A 2015 study published in the Journal of American College of Radiation found that "Listening to guided meditation significantly lowered biopsy pain during imaging-guided breast biopsy; meditation and music reduced patient anxiety and fatigue without compromising radiologist–patient communication." This piqued my interest and when I dug deeper I found that the guided meditation used in the study was one based on the Bhuddist metta (loving-kindness) mantra. I was so excited to read this because it was a practice I was very familiar with and I soon began to implement it into my classes.
I later stumbled across a book called Pathalogical Altruism as I was researching caregiver burnout and found more reference to this same meditation technique. What I learned from this book is that repeatedly adopting someone else’s suffering is what causes burnout, and the authors suggest that caregivers and medical professionals practice the same meditation on loving kindness as a way to maintain empathy, convert it into compassion and avoid burnout (Oakley, Barbara A. Pathological Altruism. Oxford University Press, 2012)
How wonderful that this same meditation can help those who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis as well as those who support them! Here is a video where I guide you through a short variation of the practice. Enjoy!