Randomized Feasibility Study of Meditative Practices in Hospitalized Cancer Patients

Santhosshi Narayanan, Akhila Reddy, Gabriel Lopez, Wenli Liu, Jimin Wu, Diane Liu, Joana Manzano, Janet L. Williams, Smitha Mallaiah, Marina George, Jaya Amaram, Balachandar Subramaniam, Lorenzo Cohen, Eduardo Bruera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: There is limited research regarding the benefits of mind-body practices such as meditation in hospitalized patients with an active diagnosis of any cancer type. Methods: We conducted a prospective, randomized, clinical trial (NCT03445572) comparing 2 meditative practices—Isha Kriya (IK) and meditative slow breathing (MSB)—versus wait-list controls in hospitalized cancer patients. Our aim was to determine the feasibility of meditation practice in cancer inpatients. Feasibility was defined as recruitment of more than 50% of the eligible patients approached and at least 60% of the patients having meditated at least 4 days by day 7. Acceptability was assessed on day 7 as a positive response on at least 2 questions on the modified Global Symptom Evaluation (GSE) scale. Results: Forty patients (39% of the eligible patients approached) consented to participate in the study and were randomly assigned to the MSB (n = 13), IK (n = 14), or wait-list (n = 13) groups. Of the 27 patients assigned to receive MSB and IK meditations, day 7 data were available for 18 patients. Fifteen of the 18 patients meditated at least once in the first 7 days, and most (12/15) responded positively on the GSE. Conclusion: Both IK and MSB meditations were acceptable among the hospitalized cancer patients. Feasibility for enrollment and practice was likely not achieved due to limited uninterrupted time for daily meditation, high levels of morbidity in some participants, and limited research staff support. Shorter term outcomes should be explored in future meditation studies involving hospitalized cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIntegrative cancer therapies
StatePublished - 2020


  • Isha Kriya
  • hospitalized cancer patients
  • inpatient
  • meditation
  • meditative slow breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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