Equine Assisted Mindfulness (EAM) for the Rehabilitation of Cancer Patients - Research Update


MiMer centre receives fundings from the Ann Kern Godal’s Memorial Fund for Horse Assisted Therapy to set up a study group and lead a research project to test the efficacy of Equine Assisted Mindfulness (EAM) for the rehabilitation of cancer patients

Being diagnosed with cancer and embark in the treatment process is a traumatic experience, and it is common for patients with cancer to experience distress.

Research studies have shown that mindfulness-based stress management interventions, such as the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme, can significantly improve the quality of life of cancer patients.

Often these programmes are offered at the hospital facility, but what if we could do them surrounded by nature and animals, would the patients benefit from this approach even more?

That’s what MiMer and its collaborators, experts in animal assisted interventions, cancer treatment and rehabilitation, psychology and mindfulness are going to find out, with the help of a group of cancer survivors, who will give us important clues about patients’ needs and point of view.

We believe that taking the patients outside the medical setting and into nature will support the therapeutic and rehabilitative processes. Katarina Lundgren, director of MiMer and equine assisted mindfulness facilitator, will create and guide the group through those mindfulness experiences, and collect the feedback from the patients participating in the project.

Oh well Katarina, what are the horses going to do to make this work? “Nothing! Horses can enhance the experience by being themselves, living in the here and now to a greater extent than we humans do. This study will assess if being in nature and in the presence of the horses will help the patients to be more present in the here and now, and to open up and explore the shifts we want to make in our lives. It is we as facilitators who have the responsibility to guide our participants through this process, not the horses.”

In the next newsletter you will learn more about who constitute the study group, and how each of them will contribute to the project.

And we thank the Ann Kern Godal’s Memorial Fund for the financial contribution supporting the first important step of this exciting project and to the many collaborators, including MiMer, that are contributing in kind to this first stage… just driven by passion!

Text: Francesca Gatti, Research Coordinator for the EAM study for cancer patients.

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Saturday, 18 May 2024