An increasing number of breast cancer patients seek relaxation and visualization treatments (RVT) as an adjunctive therapy. Many studies demonstrate positive outcomes on quality of life, emotional and spiritual parameters. However, none examine the direct immunological and endocrine effects of this intervention with breast cancer patients.
The RVT Pilot Study will evaluate whether RVT influences cellular immunity and hormones, as well as the general quality of life for the affected individual, including anxiety, stress, and depression. It will further examine the interrelationship among immunological, psychological, and endocrine variables. Finally, it will seek to correlate personality traits and coping skills with immune parameters, perceptions of stress and psychoneurological status. The hypothesis proposes that RVT will increase cell-mediated immune responses, attenuate psychological distress, improve quality of life, reduce cortisol, and increase DHEA levels.