This is the second video in this series. It continues to explore the failure of researchers to identify the root cause of cancer, address illness as a multidimensional event and produce the “cure”.
If you have not seen the first video, CLICK HERE.
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This online service is the perfect solution for those who live far away or have limited mobility. It’s the next best thing to working with me one-on-one in my office.
Do you feel worthy of recovery? Do you blame yourself for your cancer? Do you feel helpless, hopeless or find you are self-sabotaging your progress? If so, it is vital you’ll understand how these mindsets inhibit your body’s ability to fight and recover from cancer and how they impact the functioning of your immune system!
After decades of research and despite almost inexhaustible resources, huge budgets and unlimited manpower, no medical researcher or doctor for that matter can definitively say what causes cancer with 100% scientific certainty. Sure, you may get an explanation, but it too will depend greatly upon whom you ask and their field of study. How can this be?
No disrespect intended in this statement, and I do mean that. In reality a great deal of progress was made over the years and is being made as I write these lines. The bottom line is that more people survive their cancer today than in any other time. Still, the search for the elusive “cure” continues to no avail.
Could it be that researchers failure to find the Cure is the result of missing or overlooking a vital piece of the puzzle? Well, according to Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist and the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy” the answer is a straight forward YES.
When it comes to understanding the human experience of illness, researchers only study illness from a one-dimensional perspective.
Medical researchers discuss internal and external contributors. They can point to genetic disposition and carcinogenic factors in our environment. All true! Psychologists can discuss the development of illness from a psychological perspective through the lens of Mental Science in the context of social influences, behavioral patterns and certain personality types. Still, all true! Yet, while each field provides necessary and important information about illness, they fail to see illness in its essence as a multi-dimensional event, and as a whole person event.
Viewing cancer treatment as a medical or biological event or only as a psychological event means robbing people of their true spiritual nature as Frankl’s model show us below. It limits their experience to one or two dimensions; we know that there are more dimensions.
This is illustrated in the image above, which shows a cylinder suspended in a three-dimensional space. In the words of Frankl: “Projected out of its three-dimensional space into the horizontal and vertical two-dimensional planes, it (the cylinder) yields in the first case a circle and in the second on a rectangle. These pictures contradict one another. What is more important, the cylinder is an open vessel (open from the top, hollow) in contrast to the circle and the rectangle that are closed figures.” (Will to Meaning)
In other words, the human experience has many dimensions: a physical dimension (rectangle), a psychological dimension (circle), and a spiritual dimension (the cylinder).
Each projection provides important information. The rectangle reveals its height and width; the circle reveals its circumference. However, neither one of these projections tells us that we are actually looking at a cylinder. We know it is a cylinder only because we can see the original object.
Neither projection informs us that the cylinder is, in fact, an open system, closed only at the bottom. Each projection provides limited information, and therefore we do not have a truly accurate or complete understanding of what the source object really is.
Essentially, in my humble opinion, this is the very obstacle standing in the way of a cure. While the job of the specialist is to focus on a narrow field of study, this inability to see the whole picture is at the core of this issue.
Every now and then I get to meet a patient who truly inspires me. It can be their insatiable curiosity, their courage and open mind or simply the fact they read every cancer related book on the planet. Such one patient referred me to a book titled The Healing Journey by A.J. Cunningham which she found compelling.
Alastair Cunningham is the director of The Healing Journey program, a scientist and psychologist. Hi is a professor at the University of Toronto and a cancer survivor himself. The Healing Journey is a program for people who want to learn how to help themselves when they have cancer, or other serious chronic diseases. It is a practical course, providing simple, psychological and spiritual tools which promote inner harmony, peace and healing, methods that can help any of us become a “healed person”. The program has been developed and evaluated at a large cancer treatment and research center, and parts of it have been offered there and at cancer support centers since 1982.
What my patient found compelling about Cunningham’s program is that it reconcile science, psychology and spirituality. He and his team have taken the brave step toward a true whole person approach to recovery and it is that which prompted her to share this with me. There is tremendous value in this program and if you are fortunate enough to live in near any of the Wellspring Cancer Centers in Toronto and other parts of Canada I highly recommend you attend it.
As a practitioner, I found Cunningham’s language and the way he connected the dots through his writing very powerful and valuable. He provided a clear and concise explanation of the relationship between the physical organic event of disease and the psychological and spiritual dimensions.
“Suffering is a mental reaction to events perceived as unwanted. Much of the suffering cancer causes comes from reflecting on the diagnosis and what it implies, rather than directly from the disease itself. Cancer is thus an existential crisis, not simply a physical problem. If we consider the task of the health care professional to be assisting healing, and “healing” in the broadest sense to mean the relief of suffering, then various approaches can be used to help the patient, who may be extremely anxious for his or her life.” ~ A.J. Cunningham
“The usual medical strategy is to work directly on the body, attempting to remove the cancer and alleviate symptoms, thus eliminating or minimizing the physical cause of the suffering. A psychological approach is also feasible and , ideally, complements the medical , helping people to change their mental reaction to the situation by modifying the internal monologue and the distress thus engendered. A “spiritual” level in the healing of suffering is also available, and it has a long history in traditional cultures, although it is little understood by medical science.”
I am completely on board with this view but only to the point of defining “spirituality”. The Healing Journey definition of “spiritual” is “helping the suffering person to connect with an aspect of self that has been labelled as spiritual self, the Divine within, God, the Tao etc”. This view in my opinion has a religious aspect to it. A person suffering gain a sense of being a part of something bigger thus his experience or the threat to his body is perceived as much less important. My definition of “spiritual” is drawn from Viktor Frankle’s teaching and therefore revolves around Meaning, as meaning of life. Working from this perspective peace of mind and/or healing can be gained by finding meaning in every moment, in every event and stem from one’s freedom of choice. It is the freedom to find the “good” in that which is perceived as “bad”, the silver lining around every dark cloud if you will.
If you’re thinking we’re only splitting hair here, well that is your choice of course 🙂 as for me, I am grateful to learn about this valuable resource and Cunningham’s contribution.
If you are interested in learning more The Healing Journey Program, visit this link. It offers access to all the written material and audio recordings from the program on their website.
You can also watch this video:
For just a moment, imagine your brain as an orchestra. Your musical instruments are your beliefs, perceptions, emotions and attitudes. Each instrument vibrates at a specific frequency to create a unique sound, the sound of your mind.
We have learned to observe good health as a state of harmony and balance within, and illness as a state of imbalance or disharmony. Therefore when illness is present, the sound is likely to not be harmonious which suggest the vibration generated by the entire orchestra is one of disharmony.
The Mind and Illness
Harmful beliefs, erroneous perceptions and unresolved emotional turmoil fuel the Subconscious with disharmonious vibrations, and the result is illness. In a state of illness, the soundtrack of your subconscious mind would be like an orchestra of untrained musicians playing un-tuned instruments.
We can safely say that without being aware of it and certainly without wishing for it, we “think” ourselves into illness because our thoughts, beliefs and emotions affect the body.
The Law of Vibration states that: “Everything in the universe is what it is by virtue of its rate of vibration. Change the rate of vibration and you change the nature, quality, and form. The vast panorama of nature, both visible and invisible, is being constantly changed by simply changing the rate of vibration, and as thought is a vibration, we can exercise this power. We can change the vibration and thus produce any condition that we desire to manifest in our bodies.” (Charles F. Hannel).
Risking oversimplification, I created the Subconscious Illness Paradigm model to illustrate how Mind factors affect our brain and our body.
Restoring Harmony to the Mind and Body
One of the most significant discoveries we’ve made is that we actually can “think” ourselves back into health. And though we are still exploring how and to what degree the above statement is true, we know that we have an innate capacity and ability to participate and our experience. And we can do so by changing our Mind, or better say, Subconscious Mind.
The challenge for a long time was to form a methodical and systematic practice to engage with the Subconscious Mind and to do so in a way that is meaningful and authentic. To get the Subconscious Mind back into a harmonic state of health, we must identify, address and heal every aspect of the governing mental Paradigm that is not in harmony. We must change values, beliefs and perceptions that are negative and inhibiting to our health to positive and supporting of our health.
“The way to health is founded on the law of vibration, which is the basis of all science, and this law is brought into operation by the Mind, the ‘world within’. It is a matter of individual effort and practice. Our world of power is within. If we are wise, we shall not waste time and effort in trying to deal with effects as we find them in the ‘world without’, which is only an external, a reflection.” (Charles F. Hannel)
Immersive Healing which utilizes Clinical Hypnotherapy as its therapeutic vehicle is a method for changing disharmonious Mind patterns into harmonious. If disharmonious patterns promoted illness, then by changing from their quality from negative to positive, we change their effect from destructive to constructive and allow healing to begin. As outline in the Subconscious Health Paradigm model, discord, disharmony, and disease give way to mental, psychological and physical health.
The two Mind models illustrations can be found in my book The New Cancer Paradigm. If you wish to learn more about the Mind, illness and our individual ability to transition back into health, this book is to provide you tools and techniques to do so.
With many types of chemotherapy (chemo) drugs available these days, doctors can recommend one form over another based on their patients condition, tolerance and preferences. Chemo taken orally works just as well as other forms of chemotherapy and may be the right choice for patients experiencing adverse side effects to drugs administered via IV.
For those taking chemo orally there are plenty online resources such as the Dana Farber Cancer Institute page that provide tips and guidelines for a safe practice. Few resources however provide practical solutions to some of the challenges that arise from the need to swallow chemo pills.
For you and me the act of swallowing may be a simple one but over the years I have seen a good share of patients struggling, afraid of swallowing their pills. Some can easily swallow food but not pills; others will gag just thinking about how the pills taste or smell or even how it feels in their mouth. For these patients, hypnotherapy may offer the relief they seek, providing a practical and effective solution to overcoming this fear.
Hypnotherapy Help Cancer Patients Swallow Chemo Pills
The clinical term related specifically to the fear of swallowing is Phagophobia. It relates to swallowing complaints when no apparent physical limitation is observed. A more general term for difficulty with swallowing is Dysphagia which addresses wider range of causes including fear, pain, or some other cognitive, anatomical or physiological problem.
The advantage of hypnosis over other psychological interventions is our ability to engage the fear subconsciously. This allows us to avoid inflating the fear or causing further hardship. The point of hypnosis of course is not to “make” or force anyone to act against their will but to help them resolve and dissolve the very thought process that feed the fear. Addressing the cause will change its effect. If one’s fearful thought process, belief system or perception associated with swallowing has altered from difficult, painful or dangerous to comfortable, beneficial and safe his or her behavior will change accordingly.
If you struggle with swallowing your medication be sure to discuss the option of hypnosis with your medical team. Never alter the course of your treatment without talking to your doctor first. Hypnosis is a safe, effective and noninvasive intervention but it should be integrated into your medical care.
The Power of Imagery
Assuming there is no physiological basis for your difficulties swallowing and that you want to keep improving your skill of swallowing on your own here is a good place to start.
The power of the mind to influence the body is quite remarkable because Imagery is the most fundamental language we have. Our mind processes everything we do through images and we can harness this ability to promote desired outcomes such as an easier time swallowing.
Visualize success. In your mind’s eye see yourself calmly and easily swallowing the pill. Break the process into tiny bits of action and see yourself successful at each of them. Take it very slowly, and make sure you feel comfortable at any given moment. If tension arise for any reason go back and start from the beginning. Repeatedly visualizing success can have a very real beneficial impact.
Cancer is more than just a physical event, it affects every aspect of our being. Emotional pain, mental strains and even spiritual challenges are rooted in the very core of illness and increasingly patients are seeking to find non-pharmaceutical solutions to these challenges such as Hypnosis.
If you ever had medical emergency you already know that the onset of a such threat is frightening to say the least. For many people the ground seem to have shifted beneath their feet and in spite of themselves they unwillingly begin to contemplate the unthinkable. Fear gets stronger because we’re not sure what this threat means to our livelihood, what it means to our family and career. We’re not sure that we have the inner strength or the innate resources to cope with all that is about to come.
While fear is a perfectly normal respond to any life threatening event, it can quickly paint our experience with anxious and dark colors. Here is where hypnosis can be of tremendous help to patients, offering relief and remedy not only to our thoughts, beliefs and fears but also to our body.
6 Ways Hypnosis Can Help Cancer Patients
Hypnosis, as an adjunct therapy to conventional medical care can help patients address a wide range of challenges and symptoms. It has shown to help with the following:
1. Lessen anticipatory fear and anxiety.
2. Lessen many adverse treatment side effects.
3. Accelerate rate of recovery from the treatment.
4. Improve patient’s attitude toward treatment.
5. Enhance patient’s outlook for possible recovery.
6. Instill a sense of mastery during and after treatment.
Because patients can feel and experience the results from their hypnosis session right away it is the perfect natural and noninvasive, drug-less and painless therapy. Either working with a hypnotherapist in his or her office or listening to a self-hypnosis recording; patients can play an active role in their healing and participate in their treatment.
More Cancer Treatment Centers Offer Complimentary Cancer Care
Now days many cancer treatment Centers offer patients access to Complementary Alternative services. Services such as massage therapy, acupuncture, Qigong and even music therapy are more common than ever and patients greatly benefit.
Hypnosis also makes its way into mainstream facilities, slowly but surely. The trend is positive and I can attest to this myself having developed a relationship with one of Boston’s most prestigious Cancer institutions. Doctors, even the skeptics or those still holding some misconception about the practice and its clinical value simply cannot ignore the ever growing body of evidence that strongly support it.
For medical professionals and patients alike research is the definitive factor and rightly so. It is likely that with more quality research and greater awareness to the validity and efficacy of Hypnosis for cancer its use will increase. In the meantime, patients will continue to manage their care outside the hospital walls.
One of the least talked about, yet most common outcome of cancer treatment is Cancer Anorexia. Cancer Anorexia, to differ from the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa (where a person starves himself or herself) refers to the loss of appetite.
This loss of appetite, effecting people during the advanced stages of the illness result in extreme weight loss, malnutrition, loss of muscle mass and wasting. It further taxes the person physically of course but it also taxes the person mentally and emotionally.
Can Hypnosis Help?
There are some medical solutions to this challenge and it’s therefore imperative that patients and their families will be informed and educated about available treatment options. Having said that, there are also non medical solutions which aim to “awaken” patient’s appetite, strengthen their will to live and fortify their resolve to heal. One such solution is hypnosis.
Hypnosis is a safe and practical method to complement and enhance the efficacy of one’s medical treatment. It is most effective when it is a part of the treatment strategy and not an alternative to the medical care. Hypnosis in general engages patients mind i.e. their mental faculties such as outlook, attitude and beliefs. Employing one’s natural mental and emotional capacities through hypnosis to promote a desired outcome (in this case is appetite) requires no medication which means there are no adverse side effects. It means no recovery time or hospital stay and therefore patients can continue and enjoy a high level of quality of life.
In a nutshell, the hypnotic state is a state of focused attention where the person experiences heightened suggestibility. Suggestions (spoken words) can be given to remedy variety of possible contributors to the loss of appetite such as fear and anxiety.
What’s Really Important?
For me as a practitioner the number one priority is to help my client transcend his or her limited physical dimension of “appetite”. This means they must consider the act of eating, irrespective of the desire to eat, as part of their decision to live. This is really the bottom line; changing patient’s perspective of food and eating from a mere physical act to one inspired by their wish to live another day, week, month etc.
This is where hypnosis, as a therapeutic vehicle for change is of great benefit. It provides a practical way to address the thoughts and beliefs weakened by the physical suffering of illness. Thoughts and beliefs that insinuate that we do not have the innate resources to cope with this experience or that life, and this condition, is not worth living through.
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About Avinoam Lerner
Avinoam Lerner is a Practitioner in the Field of Complementary Medicine specializing in Cancer Wellness & Recovery. Author of The New Cancer Paradigm.
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