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Guided Imagery and Breast Cancer


Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University study the effect of guided imagery on immune function in patients being treated for Stage I or II breast cancer.


Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, studied the effect of hypnotic guided imagery on immune function and psychological parameters in patients being treated for Stage I or II breast cancer. Psychological profiles, natural killer (NK) cell number and activity were measured at baseline, after the 8-week imagery training program, and again at the 3-month follow-up.

There were significant increases in improvement in depression (P<.04) and an increase in absolute number of NK cells, but these were not maintained at the 3-month follow-up. Hypnotic-guided imagery did cause some transient changes in psychological well-being and immune parameters. However, these changes were not retained after the treatment ended.

The study concludes that there is a role for this method as an adjuvant therapy. [Ed note: perhaps the imagery practice needs to be continued as an ongoing part of daily life in order to maintain its benefits on psychological well being and NK activity.]

Citation: Bakke AC, Purtzer MZ, Newton P. The effect of hypnotic-guided imagery on psychological well-being and immune function in patients with prior breast cancer. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2002 Dec;53 (6): pages 1131-7. bakkea@ohsu.edu



Posted: 11/10/2006

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