Hayama, Y., & Inoue, T. (2012). The effects of deep breathing on 'tension-anxiety' and fatigue in cancer patients undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 18, 94–98.doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2011.10.001
To investigate the effect of a deep breathing intervention, incorporated within conventional nursing care, on tension-anxiety and fatigue experienced by Japanese women with gynecologic cancer undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy for the first time.
To reduce tension-anxiety and fatigue through deep breathing that incorporated elements of exercise.
The deep breathing intervention was initiated for patients in the intervention group. Each patient received 15 minutes of guidance from the researcher using a DVD and pamphlets. The intervention was performed with nursing assistance pre- and postchemotherapy, with the latter given on the second, fourth, and sixth days. The control group received treatment with the usual chemotherapy and nursing care.
The study used a randomized, controlled trial design.
There were no statistically significant differences between groups in terms of age, diagnosis, or cancer clinical stage or treatment type (p > 0.05). Prechemotherapy data showed no significant differences between the intervention and control groups in the previously mentioned measurement tools. The postchemotherapy tension-anxiety scores were lower in the intervention group (p = 0.01). Both groups showed significant reductions in tension-anxiety scores (both p = 0.00). The postchemotherapy physical and total fatigue scores of the intervention group were significantly lower than those of the control group (physical, p = 0.04; total, p = 0.04).
The study demonstrated that the tension-anxiety and fatigue scores of patients undergoing chemotherapy for gynecologic cancers were lowered when the nurses assisted them with deep breathing for a short period in addition to providing conventional nursing care provided pre- and postchemotherapy. The prominent features of the study were that it used a program that combined three deep breathing techniques and was of short duration (10 minutes).
These are very simple exercises that can be taught to patients and be performed even while they are receiving chemotherapy. In addition to usual nursing care, nurses can contribute to reducing patients’ tension-anxiety and fatigue by assisting them in performing deep breathing.