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Integr Cancer Ther. 2008 Jun;7(2):62-9. doi: 10.1177/1534735408319068.

Facing the challenges of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation with mindfulness meditation: a pilot study.

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  • 1Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.


The hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) experience is emotionally and physically stressful for cancer patients who undergo this procedure. Mindfulness-based interventions have been studied in patients with various diagnoses, including cancer, although minimal work has applied this intervention to hospitalized patients. Use of mindfulness meditation has potential to provide HSCT patients with coping skills to deal with unpleasant symptoms and an uncertain future. This exploratory study examined feasibility, physiological arousal, and psychological and physical symptoms in HSCT patients participating in a mindfulness meditation intervention that begins before and continues throughout hospitalization and involves one-on-one guided sessions and daily practice using a 17-minute meditation CD. Of the 20 participants, 78.9% completed the intervention. Statistically significant decreases in heart and respiratory rates and improvements in symptoms immediately before and after each session were found. These findings demonstrate feasibility and preliminary support of a mindfulness meditation intervention with symptomatic, hospitalized cancer patients.

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