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Immunity and Inflammation

Immunity and Inflammation

Immunity is key and inflammation is more so the catalyst in driving the immune system into a right or wrong direction. Inflammation is simple, any stress related injury in the body causes inflammation and while certain levels of inflammation is actually good for the body, prolonged inflammation is not. Acute inflammation happens almost immediately and is present in order to heal, however prolonged or chronic inflammation is present for a long period of time, which can ultimately result into a chronic illness. When a certain area of the body is stressed for a long time and hence inflammation is also present persistently as well, there is a high probability the cells are going to mutate and cause some disturbance or disruption to that area. This can happen with cancer and does happen very often. Creating an anti-inflammatory environment with a strong immune system is key and the 3 major components of achieving this is through food, movement and the mind.

These 3 components are also the bases for an integrated and complementary approach to healing and are highlighted below:

Healing Through Food

  • The power of nutrition

Nutrition is one such component that directly affects your physical and mental wellbeing by being a vital contributor in strengthening or weakening your immune system. There is no escaping the fact that there are certain types of foods that are good for us and some that are bad. Highly acidic processed foods/diets do create inflammation, which depletes our immunity, however nutrient rich alkaline foods/diets do the opposite. Considering the fact that there has been so much speculation on the various kinds of “good and bad” foods, CARER solves that problem by addressing the relevant topic through the program.

Healing Through Movement

  • Exercise and Movement

One of the most common side effects of undergoing conventional treatment is fatigue and the efficient way to fight fatigue is movement. Movement releases endorphins, which then stimulates energy levels within the body. Keeping in mind the body should not be pushed beyond capacity.

A balanced exercise regimen which includes cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training during recovery and post treatment is vital and maintains a healthy heart, body fat, lean muscle mass, increased range of motion in various joints, strong immune and hormonal balances. It is however important to recognize the do’s and don’ts as far as exercise regimes are concerned.

Some great physical activities include:

  • Yoga therapy
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Tai Chi

Cancer not only affects the body physically but also has strong implications on a mental and emotional level. Low motivation, acceptance and an overall depletion towards one’s self-esteem are common traits. It is imperative to first recognize and accept these emotional feelings and mental constraints, after which then refocusing on the goal of getting fitter and stronger. Many cancer survivors have reached greater levels of physical and mental strength than before their cancer diagnosis.

Healing Through Mind-Body

We often forget or ignore the power of the mind. The mind being intangible, it is human nature for us to ignore the importance of it because we believe we cannot measure or quantify the impact it has on the body and consequently on us. This is not true, we most definitely can measure or observe the physical implications the mind has on the body and our biological functioning. There is strong evidence supporting this concept.

So how does this work? How does your mind play a big role in making you more susceptible to an illness or instead giving you physical strength to fight and recover from an illness? It all goes back to immunity and chronic inflammation. In times of chronic stress/anxiety/mental disturbance, there is an excessive amount of cortisol released into the body (stress hormone). Cortisol is not good for inflammation and in fact excessive doses of it aggravates inflammation, which then again affects the immune system. This is a physiological affect that your mind has on your body and in turn your health. Your mind most definitely plays an imperative role in keeping you healthy or recovering strong. Mind-body practices focus on coping and controlling the mind and managing stress. It is extremely beneficial in your recovery.

Some powerful mind-body therapies include:

  • Meditation
  • Pranayam
  • Yoga
  • Massage
  • Hypnosis
  • Music Therapy
  • Art Therapy

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