Category Archives: Complementary Therapies

Nutrition, Body Care, Emotional, Mental, Social, Spiritual, Guides

A Secret to Great Tea

As much as you can eat healthy, it’s also important to remember to drink healthy too. Tea is very healing.
-Kristin Chenoweth, American actress and singer

The healing benefits of green tea are well documented for cancer patients. Do you try to have a cup each day? It would be easier to swallow without the bitter aftertaste. Yet there is a little secret about how to brew it, and other teas, to greatly enhance their flavor.

You’ll spend far less money on your tea, and get better-tasting brew at the same time with this method.

The secret is in the tea-making process, which I learned from my sister, Roselie, who learned it from some Turkish friends.

To get great-tasting tea, start with a double boiler, which is a two-layered pot. Don’t have a double boiler? You can create one with a regular 3-quart pot and a sturdy glass bowl. Place the glass bowl into the pot so it nestles inside but still sits a good inch above the bottom of the pot.

Pour half an inch of water into the bottom pot. In the top pot or bowl, add a few cups of water and enough tea for a typical single cup. Cover with a lid.

I let mine sit overnight on the stove top to begin the process. In the morning, I turn the heat on a low setting and let the water come to a slow boil. This will gradually allow the full flavor of the tea to infuse the water in the top portion.

Your reward—a few cups of delicious tea from one tea bag.

Loose-leaf teas tend to have larger leaves and produce more flavor. If you use tea bags instead, I would suggest removing the tea from its bag. Many bags contain unnatural ingredients that can be released into the tea at high temperatures. The loosened tea can be put in a tea ball or placed straight in the water. Then you can strain your tea through a sieve when pouring it.

With some herbal teas this slow-steeping method doesn’t bring out the flavor as well, so you might have to experiment. For green and black teas, I find I enjoy the flavor more, which means I’ll drink more to get the benefits.

Be tea-totaller. Sip your health-promoting brew with pleasure.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Loose-leaf organic green tea has been shown to inhibit metastasis, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy, and increase bone density.

How did 2 get into Radical Remission? Listen Saturday

Join me on the air Saturday at 7 p.m. EST with Marcia McMahon, in radical remission from stage 4 breast cancer. Marcia hosts the Peaceful Planet show at  Www.bbsradio.com/peacefulplanet. We’ll cover a wealth of holistic information on thriving beyond cancer, including spiritual approaches , diet, and traditional therapy.
Marcia is a creative artist and reiki healer. Visit her website at www.divineconnectionswithreiki.com
Peaceful Planet with Marcia McMahon

The Secrets of Meditation

“Meditation isn’t what you think. It has nothing to do with the contents of your thoughts. Meditation is where your brain waves are when you are having those thoughts. A person doesn’t need to have a calm, quiet mind to achieve the healing, regenerative, and perception-expanding benefits of meditation.”
– Tai Chi Grandmaster Vincent J. Lasorso Jr.

Purposeful meditation has killed cancer, healed tumors, cut holes in the clouds, and transmuted the toxic chemicals in water and air, according to Tai Chi Grandmaster Vincent Lasorso of Cincinnati. “It has lowered the crime in Cincinnati and cities around the world. It has prevented wars.”

Meditation Heals

According to the medical staff of the Mayo Clinic, medical research has demonstrated that regular meditation has improved the following conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

“Above it all, meditation provides inner peace while you practice, which continues long after the practice is over,” Lasorso said. A combined study of Yale, Harvard and MIT universities demonstrated that regular meditation actually develops new brain neurons and functioning. This new generation may occur in as little as twelve weeks.

Meditation is a skill anyone can learn

Our common conception of meditation is monks sitting quietly contemplating a calm, still mind. These monks are to meditation as Beckham is to soccer: gifted professionals, Lasorso said. The rest of us just have fun knocking the ball of consciousness around, getting some great exercise.

“You don’t have to become a monk to get fantastic benefits from meditation. But you do have to be better than just randomly knocking the ball around hoping you’ll get good at it. Meditation, like any exercise, takes practice and coaching to know what to do.”

Meditation is a naturally occurring state of mind

Every day you move in and out of the brain-wave states called meditation. In fact, your sleep technically is meditation. What makes meditation different from sleep is lucidity, clearness of mind, and the ever-presence of self, he said.

“Let’s say you’re sitting in a classroom and you begin to daydream about walking in a park. As long as you are aware that you are sitting in the classroom and not in the park, and you are observing the park and your actions, you are meditating. Your body is relaxing, regenerating, and healing. The second you forget where you are, who you are, stop observing, and begin to participate, then you are asleep.”

The secrets of meditation are to relax and pay attention

Your brain is moving you into meditative states several times each day, he said. But while that’s happening, you are usually lost in a daydream or some other distracting stimulation, not paying attention to your body or the world around you. You’re poised for relaxation but forget to do it.

“The difference between being lucid and asleep, in both life and meditation, is not getting absorbed by the distractions. You have to pay attention to yourself and your body or you will lose them both. You have to learn to stay awake, and that is what meditation training is about.”

Meditation is easier than you think

Although the concept of daily meditation may seem daunting and unobtainable to you, the immediate reduction in stress, pain, and improved peace of mind are reason enough to try. And you might even kill off some cancer with some practice.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Seek out a meditation class or practice in your area. Try a mind/body integration meditation (Mindfulness), Qigong meditation (using breath, sound, and movement), progressive relaxation and visualization practice, or moving meditation through Tai Chi. For more information, contact the White Willow School of Tai Chi, 7433 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236, 513-791-9428, http://www.whitewillowtaichi.com

How to Release Your Scar Tissue after Treatment

By Lauren Cadman, PT, with Heidi Bright

Editor’s note: I went to see Lauren after breaking two fingers in three places this past fall. Physical therapy could not address the excess scar tissue in the affected joints. After eight myofascial release treatments, I now have full use of my fingers again. I am grateful for this healing modality and want to share it with you.

photo kit from John Barnes

Do you have pain left over from a cancer procedure that physical therapy has not helped reduce? Do your scar tissues and the areas around them still hurt? It might be time to consider myofascial release.

“Myo” means muscle and “fascia” means connective tissue.

This safe and effective hands-on technique involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into areas of the body that are restricted, dense, and tight. This process decreases the tightness to alleviate pain, reduces the thickness of scar tissue, and helps restore normal sensation and motion.

Myofascial restrictions can be caused not only by surgeries to remove cancerous tissue, but also by chemotherapy and radiation.

Breast cancer patients, for example, undergo lumpectomies or mastectomies that leave behind scar tissue. Even without surgery, these patients may develop fibrotic tissue as a direct result of chemotherapy or radiation.

Scars also can grow inside the body like vines, reaching into other regions of the body, like the respiratory diaphragm and into the neck and shoulders. Patients may experience pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back after treatment for breast cancer. Patients who have been treated for cancer in other areas may experience pelvic, back, and leg pain.

This tissue resembles what I like to describe as “a wet sponge drying out to a dry sponge.” The tissue feels thick, tight, and gristly when palpated or touched.

The trauma and inflammatory responses in the body create myofascial restrictions with tensile pressures of about 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures. That’s a lot of pressure.

These restrictions do not show up in many standard tests (including x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, or electromyography). Instead, they are detected using palpation, or touch.

Once scar tissue has formed, myofascial release techniques applied below and above the scar region can be helpful in eliminating the pain and softening the scar. It can be extremely helpful in improving tissue mobility, pliability, and hydration.

The time element in MFR treatment is vital. It is essential that the practitioner apply sustained pressure to the tissue for a minimum of 90 seconds. This low-load gentle pressure applied slowly will allow the connective tissue to soften and elongate.

Being free of pain and being able to move more freely can help provide emotional benefits for those treated for cancer.

Cancer treatment should not end with interventions to treat the cancer. Too often patients are left with residual problems, some of which can be addressed with MFR to help them return to more optimal health.

If you or someone you know has been down this road, consider adding myofascial work to the health care plan.

Balance the soft tissue, decompress the joints, alleviate the residual pain, and restore your energy.

 

Lauren Cadman, PT, Premier Wellness and Myofascial Release

https://www.premierwellnesspt.com/index.html

Be Like Royalty: Add Cress

Roast fowl to him that’s sated will seem less
Upon the board than leaves of garden cress.

— Saadi Shirazi, Persian poet

 

Garden cress might not be filling, but it adds a peppery spiciness and lots of nutrients to your meal. It’s been cultivated for thousands of years and enjoyed by royalty.

I got my first-ever taste a few weeks ago through my community-supported agriculture program, Earth-Shares CSA. I had heard of watercress sandwiches, so I rooted around and found a simple solution: toast with butter and cress.

I tried it. What a fun new taste—and even my college-aged son loved it. We have a new summer fave. Especially because garden cress has as much anti-cancer potential as cabbage, kohlrabi, and Chinese broccoli. And apparently it even has more vitamin C than oranges.

If you know someone with cataracts or age-related macular degeneration, maybe gift them some potted cress.

Other goodies in these greens include Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese.

Another benefit is this annual is supposedly easy to grow in the house, so you can get a fresh dose anytime, and enjoy it like royalty.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Here are some cress recipes to try: https://cressinfo.com/recipes/

Sources:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0646e/T0646E0t.htm

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2437/2

https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/garden-cress-nutritional-benefits.php

Going ’Round the Mulberry

Here we go ’round the mulberry bush, The mulberry bush, The mulberry bush. Here we go ’round the mulberry bush so early in the morning.

English nursery rhyme

I grew up hearing this song and assumed mulberries grew on bushes, like raspberries and blueberries.

Nope. They grow on trees. My sister and I discovered this two summers ago on Long Island, where we saw a man picking what looked like long raspberries off a tree. A tree? What was he eating?

Mulberries.

Oh, we crammed our mouths with their luscious juiciness until we couldn’t reach any more. So sweet, so ripe, and no exterior seeds.

This past week my friend Laura and I took a walk and she identified a mulberry tree. I didn’t know they grew in the Cincinnati area. We filled a bag with what we could reach.

When we met again, she arrived holding a bag filled with fresh, ripe mulberries she had picked. What a treat! And then we found more. I’m in mulberry heaven.

Fortunately, mulberries have great nutritional value. According to https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/mulberries.html, they can improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, aid in weight loss, increase circulation, build bone tissues, boost the immune system, prevent certain cancers, slow down the aging process, decrease blood pressure, protect eyes, and improve metabolism.

That’s a pretty nice list of benefits. Makes me want to go ‘round a mulberry tree and pick more. Just need a ladder to catch those ones up high…

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
To find mulberries, check your local farmers’ markets or look for dried varieties in stores.
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/mulberries.html includes nutrition facts.
Research on “Composition of anthocyanins in mulberry and their antioxidant activity
Look up effects of mulberry extracts before considering using them.

Jacqui Roell, 2018 Unsung Hero

Heidi Bright, 2017 Unsung Hero, with Jacqui Roell, 2018 Unsung Hero.

Jacqui Roell, RN, BSN, who believes Thriver Soup saved her life, earned a 2018 Unsung Hero Award from Cancer Family Care.

A registered nurse for more than 25 years, Jacqui became the patient during 2017 with a breast cancer diagnosis. During her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she used many alternative therapies, which she said allowed her to recover quickly.

She calls herself a living testament to how complementary therapies can benefit cancer patients before, during, and after medical treatments. “They can actually decrease, and in some cases remove, the need for many medications by allowing your body to heal itself and maintain its healthy balance naturally.”

Jacqui is an aromatherapist, a reflexologist, and a Reiki practitioner. She is adding healing touch, crystal therapy, and herbal supplementation to her business. She also is active in several cancer care and advocacy groups, including Pink Ribbon Girls and Cancer Family Care.

Jacqui was nominated for the award by her mother, Marilyn Seilkop, a fellow cancer survivor. Marilyn wrote, “She is a passionate advocate for patients and their families. In addition to interviews on local TV stations, Jackie is a frequent speaker at cancer care events she is a mentor for cancer patients and a hero to all who meet her.”

Jacqui’s Holistic Soul Wellness website is https://holisticsoulwellness.com/

What is your favorite complementary form of treatment?

Shannon Villalba an Unsung Hero

Shannon Villalba earned a 2018 Unsung Hero Award from Cancer Family Care. She founded HIME Wellness in Cincinnati, Ohio, to connect complementary health practitioners with those seeking care. With Heidi Bright, 2017 Unsung Hero.

Shannon Villalba was sick for six months before she heard the words, “You have cancer.” As a result of those three words, she resolved that she would hear the words, “You have no evidence of disease.” And she did. Five months later.

Shannon promised herself she would do what it took to help heal her body, so she used a variety of complementary and holistic medicine therapies in addition to traditional chemotherapy and radiation. She says she is grateful this strategy worked for her, and she realized that there are many other patients who could benefit from these strategies as well. She took a look around and noticed that many of these types of practitioners were hard to find. That’s when she decided to create HIME Wellness – Healing through Inspiration, Motivation, and Education.

HIME Wellness is a company that educates the community about holistic and integrative medicine by showcasing the expertise of its practitioner members. Shannon wholly believes it is her purpose in life to assist others with their wellness journeys and to inspire them to help others as well. Together we can make a difference in the way we approach our healthcare today.

She enjoys learning about what types of therapies are available, and connecting the practitioners with those who are seeking their services. Each month she hosts a big event with speakers such as integrative doctors, chiropractors, holistic nurses, physical therapists, and energy therapists. HIME also features demonstrations of various types of therapies.

She says it feels great to see so many people who are open to these types of therapies, and then hearing them say, “This is exactly what I am looking for to help me heal!”

Additionally, at every event, HIME Wellness gives back to various charities such as the Pink Ribbon Girls and the Women’s Health Initiatives Foundation.

HIME also offers classes and resources for those searching for answers.

Shannon clearly loves being able to pay it forward by helping others in any way she can. With the blessing of a second chance at life, she is choosing to live it by serving others. She expresses gratitude because she will never know if something she does makes a difference to someone she’s never met, because the end result is all that matters to her. If someone is inspired and motivated to take charge of his or her own life and health, that’s what she wants.

She says she fully believes that inspiration through motivation and education is the key to eliciting change. The more people know about healthcare therapies, and the more people are motivated or inspired by stories about health journeys, the better we are as a society.

Shannon’s mission is to inspire others through teaching them to take charge of their lives and change them for the betterment of the human race. She does this one step and one day at a time, whether it’s inspiring someone by telling about her own cancer journey, or by connecting someone with a class, a blog post, or a bit of knowledge.

Each day Shannon knows she can accomplish this mission through those she is meant to help, who in turn will help others, and that makes all the difference. Shannon lives the unsung hero honor each day.

Remember the Rachels on Mother’s Day

Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.

Matthew 2:16-18, New Living Translation

Rachel was an early biblical character who died giving birth to her second son. She was buried by the road to Bethlehem. Bethlehem would later become the birth location for a king, according to Matthew’s gospel. And Herod, the jealous and frightened ruler at the time, sent his soldiers to kill all the male infants and toddlers near Bethlehem to remove this new threat. One cannot imagine the kind of imperishable grief such an act would produce on a vulnerable population.

This story is part of the birth narrative of Jesus. When was the last time you heard a preacher talk about this trauma in connection with the nativity story? It seems to me that mothers who grieve their children appear easily overlooked.

The world is full of Rachels who weep disconsolately for their deceased children. My friend Joan just lost her daughter to diabetes.

With the current opioid epidemic, mothers who are cancer patients need to be wary. I was told in 2011 to “stay ahead of the pain,” and was sent home with a month’s supply of what I now realize were heroin pills. Recently I talked with a cancer survivor who also had leftover opioids and a teenaged son at home. I urged her to get a digital lockbox or return the pills to a pharmacy. Even if her son doesn’t find or use them, a friend of his might. Then the treacherous slide into heroin overdose begins.

If I ever doubt myself as a mother fighting for her children, all I have to do is look at this Mother’s Day card my deceased son made for me about ten years ago. I’m seen as firm with my words and my sword… with a kind smile on my face, all centered in a heart glowing with love.

I’m hardly alone. Even my son’s memorial garden was just visited again by Rachel’s weeping. A mother bird in the sweet gum tree had fought valiantly for her eggs, evidenced by the circle of feathers; but her efforts simply weren’t enough. The nest fell to the grass and her babies were hungrily consumed.

Mother’s Day is approaching. Ugh. For me, and for perhaps hundreds of thousands of mothers, this time on the calendar is a terrible reminder of broken hearts and empty arms. Despite all we do, sometimes we still lose our children. Some mothers lose their only children—I know two such women who lost theirs to heroin. I have heard of one woman who lost all three of her children to heroin overdoses. Losing your children is bad enough. Add on the stigma of death to drugs and you have an unfathomable nightmare.

I am most fortunate that one of my brothers will be here and we will spend the day making and eating delicious meals our mother made when we were growing up—a time of innocence. My younger son will get to indulge with us. (He loves to tell me there’s no food in my house.) Foods I typically now avoid, yet that give comfort and solace to an empty heart. Corn fritters, hamburger pie, cheesecake, springerle. I’ll still be weeping for my child, as I do nearly every day, yet with social support I also will have some consolation.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Mothers fight for their offspring, though not always successfully. Many of these mothers are single. It can be such a lonely time, especially with the isolation that can come from losing a child to drugs.

On Mother’s Day, please pray for or send positive intentions to the Rachels everywhere. Those who have suffered heavy losses need comfort and love—a kind word, a simple text, a card—something to let them know they are not entirely alone.

Mandarins a-peeling against cancer

I have picked a lemon, and with it / An orange and a (fragrant) mandarin.

Gathering with care these (precious) things, / And while gathering I said with care:

“Thou who art Queen of the sun and of the moon / And of the stars–lo! here I call to thee!

And with what power I have I conjure thee / To grant to me the favour I implore!

Aradia, by Charles G. Leland

 

Fresh, fragrant mandarins are precious, full of flavor, and full of power.

The magic lies in their peels—which are quite edible and contain potent anti-cancer properties (see links below).

Also called clementines and tangerines, these citrus fruits are fresh and sitting in grocery stores now.

If you have a high-speed blender, mix two whole mandarins (peel on) with a quarter cup cranberries (at this time of year, try frozen, not the packaged sugary snacks), a little raw honey and/or stevia, a quarter cup raw/soaked-in-salt-water pecans, and coconut butter. Blend. Mmmm! Add chia seeds if desired.

Taste the fragrance, ingest the power.

Sources:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/aradia/ara07.htm

https://www.livestrong.com/article/310997-can-you-eat-clementines-with-the-peel/

http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2006/pdf/2006-v21n01-p34.pdf

https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/mandarin-tangerines.php

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19116217