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Children with a cancer diagnosis experience symptom distress, including anxiety, because of the disease and its treatment. Parents experience stress and anxiety because of the uncertainty of the disease as well as the suffering of their children. Yoga is a complementary intervention that has physiological and psychological benefits in healthy children and healthy and chronically ill adults. On an inpatient hematology/oncology unit, 11 children aged 6 to 12 years, 5 adolescents aged 13 to 18 years, and 33 parents participated in a single yoga session tailored to the needs and abilities of the patients and parents. Sense of well-being pre- and postclass was measured with the Spielberger State Anxiety Scale. Children had normal anxiety scores preclass that did not change. Adolescents and parents experienced significant decreases in anxiety scores, and all cohorts gave positive feedback about the experience. The authors conclude that yoga is a feasible intervention for this population and is beneficial to adolescents and parents.
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Interoception refers to the conscious perception of body signals. Mindfulness is a meditation practice that encourages individuals to focus on their internal experiences such as bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions. In this study, we selected a behavioral measure of interoceptive sensitivity (heartbeat detection task, HBD) to compare the effect of meditation practice on interoceptive sensitivity among long term practitioners (LTP), short term meditators (STM, subjects that completed a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program) and controls (non-meditators). All participants were examined with a battery of different tasks including mood state, executive function and social cognition tests (emotion recognition, empathy and theory of mind). Findings Compared to controls, both meditators? groups showed lower levels of anxiety and depression, but no improvement in executive function or social cognition performance was observed (except for lower scores compared to controls only in the personal distress dimension of empathy). More importantly, meditators? performance did not differ from that of nonmeditators regarding cardiac interoceptive sensitivity. Conclusion Results suggest no influence of meditation practice in cardiac interoception and in most related social cognition measures. These negative results could be partially due to the fact that awareness of heartbeat sensations is not emphasized during mindfulness/vipassana meditation and may not be the best index of the awareness supported by the practice of meditation.
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