Even a five week intervention can have beneficial effects.
A study of 183 breast cancer patients following surgery and before chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments showed that those who had relaxation training had greater improvements in mood and reduced cancer-specific distress.
They also reported improved emotional well-being and less disruption to their social activities.
The women showed greater improvements in stress management and reported increased confidence in their ability to use their new found skills.
The researchers at the University of Miami now want to look at whether the relaxation training produces changes in stress hormone levels, immune function and inflammatory process over an extended period.
The findings were presented to the American Psychosomatic Society.