Modern medicine attributes the development of cancer to changes in DNA that reduce or eliminate the normal controls over cellular growth and programmed cell death. Western research supports the idea that depression can impair immune system function, which is the first line of defense against cancer.
However, rarely has emotional stress been considered particularly relevant to the cancer process by conventional medicine. While Western medicine may not recognize it, the idea that emotional distress can contribute to the development of cancer has been known since ancient times in China. And this is what my acupuncturist and even gynecologist have been telling me – to control my emotions for the betterment of my health and to stave off cancer. My gynecologist always tells me that the majority of her patients diagnosed with cancer had been subjected to prolonged undue stress in their life (both from work and an unhappy life and emotionally broken).
The Traditional Chinese medical view of cancer etiology (etiology means cause), which evolved over many centuries, acknowledges the impact of genetic alterations and environmental toxins as contributors to the disease. However, TCM understands that while there are many reasons for cancer, one of the main causes is emotions.
TCM points to emotional contributions to the development of cancer. In particular, it considers depression (as in repressed anger), grief (usually because of death of a loved one), and anxiety (worry and fearfulness, and excess circular thinking − lots of ideas hanging around) to be major contributing factors.
TCM attributes this to stagnated energy. If the stagnation continues, it may eventually present itself as a tumor or some other type of excessive cellular activity. The belief has been that the human body is susceptible to cancer when under emotional stress or disturbance.
My acupuncturist has taught me a way to unblock stagnated energy in my body, which is to massage my chest (between the breasts) with my thumb in an upward and downward motion. This may be very painful if you have a lot of stagnated energy / negative emotions within but as you continue to massage for several days, the pain will eventually subside. She also taught me the right way of massaging my breasts to prevent lumps and cysts.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) considers that all internal or chronic diseases are caused by the seven major emotions − anger, shock, joy, fear, brooding, anxiety, and sorrow.
I know of someone who has no worries in her life (in my view). She does not need to work all her life as her late millionaire father had left behind a fortune for her. She’s single and has no stress of raising a family. Now in her early 70s, she has absolutely no issue with her health and hardly ever falls ill – not even a flu or a sneeze. She’s always very happy, is globe-trotting all her life and enjoying every bit of her life.
A 2016 Chinese study found that psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, and depression can be considered predictors of breast cancer risk.
When we are under stress, our stressed-out brains send signals to our adrenal glands to produce stress hormones. In turn, these stress hormones trigger cancerous activity such as the production of free radicals (DNA damage), inflammation, impaired cancer cell death, and stimulation of growth factors that can promote tumor cell growth. Once a tumor has formed, emotional stress then contributes to the progression of the disease.
While toxic emotions do not actually change our genes, they do set off a surge of cellular changes resulting in cancer. Continued degradation of the epigenetic structure of our genes leads to impaired immunity and increased susceptibility to cellular mutation.
In other words, while our DNA is locked in at conception, emotional factors can precipitate a chemical reaction within our body that can permanently alter the way our genes react.
Given that it is quite clear that emotional distress can contribute to the development of diseases such as cancer, it is important to reduce its adverse impacts on health. It is not always easy to manage our anger, but it is important to find constructive outlets for it. Talk to someone, do an activity that brings you joy and if you’re in a toxic relationship, try to get out of it.
Learning to control emotional stress is clearly important for the prevention of cancer as well as the progression of the disease.
This post also serves as a reminder to myself that I have to learn to let go and unlock all the negative pent up emotions within me!
The hubs has not been having lunch with us on Sunday for almost a month and this Sunday he wants to bring us all to Pavillion for lunch and shopping! Revising for exam can take a breather.
Have a happy weekend peeps!
Some of the excerpts here are extracted from TheTruthAboutCancer.com
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