Ask the majority of people what they fear most and the answer will be cancer.
That’s hardly surprising since this prevalent disease is responsible for more deaths around the world than any other cause. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia and the second most common cause of death in the U.S., but there is real hope of turning these statistics around.
Thanks to advancement in medical technology, some cancers can be detected in the early stages, optimizing treatment and survival rates. Over the past 20 years, survival rates for many common cancers has risen by 30 percent, and more than half of cancer patients are still surviving five years after diagnosis.
As medical practices and treatment options continue to evolve, so too does the understanding of the human mind and body, and the vital role they play in our survival.
Scientific evidence shows the mind and body are connected, and both must be at peace when fighting cancer. Patients with high expectations of getting better, often do because of the release of biological chemicals altering specific areas of the brain to aid in recovery.
Over the past two decades, the Australian medical profession has acknowledged the connection between the body and mind, and its role in our overall health. Mind-body therapy now plays an integral part of whole-person care.
What Is Mind-Body Therapy?
Mind-body therapy is any practice that helps restore the balance between the mind, body and soul, and it creates in-depth healing on all levels — spiritual, mental and physical.
Ongoing research has shown that mind-body therapy can improve quality of life for those with a life-limited illness, such as mesothelioma, in a number of ways including:
- Reduction of pain
- Reduction in chemotherapy side effects
- Reduction of stress and anxiety
There are many different types of mind-body therapies, including yoga, tai chi, meditation, qigong, creative visualization, pranic healing and art therapy.
One of the most accepted and practiced forms of alternative therapy is Reiki which works in conjunction with regular medical or psychological treatment.
What Is Reiki?
Reiki is a non-invasive therapy that passes subtle energy from one being to another to help promote well-being.
No pressure or tissue manipulation is used.
Those trained in the art of Reiki therapy tap into the infinite supply of healing energy in the universe and transfer it to others by laying their hands on or slightly above different areas of the body. These regions usually include the head, shoulders, stomach and feet which together take in the body’s seven chakras, the energy centers of our body.
Reiki does not require any equipment. It can be performed on those lying down, sitting up or standing, and it’s done through the clothing.
It helps relieve tension, anxiety and fear. Responses to Reiki treatments vary from person to person but most experience a deep feeling of relaxation and peace. Some people fall asleep during treatment and awaken feeling refreshed and more positive about their future.
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Hospitals Provide Reiki for Their Patients
Scientific evidence has shown that Reiki can minimize patients’ symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Research carried out at the Hartford Hospital in Connecticut, revealed that Reiki improved the sleep pattern of patients by 86 percent, reduced levels of pain and nausea by 78 percent and 80 percent, respectively.
Hospitals and clinics across Australia and the U.S. are beginning to acknowledge Reiki as a meaningful way to improve patient care.
California Pacific Medical Center, one of the largest hospitals that state, offers a range of complementary therapies, including acupuncture homeopathy, aromatherapy and Reiki, for acute and chronic illnesses.
The International Association of Reiki Professionals shows that Dr. Michael Cantwell, a pediatrician at California Pacific Medical Center, uses Reiki in the “treatment of acute illnesses such as musculoskeletal injury, pain, headache, acute infections and asthma.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of new cancer cases can be reduced if people take advantage of cancer screening technology.
Screening helps identify precancerous lesions and early stages of cancer development, optimizing the chance of successful treatment. Vaccines also are used to help prevent some cancers.
Medical technology aside, the best defense we have against cancer lies within the strength of our body and our mind. Taking good care of them both will reward us with good health and minimize our chance of getting cancer.
Taking good care of the body and mind is equally important for those already diagnosed with cancer because it will give them the physical and emotional strength needed to fight the disease.