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Feeding the spirit and the mind
(from introductory booklet)

Western medicine has been, traditionally, more concerned with the anatomy and physiology of the body rather than with the less tangible forces that also affect the way we feel. In the East these energies are recognised as the "life force" or "the breath of life". When they are balanced or flowing freely we are well; when they become blocked or disturbed we become sick. These inner resources can, to a large extent, be controlled by the mind, and increasingly, orthodox doctors are accepting the need to harness this power in order to assist the body to heal itself.

There are many methods of healing. Through a local cancer support group you will discover which is right for you. There is much more to it than magic and miracles. Some people find that the help of a trained "healer" is beneficial. Healers believe that energy channelled through the hands can be activated by the mind of one person and trigger off changes in another. Some act within various beliefs, seeing their gifts as a manifestation of God's power; others believe there is no Divine intervention and that the direct contact between patient and healer is a form of bio-electro-magnetism. Either way it is an ancient phenomenon, common to all faiths and all cultures and whilst instant miracle cures are rare, improvements can sometimes be dramatic and inexplicable.

Cancer has been described by one great American surgeon as a message - to change the whole approach to your life. It is your choice - either to remain tied to old patterns that have probably lost their meaning, or to explore a new gentle path which could set free the springs of self-healing within you and so transform your life, however long or short it may be.

Lawrence Le Shan, the world authority on the psychology of cancer, says "the people most capable of recovery are men and women who can discover a new wellspring of hope, whatever their past disappointments, and move on to a fresh sense of themselves, a true recognition of their worth as human beings". In other words, you learn to sing your own song.

Often cancer patients have been emotionally lonely, isolated and even filled with self-dislike since childhood. Very often they come to live for someone else alone. This is not enough - and it is why cancer frequently appears to be triggered by a major stress such as the loss of a husband or wife, by divorce or by sexual problems within a marriage.

Finding a sense of purpose and self-confidence is tough, but it is tougher if you have cancer. It can seldom be achieved alone. However, with the help of a friend, a priest, a counsellor, it IS possible to change the emotional blueprint we are born with and steer a course that makes us feel more at peace within ourselves.

Stress is not something that happens from outside. Life is full of challenges; these in themselves do not constitute stress. It is what WE create by the way we meet the challenge. Just as emotional tensions have a negative effect on the body, suppressing the proper functioning of the immune system, so laughter can have the reverse effect. Mind can over-rule matter - remember Snoopy's message "I am the sunshine of my life".

Relaxation, meditation and visualisation are steps on the way to this self-discovery, and can be learned at most local cancer support groups. Relaxation is the first, simple stage towards the deeper, all-absorbing exploration of the senses during meditation and individual visualisation. These are techniques which must gradually be woven into the fabric of everyday life; not only do they have practical benefits - lowering blood pressure and easing physical pain - but they also lower the emotional "pain threshold" which reduces anxiety and brings new awareness. New Approaches can advise on local suitable teachers of these techniques.

If there is a message shining through the cancer story, it is for more trust and teamwork between patient and practitioner. The holistic approach to life, in which body, mind and spirit are intertwined, does not relate to cancer alone. But the emotive power of cancer cloaks it in a special kind of responsibility. Since we tend to give it pride of place, let it be a shop window for a more positive view of health, in which the important factor is how we live; not why we die. That is the way to undermine cancer's hold on us.

arrow pointing forwards  next>>  A five-step approach to prevention & control of ill health


Who we are
The holistic approach
What is cancer?
The first step
What you can eat
Feeding the spirit and the mind
5 step approach to prevention & control of ill health
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