• Heather Goodwin

Breathe, Think and Meditate Cancer Away!

Updated: May 19, 2020

I believe in science. And, I especially like it when smart scientists prove the unequivocal benefits of the lifestyle practices I choose for myself and that I teach my clients. Most recently, I was especially heartened with how some of those same smart scientists have now proven that our emotional state is directly linked to cancer proliferation. Yikes! That alone makes me want to take a spa day (not like I need an excuse for that wish, but that’s a different article). 

There’s actually a science called PsychoneuroImmunology (PNI), that is solely dedicated to the interaction between psychological processes, the nervous system and the immune system of the human body. PNI investigates how life stressors are associated with immune dysregulation and the subsequent growth of cancer tumors. They discovered this by specifically looking at the relationship between decreased lymphocytes (white blood cells) and NK (natural killer) cells and the occurrence of cancer. 

One particular study simply looked at 2nd year medical students and found that the production of interferon dramatically plummeted during final exams. Interferon is a signaling protein released in the presence of certain pathogens. It also helps grow the good NK cells. We want our interferon! I think we can all understand the biochemistry of stress effects from a med school final exam. When we know our career could be in jeopardy because of the test we are about to take, it makes sense that cortisol (the stress hormone) is released and shuts down our immune system. It’s a bit less easy to grasp that our thoughts and emotions can also contribute to cancer! However, we’ve all heard of or have known of an individual with cancer who has experienced a sudden shift in their remission rate simply by changing their outlook and beliefs around their illness.

So, what, in particular, does this science say we should do to arm ourselves against the perils of stress and thus, cancer? 

Practice 3 lifestyle habits: 

Breathwork. Reframe Your Thinking. Meditate.