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Oncol Nurs Forum. 2011 May;38(3):E240-52. doi: 10.1188/11.ONF.E240-E252.

Dose effects of relaxation practice on immune responses in women newly diagnosed with breast cancer: an exploratory study.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, University of Texas-Houston, USA. duck-hee.kang@uth.tmc.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:

To determine the dose effects of relaxation practice on immune responses and describe the types of relaxation techniques preferred and the extent of relaxation practice over 10 months.

DESIGN:

Descriptive, prospective, repeated measures.

SETTING:

An interdisciplinary breast clinic at a university-affiliated comprehensive cancer center in the United States.

SAMPLE:

49 women with newly diagnosed breast cancer and undergoing adjuvant therapy who participated in a stress management intervention.

METHODS:

Relaxation practice was assessed twice a month for 10 months with immune measurements (e.g., natural killer cell activity; lymphocyte proliferation; interferon [IFN]-γ; interleukin [IL]-2, -4, -6, and -10) at the beginning and end of 10-month practice.

MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES:

Relaxation practice (representing the concepts of stress and adherence), relaxation technique, and immune response.

FINDINGS:

After adjusting for covariates, the extent of relaxation practice significantly contributed to the variance of natural killer cell activity, lymphocyte proliferation, IL-4, and IL-10 responses in a positive direction; the higher the relaxation practice, the higher the immune responses. In comparison, IFN-γ, IL-2, and IL-6 responses were not affected. The deep-breathing method was most preferred by participants, followed by progressive relaxation and imagination or visualization. The mean weekly frequency of relaxation practice was 5.29 (SD = 3.35), and the mean duration of relaxation practice was 19.16 (SD = 10.81) minutes per session.

CONCLUSIONS:

Persistent relaxation practice may have positive effects on multiple immune responses in a dose-dependent manner.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING:

Allowing the choice of preferred techniques and emphasizing the importance of long-term adherence, a relaxation program may need to be routinely offered to women under high stress.

PMID:
21531674
DOI:
10.1188/11.ONF.E240-E252
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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