Why did this happen to me? What can I do to make it better? How can I stop the Cancer from spreading? These are a few unanswered questions that are likely to cross a Cancer patient’s mind when diagnosed with the deadly disease.
Cancer patients during their treatment face several physical and emotional challenges. The pain induced by chemotherapy weakens them to an extent where they refuse to move from the bed. In such times people take up different hobbies to keep themselves distracted. Passive Yoga can be one such refuge.
Passive yoga follows the yogic method of visualisation. It is performed only in the mind, without any movement of the body. Studies have shown that it helps patients deal with stress and fatigue. There are different Yoga techniques but Yoga nidra is said to be most effective.
Yoga nidra relieves a person from pain and speeds up the healing process. It also helps the body to recover from ailments such as depression, stress, high blood pressure, allergies, asthma and even cancer. The power of the mind to influence the body is quite remarkable. Although it is not always curative, visualisation can be helpful in 90 per cent of the problems.
Communicating with our organs
Images need not only be visual, they can also be sound, taste, smell, or a combination of sensations. For example, think that you are going to taste a fresh lemon. You have cut the lemon into two pieces and are squeezing one into your mouth. By this time you might have begun to salivate. So, simply by imagination and visualisation, you have begun to salivate. Your thoughts directly influence the way you feel and behave.
Your imagination can greatly help you combat stress, tension, and anxiety. The technique is not difficult to master, and you can try visualising two or three times a day. Most people find it easy to do it in bed in the morning and at night before falling asleep. With time and practice you’ll be able to visualise whenever and wherever the need arises. A few minutes each day of visualisation can relax your mind and body.
How effective is it?
Imagery has been found to be very effective for the treatment of stress. It releases brain chemicals, i.e. endorphins, which act as your body’s healing power, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety levels. By and large, it relaxes the body and mind. Doctors specialising in imagery often recommend it for stress related conditions such as headaches, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and also for cancer patients.
Learning the basics of visualisation
The severity of your ailment decides how much time it will take for you to start seeing results. For example, a person with a sprained ankle may get pain relief in just one five-minute imagery session. On the other hand, it may take several weeks for a person with severe burns to notice any significant pain reduction. A person with a chronic ailment will take a lot more time to notice any change. It is helpful to practice imagery for 15 to 20 minutes initially so that you learn to do it properly, and as you become more comfortable with the technique, you’ll be able to do it whenever you need to.
Step by step imagery
Studies have revealed that imagery is most effective when it is used along with a relaxation technique like meditation, progressive relaxation or yoga. When your physical body is in a relaxed state, you don’t need to be in such conscious control of your mind, and you can allow it to daydream.
You can choose to dim the lights according to your preference, and close your eyes. As you take in a few deep breaths, you will notice that you feel more and more relaxed. When you feel relaxed, imagine your favourite scene such as a mountain slope, a beach, or a significant moment with friends or family. Try to go into this scene each time you practise your imagery. If you can create a special, safe place where nothing can hurt you and you feel secure, it will make you more receptive to your thoughts. Once you feel comfortable in this scene, gradually direct your mind towards the ailment you are concerned about. You can use one of the images; if several images come to mind, choose one and stick with it for that session. On the other hand, if no images come to mind, try focusing on a different sensation. For instance, listening to the sound of nature or any sound that is happening around you, looking with your closed eyes at anything that comes in front of you, and feeling or touching anything.
Each time you do this, imagine that you are completely cured of your ailment at the end of the session. Then take a few more deep breaths and feel yourself completely fit and healthy, and become aware of your surroundings. Open your eyes, stretch, smile and enjoy your day!