Unless you live in a bubble, you probably know someone who has either died from cancer or who was diagnosed and treated for it. The unfortunate truth is that currently there are no end-all be-all cures when it comes to disease. (Dare I go out to the end of the tree branch) Or is there?
It’s a well known fact that stress can weaken the immune system. And without a strong immune system, those nasty little cancer cells in your body are free to multiply. Now whether you know it or not, everyone is susceptible to cancer, the question is, is your immune system healthy enough to fight off an attack?
Josheph Nowinski pens an interesting look at the benefit of meditation when it comes to stress and cancer in this recent Huffington Post. According to Nowinski, the difference between chronic and acute stress on the body can be the difference between getting cancer and not getting it. He cites several studies to base his discussion. He also references one woman’s use of meditation in conjunction with her Stage 4 cancer:
“I am a huge fan of meditation and would be a mess without my practice. It has centered me and brought to my awareness when I am the cause of my own suffering, and then I need to let it go as a cloud just passing by. Pain is a part of life … but suffering is optional. Frequently in the world of cancer treatment, prescriptions for tranquilizers or antidepressants are given out. While at times this is a valid and needed approach, there are many people who don’t know what to do with their fear and anxiety, and rather than dealing with it through something like meditation, they pop a pill for a quick fix.”
This woman wrote to me that she had also made use of massage and acupuncture as part of her holistic approach to dealing with her cancer, and that these had been useful at different times, but that her overall health (weakened bones, lymphedema, etc.) had led her to turn to meditation. In each case, however, this woman followed through with the complementary treatment, as opposed to merely dabbling in it.
Read more from Nowinski about the use of meditation and other complementary practices to combat cancer here.