For women with breast cancer, a stress management routine that pairs meditation with art therapy could go a long way in alleviating anxiety. That’s the finding of a recent study from the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine, which involved 18 patients diagnosed with breast cancer within the last three years.
For the study, one group of patients took part in an eight-week program called Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy (MBAT), a practice that combines stress-easing techniques, such as deep breathing yoga, with art-making tasks designed to increase self-expression and nurture creativity. Compared to study participants assigned to an education program for the same time period, members of the MBAT group experienced significantly greater improvements in several measures of stress and anxiety. As noted by the study’s authors, such changes might not only enhance emotional wellbeing for breast cancer patients, they could also help to stimulate the immune system and, as a result, lead to better outcomes in breast cancer treatment.