Integrative Health Blog
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
For Americans, the word “cancer” is thrown at us all the time. Some may find a sense of negativity and fear being served to us about breast cancer every year, especially in October.
Isn’t it time we focus on breast cancer prevention rather than awareness?
Let's think of October as Breast Health Awareness Month and educate ourselves on earlier detection and looking at some preventable strategies and root causes.
What are some of the causes of breast cancer?Read More
What is Mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as… “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.”
Several decades ago I had noticed the benefits of mindfulness-based interventions that I taught to cancer patients and to others suffering from serious chronic disorders, and I was happy to see formal publications appear in journals attesting to my clinical observations and efforts. A meta-analysis of the effects of mindfulness-based studies appeared in the journal Psycho-Oncology: Journal of Psychological, Social and Behavioral Dimensions of Cancer in 2008.
When Ledesma and Kumano published a meta-analysis over a decade ago, concluding that “The results suggest that MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) may improve cancer patients' psychosocial adjustment to their disease,” I was hopeful that finally Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and other mindfulness-based strategies would be incorporated into mainstream oncology and into healthcare in general.
The Therapeutic Potential of MindfulnessRead More
Two kinds of “perfect diets” exist. The far more common, propagandized, “perfect” diet is the one-shoe-fits-all diet that bases their recommendations on a small slice of scientific evidence of one kind or another, such as the Fodmap Diet™ or a Paleolithic Diet ™. The latter uses anthropological evidence about what humans and pre-humans have been eating for the last few million years, which makes some sense. Such diets become popular based mostly on how well they are marketed and not on their validity. A far less common “perfect diet” is the one that is congruent with your personalized needs, based on your immunological, allergic, endocrine, toxicological, nutritional, metabolic and genetic uniqueness. Functional medicine focuses on identifying and treating the many unique factors which can contribute to disease or poor health.
In the last year, as we have taken on the challenge of supporting the recoveries of cancer patients, we have mined ever deeper into the science-based, personalized, “perfect diet” that could add years to our patient’s lives and life to their years. We are up against a healthcare system which has only recently begun to acknowledge, despite amassed studies for decades, that diet and lifestyle does matter in cancer recovery. Despite a thawing of the healthcare system’s assumptions about lifestyle and diet, mainstream medicine is still far from acknowledging that a unique, “perfect diet” that is congruent with each and every cancer patient’s personalized needs, is extremely important to the recovery of each and every cancer patient.
How to Personalize Your DietRead More
Melatonin’s benefits for a wide array of medical conditions are well substantiated: treatment of insomnia, support of circadian rhythm, hormone balancing, reproductive health, cognition, mood, blood sugar regulation, bone metabolism, antioxidant protection and lowering of blood pressure are some of its studied benefits.
Of note is that melatonin does not easily cross the blood brain barrier, so its benefits for sleep may be more related to its effects on other organs, especially since many organs in the body have far more melatonin receptors than the brain has. This article will focus on the use of melatonin as a possible preventative and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.
Possible Role of Melatonin and CancerRead More
The power of touch has a special resonance with me. My first experience was when I had a biopsy done for breast cancer. I was in the prone position so I could not see the person. The biopsy was done on my left breast and was painful. The person assisting the physician was a nurse and she put her hand on mine and was present. I could feel her presence with her hand. This made a difference because I felt reassured and not alone. I felt a sense of compassion. This made the experience more bearable.
Oncology massage is based on compassion. Oncology massage is a lighter, softer touch than regular massage, and designed to relax the nervous system. During cancer treatment our bodies sometimes forget the feeling of being relaxed. Massage is a way in which clients can visit themselves, to acknowledge where they are and what they are feeling. The benefits of oncology massage done correctly are relaxation, better sleep, reduced anxiety and pain, and less fatigue and nausea.Read More
You have just received a diagnosis of cancer. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and experience mood swings. Your emotions might range widely from fear and sadness to anger and disbelief. However, working through your emotions and making a plan may help you in your journey toward healing. I am writing this in hope of helping you to pick a path of clarity so that you can feel calm, strong, and positive as you approach your cancer treatment options, and in the process, help you reclaim your life.Read More
How Prolonged Stress and Inner Conflicts Contribute to the Illness Process
As part of the Integrative Cancer program at NIHA, we look for any inner conflict and any prolonged stress a person may have because we know it may result in profound changes in the physical body of the person.
You may have heard about the new science of “Epigenetics" which studies how our environment and our beliefs modulate what our body cells “print out." The now popular ACEs Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences) describes the deep influences childhood trauma can have on the later development of adult illness and wellness of a person.
Emotional trauma usually happens in relationship. Someone has hurt you, was neglectful, abused or abandoned you. (It is not the car that hurt you in an accident but the distracted driver.) Internal conflicts can derive from trauma from childhood (“developmental trauma", often called “childhood wounds”) or they can come from unresolved conflicts that are coming from current life situations such as your job, family, relationships, money, loss, loneliness, chronic illness, accidents, and even inherited conflict from our ancestors.Read More
Oral Cancer....Not Just for SmokersMore than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. According to the National Cancer Institute, oral cancer is more common than leukemia, skin melanoma, and cancers of the brain, liver, bone, thyroid, ovaries, and cervix. It is a major cause of disfigurement and death in the United States.
Oral cancer includes cancers found in the mouth, and on the tongue, lips, throat, parts of the nose, and larynx. Seventy five percent of these cancers are caused by tobacco and alcohol use but anyone can get oral cancer. Also, human papillomavirus (HPV) is a significant risk factor for the development of cancers in the tonsils and the back of the throat.
Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems.Read More
Join us for the webinar:
Mindfulness, Meditation and Cancer
Date: Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017
Time: 8:00-9:00 pm
Presenter: Dr. Gant
Mindfulness-based therapies have been shown clinically to improve immunity and outcomes for various conditions such as cancer. At the very least, extricating the mind from a preoccupation with the past and future can provide significant benefits for sleep, mood and autonomic arousal. Fear and anxiety impairs the immune system's response to infections and cancer, and mindfulness can help to ground the mind in the present.Read More