International Journal of Yoga
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-38
The importance of spirituality in supportive care

1 Psychological Service, Foundation IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy
2 School of Medical Psychology, San Paolo Hospital, University of Milan, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Giuseppina Messina
Psychological Service-Padiglione Guardia II, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico-20122 Milan, Via Francesco Sforza, 35
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-6131.78181

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Background: It has been shown that the pineal gland plays a fundamental role in mediating either the spiritual perception or the anticancer immunity by stimulating the endogenous production of anticancer cytokine interleukin (IL)-2. Objective: The present study was performed to evaluate the impact of a spiritual approach consisting of Kriya Yoga program alone or in association with melatonin (MLT) or low-dose IL-2 plus MLT on the survival time in a group of metastatic cancer patients with life expectancy less than 1 year. Materials and Methods: A case-control study was carried out in 240 patients (M/F: 146/94; median age: 62 years, range: 34-71, suffering from non-small-cell lung cancer or gastrointestinal tumors) who were subdivided into 6 groups of 40 patients, treated with supportive care alone as a control group, supportive care plus Yoga, MLT alone, MLT plus Yoga, inteleukin-2 plus MLT, or IL-2 plus MLT plus Yoga. Results: The best results in terms of increased survival time were obtained by the association between neuroimmunotherapy with MLT plus IL-2 and Yoga program (2 years), which was significantly longer with respect to that achieved by supportive care alone, Yoga alone, or IL-2 plus MLT alone (1 year). Conclusions: This study would suggest that a spiritual therapeutic approach may improve the survival time of untreatable metastatic solid tumor patients.

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