Mind–body techniques

Mind–body techniques are based on the belief that what we think and feel can affect our physical and mental wellbeing.

Examples of mind–body techniques include support groups, counselling, hypnotherapy, relaxation, meditation, spiritual practices, life coaching, art therapy and music therapy.

Some techniques, such as support groups and counselling, have now become part of standard cancer care. Spiritual practices are also discussed because of the important part they play in many people’s lives and their value in providing emotional support.

Mind–body techniques may also be called psychological techniques, emotional therapies or spiritual healing.

Learn more about these mind–body techniques:

The mind–body connection

The mind and the body are linked. When our emotions or mental state are under pressure, our physical body can be affected. Similarly, physical symptoms can have a negative impact on our mood and mental wellbeing.

Many complementary therapies focus on the mind–body connection in different ways. Acupuncture, tai chi, qi gong, yoga and massage can help with both emotional and physical problems.

However, as these techniques are first directed at the physical body (e.g. moving the limbs into a certain pose), they are described further in Body-based practices.

Types of mind-body techniques

Types of mind-body techniques

Practising mind–body techniques will help to change your mental and emotional state, which can help you feel more relaxed and more able to cope with life.

The benefits

Scientific studies suggest that mind–body techniques can benefit people who have cancer or are recovering from it.

Some therapies allow people to explore the emotions that friends and family may not be able to relate to. Evidence also shows that mind–body techniques may reduce the symptoms and side effects of cancer and its treatment. These include pain, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, fear and difficulty sleeping, which can all affect mood and overall wellbeing. Using self-help techniques may help people feel more in control of their situation and less fearful of the future.

Mind–body techniques give you the opportunity to discuss your thoughts, feelings and concerns in a safe and confidential environment. You may find using these techniques gives you relief, or a sense of peace or understanding.

Side effects

Sometimes people feel overwhelmed by the emotions they experience during or after a session. This usually settles soon afterwards. If not, contact your therapist for further support.

This information was last reviewed in May 2015
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