Breathing exercises for well-being?


Question from Ruthy: I have heard that learning to breathe correctly can greatly assist in improving well-being during treatment. Have you heard this? And if so, where can I get information about it?
Answers - Marisa Weiss, M.D. There are a lot of 'mindful measures' that can help ease different side effects. These include specific exercises, meditation, visualization, and prayer, as well as breathing. These strategies can also improve your energy and concentration, and ease fear. All of these measures focus on repetitive movements, or things that will produce a 'relaxation state.' In this state, you are breathing quietly and less frequently, and your heart rate and blood pressure are down.

Your hospital may offer lessons on meditation, Tai Chi or visualization. Visit Breastcancer.org's Complementary Medicine section for more information. There are also excellent books on these topics. One visualization book is by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Yoga classes are also quite popular and widely available. It might be fun to try some of these things with a close friend, or with someone who's also going through treatment. One thing about managing side effects is that it's no fun doing it alone!

On Wednesday, January 15, 2003, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Managing Treatment Side Effects. Julie Gralow, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about many of the short-term and long-term side effects of breast cancer treatment, and ways of minimizing them, so you can get on with your life and enjoy your day-to-day activities.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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