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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Integrative Oncology: Coming Soon via Your Headphones


Healing with music is far from a new idea.  Every civilization in history has used music to heal and cure. However, now we actually have science that explains and proves this.
Music changes the speed at which your brain waves vibrate, which in turn produces different neurochemicals. Your brain’s flexibility helps you create long-term change and even target those changes to specific tasks and goals. If you can trick your brain into producing more of that blood chemistry to bring you up or down, you can actually train it to respond to stressful situations better.  For example, to rewire your brain to relax, you can play nature sounds that calm you, which can be helpful in situations like driving in heavy traffic.

You can also play songs that energize you; songs you exercise to or play before you go out for the night that really pump you up. 
Music can help you to relax, energize or help you sleep; you can use the power of sound to fine tune brainwaves so the body re-balances itself.  

For the greatest benefit, pay attention of the music actively with headphones rather than having it play in the background.  Live concerts intensify music’s effects the most.  It’s not just the visual effect of seeing the emotions of the musicians, but also the vibrations.  Consider how you “feel” the music in your belly when the music is so intense with vibrations.  Headphones will help you to recreate this activity.
Oncologists are now recommending sound as medicine; or should I say prescribing it to enhance medicine. To boost the efficacy of treatment we need to improve sleep and reduce stress.  Cancer treatment can also zap our energy.  Regardless of the path taken for our cancer, music can heal.
 

A pioneer in the field of sound healing, Dr Mitch Gaynor has developed Crystal Sonic Therapy™. Take a look at this post: Healing Cancer: One Note at a Time 
Also read: Sound Stimulation During Sleep Can Enhance Memory
For more integrative therapies and recommendations, please visit my website www.elynjacobs.wordpress.com .

Elyn


~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She mentors women who are coping with issues of well-being associated with breast cancer and its aftermath; she is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health and more, and is a columnist for Natural Healing-Natural Wellness. She has contributed to Breast Cancer Answers as well as written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and other publications and newsletters. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Caregiver’s Survival Guide: Six Steps to Maintain (or Regain!) Your Sense of Balance


There is no doubt that being a cancer patient is overwhelming at best.  However, we often overlook the toll it takes on our loved ones, our caregivers. The following is a guest post by Theresa Conti.  She shares with us some advice for caregiving.

Finding balance between caring for the needs of your loved one and the needs of yourself may feel like a daunting task. You may feel weighed down with responsibility, and not know where to turn for help or support, or watch as your resources dwindle (emotional, physical, and financial!) and wonder what to make it of all. But don’t despair! There is a solution and it starts with self-care.
 
Taking time to replenish yourself may seem like a luxury you can ill afford. Yet the investment will be well worth your while and the dividends you receive will keep you feeling energized and smiling. Good medicine for you and the ones for whom you care.
 
These six simple steps will revolutionize your life and put a little zest in your spiritual bank account:
 
·         Breathe!
Breathing is simple, yet something we often forget to do when under stress. Holding our breath disrupts our body’s natural rhythm, and when chronic, creates physical, mental and emotional tension.
This following exercise will help to reduce stress and get you back in the flow. But don’t take my word for it. Try it for a month and see for yourself.
To implement, pick an activity you do throughout the day, such as answer the telephone, and use it as a reminder to stop and take note of your breathing. Note if your breath is deep and flowing or short and shallow, and if there is anyplace in your body where you are feeling tight or tense. Next, take three slow deep breaths. Consciously feel your breath as it moves in through your nostrils and out through your mouth. When done, take note of how you feel.  Best of all – breathing is free and can be done anywhere!
 
·         Get Inspired!
Inspiration feeds the body, mind, and soul. Find something you love – and enjoy it! Read a poem, listen to music or smell a flower on the way to work. Even five minutes a day will do wonders for your mood.
 
·          Make a Date!
Thank Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way for this one. 
Take time once a week to go on a dream date. Yes, yes, I know. Taking time for yourself may seem impossible, but even an hour or two once a week will serve to replenish and energize you. Don’t know what to do? Make a list of things you like to do (or used to!), then block time out in your calendar once a week just for you and do them!  Blocking out time for yourself will bolster your emotional bank account, and leave plenty left over to share! (Note: No work or errands allowed!)
 
·         Set Boundaries! 
Setting boundaries can be tough. We want to please; to do our best.
Yet, maintaining a sense of balance requires that you are clear with yourself and others about what you can and cannot do. Saying “no” or settling limits on how much you can give may feel uncomfortable. However, it also provides an opportunity to heal and grow. (Need some help? Try reading When I Say No, I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith, Ph.D.) 
 
·         Have Fun! 
In addition to your weekly dates, be sure to plan something fun on a regular basis. Having fun invigorates, inspires and increases the endorphins that lift our spirits and keeps us feeling strong and healthy. 
 
·         Connect with Others! 
Coffee with a friend or a chat on the phone can be medicine for the soul. Apply daily! 
 
Theresa Conti is a Reconnective Healing® Practitioner, Spiritual-Life Coach and Workshop Presenter, specializing in working caregivers of all kinds. For more information, please visit her website at www.reconnecting2you.com.  Theresa can also be reached at Theresa@reconnecting2you.com or at 917-478-1722.
 
Elyn
~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~
 
Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She mentors women who are coping with issues of well-being associated with breast cancer and its aftermath; she is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health and more and has contributed to Breast Cancer Answers as well as written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Natural Healing-Natural Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and other publications and newsletters. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.
 
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Let’s Get Real


The following is a guest post by Barbara Musser, author of Sexy After Cancer . Barbara is a respected and inspiring intimacy and sexuality speaker, educator and coach, facilitator and author. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989 as a young single woman. She married and had a child after treatment. Since then, she has worked with thousands of women, couples, and health care professionals, specializing in creating programs to help heal the trauma of cancer treatments to intimacy, sexuality and relationships. She does this with wisdom, humor and grace.
Sexy After Cancer~ I laughed and I cried, but mostly I found that this was a much needed book that will help restore the love in many- a- life.
 I love Barbara’s recommendation for taking inventory of the areas of your life that aren’t working for you and making any changes that are more aligned with who you are now, addressing  what is important to you and what is not.
I love, love, how Musser stresses the importance of taking an advocate along to all appointments, including surgery (okay, well not in the OR, but you know what I mean).  Take an impartial friend, partner or family member….someone who can stand tall for you when you are at your weakest moment; someone who can ask questions and take notes and not well up with emotions.  Trust me; an advocate can make all the difference.
This book is your roadmap for creating or re-creating the sexy you that you need, love and deserve.  You will find useful tips and even recordings so you don’t have to juggle a book while trying to implement Barbara’s liberating exercises.
Read Sexy After Cancer, and rediscover the sexy in you. Rediscover the happy, healthy, robust and even sexy life you thought was a casualty of your breast cancer journey; tips, tools and hope for a healthy and satisfying intimate and sexual life after diagnosis.
Let’s Get Real

When cancer comes into your life, things get very real very fast. It’s shocking to be on the roller coaster of making decisions, wondering why it happened to you, dealing with all the details of life so that you can have treatment, and all the stuff of life. Underneath that, there’s the very real experience of what matters in life and what doesn’t. You know this.
Something that gets talked about mostly on the surface level is the impact of diagnosis and treatment on you as a woman. In addition to making choices that will keep us healthy during and after treatment, sexual health gets a nod at best. And the decisions we make about treatment can have an enormous impact on our sexual life ~ libido, medical menopause that may be permanent, loss of pleasure, fertility, to name a few.
Here’s the rub ~ if we don’t know about these consequences of treatment it’s really challenging to factor them into treatment decisions. If you haven’t had children and want to retain that possibility, there are things to consider before treatment begins. After treatment it’s too late. This is heart wrenching.
The good news is that many of the changes to sexual function that result from treatment, can be remedied. It’s sobering that many women tell me that their sex life wasn’t so great before cancer, and wonder if it’s worth doing something about it after cancer. Really? I’m not so sure about this. I think it’s really about the sadness, grief and fear that comes along for the ride, and not having resources to support you on this part of the cancer journey. Rather than ending our experience of ourselves a beautiful, desirable and sexy, cancer can be the catalyst for getting real about the true nature of being a woman and getting beyond our limiting thoughts about ourselves.
As a firm believer in living a good life, including wonderful intimacy and sexuality, I’ve been researching, learning and teaching about this for years ~ borne out of my own necessity, and unwillingness to not have a great sex life after cancer. We all have many archetypes in us and I’m the Wake-Up Fairy for your Inner Aphrodite.  
There are lots of ways to love yourself, experience pleasure and awaken a sleeping libido. Check out my book, Sexy After Cancer ~Meeting Your Inner Aphrodite on the Breast Cancer Journey. Peruse my website for article, blogs and events. Read my Sexy Saturdays blog on http://thepinkfund.wordpress.com/. 

         ~ Barbara Musser
          Founder and CEO, Sexy After Cancer
          www.sexyaftercancer.com

Barbara Musser is the founder and CEO of Sexy After Cancer. She is the author of Sexy After Cancer ~ Meeting Your Inner Aphrodite on the Breast Cancer Journey. She is a member of AASECT, the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists and ISSWSH, the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. She writes a weekly Sexy Saturdays blog for The Pink Fund and writes the Sex and Intimacy column for The Pink Paper magazine.

Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer coach, radio talk show host, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. She is also on the peer review board of the Natural Standard Database. Elyn empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She mentors women who are coping with issues of well-being associated with breast cancer and its aftermath; she is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and wellbeing. Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health and more and has contributed to Breast Cancer Answers as well as written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Natural Healing-Natural Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, and other publications and newsletters. Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys.

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