In my previous blog, I spoke about the power of meditation in promoting overall wellness in the body and made reference to a 2014 study published in the journal, ‘Cancer’, by researchers from the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary and the University of Calgary, which found evidence to suggest that support groups which encourage meditation and yoga can alter the cellular activity of cancer survivors. (https://www.sciencealert.com/world-first-evidence-suggests-that-meditation-alters-cancer-survivors-cells)
However, meditation and yoga are only two parts of the mind-body connection: your thoughts and beliefs are others. Psychoneuroimmunology – the study of the interaction between psychological processes, and the nervous and immune systems of the body – suggests that an inability to cope with stress, overly-negative thoughts and victim-like personality play a role in creating a bodily environment where cancer cells can grow, whereas meditation, prayer, visualisations, positive affirmations, forgiveness etc. can play a role in the healing process.
The power of the mind-body connection has been strongly advocated by Dr. Bernie Siegel, former physician and pediatric surgeon (now retired) and author of 12 books on the subject, including ‘Love, Medicine and Miracles’ which was on the New York Times Best Seller list from 1988-1994. Dr. Siegel’s clinical experience is the foundation for his works which reveal how the state of mind changes the state of the body by working through the central nervous system, the endocrine system and the immune system. Followers of my blogs will recall how critical a healthy immune system is in the fight to help prevent and heal cancer. ‘Love, Medicine and Miracles’ shows that when apparently terminally ill patients take control of their illness and reach out to others, they can alleviate stress and release the body’s healing mechanism to change, enrich and often prolong their lives far beyond scientific and medical expectation.
Best-selling author of numerous self-help books, Louise Hay, is another strong advocate of the power of the mind-body connection. In her first work, ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ published in 1984, her key message is that almost anything can be healed if you’re prepared to “do the work”. What does this mean? According to Louise, cancer is caused by holding on to resentment which eats away at the spirit, in the same way that cancer eats away at the body. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the late 1970s and came to the conclusion that she’d contributed to its onset by holding on to the resentment she felt for her childhood abuse by her stepfather and her rape by a neighbour at aged 5. She refused conventional medical treatment and began a regime of forgiveness, coupled with therapy, nutrition, reflexology, and occasional colonic enemas. For Louise, who passed away in 2017, life is simple: what we give out, we get back: what we think about ourselves, becomes the truth for us. We’re responsible for everything in our lives, the best and the worst. Every thought we think is creating our future. Each one of us creates our experiences by our thoughts and our feelings. The thoughts we think and the words we speak create our experiences.