Why Is Stress Relief Techniques Needed For Cancer Patients?

July 04, 2023; Unhurry Expert Research Team

According to Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, England, rapid stress management techniques (RSMTs) help cancer patients to deal with ‘procedure-related’ stress. A new service evaluation study revealed that stress relief techniques and complementary therapy help cancer patients to manage their fear of medical procedures.

Why is stress relief techniques needed?

The most common question that we may want to ask here is why is stress relief techniques needed. Do people really benefit from them?

Well, studies reveal that people experiencing distress because of medical procedures achieved a ‘calm state’ before and during procedures due to the interventions. The participants were positive about the entire experience. A study reported in the journal Cancer Nursing Practice was conducted at the acute oncology complementary therapy service at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester. This was done among patients who experienced difficulties like needle phobia, claustrophobia, and nausea before the actual treatment.

Face-to-face or telephone interviews were conducted with 19 patients; most of them were women. All had been referred to the service over distress caused due to radiotherapy and chemotherapy procedures. The four themes were: being distressed; coping with distress; surviving distress and thoughts about the complementary service.

Interviews were conducted and they revealed pre-existing phobias, the experience of flashbacks to past traumatic events, fear of the disease spreading, and the possibility of dying were the main causes of distress.

So, what are stress relief techniques? Participants were taught two rapid stress management techniques; at times after a brief complementary treatment like massage, aromatherapy, or reflexology. On learning self-help techniques, one of the patients described the benefits as ‘mindfulness, self-hypnosis, and relaxation helped me to look at things in a different way. It taught me not to panic and I was able to sleep because I was exhausted.’

What are stress relief techniques?

While there are many stress relief techniques that one may opt for. Studies revealed that complementary therapies helped participants avoid negative feelings like loneliness, fear, or exhaustion. The service also helped them maintain ‘mind over matter.’ Anxiety and panic feelings came down and the patients were able to fight the disease.

The most popular stress management techniques used are:

  • Tightening and releasing stress balls in time with four slow breaths
  • Redirecting the ‘fight or flight response by tightening and releasing groups of muscles combined with slow comfortable breaths
  • Sips of water held on the tongue for ten seconds before swallowing and repeating the process three times.

Story Source:

Materials provided by RCNiNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Anita Mehrez, Rebecca Knowles, Peter Mackereth, Eileen Hackman. The value of stress relieving techniquesCancer Nursing Practice, 2015; 14 (4): 14 DOI: 10.7748/cnp.14.4.14.e1167

Cite This Page

RCNi. “Stress relief techniques help cancer patients overcome fear of treatment.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/05/150514085707.htm>.

Help is here:

Toll-Free Mental Health Rehabilitation Helpline Kiran (1800-599-0019)

Name of the Organisation: Indian Cancer Society

The ICS is one of the first voluntary, non-profit, National Organization for Awareness, Detection, Cure and Survivorship of those affected with this disease.

Website:  https://www.indiancancersociety.org/

Contact: email: info@indiancancersociety.org

Telephone: +91- 22-2413 9445 / 5 CANCER HELPLINE: 1800-22-1951

Give us your feedback about topics on mental health you’d like us to cover or feedback on support@kindnesspractice.org

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