By Laura Schepis, Cancer Support Community Intern
“Feel your toes, feel your ankles, your shins, now the back of your legs up to your knees…” This may sound strange, but this is what a body scan during meditation might sound like. It is a piece of mindfulness meditation that asks the participant to acknowledge every little part of their body from the tips of their toes to the top of their head. I had never before paid such careful attention to something as seemingly insignificant as my toes, but the relaxation and calm elicited was wonderful. Little did I know, the relaxing effect is secondary; just an added bonus!
Research tells us that the primary focus of mindfulness meditation is to foster acceptance, as well as creating a peaceful awareness of stressors. Participants can benefit throughout their cancer journey, from diagnosis, through treatment, and living with or beyond cancer. This activity requires no previous experience or physical activity from the participant. (1)
This form of meditation encourages participants to focus on and become aware of the sensation of any pain or discomfort, rather than its implications. It also teaches those to focus on and become aware of their breath, creating a sense of empowerment. The techniques learned during mindfulness meditation can help people cope with physical and emotional pain, and can be practiced anywhere, anytime to combat day to day stressors. All these strategies can lead to improved quality of life and decreased stress. (1) And of course, we know that caregivers experience many of the same stressors as people diagnosed with cancer, which is why all CSC healthy lifestyle programs are open to loved ones, family, and friends.
Join us for our professionally-led guided meditation class every Tuesday from 12-1 to see how it might benefit you!
- Ott, M. J., Norris, R. L., & Bauer-Wu, S. M. (2006). Mindfulness Meditation for Oncology Patients: A Discussion and Critical Review. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 5(2), 98-108. doi:10.1177/1534735406288083