Recent Progress in Mind-Body Therapies in Cancer Care

Author: Julie M Deleemans1, Haley Mather1, Athina Spiropoulos2, Kirsti Toivonen3, Mohamad Baydoun4, Linda E Carlson5,6
1 Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
2 Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
3 Department of Adult Mental Health, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Thunder Bay, Canada.
4 Faculty of Nursing, University of Regina, Regina, Canada.
5 Department of Oncology, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
6 Department of Psychosocial Oncology, Cancer Control Alberta: Holy Cross Site, 2202 2nd St. SW, Calgary, AB, T2S 3C1, Canada.
Conference/Journal: Curr Oncol Rep
Date published: 2023 Feb 8
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s11912-023-01373-w. , Word Count: 210

Purpose of review:
Mind-body therapies (MBTs) are integrative medicine modalities that continue to grow in popularity among people with cancer. MBTs are used to enhance well-being and most commonly include relaxation and imagery, hypnosis, yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and Qigong, and creative therapies. Biofield and psychedelic-assisted therapies are also gaining momentum as MBTs. Herein, recent literature was narratively reviewed to summarize the effectiveness of these MBTs within the context of cancer care.

Recent findings:
There is growing evidence for the effectiveness of MBTs for addressing a myriad of physical (e.g., pain) and psychosocial (e.g., depression, fatigue) symptoms and biomarkers of stress and immune function in people with cancer. Psychedelic-assisted therapies have robust, sustained effects on symptoms of depression, anxiety, and distress in small clinical trials to date. However, across modalities, MBT studies continue to struggle with methodological issues such as intervention standardization, facilitator training, small sample sizes, and short follow-up. Accumulating evidence supports the use of MBTs for people with cancer. Future research should work to address methodological issues and focus on creating knowledge translation tools; these can be leveraged to better educate health care providers and patients regarding evidence-based MBT options to support patients in making informed decisions about their health.

PMID: 36753025 DOI: 10.1007/s11912-023-01373-w