The Health, Information & Meditation in Oncology (HIMO) Method as an Integrative Approach in Cancer Treatment

Gioacchino Pagliaro,

Published on: 2020-03-30


A diagnosis of cancer and its consequences represent a destabilizing experience for patients and their families. The impact of the disease is not limited to physical symptoms but involves also a wide range of psychological, emotional, social and spiritual aspects (Gurevich M, et al. (2002) Koopman C, et al. (2002), Mehnert A, et al. (2018). Emotional distress is very often observed in cancer patients and is associated to decreased quality of life, satisfaction with medical treatment outcomes and compliance with therapies (Han JA, et al. (2005), Roth AJ, et al. (1998); Lam WW, et al. (2013), Berry DL, et al. (2015). Additionally, the load is further increased by practical and informative needs (Harrison D, et al. (2009; Howell D, et al. (2012). The aim of this work is to present an integrative method for the support of the oncologic patients, developed in 2003 and widespread by the Oncologic Department of the AUSL of Bologna, part of the National Health Service: the Health, Information, and Meditation in Oncology (H.I.M.O.) Method. The method is based on three pillars: providing patients with proper and updated medical information on the care path; providing patients with information on a healthy lifestyle, especially nutrition and exercise; teaching a meditation practice that can help patients to better cope with the experience of illness, promoting wellbeing on a psychological and emotional level. These aspects were found to positively affect patients’ treatment outcomes satisfaction, quality of life, adherence to therapies, physical and psychological responsiveness to treatment (Cooper H, et al. (2001), Couturaud F, et al. (2002); Faller H, et al. (2016), Grahn G (1996), Schwedhelm C (2016), Courneya KS (2003), Goleman D (1976), Simonton C 1980). Feedbacks from patients seem to confirm the success of the method, which is considered a Mind-Body Medicine method simultaneously operating on the mental, psychological and spiritual dimensions. 

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