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The development of a brief 5-minute mindful breathing therapy for the reduction of distress in palliative cancer patients

  • C.G. Ng (a1), S.B. Tan (a2), K.T. Lai (a3), N.Z. Zainal (a1), A.H. Sulaiman (a1) and J.C. Chong (a4)...

Abstract

Introduction

Although psychological distress is highly prevalent, palliative cancer patients are mostly too lethargic to undergo many sessions of the conventional psychotherapy.

Objectives

The study aims to develop a brief, quick and easy to administer psychological intervention for rapid reduction of distress in palliative care patients.

Methods

In phase I, an expert panel of multidisciplinary team was formed. The theory of mindfulness-based intervention was simplified into a 5-minute mindful breathing technique that can be learnt and practiced by palliative care patients.

In phase II, the efficacy of 5-minute mindful breathing was investigated in a pilot test that comprised of nine palliative cancer patients and eleven care takers.

In Phase III, the efficacy of 5-minute mindful breathing was further examined in a non-blinded, randomized controlled trial (RCT) that included 60 cancer patients under palliative care. Apart from perceived distress, physiological measures were assessed.

Results

The effect of 5-minute mindful breathing in rapidly reducing distress among palliative care patients was confirmed in both the pilot test (Tan et al., 2015) and RCT (Ng et al., 2016). The finding was further supported by the significant physiological changes associated with distress reduction such as decreased breathing rate, blood pressure, pulse rate, galvanic skin and increased skin surface temperature (Ng et al., 2016) with the 5-minute mindful breathing.

Conclusion

The 5-minute mindful breathing is a quick and easy to administer intervention that is useful for reducing acute suffering or distress in palliative care patients.

Disclosure of interest

The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.

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The development of a brief 5-minute mindful breathing therapy for the reduction of distress in palliative cancer patients

  • C.G. Ng (a1), S.B. Tan (a2), K.T. Lai (a3), N.Z. Zainal (a1), A.H. Sulaiman (a1) and J.C. Chong (a4)...

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The development of a brief 5-minute mindful breathing therapy for the reduction of distress in palliative cancer patients

  • C.G. Ng (a1), S.B. Tan (a2), K.T. Lai (a3), N.Z. Zainal (a1), A.H. Sulaiman (a1) and J.C. Chong (a4)...
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