The importance of Integrating Natural Healing into the Healthcare System
This is a topic I am especially passionate about because of my family history. My father whom passed away from cancer when I was 10, dedicated his life to being a Pediatric Cardiologist. Driven with purpose, he committed himself to Med School while also simultaneously working 2 jobs and taking care of his mother and sisters. My father worked incredibly hard and saved countless lives in his lifetime.
Unfortunately, cancer is an aggressive disease, and 16 years ago we did not have much of the information that we have available to us now. Although he fought hard to overcome the battle, he was brought to peace in a place of non-suffering instead.
Later in life, his passing ignited a passion within me once I dedicated time to my own healing and coming to a place of understanding over his loss.
Through my own journey of healing, I also awakened to the need for care on a personal dimension within our hospital systems which is why I hold a desire to see more Integrative therapies offered. In making presentations about this for hospitals, I gathered the following information which I feel called to share publicly now.
Please note that what you are about to read was written with intention as being notes for presentation. I am not a doctor and therefore cannot provide "professional advice". This information does however come from the reliable source of several esteemed doctors so I would love for anyone who may be living with / affected by illness to take into account the undeniable benefits of integrative therapies and natural healing methods.
Source: How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine
Endorsed by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Authors: Dr. Michael Murray, Dr. Tim Birdsall, Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Dr. Paul Reilly
Rethinking the Way we Look at Cancer
Not many other diseases strike as much fear deep within our souls as cancer. The reason? Most of us have witnessed firsthand the ravaging effect that cancer, as well as chemotherapy and radiation, has had on a loved one. Cancer statistics in the United States present us with some sobering facts.
- Over 1,250,000 new cases of invasive cancers will be diagnosed
- An additional 1,500,000 new cases of non-invasive cancers will be diagnosed
- More than 500,000 people will pass away from cancer
- Cancer causes 1 in 5 of all deaths
- Cancer will affect 1 out of 3 people alive today
- Fifty percent of those diagnosed with cancer will die of disease
- The economic toll of cancer will be greater than $110 billion
Cancer is a dreaded disease for good reason. The biggest perhaps, is that most of us have watched helplessly as this disease has robbed the body, mind, and spirit of someone close to us who at one time had so much life. This is what I witnessed with my father at a young age and I hope to be a part of the change!
The doctors/authors of this book suggest that if one does not follow the guidelines presented, cancer risk will be at least 3 times greater than if a person does follow their recommendations. Thousands of cancer patients have been successfully treated with the program detailed in How to Prevent and Treat Cancer with Natural Medicine.
They believe that Integrative Therapy is the answer in the battle against cancer.
Although this is powerful, they do not suggest or intend for this program to be a substitute for appropriate medical care. Rather a combination of Eastern practices with Western to provide full circle care.
Goals of Treatment with Natural Healing
A person is not their disease. They are an individual who happens to have been diagnosed with a particular illness which in these cases, we call cancer.
Currently, standard approaches to cancer treatment produce a cure only about 50% of the time.
Most of the 2.5 million patients diagnosed with cancer each year will use some form of alternative therapy. We have the opportunity to create this through several outlets for patient’s and their families!
The goal should be identical to that of the physicians’. A desire for excellent treatment outcome.
Natural therapies are known to lessen the impact of side effects, while at the same time allowing conventional treatment to work.
In most cases, natural therapies can actually increase the benefits from other therapies, working synergistically to improve the outcome. When given that perspective, many patients are more willing to undergo conventional treatments - and thus improve their chances of getting better.
The Mind-Body Connection
Complete treatment of cancer requires approaches from many directions. Conventional strategies, in combination with natural medicines, provide the body with the physical tools it needs to defeat the disease. Also especially important are strategies that harness the spiritual and emotional powers of healing.
In perhaps a sign of things to come, several cancer treatment centers have developed specialized pyschoneuroimmunology programs for cancer patients and their families. Elements of these programs include:
- Relaxation and Imagery Training
- Stress Management
- Support groups for patients, women, and families
- Individual, couples, and family counseling
- Psychoeducational groups
- Educational resources
- Humor Therapy
What research in psychoneuroimmunology tells us is that every part of our immune system is connected to the brain in some way, be it via a direct nervous tissue connection or through the complex chemical language of chemical messengers and hormones.
What scientists are discovering is that every thought, emotion, and experience sends a message to the immune system that will either enhance or impair it’s ability to function.
Just as research has identified personality, emotional, and attitude traits that increase the risk of cancer, likewise the field of psychoneuroimmunology has identified traits to reduce risk of cancer. This collection of “Immune Power” traits includes a positive mental attitude, an effective strategy for dealing with stress, and a capacity to openly admit traumas, challenges, and feelings to yourself and others.
This validates the importance of a positive mental attitude which can be heightened through practices such as Yoga.
In a 30-year study conducted by researchers at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, the survival rate among optimists was 19 percent greater than that of pessimists. All causes of death were reduced, including cancer.
Simply by learning to fully use the diaphragm to breathe, a person dramatically changes his or her physiology. It literally activates the relaxation centers in the brain.
Doctors are convinced that a patient’s state of mind will influence the ability to survive cancer.
The relaxation response in itself has been shown to produce useful effects in a variety of different disease states. It can also help cancer patients better tolerate chemotherapy, radiation, and surgical procedures.
The medical implications of the relaxation response are enormous and may serve as the underlying basis for most mind-body techniques, such as guided imagery and meditation.
Now, many oncologists, hospitals, and treatment centers offer Dr. Simonton’s visual imagery program or similar visualization techniques for their patients.
Healing Images for Children: Teaching Relaxation and Guided Imagery to Children Facing Cancer and Other Serious Illness
They suggest that taking a yoga class is a great way to learn how to breath with the diaphragm and learn how to relax.
Studies have shown that regular exercise leads to a significant increase (up to 100 percent) in natural killer cell activity. Furthermore stating that light to moderate exercise may be best for the immune system.
In other words, walking, yoga, and stretching exercises actually provide greater benefit to immune function rather than intense exercise.
Exercise is never more important than when trying to help your body recover from cancer. Time spent exercising is a valuable investment in good health and they suggest that yoga may be the most beneficial.
As physicians, caregivers, and human beings, we fervently hope for the day when the perfect cancer treatment becomes available - one that’s effective, predictable, and without side effects. But despite years of research and an aggressive “war” on cancer, scientists have yet to figure out how to conquer this terrible disease once and for all.
Until they do, people with cancer must make difficult choices. Depending on the nature of their diagnosis, they have to select from among a bewildering array of conventional treatments: surgery, drugs, radiation. Their task is made more difficult because they must make their choices under stressful circumstances while navigating a complex and confusing health care system. Advice flows from all different directions.
What is the most rational approach to this disease? How does one chart a course of treatment that combines the practical and the personal, that balances the physical and philosophical? When the body is under attack, how can we best draw on resources of the mind and the spirit as allies in the fight to become whole again?
With an integrated approach, we maximize their chances, not just for longevity - but also for an increased quality of life during those years.
Personally, I believe in the healing powers of holistic methods and nutrition.
Two sources of information I would also like to recommend are: You can Heal your Life a book by Louise Hay & an organization called The Truth About Cancer which was founded by a gentleman who also lost his father to cancer and now dedicates his time and energy to providing others with some of the latest cancer fighting news.
I wish ALL of the beings of this world good health! Follow your intuition and choose treatment that feels right to you.