Gerson Therapy

July 8, 2008 by  
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Gerson Therapy is an alternative cancer therapy based on the theory and practise of removing toxins from the body, and cleansing the body, particularily the liver, utilizing treatments such as coffee enemas. The use of organic foods and supplements then boosts the metabolism.

Considered a holistic, nutrition based, metobolic therapy it was created by Max Gerson, a German physician.

From the Gerson Institute site: “The Gerson Institute is dedicated to healing and preventing chronic and degenerative diseases based on the vision, philosophy and successful work of Max Gerson, MD. The Gerson Therapy is a powerful, natural treatment that activates the body’s own healing mechanism through consuming organic vegetarian foods and juices, detoxification and natural supplements. ”

Based on Dr. Gerson’s Book, A Cancer Therapy: The Results of Fifty Cases and the Cure of Advanced Cancer By Diet Therapy, the therapy includes:

  • Flooding the body daily with nutrients from about 20 pounds of organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Consuming 13 glasses of juices along with three meals daily
  • Stimulating the metabolism through potassium, thyroid and other supplements
  • Animal fat, excess protien and sodium are avoided
  • Coffee enemas are utilized to detoxify the liver

American Cancer Society statement regarding Gerson Therapy:

Available scientific evidence does not support claims that Gerson therapy is effective in treating cancer, and the principles behind it are not widely accepted by the medical community. It is not approved for use in the United States. Gerson therapy can be dangerous. Coffee enemas have been associated with serious infections, dehydration, constipation, colitis (inflammation of the colon), electrolyte (salt and mineral) imbalances, and even death.

Per the National Cancer Institute: In 1947 and 1959, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reviewed the cases of a total of 60 patients treated by Dr. Gerson. The NCI found that the available information did not prove the regimen had benefit.

From the Mayo Clinic, CNN Report: Gerson therapy. No conclusive proof of the Gerson therapy’s effect on cancer is available. Some people on this regimen report feeling more energetic, often due to the large amounts of caffeine absorbed through the colon as part of this therapy.

As with any alternative therapy you should discuss all health care choices with your physician.


Healing the Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases by Charlotte Gerson, Beata Bishop, Joanne Shwed, and Robert Stone.

Laughter Therapy

March 26, 2008 by  
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How come Sherlock Holmes never paid any income taxes?

Brilliant deductions.

Laughter therapy is one of my personal favorite complementary and alternative medicine therapies.

Laughter has been proven through clinical trials to boost endorphins, our natural pain killers, and suppress epinephrine the stress hormone. The result is less pain and less stress. Less pain and less stress is an obvious boost for the immune system. A very good thing.

Once again the healing power of the mind comes into play here. Laughter is not proven to cure but it certainly is a tool, part of your arsenal in the battle against cancer.

Laughter the Best Medicine, Research Points to the Power of a Good Giggle. This report by ABC News shares that “a study of 20 men and women conducted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that 95 percent of the volunteers experienced increased blood flow while watching a funny movie, such as There’s Something About Mary, while 74 percent had decreased blood flow during a heavier picture, such as Saving Private Ryan. The results lasted about 12 to 24 hours.”

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The Pac-Man Theory

March 19, 2008 by  
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Who remembers playing Pac-Man? Come on, ‘fess up. Basically Pac-Man moves through the maze eating the dots.

If you need a refresher, here’s a Tribute to Pac-Man from YouTube.

How does Pac-Man relate to cancer?

It’s all about visualization. Visualizing the very last cancer cell in your body being eaten up and destroyed by white cells, chemotherapy or radiation.

Visualization. The technique of creating images and actions in our mind and stepping into them in our reality. A method of teaching, understanding and coping.

Viktor Frankl, physician, and Logotherapist, who lived through the horrors of German concentration camps shared in this book, Man’s Search for Meaning, “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”

How do Pac-Man, visualization and attitude affect the cancer battle?

Unfortunately measuring the mind and the connection to the immune system is not always easy.

Biofeedback. Biofeedback is one measurable tool. Biofeedback is a methodology which utilizes techniques to assist patients to control body function such as blood pressure and heart beat and muscle tension by responding to their own body reactions.

The Continuum Center for Health and Healing describes biofeedback or self-regulation, this way: “…the ability to observe oneself and acquire the skills needed to make changes in one’s physiology, behavior, or even lifestyle in order to promote well-being and health.”

In the early ’90’s oncologist O. Carl Simonton, MD and psychologist Stephanie Simonton, Ph.D pioneered psychosocial cancer therapy. Getting Well Again, applies his self-awareness techniques. Today the Simonton Cancer Center shares the ten tenets which are based on the theory that our beliefs, belief systems and our emotions are central to health and healing.

Alternative Therapies? Is this thinking outside the traditional box of medical care? Yes.

Memorial-Sloan Kettering uses the term “complementary” to describe its Integrated Medicine Service, “…which addresses the emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and families,” and includes therapies, education, workshops and clinical trials. The services go beyond traditional medical standards and includes access to unproven therapies and modalities of care.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institute of Health is a U.S. government agency whose mission is to “explore complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, train complementary and alternative medicine researchers and disseminate authoritative information to the public and professionals.”

Today alternative methods of care is standard fare for cancer facilities across the United States.

Nutritional Therapy is the practice of supporting immune function and keeping the body strong during the traditional therapies such as chemo and radiation and helping the body during the recuperation phase. Cancer Treatment Centers of America is one of the pioneers in this therapy, going the extra step to provide in-hospital classes on nutrition and offering their own supplements for outpatients.

MD Anderson offers patient education and resources of complementary/integrative medicine options.

The University of California, San Diego Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center offers an incredible range of therapies from accupressure and Qigong, to guided imagery and music therapy.

And isn’t that what it’s about? Providing the therapies that make the cancer patient well again.

Pac-Man Theory? Why not?

It’s all about options in care.

Acupuncture and Breast Cancer: Leading Charity begins World’s Largest Study

November 15, 2007 by  
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Hi there, readers! Since I’ll be on the road travelling for the next two days, I asked Amanda Devereaux, one of my former bosses and best friends, to step in for me for the following guest post.   Amanda, who is blessed with both beauty and brains, has a Ph.D. in Microbiology and is currently working in a cancer research laboratory.  I’m sure you’ll find her opinions as entertaining as I do!

If any of you reading this are like me, there are two words that should never be spoken in the same sentence:  acupuncture (Aka: sharp, steel needles) and breast (soft, nerve-filled mammary tissue that hurts when poked with a sharp, steel needle).  I guess the British have a different approach on how to get their kicks than I do.  Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. 

All joking aside, the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity in the UK is involved with a study that will investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment in helping to alleviate fatigue in women undergoing chemotherapy.  Fatigue, nausea, and hot flashes are just a few of the side effects patients endure while undergoing treatment for their cancer.  To combat these unwanted symptoms, some patients have turned to complementary therapies to ease the side effects of chemotherapy, including massage, aromatherapy, and acupuncture

The study will include 320 women who have undergone chemotherapy within a 5 year limit and experience elevated levels of fatigue.  Patients will either receive 6 weekly sessions of acupuncture or standard care (kind of a vague option).  After the initial 6 week period, the acupuncture group will be split, and a group will continue to receive acupuncture treatment for an additional 4 weeks, another group will undertake self-acupuncture, and the last group will no longer be used as a pin cushion.  Fatigue levels of all patients will then be monitored for an additional three years. 

Now, I may be a little slow on some subjects, but I think that the last thing a cancer patient would need is to be stuck with another needle.  Every time they turn around, someone else is sticking them with needles.  Alternately, while I understand the benefits of these types of studies, and I am all for easing the suffering of any cancer patient, whose bright idea was it for people to STICK THEMSELVES WITH NEEDLES?????  It is bad enough when someone else sticks you with a needle.  Self-acupuncture, are you kidding me?  I can barely floss my teeth without taking out an eye, and most of the people that I meet everyday shouldn’t be trusted to walk around with scissors.  While I don’t particularly care for the use of acupuncture on my person, as I am a gutless weenie, I do believe that it may provide some health benefits when administered by a professional.  I look forward to following the progression of this study, along with the end results just to see how many people have lost an eye. 

Leading cancer expert weighs in on effectiveness of alternative therapies

November 8, 2007 by  
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Score one major point for alternative cancer care: Dr. Judah Folkman, widely considered the father of anti-angiogenesis cancer therapeutics, recently gave the keynote address to a standing-room only crowd of complementary medicine supporters at the 8th annual lecture series for the Lenny Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies.

His talk, which covered his research interests and the emerging role of nutritional supplements in anti-angiogenic therapy, helped further validate the importance of integrative approaches alongside traditional cancer care. Dr. Folkman gave even more encouraging news to practitioners who gathered at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute by describing recent research that connects moderate exercise to the release of natural anti-angiogenic factors that may inhibit some tumor growth.

The lecture series was named for Mr. Zakim, who, after being diagnosed with multiple myeloma, become an active supporter of making massage, acupuncture, meditation and other complementary approaches to cancer care more available to patients.

Having a medical expert like Dr. Folkman validate integrative medical approaches was a big step forward, but I think that it’s still going to be a long road ahead for patients and practitioners who want to bring alternative health practices in cancer care the forefront due to skepticism in the field.

As a person who’s recently tried to take a more proactive approach in pain management through preventative massage therapy and acupuncture, I can tell you from experience that it has been difficult for my husband and my family, many of them allopathic practitioners of Western medicine themselves, to take seriously. Still, I’m interested to see what the future has in hold for integrative medicine.

Thanks to Lisa McEvoy from Dana Farber for the news tip!

Have you or someone you know used complementary approaches to their cancer care? Tell us about it in the comments!

Cancer patients pay less for surgeries, feel better when hypnotized

October 22, 2007 by  
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Bergh - hypnotic seance

Image: Hypnotic Seance, Richard Bergh (1887). Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Looks like it’s time to break out the dangling watch — a new article in the The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports this week that women who participated in a brief hypnosis session prior to breast cancer surgery experienced fewer reported side effects such as pain, nausea, and fatigue. Also intriguing was that the surgical costs per patient were on average $772 less than for patients who did not undergo hypnosis prior to surgery.For certain types of cancers where surgery is the first line of defense like breast cancer or head and neck cancer, this mix of eastern and western medicine has the potential to make a wide impact.

As reported at the American Cancer Society website:

“Such findings argue strongly for making hypnosis part of standard care for breast cancer patients,” says lead study author Guy H. Montgomery, PhD, associate professor of Oncological Sciences at Mount Sinai.

“Breast cancer patients are going through a lot,” he explains.

“It’s a distressing and difficult period to get through. They’re worried about themselves, they’re worried about their families. So if there’s something we can do to make them feel better …we should translate this from a research protocol to actually doing something for breast cancer patients every day.”

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The Relationship Between Cancer And Antioxidants

April 13, 2007 by  
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By Michelle Bery

Cancer – a disease that affects so many around the world and continues to be studied earnestly in order to finally identify a cure. But, in the meantime, researchers, in an effort to take control of the spread of this heinous disease, promote programs of prevention. Diet, exercise, and the avoidance of controllable environmental pollutants are all part of the effort to prevent cancer.

It has been shown that cancer derives from good cells gone bad. Affected by poor diet, environmental factors, and chemical substances, molecules inside the body lose electrons in response. The molecules become free radicals and, as such, they begin their attack on healthy cells to take back electrons. Such begins the battle within the body.

Antioxidants – properties found in a variety of foods – bolster the immune system and work alongside healthy cells to combat free radicals. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants strengthens the body with much needed resources to stay healthy and keep disease at bay. The relationship between cancer and antioxidants is a significant one and one that has been studied at great length.

In essence there is a battle between cancer and antioxidants. Cancer works against the cells in the body while antioxidants work on behalf of cells. In stands to reason that if you supply one with more resources than the other then the battle will be won. Subsequently, eating a diet that is rich in antioxidants affords the healthy cells of the body a greater advantage in defending themselves.

To engage in the battle between cancer and antioxidants, you can do your part by integrating a variety of foods into your diet. Include such foods as green leafy vegetables – like spinach and kale – that deliver significant amounts of the antioxidant lutein; tomatoes and tomato products that contain the antioxidant lycopene; fresh fruits such as berries (blueberries gaining particular attention as of late), kiwi, and prunes; and vegetables that contain the antioxidant beta-carotene such as carrots and sweet potatoes.

The connection between cancer and antioxidants is proof that a change in diet can do wonders for protecting our bodies against disease. Do your research to determine what foods can be easily integrated into your lifestyle and take the steps necessary to significantly protect your health.

About the Author: For easy to understand, in depth information about antioxidant visit our ezGuide 2 Antioxidant.

Reflexology and Chemotherapy

May 14, 2006 by  
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Reflexology and Chemotherapy

By Amy Brennan

Reflexology is a gentle non intrusive treatment carried out upon the feet alone, using reflex points that correspond to the body systems.

Reflexology is highly beneficial in alleviating adverse side effects of chemotherapy, by helping the patient to deeply relax, it also helps to reduce the level of anxiety, helping patients cope with the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea, the results reveal that treatments produce a significant and immediate effect on the patients’ perceptions of pain, nausea and relaxation.

There is a myth that because reflexology rids the body of toxins, that the chemotherapy won’t work properly. There is no evidence to support this and there is a wealth of evidence about the positive results patients have felt.

Many people who have cancer and who have used Reflexology say that they find it helps ease some of their symptoms or helps them cope with the side-effects of treatment. Other people say that they just find it a very pleasant way of relaxing.

Reflexology is used by many people under going treatment for cancer, and Reflexology is included at complementary therapy centres within cancer units at Charing Cross Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, Harley Street Clinic, and Lister Hospital as well as being offered at many Macmillan cancer relief hospices and day care centres, with very good results.

Many patients say that as well as enjoying the relaxation and stress relief they also feel able to cope with the physical side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Its also an important factor in having time for themselves and a person to talk to that is not a part of their family and in many cases, being able to voice their problems and fears without worrying about the effect on close relatives or friends.

Reflexology is a good treatment for helping those that suffer with lymphoedema (swelling of limbs) after surgery to remove lymph glands, as it helps improve circulation and lymph flow and the Reflexologist can work over the specific reflex points for the effected area. In some cases the limb affected with lymphodeoma can be quite painful, Reflexology is very gentle and effective and in such cases is a good compliment to lymphatic drainage massage.

Overall Reflexology helps to improve the circulation and lymph flow, which benefits all body systems and organs and aids deep relaxation and better respiration and mobility, helping patients to relax and cope with the physical side effects of their treatment.

Amy Brennan is the Director of Find a Reflexologist Ltd, UK register of fully-qualified Reflexologists, and hub of Reflexology on the web:

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.