Integrative Health Blog

Mindfulness-Based Treatments for Cancer and Other Chronic Illness

Posted by on Wed, May 15, 2019

What is Mindfulness?

Jon Kabat-Zinn[1] 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[2] of the effects of mindfulness-based studies appeared in the journal Psycho-Oncology: Journal of Psychological, Social and Behavioral Dimensions of Cancer[3] 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 Mindfulness

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Tags: cancer, mindfulness, Dr. Gant

The "Perfect Diet" for Everyone

Posted by on Sat, Mar 30, 2019

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 Diet

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Tags: cancer, functional medicine, Dr. Gant

Melatonin and Cancer

Posted by on Mon, Mar 04, 2019

 

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 Cancer

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Tags: cancer, Dr. Gant

The Benefits of Oncology Massage

Posted by on Tue, Nov 06, 2018

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. 

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Tags: cancer, massage

You Just Received a Cancer Diagnosis- What’s Next?

Posted by on Tue, Oct 02, 2018

 

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.

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Tags: cancer

Emotional Healing and Cancer

Posted by on Wed, May 30, 2018

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.

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Tags: cancer, emotional wellbeing

 Is YOUR Dentist Checking for Oral Cancer?

Posted by on Mon, Apr 16, 2018

Oral Cancer....Not Just for Smokers

More 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.

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Tags: cancer, holistic dentistry

Mindfulness, Meditation and Cancer

Posted by on Tue, Dec 05, 2017

Join us for the webinar:

Mindfulness, Meditation and Cancer

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017

Time: 8:00-9:00 pm 

Presenter: Dr. Gant

 

REGISTER

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. 

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Tags: cancer

Which Room in Your Home Has the Biggest Cancer-Fighting Potential?

Posted by on Mon, Feb 13, 2017

Is it your bedroom, where you can get restful sleep regularly? 

Maybe. The International Agency for Research on Cancer had classified shift-work “that involves circadian disruption" (disruption of the 24 hour biological clock) as probably cancer causing to humans (Straif, 2007), but a large study published in 2016 did not find a statistically significant relationship between shift work and cancer (Travis, 2016). So avoid shift work if you can, perhaps the jury is still out on this one.

Is it your garden?

Although not a room in your home, you can garden organically and avoid pesticide exposure, or use lawn maintenance services that avoid chemical pesticides. Why? Certain pesticides are known to increase breast cancer (triazine pesticides), lung cancer (carbamate and phenoxyherbicides) and brain and blood cancers in children (indoor insecticides) (Sanborn, 2004).

Is it your bathroom, where you use multiple personal products made with dozens of chemicals, every day?

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Tags: cancer, cancer prevention

An Integrative Concept and Approach to Cancer

Posted by on Mon, Jan 09, 2017

Here at National integrated Health Associates (NIHA) we have a dynamic team of doctors and health practitioners involved in Integrative Cancer Care.

We integrate modern medical science with living wisdom from generations around the world to provide specialized adjunctive cancer care from cancer prevention to where appropriate, cancer treatment.

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Tags: cancer, integrative cancer treatment