Tips for seeking complementary therapy providers in your hometown

complementary therapy providersYou’re curious about art therapy, but you live too far away from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center to try a session. Or maybe that group session of guided imagery just won’t fit into your schedule. That’s why we’ve put together tips for finding complementary therapy providers in your hometown.

Complementary therapies — such as art therapy or massage therapy — have been shown to be beneficial to people with cancer. The Society of Integrative Oncology published a report several years ago stating that “Mind-body modalities are recommended as part of a multidisciplinary approach to reduce anxiety, mood disturbance, (and) chronic pain and (to) improve quality of life.” And last week, in newly published guidelines from the Society for Integrative Oncology, researchers at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, together with colleagues from leading institutions across the country, analyzed which integrative treatments appear to be most effective and safe for patients with breast cancer.

“Complementary therapies can be a powerful tool in helping to maintain a sense of wellbeing during cancer treatment,” said Continue reading

Simple stress-reducing techniques

Find the technique that fits your lifestyle

When you’re able to identify the situations that trigger stress in your life, you can learn techniques for PhysicalTechniquesBlog1.fwdealing with those situations more effectively. If not dealt with in a healthy way, stress can lead to a weakened immune system, loss of sleep, increased heart rate, high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

With the right stress-reducing techniques, you’ll not only be able to manage the harmful effects of stress on your mind and body, you’ll also be saving your energy for things that are more positive and productive in your life.

Remember, controlling stress is a lifelong process. Learning what triggers your stress is an important first step, along with recognizing that some stressors cannot be controlled or changed no matter how much you worry about them. The key is to incorporate relaxation techniques for managing stress and its effects on your body. Here are some to get you started:

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Guided imagery engages the senses to cope with cancer

Guided imageryKris Snow grew up skiing in the mountains of Utah and associates them with fond memories, peace and spirituality. With her entire family still living out West, being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2011 after moving to Michigan left her feeling even farther away from the people and place she loved. Jennifer Griggs, M.D., and other members of her care team referred her to Claire Casselman and the Guided Imagery Program to learn more ways to use her imagination to cope with stressors associated with her cancer. Continue reading

Discover the Comforting Power of Touch

Guided imagery helps you soothe yourself during difficult times

When you are feeling anxious or disquieted, one of the quickest methods to feel better is to touch something soothing. There’s a reason people have been attracted to “worry stones.” The tactile sensation of rubbing something smooth is comforting. We have a physiological response to touching an object that is soft or even or polished. That response results in an “ahhhh” sensation that is comforting or quieting. Think about pulling out your winter fleece or perhaps recalling your “blankie” when you were quite young.

This is a good  strategy: carry a small, comforting object in your pocket on days when you’re feeling anxious or when you anticipate being anxious. It’s a quick, easy way to regain some sense of comfort and control – and no one needs to know you are in contact with a soothing, strengthening object.

This video can give you even more ideas about the comforting power of touch. Let us know your experience and what you discover.

Continue learning how guided imagery can help you reclaim your power:

Reclaiming Your Power When Stressed (introduction)

Using Imagination

Using Movement

Soothing Your Inner Voice

Soothing Your Inner Voice

Guided Imagery helps quiet negative thoughts

“Don’t be such a baby!”

“Quit worrying!”

“Stop it!”

“Just relax!”

When we sense ourselves becoming distractingly anxious or fearful, our internal voice can escalate its efforts to reign in our feelings or change our behavior. It’s often in a tone and intensity that is anything but kind, caring or that inspires self-comfort. Some of us refer to this inner commentator as an “inner critic” or an “inner tyrant.” That voice takes its job very seriously: to help us feel safe or be successful or to hold ourselves together through a difficult time. And as earnest as we are, such negative or “loud” self-talk is rarely effective for helping us “bump it down a notch.”

In this video, you will get suggestions about how to soothe the frightened inner critic and allow some self-acceptance and breathing space.

See if you can let you caring and wise inner voice have some “air time.” Let us know how these work for you.

Continue learning how guided imagery can help you reclaim your power:

Reclaiming Your Power When Stressed (introduction)

Using Imagination

Using Movement

Discover the Comforting Power of Touch

Reclaiming Your Power When Stressed: Using Imagination

How guided imagery can help during stressful times

Your imagination is a powerful tool!

It can transport you into moments of pleasure or moments of pain. It can help you picture your hopes, dreams and even your worries and fears.

Maybe you’ve noticed that where your mind goes your body follows.

Imagine a busy day when you are running late, you can’t find your keys; the dog got out and isn’t responding to your pleas to “come;” you’re expected at your destination in 10 minutes and you know you have at least a 30-minute drive to get there; and your phone keeps ringing…just picturing this scenario is enough to make some of us tense with shallow breathing, increased heart rate, maybe with a clenched jaw or a sense of restless irritation. There’s a physical reaction to the picture created in our mind.

On the other hand, if you imagine yourself in a lovely, safe, responsibility-free, relaxing place or situation you know that your body will follow with an “ahhhh” response. Tension melts, breathing eases and the heart rate may slightly decrease.
And perhaps you’re already aware that when one’s life is affected by cancer, one’s imagination, one’s senses are frequently “on alert.” Sensations can generate all sorts of images in our mind – often worrisome.

In this video in our series, “Reclaiming Your Power When Stressed.” You’ll find some suggestions for harnessing the power of your imagination.

You will be learn that partnering with one’s imagination in a positive, helpful, powerful way you can picture something going poorly, you can picture it going well. You have the ability to guide and use your imagination as a strong ally when it comes to mastering fear and feeling in control.

Watch and tell us what you think or if you have questions.

Continue learning how guided imagery can help you reclaim your power:

Reclaiming Your Power When Stressed (introduction)

Using Movement

Soothing Your Inner Voice

Discover the Comforting Power of Touch