Sometimes we dismiss the importance of the connection between the mind and the health of the body. Thanks to new clinical research, the benefits of using mind/body therapies, such as deep relaxation, meditation and guided imagery, are becoming more apparent and better accepted.
"Learning skills to manage stress can really have a significant impact on the course of someone's recovery and the effectiveness of their treatments," says Janine Gauthier, PhD, director of clinical services for Rush's Cancer Integrative Medicine Program. "It's all about retraining yourself and acquiring different mind/body skills. We use mediation, biofeedback, breathing techniques and guided imagery. These are basic and practical, but powerful, tools for taking control of your life and managing your physical and mental health"
Some of the benefits of these techniques include:
- Stress relief
- Easing of muscle tension
- Reducing anxiety
- Triggering relaxation response
- Decreasing nausea
- Reducing pain
- Feeling more energized
"We've used guided imagery, for example, with patients who have cancer. They visual seeing their bodies as cancer free or imagine the therapy going to exactly the right place, while visualizing the tumor shrinking. Taking this type of active role in physical well-being can help reduce stress," Gauthier says.
As well as ongoing mind/body support for cancer patients, the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program offer hands-on, experiential programs that meet once a week for six weeks. The next class will be in June. Class size is limited, so please call their office at (312) 563-2531 to reserve a spot.
The five types of mind/body techniques used in the class are:
- Conscious breathing
- Basic relaxation
- Guided imagery
"We don't often think about it, but our brain is such a powerful organ," says Gauthier. "Under stressful situations the brain and mind can keep us at elevated level of stress. This is counterproductive to healing.
"By harnessing the power of the brain and the mind, we can take an active role in how we feel," she says. "Our program gives our patients more control over their healing."
More Information at Your Fingertips:
- For more information about complementary care for cancer at Rush visit our Cancer Integrative Medicine Program home page.
- For more information about cancer care at Rush visit our Cancer Programs home page.
- Looking for a doctor? Call toll free: 888 352-RUSH (888 352-7874)
Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.
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