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Intimacy plays role in breast cancer healing

By Antonia(NaturalNews) Intimacy, and not necessarily strictly of the romantic kind, can be the key to healing women with breast cancer. There's no doubt that living with breast cancer can be emotionally and physically taxing. Between the shock of the diagnosis, ongoing medical check-ups and changes in the body, the entire situation can create serious life challenges. The change can ultimately lead to depression. That of course, adds to an already frustrating time, compounding the difficulties.

That's where intimacy comes in.

Dr. Dean Ornish, clinical professor at UCSF and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute says ". . . anything that promotes intimacy is healing." Ornish, who is also an expert on combating illness with dietary and lifestyle changes, explains that intimacy comes in many forms. Sexual, yes. But it runs the gamut from friendships and volunteering to other acts of giving, a connectedness void of self-interest which Dr. Ornish says is healing because "once you stop trying to see the differences," we can be "free from our suffering and disease."

The role of intimacy for women with breast cancer

In fact, there's evidence of such healing. Dr. David Spiegel, a Stanford University professor conducted a study in which women with metastatic breast cancer were divided into two groups. For an hour and a half just once a week for the course of a year, one group met in a support group that encouraged positivity, emotional discussions and a loving atmosphere. It was determined that these women lived twice as long as women who had not participated in support groups of that nature. The findings fueled hope. However, the late 80s study, which was published in The Lancet, also fueled debate, leaving doubters to question the notion that simply connecting with others can play a role in helping heal those with breast cancer.

That's why other similar studies have been conducted in the wake of Spiegel's. Guess what? Even studies conducted several years later once again showed the power of intimacy to heal.

According to the American Psychological Association in 2002, Dr. Pamela Goodwin, a medical oncologist at the University of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital set out to replicate Spiegel's study. She says, "We were able to confirm clear evidence of psychological benefits in terms of mood and pain control, and those benefits were greatest in women who had psychological distress or poorly controlled pain at the time they entered the study." It very well could be that with mood and pain improvement comes the freeing of the mind to focus on, and realize, personal and spiritual transformations that can prolong life.

Flash forward to 2009. Char Maasen, a San Francisco Race for the Cure participant, says support groups helped her survive not one, but two, breast cancer diagnoses. At these groups, which were spiritually-focused, she says, ". . . instead of praying to kill the cancer cells, I asked them to pray for the cells to come into harmony with each other. I wanted to be sincere, and it felt better to pray with love than anger." The results from Maasen's most recent hospital visit which included another course of treatment? Doctors were stunned. There was absolutely no evidence of her cancer.

The power of forming positive connections is important, and in many instances life-changing, for women with breast cancer, or anyone in need of bringing healing in their lives.

Sources for this article include:

www.apa.org

www.examiner.com

www.ted.com

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/043729_intimacy_breast_cancer_positive_connections.html#ixzz2s6vqcUEH