BACKGROUND: Palliative cancer patients suffer from high levels of distress. There are physiological changes in relation to the level of perceived distress.
OBJECTIVE: To study the efficacy of 5 minutes of mindful breathing (MB) for rapid reduction of distress in a palliative setting. Its effect to the physiological changes of the palliative cancer patients was also examined.
METHODS: This is a randomized controlled trial. Sixty palliative cancer patients were recruited. They were randomly assigned to either 5 minutes of MB or normal listening arms. The changes of perceived distress, blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing rate, galvanic skin response, and skin surface temperature of the patients were measured at baseline, after intervention, and 10 minutes post-intervention.
RESULTS: There was significant reduction of perceived distress, blood pressure, pulse rate, breathing rate, and galvanic skin response; also, significant increment of skin surface temperature in the 5-minute MB group. The changes in the 5-minute breathing group were significantly higher than the normal listening group.
CONCLUSION: Five-minute MB is a quick, easy to administer, and effective therapy for rapid reduction of distress in palliative setting. There is a need for future study to establish the long-term efficacy of the therapy.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.