Sophrology helps cancer patients

Recognized as supportive oncological care in the latest 2014-2019 Cancer Plan set up by the government, sophrology can be of great help to cancer patients.

Sophrology and cancer: observational studies

Since 2007, the Institut Curie has been offering sophrology sessions within its own structure and has been able, for several years, to observe with its teams the potential of sophrology sessions on cancer patients. An observational study conducted with two groups of women suffering from breast cancer and undergoing chemotherapy has identified several benefits of sophrology sessions on the condition of patients: reduction of anxiety, reduction of nausea related to treatment, and improving the quality of sleep are the main ones.

More broadly, studies show that patients with cancer, whatever they are (breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer) see the management of their emotions significantly improved thanks to sophrology sessions.

The management of emotions is the starting point for improving the quality of life of patients, and makes it possible to act little by little on different points: anxiety about treatments, self-esteem, combativeness, fatigue but also pain.

Anxiety management and fighting spirit

Cancer patients face a particularly high level of stress and anxiety. This anxiety is linked to the uncertainty generated by the disease itself, but also largely to the apprehension aroused by the treatments, sources of suffering and pain for many patients.

Toxic for the body, this stress can also harm the combativeness of patients and reduce the chances of recovery. This is why the management of patients with cancer must be considered as a whole (drug treatments, medical and psychological support). To this end, the appeasement of the sick is one of the most convincing benefits of sophrology sessions.

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These benefits are particularly notable at the end of a session, but are also observed over time, with a notable reduction in the level of anxiety of the patients over the sessions.

Sophrologists mobilize both the physical and the psychic of patients to bring down the level of stress and anxiety:

  • The exercises of muscular contractions and breathing make it possible to evacuate the tensions in a very effective way.
  • Performed in a minimal state of consciousness, the visualization exercises also allow the patient to project themselves into positive situations (by visualizing images of healing in particular) to regain a determination to fight against the disease.

Visualization exercises are particularly important for some patients with low self-esteem. Women with breast cancer, for example, say they need to reconnect with their femininity by seeing themselves as something other than sick women.

Reduced fatigue

The reduction of fatigue is also part of the benefits that sophrology brings to patients.

This is largely linked to the management of emotions and the reduction of the level of anxiety, since a calm patient is systematically less subject to sleep disorders such as insomnia.

On the physical level, the sensation of renewed energy is immediate following a sophrology session. Immersed in a state of minimal consciousness, the patient benefits from a particularly rejuvenating moment of rest at each session.

On the psychic level, the exercises are intended to contribute to the vitality of each patient by visualizing themselves in good shape and full of energy. The vitality of the patients is therefore largely boosted by the revival of a steel morale.

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Reduction of pain

At the same time, working on emotions helps patients learn to manage pain. Sophrology helps to focus on positive sensations, to modify and minimize the perception of pain.

The sophrologist helps to take a benevolent look at his own body and to pay attention to his healthy organs. The patient can thus gradually change his view of his own body to no longer consider it only as a sick body in pain.

How many sophrology sessions?

The number of sessions required varies with each patient. It is generally advisable to follow a minimum of 5 sessions, each lasting about an hour. The price of an individual session is around 50 euros, compared to an average of 20 euros for a group session. These sessions are not reimbursed by Social Security, but may be by certain mutual insurance companies.

Note that sophrology remains a therapeutic complement and should in no way replace anti-cancer treatments. It is therefore important to choose your sophrologist with care to ensure his ethics.


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