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Use Your 6th Sense to Heal Yourself

Aug 17, 2007
I recently presented a Biofeedback seminar to breast cancer survivors and their loved ones. Biofeedback is a complementary treatment method that may be used in conjunction with other cancer treatment regimes. It teaches a person to control their own heart rate and body temperature and to reduce the level of muscle tension in the body.

Why would you want to learn to do this? When a person has high blood pressure, cold hands or feet, and has knots of tension throughout her body, she is in a state of stress. If high levels of stress continue, she puts herself at risk of developing a variety of health problems. These include bowel disturbances, migraine headaches, stomach and other digestive problems, and a comprised immune system. When a person's immune system is compromised, it is also vulnerable to all types of disease and viral infections.

Many of us do not realize how much control we actually have over our bodies and minds. That is exciting news because we can essentially inoculate ourselves against stress with good health and balance. By teaching our bodies to be our friends, we can have healthy, strong immune systems.

How do we fit these stress management practices into our already busy lives? Some people do these things in their everyday routines when they exercise, do yoga or relax using music, art, meditation or some combination. Each of us feels the effects of stress in our body in a specific way, and each of us can find ways to relax that fit our personalities. Keep trying until you find what works for you.

Each of us also has a special ability to use our 6th sense to know what is in our future. This sense lets you know about an event before it happens. Have you ever heard the phone ring and know who is calling? Have you thought of someone you have not seen in some time and poof, they appear right in front of you? People who have cultivated this skill have been known to predict the future, either for themselves or--more often--for someone else.

Biofeedback and other methods of relaxation help us tune into ourselves, to others and the world around us. Biofeedback provides a physical measure for the biological, environmental, physical and emotional stress a body system is carrying. One method measures finger temperature; the lower the temperature, the more stress the body is holding. The average finger temperature is 85 degrees F. The majority of highly stressed people (which includes many people with a chronic medical condition) have a finger temperature in the 70s.

Biofeedback's goal is to raise the finger temperature to 96 degrees F, which indicates the body has returned to a normal balance. This coordination of the heart and blood vessels sends the self-healing qualities of the blood supply toward painful or ill parts of the body.

Another type of biofeedback uses various monitoring devices to help you learn to gain control of bodily functions. Instruments measure a woman's breathing, perspiration, skin temperature, blood pressure, and heartbeat and display the results on a screen. This feedback helps you identify the sensation and thought that give you maximum control over these functions. Over time, you really can learn to place "mind over matter."

Biofeedback has been used successfully to treat ordinary daily stress; post-traumatic stress syndrome in soldiers returning from Iraq; migraine and tension headaches; urinary incontinence; depression and more. This is a practical technique most people can learn that will help them understand their stress response and teach them to identify how stress affects them. The relaxation techniques calm the body and returns it to a balanced, homeostatic, relaxed condition.

You can learn to reduce or speed up your heart rate and change the temperature in your hands and feet, so certainly you can become sensitive to your surroundings. By paying attention, you can perceive what is good for you and what may be making you sick or blue. This week, spend some time noticing your body, how it feels, when it feels good and when it does not. Investigate what is working and making you happy and healthy.

Any activity that calms and integrates the body, mind, and spirit will raise finger temperature and balance physiological processes. Relaxation, meditation, prayer, yoga, exercise, massage and biofeedback can all be effective. The key is finding time in a busy schedule for self-nurturing activities.

Only one person really knows you well and can make the best decisions about your emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological health. "Who," you ask, can be so wise and knowing? You, yourself. You are truly a remarkable creature with a vast capacity for self-knowledge. Use your 6th sense this week to see your path to a bright and happy future.
About the Author
Clinical psychologist Nancy D. O'Reilly, PsyD, has worked with women for more than 25 years and has researched women's aging for more than a decade. She founded the WomenSpeak Project so women could support each other in the experience of growing older in a society that does not reward aging. Visit WomenSpeak.com for ongoing research, an E-zine, and resources about Health and Wellness, Relationships, Finances and Aging itself.
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