Being? *

Awarded Top 50 Buddhist Blog

Copyright Buddha Weekly 2007-2017. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to excerpt stories with full credit and a link to Budddha Weekly. Please do not use more than an excerpt. Subject to terms of use and privacy statement. All information on this site, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote  understanding and knowledge. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, including medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Buddha Weekly does not recommend or endorse any information that may be mentioned on this website. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is solely at your own risk.

Send this to a friend