stress and illness

The Role of Stress in Illness

New research from Trinity College Dublin indicates that when a particular stress response is blocked (by drugs) the spread (metastasis) of breast cancer can be significantly reduced.

 Health Research Board Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Ian Barron from the University’s Pharmacology and Therapeutic department conducted the research.

The study focused on a group of women in Ireland who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2007 and found that the women who took drugs that blocked a particular hormone-related stress pathway had a decreased risk of dying from the cancer.

When compared to the control group, women taking the drugs in the year prior to diagnosis were less likely to develop metastatic or invasive breast cancer. The same group, who continued to take the drug after diagnosis, was also less likely to die from cancer in the following 5 years after their diagnosis.
Dr Barron has said:

“For patients with cancer, higher levels of stress are associated with more frequent disease recurrence, faster disease progression and higher rates of death from cancer.

“Some lab-based studies have suggested how stress hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenalin, could play a role in this process. Ours is the first study in humans to show that blocking this stress response significantly reduces the risk of cancer spreading or metastasizing. Because the majority of all cancer deaths are due to the growth of tumor metastases, this research could have significant implications for clinical practice.”

This research is interesting because once again it confirms what those who are interested in the field of Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) have been aware of for some time. That stress and the immune system are linked. Chronic stress can be a precursor to illness.

Our emotions, the way we cope with stress and how we ‘feel’ does have an effect on the physiological condition of the body.

I am all for medical developments and the use of stress pathway blocking drugs could mean exciting progress in the treatment of cancer. I also feel that this study will help to open up the discussion about the link between stress, emotional trauma and cancer.

We know that it’s possible to block this hormone related stress pathway with drugs but can we do so with the mind alone? This is an exciting prospect that can change the way we treat this disease.

Imagine a treatment facility that fully integrates mind medicine with conventional medicine, and I mean more than just the common “Relaxotherapy” offered today.

This kind of integration where patients are cared for by a team of practitioner is sure to benefit the patient. It remains to be seen when this kind of care will be offered, my belief is that it’s only a matter of time.

In the meantime many coping with cancer are already taking responsibility for their well being by working with their own private practitioners.

If you integrate your conventional treatment with other complimentary or alternative treatments please share?

Scientists and Healers Join in the Fight Against Cancer

Scientists and Healers Join in the Fight Against Cancer

In my ideal world the two words, Healer and Scientist, describe the same person. Currently, though, they describe two worlds apart. It is rare that to find these two cooperate in any fashion, even though this cooperation will certainly benefit the patients.

alternative cancer treatment in Boston

Scientists and Healers in the fight against cancer

Nevertheless, on this very special (and cold) day in Boston MA it happened. The healer and the scientist came together in an event held by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center called Celebration of Life. Despite of the bitter weather, this was a heartwarming and embracing event. Many cancer survivors as well as those who are currently in treatment arrived with their families to share, learn and celebrate the human spirit.

Scientists as well as healers gathered around the same table at Harvard Medical School in Boston to share their knowledge and discuss the future of cancer care. For me it was a welcomed revelation that there is an open mind and a dialog between these two worlds.

This event was just another step in the right direction, I recognize that and I know we have a long way to go before sincere and professional cooperation can take place. Still, this meeting was a clear statement that this vision is closer than I thought it was.

Can you imagine going into surgery and your surgeon asks you to breathe deeply, set intention for healing of your body and using hypnosis to prepare you for the surgery? What if this helped boosting your recovery rate and increases your ability to heal?

We already have different complimentary practices offered in the hospitals; Reiki, Acupuncture and massage are the generic ones. Some insurance companies have stepped up and offer a degree of reimbursement and that’s very promising.

My personal believe is that the recognition in the value of Complimentary Alternative Medicine such as Hypnosis for Cancer is not a passing trend. I look forward to the near future where the healer and the scientist work together to improve one’s quality of life.

Have you used CAM modalities while undergoing medical treatment?

Positive Thinking and illness

Positive Thinking May Put Cancer Patients at Risk

We keep hearing about the importance of the power of positive thinking. Books and magazines, new-age experts and mental health professional all praise the benefits of positive thinking as if it’s the magic cure we all hoped for. Even motivational gurus tell us that being positive is essential to our success and happiness and still, danger lurks in the mind that focuses only on the positive in the form of denial.

Alternative Cancer Treatment in Boston

Cancer and Positive Thinking

The Danger in Positive-Thinking

A positive attitude can add healthy happy years to our lives and is considered to be the key to happiness. This happiness help cancer patients boost their immune system and therefore support healing. However, there is a great difference between manufacturing positive thoughts by denying all else and seeing things as they are. By denying reality we delay our healing. Taking a realistic approach and still choosing to focus on that which is well and valuable, that which promote a feel-good state of mind will strengthen your resolve to heal and support your journey toward health.

In my perspective, the positive-thinking-theory took a wrong turn when promoted itself as a substitute to the realistic approach. That wrong turn stripped its healing value and began broadcasting the message of false hope.

Riding the Emotional Roller-Coaster of Illness

When illness strike and we are riding the emotional roller-coaster it’s very tempting to deny the shock, the fear and the uncertainty we fill. It seems that as long as we don’t look at that which is wrong we won’t have to face it and therefore it will not affect us.

That plan however, is set for failure right from the beginning. It will fail because it takes effort to deny our true feelings and experience. Based on the concept that “what we resist persist” we only suspend the eruption of our emotional volcano.

This eruption of emotions, if not exhausted beforehand, will take place within us and only serve to suppress our immune system even more which means allowing illness to progress.

Since the path of healing is aligned with the path of truth, evaluate your thoughts on a regular basis. Make sure to see things as they are, and allow yourself to express the rising emotions regardless of their quality i.e. negative or positive.

As you see the big picture, the bad and the good, choose to focus on that which uplift you and makes you feel hopeful.

Share with us your view of positive thinking?

overcomeing challenges of cancer

Resolve Your Fear of Cancer Diagnosis

Today’s posting was inspired by a comment from one of my colleagues in respect to our discussion about the shock and fear one experience when diagnosed with cancer.

complementary medicine for cancer

Resolve Your Fear of Cancer Diagnosis

My colleague said that talking to his “fear” as if a different and separate entity was very helpful and made him feel better. According to him, disassociating himself from his feelings in this way granted him clarity, freedom and sense of control.

Have You Talked to Your Fear Lately?

Talking to your fear in this way may sound odd to you but many of my clients have benefited from doing even long before their treatment. I highly recommend this approach because so many have found it to be effective as well as freeing and rewarding. This approach is helpful whenever you’re struggling with fear, whether you are facing cancer or not.

Now this is not breaking-news, after all we all talk to ourselves either in thoughts or out loud in front of the mirror, but this is a whole different level of discussion, a more serious one because fear is often debilitating.

If talking to your fear makes sense to you, and it’s something you wish to do, keep on reading and find out how. This can be done in one of two ways, first in the physical sense of placing another chair in front of you (where your fear can sit) or secondly in your mind’s eye by simply imagining the scenario.

Here is how to start your conversation with your fear:

As described in my book The New Cancer Paradigm I found it helpful to actually take two chairs and place them face to face, about six feet apart. If you rather visualize the scenario simply imagine, see in your mind’s eye, visualize if you will that you are entering a room where these two chairs are facing one another.

Once this is done, place yourself in the first chair (physically or in your mind’s eye) and invite your fear to sit in the other chair. This means that you allow your fear to present itself in any shape, form, color, texture, sound or any other characteristic that make sense to you.

It’s helpful to remember that some people are more visual than others and therefore may “see” an image rather than “hear” a sound or get a feeling toward their fear.

Once you “see” or “hear” or “sense/feel” your fear, ask it what it is that you need to learn or know? And then listen inward or tune in to what we call our automatic thoughts. Please be patient if you never done this before.

Automatic thoughts are those thoughts that just pop up in the back of our mind, they are not a conscious thought-process but rather a though-chatter originating in the subconscious mind in respect to what we consciously think.

This is a great tool to get in touch with our fear or any other inner experience which threatens our peace of mind.

Please share with us some of your insights about your fear?