Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.
Subscribe to our Living With Cancer e-newsletter to stay up to date on cancer topics.
Relaxation therapies may help alleviate certain symptoms of cancer, relieve side effects of treatment, and improve your sense of well-being.
Many relaxation methods, such as massage therapy, meditation and guided imagery may be helpful in managing stress and anxiety. In addition, research studies show that relaxation techniques can lower blood pressure, reduce pain, and ease some side effects of chemotherapy.
Having cancer is stressful, so it may not be possible to eliminate all sources of stress. But you should consider the sources of stress that you can reduce. For example, ask for help with household chores, social responsibilities or work demands. Seek out effective strategies for coping with stress or simplify your life by saying "no" to the extra demands as much as possible.
Common relaxation techniques include:
Relaxation techniques involve refocusing your attention from the stress to something calming.
For me, it's taking a daily hike and being mindful of the changes in nature around me. It might be the sound of the birds chirping, new leaves on the trees, the beauty of the clouds against the blue sky, or a neighbor, cat or dog that welcomes me along the way.
I return refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. Choose a relaxation technique that works best for you and incorporate it into your daily routine. Share with others through this blog what has worked for you.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
Follow on Twitter:
Selecting "Submit" signifies that you have read and agree to our posting guidelines.
Found your Relaxation Therapies most helpful, and will endeavour to put them into practise. I have found fatigue following on from my cancer treatment for Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma quite difficult. My sleep pattern still has not returned to what it was. I often wake at 3 or 4 a.m. and find it difficult to go back to sleep, so this does not help my fatigue.
Leah I have had 3 heart attacks,shingles, cancer two times, pnuemonia 2 times one with mrsa, pacemaker, arthritis and scolosis, numbness in both feet, diabetic, catarac operation, both knees bad, meneriers, i have to use a walker and i also have sleep apna and chronia fatigue plue less not forget that horible familagna(sp) terrible. I take lorazpam at night and when things get bad cannot take anything but tylenot because i take coumadin. Have faith and one day at a time and do anything possible to help you relax. I keep a electric blanket on my legs at night even in the summer it helps the legs. just rest a lot and try not to get stressed. I still do i was born worring i am 74 Hang in there pray and have faith it will get you thru.
when i had non hodgkins lympoma the lady next door moved in at that time and gave me reiki treatments i took chemo and was very sick and lived alone. I told God i could not do anymore and that night in the dark felt a pat on my hand. Many younger than myself passed away durning treatment. i know God sent my friend to help me aand i was so relaxed with the meditationb and her treatments that i never took a pain or sleeping pill. Have faith. Had cancer again five years later it was right kidney but i never said i can't do this. have faith.
Hi, Cynthia and Kathleen. Your comments gave me hope. I am battling stage 4 Gallbladder Cancer presently with chemo therapy. I was diagnosed 1.5 years ago. My first treatment sessions of chemo/radiation therapy did not kill all the cancers cells. In fact they are back in the same area and adjacent area including the margins of the liver. I only received one chemo infusion and my WBC/Hemoglobin dropped dramatically, my bilirubin shoot up as a result. Now I am 2 weeks w/o chemo rx, the doctors are giving me time to recoop. Although, I pray and meditate a lot - using the prayers of the Rosary to meditate on the life of Jesus on earth and His resurrection and ascension into Heaven. I still have some uncertainty on how long I am to live. Reading your battle with cancer now going on 4 years ... gives me a lot to look forward to, in spite of the adverse side effects of the chemo therapy. May God bless you both with continued peace and hope. And i pray this too for all who have posted a comment in this blog. Thank you for all your inspiring suggestions.
i have refreshed my memory about medicine,because after finishing my medicine degree,i was not keep in touch with my profession so i guess this site is very useful for doctor and non doctors,god bless all the workers of this site.
I am wondering if there are any other survivors out there who had tinnitus (ringing in the ears) prior to having undergone chemo/radiation treatment who have found that the ringing worsened after treatment. And if so, if anyone has found a way to deal with the increased ringing to lessen it. Caffeine seems to have an even more dramatic effect in increasing tinnitus post treatment. I try to avoid taking in as much caffeine as possible but it seems to be an ingredient in many things one doesn't always expect. I have considered hearing aids but insurance probably won't help with the cost and they are not cheap. Any successful tips would be much appreciated and I will closely watch for post responses.
You might want to follow up on the information about Tai Chi - it can be done seated. It has made a huge difference in my life. Tai Chi is offered at the Cotton O'Neil Cancer Center here in Topeka for cancer survivors and their caregivers at no charge.
Thank you everyone for your help and suggestions. When I go on my medical leave and have all that time on my hands I will be sure to check with the library. Thank you for the mayo site. God bless.......
Great discussion and sharing of ideas! Remember that Mayo Clinic also has free meditation resources online as well. If you do a search (left-hand corner of this page) on meditation, yoga, or relaxation - you will find more information, ideas as well as videos that can assist. This address will give you more information about Tai Chi (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tai-chi/SA00087). Leah, find out more about free programs in your community (as Kathleen had suggested) at your local library, Community Center, YMCA, or Cancer Center. Many times, just adding one small change in your daily routine (5-10 minutes of mindful meditation or deep breathing) can keep you in touch with your stress level.
One of the most difficult things about being a cancer survivor is accepting that an exceptional level of uncertainty is our new normal. I use "accepting" very loosely. The uncertainty just is.
I am 4 years out, apparently cancer-free, from a situation where the 5-year survival rate is 39% and the 10-year is 27-34%. As it is a rare form, the real numbers are relatively small. I also live with knowing that the cancer should have been caught much earlier by my ex-family physician. My life would not be in jeopardy.
Nevertheless, time alone helps. Using that time to undertake projects such as cleaning a closet, to read good books, exercise, even a slow walk around the block or a full body stretch to whatever extent one can, while focussing entirely on the job at hand, can provide some mental respite from the overwhelming negative thoughts. Enjoying a funny movie or a favourite TV show is calming. I am a great fan of "The Big Bang Theory." It allows me to lose myself in a good laugh.
Most hospitals and cancer treatment centres have patient libraries from which you can borrow exercise or yoga DVDs. The Lebed Method exercises, originally intended for lymphedema relief, can even be done in a wheelchair. Public libraries might also have material.
With time and effort the bad thoughts will impinge less frequently and aggressively.
I am almost two years free from ovarian cancer, but I'm a basket case. I'm so afraid it's going to come back. I can't do any kind of excercises, because I have painful feet from nerve damage (which I stand on all day), two thumbs giving out from osteoperosis, two knees giving out from osteoperosis, tennis elbow in both elbows, and an incisional hernia in my abdomen. I was going to try Ti Chi, but I'm getting ready to have 3-5 surgeries(will be off work for 3 months with only $600 coming in and no money in the bank), and money is very very tight. Does anyone know where I can download it for free?
I have just made My "5" yrs. from having a lung removed. I have copd in my right one. But out of the 5% they give you of making it, well i won that race!But, today is 5mo. since my double mesectomy! This has been the tuff one to get over. Even at 60, ladies this is tuff. But I've ajusted. I been blessed to have famialy and friends, and a lot of prayers to get me through. I get up and go when ever i can. I have found that playing games on my com. takes my mind of off all Ive been through. (farmville is the best!) I have just planted flowers in the yard also. This keeps me smiling. The sun is shing today and it's going to be a beautiful day! You just have to try and stay out of that corner we all get in now and then,(where we feel sorry for our selves)If you stay there you can grieve your self to death. Try to find some thing to enjoy. the sky, flowers, the park.
going to a movie,ect. I get up and go by my self alot. Hope you all find somthing to take your mind off whats really going on inside you, our lives are too sort to set and grieve! Love to all of you, wishing all the best, Linda
I have carcinoid cancer, which affects your mood and often I become depressed. One day I was crying and my dog came to me and climbed on the couch beside me and began to kiss me and he looked so concerned. He is a source of relaxation for me. Also prayer helps when you are down.
I have CLL;What happens to my Health, when I have missed my monthly Chemo(Shot)and Treatment for about two yr's, while being kept captive/hostage??? What should I do??? Thank you
I am a true believer in using deep breathing, yoga and massage to help me manage the anxiety and stress of being on the cancer journey. I get a massage once a month and it is a wellness, relaxation gift to myself. I am hoping to also start practicing meditation.
I am fortunate to have a yard to tend. Sometimes as I am pulling weeds I imagine they are cancer cells and take great joy in plucking them out! Sometimes I let the weed serve as ground cover and choose to look upon it (usually the wild strawberry)as a harmless addition to the landscape. Just being in the outdoors and having a reason to go for a walk around the yard and tend to my plants gives me great joy relaxation. In the winter alas I do have houseplants to tend and look to this time to think about the upcoming growing season -- gives me another reason to continue my 4 years battle with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
A year ago, I read an article in the Reader's Digest concerning a country, after research seemed to noone with cancer. The people used turmeric spice in preparing their food. Also, have talked personally to two people with stage 4 cancer, they concsummed asparagus everyday and in three months cancer was not diagnosed in the cats scan and pet scan. I also take turmeric for arthritis. The docotrs of these patients said too continue what ever they are doing. Henry Ford Hosp.
My psychiatrist taught me a deep breathing techinque to help with pain. Just deep steady breaths in and out. It does not take the pain away, but by concentrating on the breathing, I don't think as much about the pain. Often times, I am able to fall asleep using this technique. I am so glad that I went to see him, He helped me deal with this in so many ways.
Reiki works wonders while recovering from cancer. I have a couple of friends that have had breast cancer and found that their Reiki sessions were so relaxing and rejuvenating that they could keep up with almost all of their daily activities. It also cut way down on their nausea while getting chemo.
A very dear friend had brain cancer and while he passed away as a result, he was able to stay in his home until he died and remained comfortable without needing pain killers. He told me often that it was Reiki that helped him cope so well.
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Proceeds from website advertising help support our mission. Mayo Clinic does not endorse non-Mayo products and services.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.