St. Mary's Mind-Body Program

St. Mary's proposes to offer two consecutive 10- week, evidence-based, Mind-Body Pilot Program groups focusing on physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of healing from cancer. Despite advances in early detection and effective treatment, cancer remains one of the most feared diseases. Among the most common side effects of cancer and treatments for cancer are pain, depression, and fatigue. Although research is producing increasingly hopeful insights into the causes and cures for cancer, efforts to manage the side effects of the disease and its treatments have not kept pace. The challenge that faces us is how to increase awareness of the importance of recognizing and actively addressing cancerrelated distress. Mind-body medicine is a field of medicine that focuses on the connections between the brain (including thoughts and emotion) and the body. St. Mary's Mind-Body Pilot Program's intention is to offer an opportunity for cancer patients and survivors to self-manage these side effects through a comprehensive mind-body approach to care. 


  • To implement two consecutive pilot program groups over a 9 month period of time
  • To include no more than 10 participants in each of the two pilot offerings
  • To measure through qualitative and quantitative evaluations the effectiveness of the mind-body program
  • To modify the program as a result of the evaluations
  • To demonstrate benefit to the participants and an interest in the community
  • To secure a longer term commitment from St. Mary's for the program
A series of two consecutive pilot program groups are planned to begin in the late spring of this year. St. Mary's has agreed to provide "in kind" support including a location for the program to take place in and the back office support needed to support the pilots. Dr. Brown has trained with and received permission to use the framework of the program from Ann Webster PhD, at the Benson Henry Institute at Massachusetts General in Boston (see attached). This 10-week program will include education on the physiology of stress, relaxation, the history/principles of mind-body medicine, and instruction on many different types of mindbody techniques. In this program, participants will experience several different types of mindbody practices and create a personalized practice to use daily. Guest speakers/teachers will include a nutritionist, a yoga instructor and a massage therapist. The pilot groups will include up to 10 participants each.
Requirements for enrollment in the program include having a cancer diagnosis, participating in an initial consult with Dr. Brown, and agreeing to actively participate in the program and in daily relaxation techniques. One participant will 'trial' the use of videoconferencing for some of the program to see if it is an effective communication tool for future use. Currently, there are many mind-body type techniques being offered in Maine for cancer patients. Most of these programs are offered as isolated one time treatments/events, groups for conversation and support, and as different components for complementary care. st. Mary's is unaware of there being a comprehensive program, similar to what is being proposed, being offered currently in Maine. 
St. Mary's Regional Medical Center
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Maine Cancer Foundation Grants to this Organization: