For cancer patients, caregivers, family members and survivors
What is Mind-Body Medicine?

Cancer impacts more than just your body. That is why it can be vital for your cancer treatment plan to address your psychological and spiritual well-being.

Mind-body medicine includes techniques and treatments that link physical health with psychological and spiritual wellness. Think of it as your immune system “eavesdropping” on your internal, or psychological, environment. When your mind and spirit are healthy, your energy can be directed toward physical healing and recovery.

Potential cancer-fighting benefits of mind-body medicine include:
  • Regaining a sense of control
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving your mood
  • Building coping skills 
  • A better overall quality of life

Mind-body therapies can help you cope with the emotional challenges of cancer treatment—and even improve your ability to manage the physical side effects.

Mind-Body Therapies

Mind-body medicine includes mental health professionals along with your oncologist and other care team members. Your team works with you to explore techniques that help you direct your energies toward healing and health. Those techniques may include:


A Chinese energy therapy involving meditation, breathing and movement, Qigong enhances the natural flow of vital energy in the body.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art—part of Qigong—that involves slow, gentle movements, rhythmic breathing and concentration. Clinical trials suggest that Tai Chi improves posture, balance, flexibility, muscle mass and tone, stamina, and strength in older adults. It may also help prevent falls and fractures.

Reiki Therapy

An energy therapy that involves placing hands on or near the body to balance the body’s energy, strengthen its ability to heal, reduce stress and physical discomfort, and increase feelings of well-being.

Laughter/Humor Therapy

Laughter can be good for you! It stimulates the circulatory system, immune system and other functions to relieve pain, encourage relaxation and reduce stress.


Individual, couples, family and/or group therapy sessions led by a professional therapist can help you improve coping skills, regulate your mood, overcome anxiety and depression, and enjoy life more fully.


A therapist helps you imagine sights, sounds, smells or other sensations that create a deep sense of comfort, relaxation and nurturing.


A relaxation method that uses concentration or reflection—focused breathing, for example, or repeated words or phrases—to relax the body and quiet the mind. Meditation reduces stress and may help alleviate some pain.

Stress Management

Techniques to help you identify stressful events and your reactions to them so you can gain the emotional and social support you need.

A patient finds relief

Stage IV breast cancer survivor Cheryl M. of St. Joseph, Illinois says she was skeptical that mind-body therapist Alexandria Callahan, MA, LPC, could help her fight cancer. But she quickly learned how a positive attitude could help, too.

"With Alexandria's help, I learned how powerful the mind can be for peace and relaxation. Guided imagery allowed me to find temporary relief from my fears by revisiting a place that I felt safe—without physically being there. I realized I needed a break from what the world was telling me. With Alexandria's help, I learned to find comfort from within."


No case is typical. You should not expect these results.

You may be interested in these resources:

Naturopathic medicine uses natural, non-toxic therapies to treat the whole person and encourage the self-healing process.


Exercise can help you regain strength, improve your mood, and tolerate your cancer treatments better.