Now, new UCLA research shows that tai chi, a form of slow-moving meditation, is just as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy, which has been considered the “gold standard” treatment, with both showing enduring benefits over one year.
The results, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show that tai chi promotes robust improvements in sleep health in breast cancer survivors with insomnia, with additional benefits of improving depressive symptoms and fatigue. Furthermore, both tai chi and cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a form of talk therapy, showed similar rates of clinically significant improvements in symptoms or remission of insomnia.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine considers cognitive behavioral therapy the treatment of choice for insomnia. This approach involves identifying and changing negative thoughts and behaviors that are affecting the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Dr. Stegall’s Comments: The evidence behind mind-body medicine being of benefit in treating cancer is quite strong. There are many beneficial practices and therapies which fall under the umbrella of mind-body medicine, including prayer, meditation, yoga, tai chi, hypnotherapy, and emotional freedom technique. All of my cancer treatment protocols include mind-body medicine as a regular component, because we know that there is a direct relationship between the mind and body. I firmly believe that these practices make a positive difference in treatment outcomes.