Visualization for Cancer Works

Ten years ago, Kacqueline Jones had a bad reaction to the medication she was taking for her back pain and was looking for an alternative way to heal. Though coping with a degenerative spine condition, she was not interested in risky invasive surgery or cortisone shots. Instead, she decided to try visualization to help her deal with the pain and change the way she thought about her condition.

“Within a month, I could see a change,” Jones says. “Instead of thinking of the pain as a problem, I started to think of it as an experience — the same way you might experience joy. I wasn’t afraid of it anymore.”

She eventually stopped taking her pain medications and has been practicing guided visualization for the past decade, both on her own and with a healing and visualization group called the Circle of Gold.

“Someone with my condition would most likely have to resort to surgery to lead a normal life, but I’m a very functional and positive person, and it’s all due to my mental and spiritual state and how I react to my body,” she says.

What is visualization?

Visualization (also called guided imagery or creative visualization) is the technique of focusing your imagination on behaviors or events you’d like to have occur in your life. Advocates suggest creating a detailed schema of what one desires and then visualizing it over and over again, using all of your senses. What do you see? What do you feel? What do you hear? What does it smell like?

The practice is based on the idea that your body and mind are connected. By providing positive pictures, creative imagery and self-suggestion, visualization can change emotions that subsequently have a physical effect on the body, proponents say.

Psychologist and author Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., believes that visualization is one of the most powerful tools for change. “Many people are propelled by events of the past, but visualization is an act of projecting the present into the future,” says Hendricks. “Visualization changes the dynamics of personal change by pulling the person toward a visualized healthier future.”

Numerous studies have supported the benefits of visualization, usually in conjunction with other therapies, for treating a variety of conditions.

How visualization can be used

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “The mind is a terrible thing to waste.” But it’s also a powerful tool to affect change.

Many people turn to visualization to help them move past obstacles (internal and external) in their lives, to relax and relieve stress, resolve or cope with chronic pain, or heal themselves emotionally and physically, and accomplish goals such as losing weight or quitting smoking. Athletes use it to help them perform better, therapists use it to help patients heal from trauma and experts conduct visualization seminars designed to help people realize their dreams.

Visualization can be done on your own or in a group with scripts, a guide, tapes or CDs. Jones says she started doing visualization on her own during the day whenever she could catch a quiet moment. She then joined the Circle of Light, a group of about a dozen women that meets biweekly, led and founded by Lynne Newman, a spiritual counselor and Reiki practitioner. Jones also uses guided tapes developed by Newman.

“It’s easier when someone else is guiding you through visualization,” Jones admits. “You’re relaxed and just listening to her voice.”

Nurse Esther Johnson, integrative therapies program manager at the Pathways Homehealth Hospice in Sunnyvale, Calif., uses visualization with her patients, often in conjunction with other therapies, for pain management, relaxation and help with anxiety.

Johnson recalls using guided visualization with a patient who was anxious about attending her son’s wedding. “I remember she said to me, ‘I had so many fears I wouldn’t be there, and now I’m sure I will be,’” Johnson says. “It gave her a deep sense of peace.”

What to expect when learning visualization techniques

Most visualization techniques begin with relaxation followed by summoning up a mental image. How much time it will take before you begin to see results depends on the severity of your ailment, the vividness of your imagery and your own determination.

Newman asks her clients to be open to the “possibilities of healing.” “I explain that there is no perfect way to do visualization and that their experience is uniquely their own,” she says. “I warn them that they might find there are little distractions, like an itch or their mind wandering. I ask that they simply be aware and then resume their quiet state.”

Hendricks describes visualization as “much like seeing an inner movie” and says that most of the time, it’s a pleasant, positive experience.

How to get started with visualization

There are numerous visualization and meditation CDs available that can help you with general visualization exercises and others that are geared for a variety of specific issues such as fertility, headaches and depression. Ready to get started? Here are a few basic steps from Johnson:

  1. Start with gentle breathing.
  2. Focus on relaxing all your muscles (head to toe, toe to head, etc.).
  3. Sensory integration (i.e., using your five senses to integrate yourself into the visual imagery)cropped-ch3_womanhappy1.jpg

Be guided by a visualization session which guarantees results withins our PRODUCTS section

For further articles on visualization and cancer treatment Visualization for Cancer

Article provided by Gaim. Written by Joelle Klein. Please visit GAIM

 

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Cancer Research supports Visualization as treatment

Did you know that you have the power to cure your life through Visualization?

Visualization techniques have been used for centuries and it is used by cancer patients, not only for all of its good effects on reducing the stress, pain, anxiety, and fear that goes with the Big C – but especially because it provides indispensable experiential evidence of mind controlling body, of visualizations influencing physical processes. A recent page on the Cancer Research reads:

CANCER RESEARCH UK FINDINGS

A trained therapist can help you learn how to practice visualisation. You create images in your mind that can help you to relax, feel less anxious, sleep better, and reduce pain. You use all of your senses – sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste. For example, you may want to think of a place or activity that made you happy in the past.

While you are learning the technique, your therapist talks you through the sort of images that it may be helpful to picture. They may ask you to imagine a peaceful place where you’d like to be. Or they might teach you to imagine yourself feeling well and strong. Many people find that they feel better after they imagine feeling stronger. Some people like to picture their body fighting off the cancer cells.

A therapist may be able to teach you the best visualisation techniques for the times when you feel most stressed. They can show you short visualisation exercises or deeper relaxation techniques.

You can practice visualisation without a therapist, using a music file, CD or tape. You can buy these online, from some book stores or health shops, and from some cancer support groups or centres. Ask your nurse if they can recommend any.

If you have to stay in bed or can’t leave your home, imagery or visualisation techniques may help. You may feel less closed in if you have been indoors for a long time

Research into visualisation in cancer care

Relaxation and imagery are two of the most popular types of complementary therapy that people with cancer use. Research has looked into visualisation to help control symptoms and treatment side effects in people with cancer. It is difficult to do this type of research and the results are sometimes not clear. We need more research to see how guided imagery and visualisation can help people with cancer.

Visualisation to improve mood and quality of life

In 2010 the PERI study reported its results. It looked at visualisation and guided imagery for patients with bowel cancer. The study included 151 patients and found that relaxation and guided imagery did not significantly change people’s mood or quality of life. But an earlier review of 6 studies in 2005 suggested that guided imagery may be helpful in managing stress, anxiety, and depression for people with cancer.

One study has shown that visualisation greatly improves the mood of people having treatment for breast cancer. A clinical trial in 1999 involving women with early stage breast cancer found that guided imagery helped to ease anxiety related to radiotherapy. The anxiety included fears about the radiotherapy machine, pain from breast surgery, and recurrence of cancer.

Visualisation to control symptoms and side effects

In 2012 an American study looked at guided imagery for patients having radiotherapy for breast cancer. The study found that patients who had guided imagery had lower breathing and pulse rates and lower blood pressure. They also had a slightly higher skin temperature which showed that they felt more relaxed. Overall, more than 8 out of 10 participants in the study described the guided imagery sessions as helpful. All of the people who took part said that they would recommend guided imagery to others.

A review of studies for women with breast cancer who had hot flushes was carried out in 2010. It looked at medicine treatments and non medicine treatments that aimed to reduce hot flushes. The non medicine treatments included homeopathy, relaxation therapy (including guided imagery), acupuncture and magnetic therapy. Some of the medicine treatments reduced the number of hot flushes.

A systematic review then looked at the use of guided imagery as part of cancer treatment. To draw its conclusions, the review pulled together the published results of several trials investigating the use of imagery for people with cancer. Although the trials were designed differently and, in some cases poorly, the review summed up the research by saying that guided imagery might be able to provide psychological support and comfort. There was no real evidence to prove that it helped with physical symptoms such as sickness and vomiting. But in general, the researchers felt the results were positive enough to justify more research.

A review of 46 studies also suggested that imagery may reduce pain, and some of the side effects of chemotherapy. One study has suggested that imagery can reduce anticipatory nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. A 2006 review of clinical trials of imagery found that only three of the studies showed improvement in anxiety and discomfort during chemotherapy. Two other studies showed similar results between people who used imagery and those who used other methods of reducing anxiety.

Overall, imagery is considered one of the more useful psychological measures to reduce some side effects of chemotherapy.

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Visualization is used in leading cancer centres around the world. Tune into your mind and you can heal your life!

Nicole Harcourt is an Leading practioner of Visualization Techniques for Wellness.

Sessions for Wellness as well as other activating tools are available through Evolved Life Visions – Visualizations for Wellness.

Feel the Fear and do it anyway!

 

Let’s face the facts: life is full of both good and bad surprises. You can’t live your life worried about bad news, otherwise you’ll paralyze yourself in fear. Instead, you need to become more resilient and learn how to expect the unexpected.

You really can learn how to cope with unexpected news and become a stronger, more confident person in times of pressure.

Let’s go through some ways to make coping with the unexpected easier.

Expect the Unexpected

 

Have you ever gotten a call from a friend who cancels a get-together you were looking forward to? This is an extremely trivial example of unexpected news, but it represents what we all deal with on a daily basis.

You may feel disappointed or frustrated, especially if you spent time preparing for the event, but you have two choices: move on and make the best of the day, or allow it to sour your mood and hold you back.

Ask yourself: what do you typically do when you encounter the unexpected?

Well, instead of allowing the change of plans to ruin your day, try to get your mind busy onto something else. Is there a fun activity that you can do at home? Is there something you can do for yourself or your family? You can make the best of things by turning the unexpected into a new opportunity.

Build a Solid Support System

Another way to deal with unexpected news is to turn to your support system. Bad news can come with great pain. If you get the news that someone has passed away, for example, this is something that is going to cause you deep pain and suffering. Of course, it’s normal to feel these very real emotions.

In these times it is important for you to turn to those around you for support. You may need someone to talk to, someone to cry with, or even a helping hand. It’s crucial that surround yourself with positive influences instead of isolating yourself.

Using the Power of the Mind to Cope with Bad News

Positive affirmations are another way that you can cope with unexpected news. Affirmations are concise statements that you can use to help you think in a more positive manner.

When bad news is overwhelming you and you don’t know how to cope, you can stop and say:

  • “In times of crisis, I am safe because I have a well thought out recovery plan waiting to be launched.”
  • “I challenge myself to be calm in order to release daily pressures.”

 

When you say these phrases aloud, you’re reaffirming the statement in your mind and you’re re-focusing your energy on solutions, instead of worries. Whether you believe it or not, words have power. Repeating these affirmations may console you and remind you about your strength during difficult situations.

When you use positive affirmations and the other coping techniques mentioned, you will find that you are more confident to deal with whatever life throws your way. Remember, it’s okay to be afraid of uncertainty, but you can equip yourself with the tools, techniques, and support system to overcome any obstacle, challenge, or situation.

Self – Acceptance – The Key to Creating your Ideal Life Your Way – Say YES TO YOU

Beautiful woman smiling, Happy girl on sunny summer day outside.

Say Yes to You

Self-acceptance is the key to finding a sense of fulfilment and a sense of fun in life. Acceptance means saying Yes! to all that is you – even the parts that you don’t like. It’s about not holding back; it’s about doing away with emotional resistance.

First and foremost, in order to accept yourself, you need to have a good understanding of who you are. Many women don’t pay attention to who they really are. We’re too busy rushing around, trying to fulfil our various roles. We’re too busy criticizing what we see in the mirror. We’re too busy judging ourselves and comparing ourselves with others. We’re too busy saying Yes! to everyone else. In short, we’re too busy saying No! to ourselves.

Spend some time reflecting, some time soul-searching, so that a picture of who you are (your authentic self) can start to emerge. Learning to accept whatever this picture tells you is the only way to be happy with yourself and your unique set of strengths and weaknesses. And sure, there are going to be things that you want to change. But you need self-acceptance in order for any change to actually happen. Self-improvement, which is a topic for another day, requires complete self-acceptance to begin with.

A key ingredient in self-acceptance is kindness and compassion towards the self. Try to view your foibles, your mistakes and all the things you criticize about yourself with compassion and love. One of the most important lessons that every women needs to learn is that you don’t have to earn self-acceptance. Every woman should accept who she is right now, unconditionally. You exist, therefore you have worth. It’s that simple.

And it’s that difficult.

Developing true acceptance of your authentic self is one of life’s greatest challenges. But it’s also one of life’s greatest rewards. So it may take a while, and it will take consistent effort at first, but in the end you will reap the rewards. It’s time. Time to start saying Yes! to your needs, your desires, your dreams, your goals, your ambitions, your reflection and your time to yourself. Yes!

Create Your Ideal Life – Evolve! Maximize! Activate!