With over are two million cancer survivors in the UK but an estimated 1.6 million not physically active enough, breast cancer survivor Tessa Guy has launched In Mind In Body to help cancer sufferers fight cancer through guided visualisations and exercise and is uniquely supported by a number of top athletes including Steve Backley and Sally Gunnell.
Whilst many cancer sufferers are encouraged to just ‘rest up’ rather than undertake physical activity during treatment when possible, Guy says: “We know from the ‘Move More,’ Macmillan study that physical activity is a wonder drug that could help people overcome the disease. Cancer sufferers have to help themselves to be more active, and to recognise the importance of the power of the mind and the impact it has on healing.
“In addition on average we produce over 70,000 thoughts a day, but shockingly, 70% of those thoughts are negative. Every thought that passes through our brain has a knock on effect on our physical and mental wellbeing, but positive thinking can play a crucial role in influencing self-healing. Together guided visualisations and gentle exercise has been proven to reduce depression, fear, pain, enhance the immune system and the response to healing.
“Into my 4th chemotherapy treatment, with no hair, minus a breast, lacking a number of my toe and finger nails, a boil on my head, a septic hickman line in my chest and aching from limb to limb, I chose to believe I could create a brighter future, not only for myself but for others too. I decided to make it my goal to spread the word that using our minds and exercises are two powerful ways to fight cancer. Changing the way we think combined with some gentle physical activity can make all the difference.”
It has been proven that sports men and women globally have successfully used visualisation to boost their performance, but it is still relatively unknown for people living with cancer to include guided visualisation into their treatment programme. When used correctly, this empowering tool can guide the mind and body to relax in situations of stress and discomfort and to activate one’s own innate healing powers. In Mind In Body is uniquely supported by a number of top athletes who use visualisation. Former world number one golfer Luke Donald MBE said: “Plant that visual image in your mind and it becomes a lot easier for your body to actually do it” and Olympic medallist Steve Backley says: “The great thingabout visualisation is anyone can do it.”
In a bid to help as many cancer sufferers as possible, Guy is aiming to provide every cancer ward in the UK with two MP3 players through the Foundation which has been set up as part of In Mind in Body. In Mind In Body has introduced a members only ‘Virtual Wellness Club’ for people wishing to gain access to additional programmes as well as useful tips and blog posts from leading nutritionists, healthcare workers, personal trainers and psychologists – at a one off fee of £19.95 for membership.
In Mind In Body already has 27 MP3s ranging from visualisations about swimming to jogging to welcoming wellness and this month is launching a new MP3 based on a visualisation about the cycle for life.
Neuroscientist and cognitive psychologist Dr Lynda Shaw says: “Visualising a better future and enjoying deep relaxation have a very powerful effect on the brain. There is a lot of scientific evidence that supports the effects that visual images have on the brain. For instance, when we imagine moving our little finger, the same brain regions are activated when we actually move our little finger. Visualisation helps us to relax and change our emotions. This in turn helps us cope with serious illness”.
Guy agrees and says: “We need to help our minds to help our bodies. In Mind in Body aims to bring hope, support and positivity at an incredibly testing time for cancer sufferers physically and emotionally. The wonderful thing about the visualisations is they cover a multitude of subject areas from swimming to fishing. They are immediate and you feel the benefits of being relaxed straightaway. People going through treatment often hate to travel but the MP3s can be listened to in your own home when you need them and enable cancer sufferers to have a key and active role in their healing journey.