by Mary Catherine Cochran
According to recent clinical studies, these aren’t just empty phrases, but a roadmap for patients making the transition to wellness. Studies show that Meditation, Breathing and Visualization are beneficial wellness tools and especially useful during this transition.
Bridget Hughes, M.Ac., L.Ac., an acupuncturist with Healing Point Acupuncture and Healing Artswho works with cancer patients at the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center, believes that the transition from illness to wellness is an often overlooked part of the cancer patient’s journey. “So often, once chemo and radiation are over, a patient is expected to ring the bell and get back to life as usual” says Hughes.
On July 18th, under the sponsorship of SOS (Survivors Offering Support), Hughes will offer a free seminar called: “Transitioning to Wellness of Body, Mind, and Spirit for Cancer Survivors.” “Participants will explore what it means to transition to wellness in the midst of changes that affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally” said Hughes. “We incorporate the tools of imagery, visualization, and meditation. Patients are often looking for guidance on how to take the next step into wellness and we assist them by examining ways to promote positive change and optimal ways of being.”
“I use examples from brain science to illustrate the electro-magnetic and bio-chemical basis for wellness. Meditation and positive feeling states engage our internal apothecary of ‘medicine.’ We don’t usually consider that our body has this ability to produce pain relievers, stimulants, relaxants, mood elevators, mood stabilizers, cold & flu remedies, etc. and that what we think and feel may impact that. More commonly when something bad happens we think about it over and over, relive it, and retell it—a ‘meditation’ of a different sort–which taps that internal apothecary for stress chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol.”
How does a patient make this switch?
Hughes teaches patients to access the feeling of a peak experience in our body- much like an elite athlete in training does- and to use that as a foundational focus for meditative practice. “Science shows that once we implement this type of practice, or even something as simple as a good daily belly laugh, there are physical changes in the brain, the immune system, and even in the DNA.”
“Wellness is a state of being that we create that spans living, and spans dying”
says Hughes. “Transition to Wellness of Body, Mind, and Spirit encourages participants to create a new definition of wellness. It is a defining way to find peace of mind and spirit in the presence of potentially significant change.”
Class Info: July 18th, 6-7:30 pm at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, Ellicott Mills Room. 10715 Charter Drive, Columbia. Free, no registration necessary.