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Techniques to Help Relieve Stress
Sean Patrick , Ovca Survivor
By adding complementary medicine techniques to chemo and radiation, studies have shown a reduction in stress and increased sense of well being among patients who practice these techniques. Meditation, yoga and visualization are all easy to do and do not require any elaborate equipment.


What is Yoga?
Yoga is the bringing together of the physical body with the mind and the spirit. Physical postures called asanas, breathing excercises and focused concentration are joined together to energize the body and the mind.

It the oldest system of personal development in the world, encompassing body, mind and spirit. The first stones showing figures in yogic positions date back to 3000BC in the Indus Valley.

Who Can practice?
Anyone can practice. You do not need special equipment or clothes. Depending on how you are feeling Yoga can be modified to be practiced sitting in a chair or even in a hospital bed. It is important to let your teacher know your physical limitations.

What are the benefits of Yoga?

  • Improved health
  • Improved flexibility and strength
  • Lowered stress
  • Lowered blood pressure
Where can I find a class or a teacher?
  • Your healthfood store
  • Wellness publications for your area
  • Adult education programs
  • Health clubs
  • The phone book, under Yoga

What is Meditation?
Simply put, meditation is any activity that holds the mind in the present moment.

How do You Practice?
There are many different kinds of meditation practice. The most common are:

  • Sitting quietly and focusing one's attention on the breath
  • Mindfulness- sitting quietly and observing whatever goes through your mind without getting involved
  • Naming - sitting quietly and observing whatever goes through your mind and naming anything that comes up like thinking, anger, sadness without getting attached
  • Mantra - focusing your attention while sitting quietly on a sound (mantra)
What are the benefits of Meditation?
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Improved immune function
  • Reduced stress
  • Pain management
When should I practice?
Once in the morning and then again in the evening is usually recommended. Start off slow with 10 minutes at a time, working up to 30 or 45 minutes. If you have trouble sitting still, try a walking meditation.

Where can I find a teacher?

  • Local newspapers
  • Adult education programs
  • If your community has a wellness center, check with them
  • Buddhist centers
  • Monasteries

What is visualization?
Visualization is a flow of thoughts one can see, feel and smell in one's imagination. When starting out visualization is best done with a guide.

How do you do it?

  • With a guide
  • Audio or video tapes on Visualization
  • Making your own tape from a script that you can listen to
What are the benefits?
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Reduces pain
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Slows the heart rate
  • Helps people tolerate treatments better
How can I find someone to teach me?
  • Local wellness center
  • Look up guided imagery or visualization at the library
  • Simonton Cancer Center - training and referral - 310 459 4434
For more information try the following books:

Wherever You Go There You Are, Kabat- Zinn, Hyperion NY, NY

Guided Meditations, Explorations and Healings, Stephen Levine, Doubleday NY,NY

Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, Joan Borysenko. Bantam, Reading MA

Getting Well Again. Carl Simonton MD

The Sivananda Companion to Yoga, Lucy Lidell. Simon and Schuster NY,NY.

Coping with Cancer (CancerNet)

Taking Time: Support for People with Cancer (CancerNet)

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