Thriving despite a diagnosis by Gail Donnan Part 2

This is the second of a three part blog which moves through a beautiful cancer survivor’s journey of how she thrives and continues to build resilience using different complementary therapies and delving whole heartedly into spirituality. Please note that none of this advice is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Previously Jo (48) told how she continues to thrive despite having been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease at 19 and stage 3 Breast Cancer at 35, we began looking at her journey so far, taking in her positive experiences of counselling, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and aromatherapy. This particular blog looks at Jo’s positive experiences with energy medicine, reflexology and meditation. Jo and I chatted some weeks after her interview and she said how it was only after we spoke that she realised how much positivity has been involved since living after a diagnosis. The process of recounting her story to me and reading it back had turned into something extremely empowering for her. Reflexology During her breast cancer treatment Jo decided to embark on a reflexology treatment plan with a reflexologist friend once a week for eight weeks. To use Jo’s own words “I felt like my jigsaw had been put back together after the treatment”. Reflexology is a complementary therapy that works with our energy and uses gentle pressure to your feet or hands to induce relaxation, aiding the body’s own healing process. It works by stimulating energy pathways in the body, similar to acupuncture and acupressure by pressing on certain points that correspond to the organs and glands in the body. If our energy pathways are blocked, reflexology aims to unblock them allowing the energy to flow freely again. Energy Medicine When we talk about energy we are referring to the body’s vibration, how it is a vital, living, moving force that stimulates the body’s own ability to heal itself to promote health, balance and relaxation. The Japanese developed a system of healing called Reiki, Hindu texts described yoga and the chakra systems and traditional Chinese medicine has identified energy meridian channels. Energy practitioners help us to tap into the natural frequencies within our bodies. Working through these super highways of the body, all these healing systems are designed to restore and maintain energy flow, creating balance and harmony. Energy medicine complements other traditional and alternative approaches to medical care but should never replace without medical advice. Natural frequencies Energy medicine is a very subtle holistic practice that activates the body’s own energy systems in order to remove any blockages that may be getting in the way of the body healing itself. Scientist discovered that the average frequency of the human body resonates between 62-72 MHz when it is in optimum state. As the frequency drops our immune system is compromised and illness and disease are more likely to develop. Bach Flower Essence remedies, reflexology, acupuncture, meditation, aromatherapy, Reiki, Qi gong (originating from Chinese medicine, Qi gong is a holistic system of co-ordinated body posture and movement together with breathing exercises similar to Tai Chi) and yoga are a handful of ways to lift your vibration and some of these techniques are covered in these series of blogs. The Chinese view is that energy, known as chi or qi, not only flows through your body but also surrounds and engulfs you. Therefore you can harmonise your energy system and you can put your body into the best possible positions to heal itself on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. Meditation A couple of years ago Jo came across my wellness centre on Facebook and was curious to make a connection with a view to learning more about meditation. It was during this time that Jo had a cognitive shift because meditation helped her realise that she was in charge of her own thoughts and it was another tool to enhance her coping strategy kit, her first session in her words left her “floating for days”. Meditation is a technique for resting the mind and finding the silence and peace that resides naturally within us. The Silence Inside Meditation is fundamentally focuses on your senses (sight, sound, taste, smell and movement) with a purpose of disengaging from thought as long as you choose. This creates awareness in that moment by finding the silence that naturally exists inside. It can be anything that frees up the mind from other distractions, such as unwanted thoughts. Once in this place, Jo was able to just notice thoughts without identifying or building on them and she began to understand that they are just sensory movements which she allows to come and go without attaching any drama or catastrophising them. Meditation is not about trying to block or reject thought, it is being aware of thoughts as they arise, examining them and then letting them go. Advantages Meditation develops concentration, focus, positivity, clarity, a sense of calm and the ability to see the true nature of things. During meditation our bodies produce the feel-good chemicals, endorphins and serotonin, which are essential to our well-being. Endorphins are natural pain killers and also boost our immune system. Meditation can reduce levels of stress and anxiety by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system inducing relaxation; it also lowers blood pressure while increasing blood flow to the brain and can promote deep sleep. Meditation helped Jo find the calmness within, regardless of what was going on around her. The third part in this series on Jo’s journey looks at how she is still thriving due to using techniques such as mindfulness, talking therapies, Bach Flower Essence remedies and learning about spiritual practices such as Reiki and taking the life leap of booking onto her first of many retreats. Please note that none of this advice is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are curious about meditation, there is a selection of free recorded meditations on my website - Until next time… Read part one of Gail's Blog Series here

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