Cancer Treatment Side Effects & Supportive and Palliative Care
Meditation is the process of calming the mind by using different techniques involving breathing, focusing of attention and relaxation.
There are many ways to practice meditation. Most people think of meditation as sitting cross-legged in a quiet environment. However, meditation does not necessarily require that you sit in uncomfortable positions or that you find a very quiet place. You can meditate sitting on a chair, or even lying down on your bed or a couch. Some forms of meditation involve movement, such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
By calming the mind or thinking process, your body changes into a state of relaxation. Some people can even practice meditation by doing an activity they love, such as painting or playing music.
When practiced regularly, meditation has been shown to decrease pain, blood pressure, and anxiety.
- Is meditation a religious practice?
- How do I choose a meditation instructor?
- How many sessions of meditation do I need to see a result?
- Would meditation instruction be covered by my health insurance?
- Is meditation safe to use along with chemotherapy and radiation treatment?
- How frequently do I need to meditate to see an effect?
Is meditation a religious practice?
Meditation is not a religious practice. Some religious traditions include meditation as part of their practices. However, there are many different meditation techniques that do not need to be practiced in the context of a religious activity. For example, mindfulness meditation has been used for 20 years in hospitals and clinics around USA to help people manage pain and anxiety and to promote well-being.
How do I choose a meditation instructor?
Choosing a meditation instructor may take some trying out. Not all meditation techniques are alike, nor are their instructors. Some people are more comfortable using meditation techniques that focus on objects or repetitive words (such as Transcendental Meditation or mantra meditations), while others may feel more at ease with techniques that focus purely on watching the breathing (such as mindfulness-based meditation).
Occasionally, people may need to try different techniques before finding one that suits them. Usually the best way of knowing if a meditation instructor is good for you is trying a class or a session. The instructor should be helpful, supportive, and attentive to your particular issues and questions.
How many sessions of meditation do I need to see a result?
Some people feel some of the effects of meditation immediately: their heart rate decreases and they feel calmer and more at peace even after the first practice. Other people may need to practice regularly to feel the effects. Regular practice (usually every day) is necessary to maintain the effects of meditation.
Would meditation instruction be covered by my health insurance?
Sometimes hospitals and medical centers offer free meditation classes. Usually meditation instruction is not covered by health insurance as such. However, there are a few ways in which you may be able to receive meditation instruction and have the instruction covered by your health insurance. For example, many licensed psychologists, chaplains, pastoral counselors, social workers and counselors are trained in meditation techniques and would be able to offer meditation instruction during a regular consultation. If you have health insurance benefits covering psychological counseling by these types of professionals, you may be able to have meditation instruction covered by your health insurance. Make sure you ask the provider about their training and their experience in teaching meditation.
Is meditation safe to use along with chemotherapy and radiation treatment?
Meditation is safe to use along your conventional cancer care and there are no contraindications for using meditation along with chemo or radiation.
How frequently do I need to meditate to see an effect?
Usually daily mediation practice is necessary to see a sustained effect from meditation. Anywhere between 15-30 minutes a day maybe enough to see a difference, though many schools of meditation recommend meditating twice a day, and some recommend to practice for short periods throughout the day.