When you are diagnosed with cancer you need the best of conventional Western medicine to cure your cancer or put it into remission. This includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy. These Western medical techniques are known as evidence-based medicine.
In the past decade it has become increasingly clear that mind-body medicine plays an equally important role as evidence-based medicine as part of your path to recovery from cancer.
There is an abundance of proof, based upon sound scientific research, that thoughts and emotions have direct physical effects on the cells in your body. Your thoughts and emotions cause hormones to be released into your bloodstream. These hormones can turn off cancer fighting immune cells.
Your immune system is the best oncologist in the world. Like a bloodhound, a healthy immune system will track down cancer cells, killing them upon contact. If your thoughts can turn off cancer fighting immune cells and there is something that you can do about it, then why haven’t your doctors told you about it?
Four reasons why your doctors do not discuss the importance of mind-body medicine in fighting cancer.
1. It is the nature of mankind that new ideas are not readily accepted.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer
Candace B. Pert, PhD, discovered specific receptor sites on immune cells that allow immune cells to communicate directly with brain cells. It is this discovery that led to research that provided hard scientific evidence that the mind and body are “one.” Our emotions and feelings are the bridge that links the mind and the body. Emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, betrayal, and loneliness have physical consequences to the cells of your body – in particular, immune cells.
The medical profession of today is very slow to accept that mind and body are not split – that mind (thought and spirit) and body (the physical realm) are seen as a single entity. To accept the fact that mind and body function as a single entity would mean accepting that “mind” is directly involved with sickness and healing. For Western medicine this is a major new paradigm or mind-set.
In Dr. Pert’s words: “Of course, it’s controversial because when psyche (mind) and soma (body) are seen as a single entity – giving us the term psychosomatic – we leave Western dualism…”
2. Mind-body medicine became tainted by “new age” advocates.
Some practitioners of the new age medicine movement were quick to hijack Dr. Pert’s mind-body research and use it as scientific research supporting their mind over matter philosophies.
These “new age medicine” proponents use a blend of Eastern mystical religion coupled with anecdotal stories. Sadly, many advocates of mind over body medicine often don’t seem to care whether the stories they tell are true or false, as long as they uphold the particular narrative they are propounding. They then support their platforms with a misrepresentation of Dr. Pert’s mind-body research, twisting it to a mind over matter concept.
This New Age movement replaces the personal God of the Bible with an impersonal universal force of energy. They make the representation that with the proper training your mind is able to “tap” into this universal force. Of course, if you attend their retreats and buy their courses, they will teach you the secret of how you can access the many levels of this universal energy source.
Unfortunately, these practices of a few charismatic charlatans have also tainted the concept of holistic, alternative, and complementary medicine which has been making inroads with many mainstream health professionals. See: Holistic Medicine ~ American Cancer Society click here
3. Competition between different branches of science.
A whole new science has emerged called ”psychoneuroimmunonlgy” – psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI). PNI is an inner disciplinarian branch of science which involves four separate sciences: psychology (study of the mind), neurology (study of the nervous system), immunology (study of the immune system), and endocrinology (study of the endocrine glands).
Cooperation between different disciplines of medical science is always difficult to achieve. There is tremendous intellectual competition. It is not just a clash of egos. There is fierce competition for research dollars between each branch of science and individual researchers.
4. Doctors tend to be trained in areas of specialization.
Typically, it is not until something goes wrong that a person goes to see a doctor. To a large degree, the medical infrastructure we have in our country today is made up of specialists. Physicians are taught to make a diagnosis, prescribe a therapy (or refer you to a specialist) and that completes it.
However, in recent years integrative medical research-clinics have opened in many academic medical institutions, including Harvard, Yale, Duke, the University of California at San Francisco, and the Mayo Clinic. The term integrative medicine refers to the conjunction of “complementary” or “holistic” medical practices (such as acupuncture, mind-body therapies, etc.) with mainstream medical care.
When you are diagnosed with cancer, your primary contact will be with highly trained oncologists. As part of your follow up care, some specialists are beginning to refer their patients to these integrative medical research-clinics.
- There is rigorous scientific research that proves that your thoughts and emotions cause hormones to be produced in your body that have a direct effect on the activity of your immune system and its ability to attack cancer cells.
- Be very cautious of “new age” mind over body techniques that prey on the gullible and vulnerable. Stay with evidence-based medical practices.
- Be pro-active in following the advice of mainstream health professionals that promote healthy lifestyle habits that include exercise, nutritious diet, managing stress, and weight control.