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.
Emotional Freedom Technique is a form of complementary intervention. Though relatively new, it has gained recognition by many clinicians and has been endorsed by prominent figures in the realm of alternative medicine, such as Deepak Chopra. EFT can be applied to many different ills and challenges but for cancer patients it offers a practical and effective way to engage in their own care before, during and after their medical treatment.
What is EFT?
EFT is a form of “emotional acupuncture” or “mindful acupressure” that involves the stimulation of traditional Chinese acupuncture points. However unlike acupuncture, instead of using needles EFT uses a technique of gentle tapping on these points.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, currently undergo treatment or even in remission and simply want to maintain your state of well being, EFT may be the right choice of practice for you. Not only it is easy to learn and easy to practice and it often packs significant results; you can now learn how to practice it, online, from the comfort of your own home.
How does it work?
In EFT we use our finger tips to systematically tap on various acupressure points on the face, hands and body while focusing on a problem or issue we wish to resolve. EFT also uses verbalization. It involves verbalizing the “issue” combined with a phrase of affirmation. Together the verbalization and tapping seem to release the intensity or charge of the “issue” we tap on.
The Mind Body connection
It is no secret that our body, mind, and emotions are intimately connected. Beyond the physical symptoms of the illness, being diagnosed or undergoing treatment raise a host of emotions and thoughts, like fear and anxiety for example, which often times affect the way we feel in our body. When we apply EFT to something that upsets us – our thoughts, our feelings, and our bodily responses seem to shift. In other words EFT allows us to release and transform the way feelings like guilt, fear, or anger may be affecting our bodies and our health.
EFT let us take part and ownership of our healing journey. It will help us cope with and overcome fear, anxiety, guilt, blame and shame. It will help us ease physical discomfort and lessen the impact of treatment side effects. It empowers us to maintain a positive mindset.
EFT for Cancer online
EFT for Cancer sessions are conducted via a simple webcam (video camera for computers). We interact face to face as if you were right here in my office. In this series of three sessions you will learn the ABCs of Emotional Freedom Technique for Cancer and its application. EFT for Cancer is different from EFT for behavior modification or addictions. While the core principles are still valid, illnesses such as cancer require a deeper understanding of what you are going through and what you need to heal.
Here is what you get when you sign up
1. Three one hour private sessions.
2. Your complete guide to Emotional Freedom Technique for Cancer.
3. The essence of EFT, the Discovery Statement.
4. EFT basic and advance training including unique tools for cancer patients.
5. How to formulate EFT phrases and apply them for your particular diagnosis/condition.
6. Understanding common psychological inhibitors (self sabotage) and how this impedes healing.
7. How to identify different “aspects” of problems, and what to do when aspects shift.
8. Advance EFT techniques such as the Movie Technique, and Chasing the Pain.
9. Expert tips and support based on years of experience.
A video of your session
At the end of our session you will get a short video of our meeting. This will act as a reminder when you practice on your own. Also, as an active client you get preference in scheduling over new clients. This privilege is available for one year after our initial meeting.
If this entices you to take action, contact me and I’ll be sure to provide you with all the necessary details and answer any question you may have.
If you are facing caner and still can’t shake the habit of smoking, hypnosis may be what the doctor ordered. Sure there are many ways to quit smoking and people tend to be creative when it comes to their health. Some will try the old fashion cold turkey method while others may find therapy to be effective. Some will try nicotine patches and gums or electronic cigarettes or any combinations of the above to break free, but if you are looking for a more holistic approach to smoking cessation; one that is safe and practical and most of all effective, hypnosis can be it.
The online medical source WEBMD says “Smoking is a dangerous, even deadly habit. It’s a leading cause of cancer. It also increases your risk for heart attacks, strokes, lung disease, and other health problems, including bone fractures and cataracts.” Now this is no breaking news but knowing this we understand that by breaking free from this habit we improve our odds for recovery and a better quality of life.
As far as research goes there is no consensus. Some findings approve the use of hypnosis for smoking cessation and others do not. This type of agreeing-to-disagree is common when it come to research; the bottom line is that further exploration is needed. In the meantime I personally have helped scores of patients to regain control of their behavior and break free from this habit with hypnosis.
Is Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation Safe?
When it comes to finding the right hypnotherapist, it’s worth your time to do the research. Call him or her and get a sense of what they are like, their manner and knowledge. Ask questions and make sure you get answers that make you feel comfortable and safe, and as always, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Above all, remember to find a hypnotherapist that understands Cancer and Cancer patients, not everyone do. Cancer patients face all sorts of challenges while undergoing treatment and it’s important the practitioner you choose understand your needs.
How Long Does a Smoking Cessation Session Last?
It is my opinion alone that it takes more than just one hour to do it right. In fact, in my office a smoking cessation session is a three hours ordeal. Now I am fully aware that there are ads and practitioners that tell you it takes only an hour for you to quit, this is what I call “the one hour miracle session”. Yet all too often those who tried this miraculous approach ended up in my office frustrated and upset. Not only their hopes were broken but now they have an added layer of stress to an already active critiquing inner dialog.
For the sake of argument, the one hour session may work for some people but they are the exception and not the rule. It is nothing short of arrogance to dissolve a lifetime of inner conflicts in such a short period of time. It is definitely meaningful for patients who are already face the stressful terrain of cancer care to spend more time attending and resolving their harmful perceptions and beliefs.
Can I Practice Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation at Home?
The next best thing to being in my office is working with self-hypnosis or guided-imagery audio programs for smoking cessation. Doing so will support your effort to quit and strengthen your new found inner image of yourself as a non smoker. Again, there are various products out there with various scripts and approaches, make sure you listen to samples from my Be Smoke Free CD so you can make a smart decision.
The most important thing to remember is that the purpose of either one-on-one hypnosis sessions or the audio programs is to help you establish a new belief i.e. that smoking is no longer relevant to who you are, the new you. There is no point in creating more struggles for you and by that I mean telling you to “stop smoking”. This will only make things more difficult because that which we resist tend to persist. Therefore the point is to help you see yourself in a new way, as a non smoker, as a person with meaning and purpose, a person who choose life instead of death.
Take your time to make up your mind. When you have, harness the power of your mind to change your life with hypnosis.
Chemotherapy (also called chemo) is still one of the main treatments available for cancer patients, and yes, it saves lives. Having said that, because it uses drugs to destroy cancer cells it does take its toll on patients and their quality of life. For many years now I’ve had the privileged of helping patients maintain and enhance their quality of life with Immersive Healing and Hypnosis for cancer but there is a lot that each one of us can do on our own.
Some of this wisdom patients shared with me I was able to put in writing in my book The New Cancer Paradigm but the list of tips and base of knowledge keeps on growing. In this post I wanted to offer you my top five nuggets, mainly from patients undergoing chemotherapy or recovering from it.
The first thing I have found interesting is the belief that there is a direct correlation between how the chemotherapy makes a person feel (the harsh impact of side effect) and whether he or she derive benefit from it. There is none what’s so ever, no correlation at all. Now just to be clear, I am not a medical doctor and my answer is purely based on personal research and conversations with doctors. I encourage you to bring this question to your medical team and find out for yourself.
Here is what I have learned from my clients:
1.Give yourself permission to slow down. It is time to pay attention to what’s going on inside i.e. in your life as well as in your body. The best way to do so is to slow down. You need time to think things through, process and adjust to this new reality.
2. Match your schedule to how you feel. Chemo affect different people in different ways and you may not experience limiting side effects. Still, listen to your body and respect what it tells you. If you need rest, rest. If you need to slow down, slow down. Your body needs its energy to heal and restore its balance.
3. Plan your activities. Plan even the simple activities, such as grocery shopping, for a time when you feel the best. If you have kids and can afford a babysitter every now and then, give yourself this gift.
4. Healthy nutrition. Chemotherapy treatment sometime affect your taste buds and appetite. Talk to a Nutritionist who specialize in cancer care to find what’s valuable for your body and recovery. My recommendation is to not be too rigid, eat what appeals to you during this time. If you develop a heightened sensitivity to odors, keep away from places where food is cooked.
5. Find your village. The adage “it takes a village to raise a child” is very applicable. When undergoing chemotherapy treatment it sure helps to have your “village” or support system in place. Whether you need someone to drive you, or feed your ferret or water the plants, the bottom line you want to make sure things are taken care of. This will greatly contribute to your peace of mind and often will make the treatment process more comfortable.
My last and personal recommendation will be to take advantage of available resources such as Guided Imagery for Cancer. I offer many such products but there are plenty to chose from online.
As always, if you have any question, please feel free to contact me at Free@AvinoamLerner.com
Hearing these three words “you have cancer” is frightening. Until that moment you have been someone’s mother or a father, someone’s son or daughter; and now all that has changed, you became a cancer patient.
The nature of any change, especially one as overwhelming and even debilitating as a cancer diagnosis strike fear and terror into our hears. There is so much to consider and so much of it is unknown. Yet you push through it because you can and you must.
Taking Back Control
If you are like many of my clients, you also look for means and ways to regain control over your life. Knowing that in doing so you state your intention to take back your life and thrive for many years to come is empowering. But often I see my clients set themselves up for failure, setting unrealistic expectation about their treatment and how exactly it should go.
Whether we like it or not we are not a machine that operates on some rigid mathematical formula or code, we are humans. And as humans we are vulnerable and yes, imperfect.
Part of what defines us as human-beings is that we are emotional beings, capable of expression. Fear, stress, frustration and helplessness are but a few of these expressions and we should try to feel them and release them rather than holding them in or denying their presence.
To that end I’ve created a new audio recording titled Overcome The Shock of Cancer Diagnosis. Many of my clients find it helpful and you might as well. It’s available in my Shop area if this resonate, but for the time being and from a mind-body perspective, what you need to know is that suppressed and unresolved emotional turmoil, compounded over the years, build an internal pressure. Any illness, including cancer, can be aggravated by this internal pressure. So, what do we do? How can someone maintain his or her quality of life while undergoing treatment or recovering from it?
It is likely that upon receiving your diagnosis you also received information pertained to local resources i.e. access to a Social Worker, a list of support groups etc. Take advantage of these resources! While you may not use all of them or any of them for that matter, simply knowing this is available to you will help you feel more grounded and not alone. Not all medical facilities are alike and not every resource may be right for you but you can learn a great deal from others experience.
Making a Decision
Having said that, I want to focus on what you can do for yourself.
There is no way around cancer; that is, the only way out is in. What I mean by that is you must give yourself time to process the meaning of this new reality. You must take time to consider that challenges ahead and resolve to meet them with courage.
More important than your support system is your decision to see this journey through. This decision will prove invaluable and will provide you the strength you need. And by all means, remember that your so called “human weakness” i.e. your emotions is your source of power. A hero is not someone who is never afraid but rather someone who does what he or she needs to do despite of their fear.
From a practical stand point, there are different means and ways beside your medical treatment to help you and support you in this time of need. Immersive Healing is but one option though it may not be for everyone. If you have a question or simply need someone to help you think through your options; I am happy to do so at Free@AvinoamLerner.com.
You can also take advantage of my 6 Weeks Online Program titled Cancer Wellness Mastery which will afford you new skills and a way to connect with others in your position.
I look forward to connecting with you and engaging with you for better days.
with joy, Avinoam Lerner
At the end of a recent presentation a man approached me with this question. His wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and she wanted to know what else, beside conventional medical treatment she can possibly do.
He was eager to learn about complementary or non-medical approaches to healing cancer but he was church going person and was concerned about the use of hypnosis. Like many, him and his wife held all sorts of misconceptions about hypnosis. In fact, if it weren’t for their doctor mentioning my name they would never think to attend my lecture.
The short answer to his question about the merit of Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) for cancer is a resounding YES. Having said that not all CAM for cancer are alike. There are as many methods out there as they are practitioners, but if you are looking for a form of treatment that is considered evidence-based you will find a short list.
This is not to say that research equal effectiveness, far from it. If we keep in mind that what we call evidence-based today was at one point the subject of mockery we must consider there are methods of healing we did not yet discover or researched. Evidence-based simply means there was sufficient interest in one method to the point that funds could be raised to explore it through the tools of science.
Though the medical field has long recognized the benefits of Hypnotherapy, the topic is still poorly understood and certainly under utilized. The British approved the use of hypnosis back in 1955, even the Pope and Roam Catholic Church approved its use in 1956 and last but not least it was approved in the US in 1958. Still we find its use limited in medical facilities.
In my little corner of the universe this is about to change. From May 2013 patients of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute who visit the Zakim Center for Integrative Care will be able to benefit from hypnosis for cancer. The Zakim Center already offers its patients a wide spectrum of evidence-based practices. Practices such as Acupuncture, Chi Kong and oncology massage have long been researched and the data is promising. Listening to patients testimonials, I for one am very grateful that we live in a day and age where patients can benefit from this union of medical and non-medical methods.
To find the right CAM practice for you, first define the end result you are looking for. This end result can be pain relief or lessening side effects, immune enhancement etc. Done right, this will allow you to narrow your search. And yes, talk to your medical team about your wish to integrate non-medical methods into your cancer care, their answer might pleasantly surprise you.
Boston Massachusetts is a home for some of the best medical facilities in the world and this is especially true when it comes to cancer care. Both Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and Massachusetts General Hospital have made the USA Top 10 Best Hospitals list.
Out of 900 hospitals ranked, Dana Farber is number five and Mass General is number seven. This is a remarkable achievement and a reason for many people around the US and the world to seek the right cancer treatment in Boston.
Amongst those who come to Boston, many seek to supplement their medical treatment with non-medical therapies such as Immersive Healing (Hypnosis for Cancer). Immersive Healing allow them to take part and participate in their own care. It offers them a pathway to healing their mental and emotional suffering i.e. the non-physical aspects of their illness while undergoing treatment.
The purpose of any treatment (conventional or complementary) is to restore one’s health of course and that means having you returning home as quickly as possible. However, out of sight does not mean out of mind, at least not when recovering from cancer.
It is challenging to get back into the rhythm of life or resume life as if nothing happened. If you are like any of my clients you spend time thinking about what it means to have had cancer or the possibility of it coming back. Those who live in the New England are schedule monthly sessions to support and maintain their healing momentum and negate these debilitating fears. Those who live far away often times schedule online sessions via Skype.
If however you wish to work on your own, the best in-home support I can recommend is products such as Guided Imagery for Cancer or self-hypnosis for cancer that enhances comfort, help you sleep peacefully, increase your confidence and self-esteem and overall help you maintain a positive outlook on life.
There are many options to choose from and if you are interested to learn more you can visit my own website for such products or my Amazon page.
Research showed that people who have been through a traumatic event in the previous one or two years are more frequently diagnosed with cancer . Much is still unknown about the origins of cancer however there is the distinct possibility that it is an illness that has a long incubation period.
What this mean is that if you have been exposed to carcinogenic substances in your 20s, cancer may not develop until some 30 to 40 years later. This certainly seems to be true in the cases of people who have developed asbestos related cancers in later years, long time after the initial exposure to asbestos.
However in the presence of extreme stress, trauma or loss illness may develop at a much faster rate. From what is known about the effects of stress on the immune system it seems very likely that the ‘stress’, in whatever form dramatically weakens the immune system function allowing the process of disease to develop more rapidly.
The problem with chronic or severe stress is that it encourages the production of adrenal hormones which in turn lower the levels of white blood cells within the body placing an individual at increased risk of infection.
Stress in all its forms, depression, anxiety, shock, results in the poorer function of the immune system.
Having said that, many people who experience stress never go on to develop cancer or other chronic diseases – there are many things that can contribute to illness, and often it’s a combination of factors that tip health into sickness. This is why it is vital that we fully understand that WE ARE NOT TO BE BLAMED FOR OUR ILLNESS – in no way did they cause the disease or ask for this to happen. If you’ve entertained these intrusive thoughts, refer to my book The New Cancer Paradigm and you’ll discover why you can’t possibly have done so.
Everyone experiences a varying degree of stress throughout their lives and some of the calmest and most content people develop cancer. There is no one ‘type’ of person who develops chronic disease.
Blaming yourself for your illness is counter-productive and sadly there are some things that happen in life that we all just have to accept as unfair.
Accepting things as they are does not mean giving up in any way; it simply means not wasting valuable energy fighting the wrong thing. It’s true that at times you can’t fix the cancer, but that’s not what need fixing.
Which leads us to ask which emotions may be aggravating your disease? The effect of stress in all its forms on the body is well documented (see one resource here) but we can also add to the list hopelessness, helplessness, worry, internal or buried rage, chronic low self-esteem, frustration, fatigue, hostility, blame and guilt.
Sometimes we know we are running negative emotions over and over in our heads, we know it is not doing us any good but we continue. Maybe a pattern has become ingrained? Maybe our thought patterns have become a habit? Hypnosis can help you to address these negative painful emotions and harmful patters, track them down and deal with them and by doing so help you to move forwards in the best way possible as you heal. By Avinoan Lerner
Less Medication. Continuing on from my last blog let’s take a look at the second most important reason for incorporating the practice of hypnotherapy into your cancer treatment plan. As readers of my blog already know I fully acknowledge that more and more people overcome cancer because of the powerful advancements made in traditional, conventional medicine.
Having said that, certain reports reveal that in some cases, when a patient does not recover or recovers slowly, it is not the disease itself that the individual succumbs to. Rather it is the patient’s body’s inability to cope with the side effects of medical treatment that impedes the healing process. What’s more, the build up to surgery, chemo and radiation can be extremely emotionally taxing and as we know chronic psychological stress can also impair healing.
With this in mind, here is how hypnotherapy can address this crucial emotional issue that could affect a person’s recovery.
Reason 2 – Lessening the amount of medical intervention needed
Research undertaken on the subject of hypnosis and surgery proves that patients using hypnotherapy in preparation for surgery needed less anesthesia and medication during this process AND they healed much faster from surgery as opposed to the control group – some times a full 9 days faster.* That is very significant.
Using hypnosis before medical treatment or surgery can help to decrease the worries and fears a person may experience in the run up to the treatment. The majority of fear stems from the feeling of being out of control. In a person with cancer this fear may manifest as the feeling that the body is in a deteriorating state of health and that there is nothing that can be done to halt this.
Hypnosis can guide your subconscious mind into claiming your own role in the recovery process and thus give you back a sense of control.
The process of hypnosis is often accompanied by physical emotional and relaxation which help to relieve stress and tension. Regular sessions of hypnosis will therefore help the individual to relax deeply and this in itself can have a significant effect on the body’s immune system function.
In simpler terms hypnosis can help you to feel better. If you feel better you are more likely to heal better.
Hypnosis can be used to address the psychological impact of medical treatment and in this respect using it as part of your cancer treatment plan may lessen the amount of medical intervention or medicine you ultimately need.
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About Avinoam Lerner
Avinoam Lerner is a Trauma Recovery Coach specializing in Cancer, Addiction & PTSD, a TEDx Speaker, and the author of The New Cancer Paradigm.
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