I have nursed since the age of 18 and the last 18 years as a Macmillan Nurse Specialist. During my 1st Macmillan post at the Hammersmith Hospital, London, I undertook the AT Diploma training in1993. During my Macmillan post, I taught AT to a few cancer patients and observed benefits which could not be explained; besides improvement of general well being, there seemed possibly to be a slowing of disease progression and improved prognosis. Eventually in my 2nd Macmillan post, I undertook a pilot research study in my own time, on top of my job.
The pilot study was run to test whether AT reduces stress in breast cancer patients. The principal behind the study was the switching off the Fight and Flight response of stress and excessive production of cortisol which dampens down the immune system efficiency. The results show anxiety and depression markedly reduced in those AT trained (16) and immune marker cells’ level especially CD8 and natural Killer cells improved in those fully meditative. Hidderley M, Holt M (2004) A pilot randomized trial assessing the effects of autogenic training in early stage cancer patients in relation to psychological status and immune system responses. European Journal of Oncology Nursing 8 (1), 61- 65.
It is estimated that 30% of all early stage breast cancer patients relapse after having had primary treatment (Mollick et al 2004). My aim is to help women keep well and to promote the use of AT as a powerful self help therapy to enable well-being. I am currently trying to find funding for a large 3 year study to be undertaken with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS. Although I have the backing of the Director of Research, there is no NHS money available and I am seeking charity funding.
RGN, DN. RCNT, Dip AT