A comprehensive anti-cancer program needs to be approached from many directions and on many levels.
A fusion of conventional medicine and other natural strategies equip the body with the physical tools necessary to combat the disease.
However, of equal importance are the emotional and spiritual healing strategies, which are often overlooked. For some people these methods set in motion the body’s response to heal. For others, it results in having a greater feeling of well-being, an increased sense of calmness or a heightened awareness of what is truly important in their lives. Individuals can utilise their own inherent healing ability by using the power of the mind.
The mind, body and emotions are interconnected and should be viewed as a single unit as opposed to separate entities. Everything in the body is interlinked; all systems are connected. Each part of our immune system is connected to the brain.
As Plato stated 2, 400 years ago, ‘No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul’. The mind and body are inseparable.
Scientific studies have demonstrated time and again that the human mind has a pronounced affect on a person’s health.
The immune system function is strongly influenced by our moods, attitudes and beliefs. Every thought or experience we have transmits a message to the immune system, which will either strengthen or weaken it. As the immune system is of paramount importance in averting cancer, maintaining a positive outlook is essential.
Optimism, joy, hope, love and happiness boost the immune system and are powerful mobilisers for the patient’s natural healing resources. Whereas negative thoughts and emotions such as anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, depression, pessimism and stress suppress the immune system, weakening its activity by decreasing the level of natural killer cells, which destroy abnormal cells. Negative emotions can even cause natural killer cells to burst, as well as inhibit repair of DNA damage. Depression and stress can change lower the enzymes charged with DNA repair.
In one particular study the lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) of depressed patients indicated a reduction in their ability to restore cellular DNA damaged by x-ray exposure.
The more stressed someone is, the more detrimental effect it will have on the immune system. The death of a partner is one of life’s most stressful events. A major study in 1977 reported 26 bereaved spouses who had significantly lower immune function. This was indicated by the decreased activity of their natural killer cells, (white blood cells which are able to eradicate cells that have become cancerous). They are the body’s first line of defence against cancer, infections and viruses. There was a strong correlation between the extent of the grief and impaired immune function.
Later studies corroborated that bereavement, depression and stress critically lower important immune function.
Needless to say, when a person receives a diagnosis of cancer, the stress of coping with a life-threatening disease can have a profound impact on the immune system at a time when it needs supporting and strengthening.
Coping with Stress
Stress can have a devastating impact on the immune and nervous systems. The stress response raises hormones in the adrenal glands, including adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones hinder white blood cell formation and action and precipitates the shrinking of the thymus gland which is the organ of the immune system.
Developing effective stress management techniques is crucial to modern living and overcoming/preventing illness.
It is therefore imperative that psychological support is part of every cancer patient’s treatment program.
Effective Psychological techniques include:
Amongst the many benefits the above techniques can provide:
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