According the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, meditation is defined as “a conscious mental process that induces a set of integrated physiological changes termed the relaxation response” (nccam.nih.gov). Meditation refers to many different practices intended to focus attention.
Although rooted in various spiritual and cultural traditions, meditation techniques are often used today outside of the traditional settings they emerged from. Most meditation techniques involve a quiet space, posture, focus of attention, and a practice of allowing distractions to come and go while bringing one’s attention back to focus. Mindfulness meditation is a refined, systematic attentional strategy aimed at developing both stability of mind and body and deep insight to respond effectively and proactively in demanding, highly charged or more commonplace everyday activities.
Potential Application for Children with Cancer
Aspects of meditation can be adapted for children and adolescents of various ages. Meditation may aid in coping with stress and anxiety, and provides children with tools they can use to relax, be distracted, and tolerate various medical procedures. Mediation is also extremely useful for children who have completed cancer therapy who may need additional techniques to help with their transition off therapy as well as acquire and manage healthy behaviors in survivorship.
How is Meditation used in the hospital and outpatient clinic?
Many of the Integrative Therapies team providers are trained in guiding patients and their families in various meditation practices. Our providers emphasizes meditations to help cope with the side-effects of cancer treatment and to promote wellness in survivorship. Individual meditation sessions are available both in the inpatient and outpatient settings, Monday thru Friday 9am-5pm. Sessions with practitioners are generally complimented with audio sessions to promote a daily meditation practice.