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Meditation Eases Breast Biopsy Anxiety And Pain

Guided meditation can help women undergoing breast biopsies experience less anxiety and pain. In addition, researchers from the Duke Cancer Institute report that providing meditation can improve the effectiveness of the biopsy procedure, which can be compromised if women move during the procedure. The researchers enrolled 121 women scheduled for a stereotactic and ultrasound guided (needle) breast biopsy and randomly assigned them to a recorded meditation, music or the usual care with a technologist offering support. The meditation, described as a guided “loving/kindness” script, focused on building positive emotions and releasing negative ones. Patients assigned to listen to music could choose from several types available. Before and after the biopsy the women completed questionnaires measuring their nervousness and anxiety and ranking their pain on a scale of zero (low) to 10 (high). “Both meditation and music reduced patient anxiety and fatigue," said study leader Mary Scott Soo, M.D. in a press release accompanying publication of the study. However, the women in the meditation group reported significantly less pain than those in the music group.

 

Feeling Anxious? Try This Herb

Anxiety your mental can wreak havoc on and physical health. If physical exercise and mind-body therapies such as breathing aren’t providing sufficient relief, consider this herb.

Feeling anxious is stressful for our bodies and minds. Instead of taking a pharmaceutical to help quell anxiety, consider Kava. Extracted from a tropical plant (Piper methysticum), kava is related to black pepper and native to islands of the South Pacific, where it has a long history of use as a social and recreational drug. Kava is an excellent anti-anxiety remedy - it works quickly to relieve anxiety, often with one or two doses, and has been shown in controlled human trials to be as effective as benzodiazepine drugs (ie. Valium and Xanax). It provides a sedative effect as well.

Because of rare reports of liver toxicity associated with certain types of kava products, no one with a history of liver disease should use kava.  It may have additive effect with alcohol and other depressant drugs, and may interfere with the metabolism of a large number of medications - ask your doctor. Otherwise it is generally safe. You can buy powdered whole kava root to make into tea or other drinks, but I usually recommend extracts standardized to 30 percent kavalactones. Dosage is 100 to 200 mg, two or three times a day as needed.  Don't use it continually over long periods of time (more than a few months).

A Short Break Can Go a Long Way

By Deirdre Mullins Over the last few weeks, broadcaster John Murray and Cork hurler Conor Cusack have spoken openly about their struggles with depression. The musician Bressie, rugby analyst Brent Pope and author Marian Keyes have also discussed their own emotional struggles. Thanks to this openness, the stigma about mental health seems to be lifting