Tag Archives: cancer and emotions

21 Ways To Heal Yourself With Essential Oils

 

21 Ways To Heal Yourself With Essential Oils
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Rawich

21 Ways to Heal Yourself With Essential Oils

Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I use essential oils daily.  I smell fragrant from the oils – every single day.

There’s a good reason for that!  (By the way, people are always asking me “Have you just had a massage?” or “You smell incredible! What is that?”)

Therapeutic grade essential oils are good for so many things – the following list is only scratching the surface (but I had to start somewhere!)

 21 Health Benefits of Using Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

  1. They support immune function – Some of the constituents in essential oils mimic human immunoglobulin (an antibody the body uses to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as bacteria and viruses), elevate lymphocytes (white blood cells needed for your immune response) and stimulate our natural immune system – grapefruit, German chamomile, clove, mountain savory, lemon, also the blends Immupower and Thieves.
  2. They affect your emotional well-being – Therapeutic oils can trigger psychological and physiological responses, lifting your mood, aiding in reducing depression, and calming anxiousness – use lavender, orange, rose, jasmine, also the blends Peace & Calming, Believe, and Joy.
  3. They supply potent anti-microbials – Research has found that therapeutic oils are highly effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, and even the “superbug” (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus or MRSA). Bacteria cannot mutate in the presence of therapeutic oils – cinnamon, melaleuca, geranium, clove, melissa, eucalyptus, rosemary, and the blends Melrose and Thieves.
  4. They ease stress and anxiety – Too much stress, anxiety and tension are the physiological responses to our thoughts and beliefs and trigger unresolved emotions.  Most chronic illness and disease begins with stress and tension.  Therapeutic oils are known to soothe, bring peaceful thoughts, quiet the nervous system and calm the body/mind – lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, sandalwood, and the blends Highest Potential, Hope, Release, and Valor.
  5. They help you sleep – Research shows that lavender reduces insomnia, helps you to relax and decreases anxiety.  Let me just say, though, that the lavender you use must be therapeutic-grade Lavandula angustifolia (I only have one trusted source).  The other oils known to promote sleep are valerian, Roman chamomile, frankincense, marjoram, clary sage, cistus, and the blends Peace & Calming, Citrus Fresh and  Progessence Plus (my particular favorite).
  6. They reduce inflammation – Inflammation can be caused by bacteria, a poor diet, injuries, an overload of toxins, and hormonal imbalances and is at the root of most degenerative diseases!  Try Idaho balsam fir, ocotea, peppermint, wintergreen, spruce, and the blend PanAway.
  7. They help you concentrate and study, support brain health – Certain oils increase alertness and your ability to memorize – peppermint (try this when you have driving fatigue!), basil, and the blends Brain Power and Clarity.  They also support the health of your brain by stimulating the cerebral cortex, thereby reducing your chances of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia – use frankincense, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, cedarwood, helichrysum, nutmeg,  peppermint, rosemary, and the blends Clarity, Valor and Brain Power.
  8. They provide natural pain relief – Massage therapeutic oils into sore, tired muscles, use with a warm compress (oils first and then warm compress) – use Idaho balsam fir, black pepper, peppermint, ginger, wintergreen, and the blends PanAway, Aroma Siez.
  9. They soothe burns, sunburns, scrapes & cuts – Lavender is so incredible at healing burns!  Therapeutic oils are antiseptic and cleansing and can be very effective in healing, much better than antibiotic creams or gels.  Use lavender, geranium, melaleuca, eucalyptus radiata, and the blend Melrose.
  10. They are marvelous for your skin – Essential oils have been used for centuries to restore, rejuvenate, and improve damaged, wrinkled skin.  You can also use them to clear acne, clogged pores, eczema, dark spots, and stretch marks!  Try lavender, Roman chamomile, German chamomile, geranium, sandalwood, Idaho tansy, melaleuca, patchouli, frankincense, myrrh, myrtle, helichrysum.
  11. They protect against colds and flu  – Therapeutic oils have potent antimicrobial actions and protect against colds, flu, and aid respiratory tissues. Inhale oils, diffuse them, put in empty capsules and take internally – lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense, Dorado azul, ravensara and the blends RC, Raven, Purification and Melrose.
  12. They assist hormonal function – Your endocrine system includes 9 glands that interconnect with organs using hormones (chemical messengers) to maintain balance and metabolism.  Stress and imbalance in the endocrine system is at the root of many degenerative diseases.  Best oils – clary sage, fennel, spikenard, nutmeg, myrrh, pine, Idaho balsam fir, the blend EndoFlex and Progessence Plus.
  13. They soothe digestive disturbances  – Therapeutic oils are very effective relief for nausea, indigestion, heartburn, gas, diarrhea, irritable bowel. Rub on abdominal area; take internally in water or empty capsules – best ones are peppermint, ginger, fennel, patchouli, Roman chamomile, and the blend DiGize.
  14. They support muscles and bones – Muscles and joints become stiff and painful when overworked, stressed or burdened with toxins. Apply oils to these areas to relieve pain and inflammation – peppermint, wintergreen, basil, and the blends Relieve It, Aroma Siez, and Pan Away.
  15. They improve circulation – Therapeutic essential oils oxygenate and cleanse your cells and this assists you to have healthier blood which carries more oxygen and a healthier vascular system – use cypress, German chamomile, helichrysum, grapefruit, ylang ylang, spikenard, and the blend Aroma Life.
  16. They support the urinary system – Essential oils have been used for nearly a century for aiding kidney, bladder and urinary infections.  Rub oils over the kidney area; take internally in water or empty capsules – grapefruit, lemon, geranium, juniper, mountain savory, clove, oregano, melaleuca alternifolia, and the blend Thieves.
  17. They support your liver – Since your liver is one of your major detoxifying organs, it’s important to help it detox on a regular basis.  A good liver support recipe: use  2 drops German chamomile, 3 drops celery seed oil, 10 drops orange and 5 drops rosemary.  You can apply 1-3 drops of the oil over the liver twice a day, you can massage 2-4 drops of oil neat on the soles of your feet just before bedtime, you can place a warm compress with 1-2 drops of oil over the liver 1-2 times per day.  Quite often, I put a drop of lemon oil or orange oil in a glass of juice or water.
  18. They improve oral and dental health – Bacteria in the mouth can cause disease in other parts of the body, including the heart.  Therapeutic essential oils in oral care products kill microbes associated with tooth decay, gum disease, systemic infections and unpleasant mouth odor – cinnamon, clove, melaleuca alternifolia, peppermint, and the blend Thieves (also available in toothpaste and mouthwash).
  19. They strengthen and nourish hair – Essential oils make wonderful hair care ingredients that rejuvenate hair, encourage hair growth, and cleanse hair follicles.   The personal care products I recommend do not contain harmful toxic ingredients (like dimethicone, sodium lauryl sulphate, propylene glycol) because these are petrochemicals that are stored in fatty tissue of the heart, liver, lungs, breast and brain.   Use lavender, sandalwood, rosemary, ylang ylang, lemon, sage, cedarwood (also available in shampoo and conditioner).
  20. They help you fight against disease –  Lots of research has been done that indicate therapeutic essential oils can help you combat disease.  Look how many articles there are about frankincense on the pubmed.gov websiteSee also my page about overall health.
  21. They provide safe, natural alternatives to toxic household cleaners – Research points to common household cleaners as a suspected link to the 55% increase in certain types of disease (specifically for women who work only in the home).  Essential oils are powerful yet safe antibacterial and antimicrobial agents, making them a fantastic, safe choice as cleaners and disinfectants – use clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, rosemary, melaleuca alternifolia, grapefruit (also try Thieves Household Cleaner, it works wonders).

I’m pretty particular about the essential oils I use – there’s only one maker that creates the therapeutic oils I love and trust and use every single day.  Here’s where you can get them.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

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Beat Stress Before it Beats You: Relaxing Apps to Download

Beat Stress Before it Beats You Relaxing Apps to Download
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and Stuart Miles

Feeling stressed these days?  I haven’t run into anyone that hasn’t been feeling the stress of modern life. Fortunately, there are some great relaxing apps to download that will help you!

I find it funny that one of the things that stresses me (my smart phone) is also one of the things that is providing me with some soothing relief.

Stress seems to be the one thing that most breast cancer patients tell me is their constant companion, particularly in the initial phase of diagnosis, absorbing the information and getting together a treatment regimen.  Most breast cancer patients have told me that they were experiencing unrelenting stress in their lives prior to their diagnosis (and that was true for me also).

So I set out to find some of the best smart phone apps I could, thinking that if your smart phone is your other constant companion, you might as well use it to help you de-stress and regain some inner peace!

7 Relaxing Apps to Download

  1. White noise: you can choose from ocean waves, crickets, etc.  Users say it really can help put you to sleep.  Available for iPhones and iPads at iTunes for $1.99.
  2. Yoga apps: since there are many, the link is to a great article written by Regis Chapman at appolicious.com.  Regis has spent a lot of time doing the research on this one, so read the article and choose an app you like (free & various prices).
  3. Cancer: Discover Your Healing Power: a wonderful app from Louise Hay, one of my favorite authors on the subject of healing your body and mind.  Available at hayhouse.com for $5.99.
  4. Meditations for Relaxation and Stress Reduction: from Joan Borysenko, a noted author, lecturer and healer.  Available at hayhouse.com for $5.99.
  5. Inner Peace Cards: from Dr Wayne Dyer, wonderful author, lecturer and healer.  Lovely affirmation cards you can use daily to enhance your health and happiness.  Available at hayhouse.com for $3.99.
  6. iZen Garden for iPad: chosen as one of the top 500 apps in the world by The Sunday Times of London and much beloved by its users.  Available at iTunes for $4.99.
  7. Relax and Rest: Guided Meditations: one user said “I have been using this app for almost a year now. It truly helps in reducing anxiety that I deal with. I think everyone should use this app once a day to stay relaxed. Or use the 24 minute program to put you right to sleep.”  Available from iTunes for just under a buck!

Okay, stress bunnies – try out these apps and let me know how you like them!  What other apps are you using to help yourself unwind? Let me know in the comments below.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

Anxiety and Fear: Strategies for Coping

Anxiety and Fear Strategies for Coping
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and iamharin

Anxiety and Fear: Strategies for Coping

If you are at the beginning of your breast cancer journey, no doubt you are no stranger to the feelings of anxiety and fear.  They can be overwhelming at times.

But please take heart.  A diagnosis of breast cancer is NOT a death sentence.  Over the past two decades, medical advances have helped revolutionize our understanding of and treatments for breast cancer.  The odds are in your favor!  Survival rates are considerably higher than they used to be in the 1950’s.

I lost both my mother and my grandmother to breast cancer and when I was diagnosed (in April 2004), I remember initially being completely floored when my doctor told me I had breast cancer.  I was so sure that lump I could feel in my left breast was going to be something fibrous and nothing to worry about.  I could not believe it!

I was determined to be the one woman in my family who didn’t get it and had been doing research for years, in an effort to understand it and shield myself from it.  So in a way, I had a leg up on others newly diagnosed – I had books and notes and research articles and all kinds of information – in effect, breast cancer was an enemy with whom I was very familiar.  I spent about four hours freaking out and then I rallied myself and had a stern talk with ME.

I’m very aware that many others don’t have the benefit of all that research and that’s why I’m so committed to this blog – because I want to reach out and help those who are going through this.  I’ve been down that road and I know how it feels.  It’s scary some days.  It’s darned uncomfortable on others.  But for me it was an amazing journey and so many good things have come from it.  I hope the same for you.

I wrote a blog a few days ago: 10 Anxiety Busters for Breast Cancer Patients – there are lots of recommendations in this article about how to cope with the attendant anxiety that a breast cancer diagnosis can bring.  So I won’t be discussing that today.

Fear of Dying

What’s on my mind today is the fear of death.  Let’s talk about that.  Psychiatrists say there are three anxieties with regard to death: fear of pain and suffering, fear of loneliness, and fear of the unknown. In a study done at McGill University, breast cancer patients with different coping styles were interviewed about their death-related fears. All patients had some anxiety about at least one aspect of death, but those who could not manage their emotions had the highest scores on all three anxieties.

I strongly suggest that you do your best to keep a cool head and get the facts from your doctors about your risk, your diagnosis, and your chances of survival.  Your survival rate is closely related to the stage of your cancer.  To better understand breast cancer staging, read this article from breastcancer.org (they have a marvelous on-line forum where you can post questions and get answers).  When you understand your diagnosis really well, this generally helps to keep fear under control.

Look your fear in the face.  Understand exactly what it is you are afraid of, get some answers for yourself.  This helps relieve the anxiety.

Don’t Be Shy About Getting Help

Cancer has a way of making you feel that you are no longer in control of your life or your body. Sometimes your breast cancer journey feels like a long line of traumatic shocks. First you get that bad news, and then sometimes you get more bad news. When you develop ways of coping with the ongoing challenges of breast cancer, you are more able to actively participate not only in your healing but in activities that are important to you like managing your schedule, your relationships, your treatments – it’s a lot to handle.  So don’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it.

Many breast cancer patients seem to cope well with the stress of diagnosis and treatment. But if you are younger than average at diagnosis, have a history of depression or anxiety, or are going through extensive treatments,  you may have more emotional distress and need some help.  Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask your doctor for a referral to a counselor or mental health professional.

Also be sure to ask about support groups in your area – you’d be surprised how just talking to some others going through the same thing can have a positive affect.  Support, medication and therapy are available to you and will help you get back to feeling yourself again (and maybe better!).

Take a Break from Cancertown

If your fears are getting you down, give yourself an emotional holiday.  Take some time away from everything.  Go somewhere quiet and just breathe.  It’s okay to have your feelings, including fear of death, but put yourself in charge of your cancer journey, and put fear in its place.  A favorite quote of mine:  Invite your fears in, then tell them to sit down and shut up!

Sending love and light to you in your healing journey.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor to help you through this.

10 Anxiety Busters for Breast Cancer Patients

10 Anxiety Busters for Breast Cancer Patients
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and imagerymajestic

Anxiety can be a pervasive and unwanted feeling when you have a cancer diagnosis.   Between worry about the disease itself and the side effects of the treatments (over 50% reported feelings of anxiety and depression while undergoing certain chemotherapy drugs), it can be a very trying time.

Fortunately, integrative medicine can offer many solutions, approaches and strategies for anxiety suffered by breast cancer patients.  I took advantage of most of these at one time or another during my breast cancer journey and they really did assist me with the anxiety I felt.

10 Anxiety Busters for Breast Cancer Patients

  1. Creating Healthier Beliefs – A cancer diagnosis can scare the heck out of you.  The problem with the word “cancer” is that all kinds of beliefs are attached to it.  Those beliefs can unconsciously drive our decisions, feelings, coping abilities, attitudes, life choices, and more.  I’m here to tell you that “cancer” does not mean “death”.  For me, cancer was actually a gift.  It forced me to create a healthier, happier lifestyle, to deal with stress and go forward into a life I really wanted and chose for myself.  Here’s an article I wrote that may assist: Newly Diagnosed – Dealing With Anxiety and Fear.
  2. Destress – Choose what works for you – special breathing, relaxation techniques, creative imagery, learn the benefits of meditation.
  3. Nutrition – It’s true that you are what you eat.  If you choose pre-packaged, soulless foods, it creates havoc in your body and you will feel the effects of that.  Eating organic, raw (whenever possible), fresh produce supports your wellness.
  4. Support Groups, Breast Cancer Forums, Spirituality Groups – This can be hard if you’re not a “joiner”.  But oh-so-wonderful if you can get past that.  A problem shared is a problem halved.  You will be supported by wonderful people who will help you deal with all of the emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis.  Research shows that women who join support groups have a much longer life expectancy.
  5. Essential Oils – Use a calming oil like Lavender (put it on your pillow at night) to help you relax and relieve anxious feelings.
  6. Sleep – A restful and deep sleep helps to restore balance.  Healthy adults need 7-8 hours of quality sleep nightly, so if you’re healing you might need more than that.  Trouble sleeping?  See Item 7.
  7. Bodywork – Massage, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch: try it all.  Bodywork is so fantastic for destressing, detoxifying, boosting your immune system.  I found it absolutely indispensable.
  8. Exercise and Movement – Daily exercise and movement practices reduce stress and provide many other health benefits to body, mind, and spirit.  Yoga is especially supportive if you’re too tired to walk or go to the gym.  On some days I really had to force myself to roll out my mat and start my practice, but once I did, I felt so much better.
  9. Detox Your Body – Traditional Chinese Medicine has some wonderful herbs to help you detoxify while you’re undergoing your cancer treatments.  If you’re too toxic that can certainly lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.  Herbs can also help with some of the associated chemo-constipation.  After you’re done with chemotherapy, that’s a wonderful time to get a series of colonics to further detoxify your body.
  10. Do What You Love – Now is the time to give yourself permission to shift your focus.  Move your attention into a lighter direction.  Do what brings you joy.

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

About Cancer and Emotions: Regret Lowers Your Immunity

 

About Cancer and Emotions Regret Lowers Your Immunity
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and graur razvan ionut

About Cancer and Emotions: Regret Lowers Your Immunity

The Huffington Post today added to our knowledge base about cancer and emotions and how interrelated they are.

According to a study done by Montreal’s Concordia University, the distressing feelings that come with experiencing regret can have a negative impact on your immune system.

Not too surprising!  For myself, prior to my breast cancer diagnosis, I was all too aware that I was under a super-abundance of stress and not handling it well at all.  Negative emotions like worry, fear, unremitting anger, an inability to forgive someone – quite simply, they are all toxic.

Experienced for long enough they can depress your immune system, the very thing you need to keep disease at bay or overcome it.

What to do about it?  Well, quite simply you have to do what works for you.  According to livescience.com, if you are able to get in touch with your emotions (name them), you can tame them, according to new research that covers the benefits of meditation and may help to discover why meditation works.

“Brain scans show that putting negative emotions into words calms the brain’s emotion center. That could explain meditation’s purported emotional benefits, because people who meditate often label their negative emotions in an effort to ‘let them go.’  Psychologists have long believed that people who talk about their feelings have more control over them, but they don’t know why it works.”

So you must do what works for you, whether it be talking with your psychiatrist, your best friend, or spending some time in reflective meditation.  Don’t know how to meditate?  Want some help?  I’ve created a downloadable how-to-meditate course specifically for cancer patients.

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Favorite Inspirational Quote #1

Cambodia (47)I’ve decided to start a new category, Favorite Inspirational Quotes.  They are not presented in any particular order or importance.  Just what resonates with me on this particular day, and I hope it will help you in some way too as you go through your journey with breast cancer.

From author Melody Beattie, in “The Language of Letting Go”:

“Often when we begin taking care of ourselves, family members will reverberate with overt and covert attempts to pull us back into the old system and roles.  We do not have to go.  Their attempts to pull us back are their issues.  Taking care of ourselves and becoming healthy and happy does not mean we do not love them.  It means we’re addressing our issues.  Our freedom starts when we politely, but assertively, hand their stuff back to them – where it belongs – and deal with our own issues.”

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.