Last updated on January 19th, 2020
What to do if you have cancer or any chronic illness. In fact, what everyone should do for optimum healing and well-being.
For most people it is shocking, frightening and bewildering to receive a cancer diagnosis. While many people still put their faith in the conventional medical system as the best approach, more and more are seeking alternatives for their healing and well-being.
The alternatives, however, are endless and everywhere practitioners are promoting their various miracle remedies and healing therapies. The internet is a minefield of confusing information and misinformation.
While modern medicine is great at dealing with trauma like wounds, broken bones and burns, and some acute infectious diseases; when it comes to chronic diseases at best it only manages symptoms and at worst it creates more problems, side-effects, new symptoms and even death from the drugs, radiation and surgery.
I am not anti-conventional medicine, and I think it is necessary in many cases, but it’s important to consider the alternatives before jumping in. Often an integrated approach, combining both conventional and natural, holistic medicine is needed, but if you are able to avoid harsh conventional treatments altogether, that is ideal.
To make it easier for you to negotiate the confusing and often conflicting information out there, I have put together a summary of what to do if you have cancer or some other chronic illness. Most of this also applies if you want to prevent cancer or you just want to have optimal health. I will be going into detail for each of these points later.
Twenty Steps to Healing and Well-being -- Body, Mind and Emotions
This list of twenty steps to healing and well-being gives a logical, comprehensive and systematic, holistic approach to healing the body and mind. It is my opinion and by no means the only or final answer, but it gives you a good overview of all the aspects to cover or at least consider for maximizing healing and well-being.
Steps 3--16 entail physical aspects of a healing lifestyle, while steps 1 and 17--20 cover the mental and emotional aspects of healing, which are equally as important for healing and well-being as the physical aspects, if not more so.
1. Don’t Panic!
This is easier said than done, but remember that in most cases cancer has taken many years to develop so don’t feel pressured to go straight into surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Doctors and hospitals tend to scare you and make you feel like a helpless victim.
Remember, cancer isn’t a death sentence, it is a symptom of something out of balance in the body. The fear and beliefs around cancer act like a ‘Nocebo’ effect (the opposite of Placebo) and like the Australian Aborigines who used to point a bone to curse someone to death, a doctor’s prognosis can have the same effect on a patient. It is especially strong because we are indoctrinated to believe that the doctors know best. In a state of fear many people just follow doctor’s orders rather than taking responsibility for their own health and well-being.
Stress has been shown to be very harmful and perhaps most disease is ultimately a result of stress. I believe this to be true if we take into account that some major sources of stress include unresolved emotional issues, past traumatic events and our negative perceptions and behaviour patterns.
So it is important to manage your stress, by doing activities that you enjoy, walking in nature, meditating, spending time with close friends, watching beautiful movies (not the ones with lots of violence and action) or whatever works best for you.
However, as always, our beliefs and perceptions affect the outcomes. If we believe that stress is bad for us then that amplifies the effect, whereas if we believe that some stress is healthy and good for you then stress will affect us less. That is the power of perception and belief.
What happens with people with chronic illness is that the stress about getting stressed can cause more damage than the original thing they are stressed about! It is easy to fall into the trap, as I did, of stressing about getting stressed, believing that it makes the cancer grow faster. That causes a self-perpetuating spiral of increasing stress — you are stressed because you are stressed because you are stressed.
Okay, so ‘Don’t Panic’ is rather a challenging place to begin for my first point you may say! A primary objective of this website is to introduce you to ways to deal with stress, through meditation, visualization, brainwave entrainment, emotional healing and other therapies.
2. Follow a Balanced, Complimentary Program for Holistic Healing.
Don’t go searching for a single magic bullet or miracle cure. Cancer, and many chronic illnesses have
multiple interwoven causes. Usually, one simple change to your life, like taking a certain supplement or herb will not cure the cancer.
While, many people claim to have been cured by all sorts of things — like baking soda, apricot kernels, Gerson therapy, the Budwig diet, cannabis oil and a hundred other things — most of these people were probably doing multiple other things at the same time.
Also, if they had complete faith and belief in their chosen ‘miracle cure’, then the power of that placebo effect alone would have played a huge part in their success. And sometimes you can be lucky to hit upon just what your body needs to tip the balance in the direction of healing.
I’m not saying that these ‘miracle cures’ never work, but that they only work for some of the people some of the time. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, but take a balanced, logical, holistic approach and make appropriate lifestyle changes. In other words, cover all bases and make sure all systems of your body and mind are functioning optimally.
However, taking a balanced approach doesn’t mean taking a shotgun approach of trying anything and everything. Your healing program should be structured, with each element being in harmony with all the others.
On your healing journey, consider yourself like an Olympic athlete in training. If you really want the cancer to disappear and to have optimal health and well-being, then love and pamper your body like a precious child. It’s the only one you’ve got (for the time being anyway)!
Watch this short video explaining how the best way to win the “War on Cancer” is through lifestyle and dietary changes. Whatever the medical industry claims, the data shows that for most cancers, little progress has been made in the war using the standard surgery, radiation and chemotherapy (‘cut, burn and poison’). There may be some situations when these things could be helpful, in the long run they generally don’t increase survival time or quality of life:
3. Cleanse the Intestines.
The colon is the single most important channel for toxins to get eliminated from the body and the small intestine must be clean and healthy for proper absorption of nutrients from your food.
There isn’t much use trying to detoxify the other organs until your colon is eliminating the toxins efficiently.
Also, remember that something like 80% or your immune system is based around the gut, and that gut health affects mental and emotional function and well-being.
4. Restore the Intestinal Flora.
Once the intestines are clean, the intestinal ‘flora’ community of beneficial bacteria must be restored using probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha and/or a high quality probiotic supplement, ideally with 50 billion or more bacteria of several different bacterial strains per dose.
More about probiotics later when I talk about the human microbiome.
5. Get High Quality Nutrition.
Good nutrition is one of the essential keys for healing and for most people there is huge room for improvement.
The modern diet is high in calories, chemical additives, sugar, high fructose corn syrup and trans-fats, and low in nutrients. As the saying goes, ‘Garbage in, garbage out.’ You can’t expect to build a healthy, disease-fighting body on the typical modern processed diet.
I’ve put this before detoxification, because the body actually needs nutrients and energy in order to be able to detoxify. There is a lot to talk about here, and there is no single diet that fits all, but in my opinion the essentials of all healthy anti-cancer diets are in summary (see my diet page for more details):
- Avoid highly refined and processed foods containing chemical additives and sugars.
- Avoid or reduce gluten-containing foods, especially refined wheat flour.
- Avoid or minimize dairy products.
- Reduce or eliminate animal products altogether.
- Eat a varied plant-based diet of predominantly organic vegetables and fruits, local and in season wherever possible and of all the colours of the rainbow.
- Include plenty of cancer-fighting herbs and spices in your diet.
- Replace simple carbohydrates with more complex carbohydrates and starchy vegetables.
- Keep fried foods out or keep them to a minimum.
- Go easy on the salt and eat more potassium-rich foods.
- Avoid foods that you have suspected intolerances to.
- Sit down, relax and chew your food thoroughly and mindfully.
- Avoid drinking large quantities of liquids during mealtime.
6. Drink Plenty of Clean Spring or Filtered Water.
The recommended intake is 8–10 glasses of water per day. Coffee, tea, soda and juices (except perhaps freshly cold-pressed vegetable juices) do hydrate to some degree, but they aren’t as healthy as pure water.
Make sure that you are getting enough minerals in your diet as drinking lots of water can flush minerals out of your body. Mineral-rich spring water, that is better than distilled or reverse osmosis water, which is devoid of minerals. Kelp is an excellent mineral source, but read more in the next point below. Avoid chlorinated and fluoridated tap-water.
Also, avoid drinking ice-cold water as it interferes with digestion and the body expends energy warming it up. Warm water is easier on the digestive system. In addition, you can add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice or apple cider vinegar.
7. Use Targeted, Quality Nutritional Supplementation.
I’ve divided supplementation into three equally important categories:
A. Essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
C. Cancer Fighting Herbs, essential oils and other treatments.
A. Supplement your Diet with Some Essential Vitamins, Minerals and Phytonutrients.
These days, even our fruits and vegetables are not as rich in nutrients as they were 100 years ago. Soils are deficient in certain nutrients, and most people don’t get enough skin exposure to the sun to make sufficient vitamin D.
Important supplements for most people include are vitamin D and B12, selenium, magnesium, iodine, zinc and omega 3 oils such as flaxseed or a high quality (heavy metal free) fish and/or krill oil.
Be careful not to take too many supplements, as they can overwhelm the digestive system, confuse the body and even support more cancer growth. Choose good quality brands as many of the cheaper supplements are worthless and may even be harmful, especially with all the extra fillers. Get as much nutrition as possible from your diet, not from supplements.
Kelp is one of the best mineral sources, particularly for iodine, iron, calcium and magnesium, with some zinc and selenium. However, it must be a quality brand, harvested from an area free of heavy metals and arsenic. You should also do an iodine skin test periodically to make sure you are not overdosing on iodine.
B. Take Proteolytic Enzymes Between Meals and Digestive Enzymes With Meals.
This is a key element in a cancer healing regime and often overlooked. I would put enzymes at the top of the list of supplements.
I take a digestive enzyme formula at the start of meals and systemic enzymes between meals. Systemic or proteolytic enzymes clean up the blood and help dissolve the protein coating on cancer cells that shields them from being seen by the immune system.
It doesn’t matter how healthy your immune system is, if it sees cancer cells as normal healthy body cells, then it is no use. As we get older we produce less enzymes, and digesting the modern diet of cooked food and lots of meat depletes our enzymes, leaving a deficiency of them for systemic maintenance in the rest of the body.
It is also important to take a good quality digestive enzyme formula at the start of each meal. This takes stress off the stomach and pancreas in digesting food and maximizes nutrient and energy extraction from the food.
C. Use Powerful Herbs and Other Treatments that Attack Cancer Cells.
Now that you have detoxified the body, got rid of parasites, eliminated harmful foods from your diet, given your body the quality nutrition and water that it needs and started to deal with some of the emotional root causes, you are ready to give your body that extra helping hand to fight the cancer.
Of course, you can apply most of the twenty points simultaneously, but you should always start with making sure your digestive system is healthy and that you have got rid of parasites, then you can start to rebuild the body from a more solid foundation.
I am going to discuss some cancer fighting treatments later and give links to sites where you can find more information on various treatments that I would recommend. Some of them include artemisinin, high dose IV vitamin C, curcumin, salvestrols, cannabis oil, the Budwig diet, DCA (Dichloroacetate), LDN (low dose Naltrexone) and the Kelly Metabolic Cancer Therapy.
Essential oils also have powerful healing and anti-cancer activity. Some of the best ones, also backed by research, include frankincense (my favourite), myrrh, lavender, Clary sage, lemongrass, thyme, rosemary and oregano.
8. Eliminate Parasites and Candida from the Body.
Parasites are ubiquitous and usually go unnoticed. If you have pets, as so many people do, you have to take extra care to avoid infection. It is important to eliminate parasites with herbal formulas so that they don’t tax the body and the immune system. They can also cause leaky gut, which is a serious aggravation for the digestive and immune systems.
9. Detoxify the Blood, Liver and Kidneys.
This includes liver/gallbladder and kidney flushes using herbal tonics, oral chelation of heavy metals, alkalising the body through proper diet, water and intermittent fasting.
10. Detoxify Through the Skin, the Largest Organ of the Body.
The skin constitutes an important bonus pathway for eliminating toxins from the body. There are several ways we can make use of this including, infra-red saunas, dry skin brushing, clay packs and baths and Himalayan salt baths. Near Infra-red saunas have many benefits besides detoxification, including stimulation of mitochondria, the energy factories of cells.
11. Reduce Your Exposure to Environmental Toxins and EMFs.
One of the most important things to do is to get rid of your toxic soaps, shampoos, skin care products, cosmetics, household cleaners, pesticides, air fresheners, BPA plastic containers, Teflon-coated cookware, fire-retardant impregnated pillows and mattresses, new carpets that emit formaldehyde and the list goes on.
We live in a sea of toxins; we breath them in, drink them, eat them, we even coat our skins in them and absorb kilograms of toxins every year through our skin.
It would be too difficult and costly to get rid of all the toxic things in our house in one go, but at least dispose of your toxic skin care and cleaning products as soon as possible and replace them with natural, plant-based ones.
The other source of toxicity in our homes and offices are ‘dirty’ EMFs. Keep your cellphones well away from your body, not in your pocket, and turn them off or to flight mode at night when you are sleeping.
Turn off your WiFi router at night and when not in use, have it in an area as far away as possible from where you spend most of your time, or better still use an Ethernet cable connection instead if you can. And please, get rid of your microwave oven.
12. Clean Up Your Mouth.
Mercury is one of the most toxic substances known to man and dental amalgams contain 50% mercury. It is a powerful neurotoxin, which poisons not only ourselves, but the mercury from amalgams ends up in our environment.
If you have mercury amalgams, consider having them replaced with an alternative such as composite, ceramic (though nothing is completely non-toxic) or gold (though having any kind of metal in the mouth isn’t ideal).
However, this must be done by a holistic or ‘biological’ dentist who will do it in the safest possible way, and you must do intensive chelation therapy before, during and after the replacement.
If you have a lot of fillings, then replace the fillings in stages. It is also better to do this when you are in a relatively healthy state, not if you are quite sick or weak.
Root canals are a source of harmful toxic chemicals produced by anaerobic bacteria, which colonise what is basically a dead tooth. These should be extracted and the bone underneath properly cleaned out to remove the infected bone tissue (cavitations).
Finally, keep up good daily oral hygiene to minimize harmful bacteria in your mouth. Most people brush, but it important to floss as well to prevent a build-up of toxin-producing bacteria under your gums.
A good alternative or addition to flossing is to use a ‘Water Pik’ water flosser or something similar.
It is also important to clean your tongue with a metal tongue scraper (according to Indian Ayurvedic medicine, copper is best) as soon as you get up every morning to remove the bacteria, fungi and dead cells from your tongue.
13. Use Oxygenation Therapies and Practice Full Deep Breathing.
Oxygenation therapies include hyperbaric oxygen chambers and Exercise With Oxygen Therapy (EWOT). Full deep breathing means breathing from the diaphragm in yogic style. I also highly recommend practicing Transformational Breath or Rebirthing, which thoroughly oxygenate the body as well as releasing pent up emotions and healing past traumas.
Also, if you have the energy, once or twice daily moderate aerobic exercise is one of the most beneficial of all lifestyle practices for healing (see step 14 below and the exercise page here) and include some sessions with EWOT if you can. If you are not in a condition to do aerobic exercise, then just practice the forms of deep breathing mentioned above.
Learn to breathe properly from the diaphragm, filling the whole chest as in yogic breathing. Most people breathe shallowly only into the upper chest, using only 25% of their lung capacity or less and so the body suffers from a chronic under-supply of oxygen. Our breathing tends to be the shallowest when we are stressed and tense or are in pain. You’ve probably noticed how taking a few long, slow, deep breaths relaxes you. Proper full breathing not only properly oxygenates the body’s tissues, it also massages the internal organs and helps the pump the lymphatic system.
We all know that air and water are the two most important things needed to stay alive in the short-term. I believe the chronic deficit of these two essential elements that most people suffer from is also the cause of so much poor health.
14. Keep Up Regular, Moderate Exercise.
It is well-known these days that regular exercise is essential for good health. We were never sedentary creatures until relatively recent times and our bodies are not built to be sitting all day. Studies suggest that sitting for six or more hours a day is as bad for your health as smoking.
Three keys are to make it regular, moderate and fun. Whatever condition you are in, try to do whatever is within your capacity, even if that is just walking around the room a few times. If you have a sedentary job, get up every half hour to walk around and have a stretch, or use a standing desk. If possible, aim to do 30-45 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise morning and evening. You can read more details and recommendations on my exercise page.
15. Enjoy More Earthing and Sunshine.
Until relatively recent times in human history we lived out in nature, going barefoot on the Earth and getting lots of exercise out in the fresh air and sunshine.
It makes sense that these things are good for us and that cutting ourselves off from them leads to illness. Get your shoes off, walk on a sandy beach or on grass and soak up those healing electrons from the Earth, the ultimate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Also, expose more skin to the sun, but of course be careful not to burn. It is better to expose more surface area for a shorter time, than a small surface area for a long time. That way you will make enough vitamin D, which is very important for cancer prevention and healthy bones, while avoiding skin damage.
Sunshine also triggers the release of serotonin, the happiness hormone — most of us feel happier on sunny days than rainy days — and happiness itself is very healing!
Most sunscreen lotions are toxic and you absorb these toxins through your skin. So using too much sunscreen not only stops your skin from making vitamin D, it also adds to your body’s burden of toxins. Buy a healthy sunscreen instead – I will be reviewing and recommending some later.
16. Get Enough Quality Sleep, Rest and Relaxation, and Reduce Stress.
Sleep is a wonderful healer, so make sure you are getting to bed early and sleeping well. If you have a job or lifestyle that stresses you out or keeps you up late at night, seriously consider quitting your job if you can, or make lifestyle changes to achieve a better sleep routine for healing.
When it comes to cancer, my motto is ‘It is better to be alive and poor than dead and rich!’
If you feel tired or exhausted, take a break, rest more. Lying down in the grass staring at the sky is very therapeutic and you get the added benefits of Earthing your body and obtaining some probiotic bacteria for your microbiome health.
17. Practice Emotional Healing Techniques, Forgiveness and Gratitude.
This is a fundamental part of the healing process; to me equally as important as good nutrition, sleep and exercise.
Many believe that emotional traumas and pain from the past are the primary causes for most chronic illness. I believe that it is a combination of factors, so that if we are emotionally healthy, then we can, for example, endure a poor diet and lack of exercise and not get sick. But when several negative factors line up illness eventually manifests in the body.
Some emotional healing modalities that I will be discussing include, The Journey, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping, ‘mBit’, Transformational Breathing or Rebirthing, Network Spinal Analysis and The Work.
18. Practice Daily Meditation, Creative Visualizations and Positive Affirmations or Prayer.
If we could really do this part effectively, then there would be less need for everything else on this list, but I recommend covering all other bases as well.
You can start with just five minutes of meditation a day and form a ‘microhabit’, in other words a small easy habit to form, rather than aiming for a harder goal like an hour a day. Then you are much more likely to stick to it.
Even five minutes of meditation a day is beneficial if you really make it a special time for yourself that you look forward to. Research shows that, without realizing it, you will be reshaping the very structure of your brain towards greater well-being.
At the end of your meditation do a short healing visualization for a minute or two. Imagine a white healing light flooding your body from the top of your head all the way down, or warm golden light emanating out from the centre of your chest to every part of your body, or little laser beams shooting up all the cancer cells into puffs of smoke. Choose a visualization that resonates with you.
19. Pursue Your Purpose, Passion and Creativity.
It is really important to have a sense of purpose and direction in life. There are so many cases of ill people who hang on just long enough for an important family event and then pass away soon afterwards. Lack of purpose and direction also leads to feelings of depression and boredom, while are detrimental to health.
If you are unsure of your purpose or passions, try a new hobby or learn something new, that you have always wanted to do and haven got around to. Maybe that involves travelling somewhere new that inspires you, whether overseas or in your own country.
People who have a strong spiritual or religious belief or faith generally have longer-term survival and better chances of recovery from chronic illnesses. Such a faith gives purpose and direction as well as the strong power of belief and prayer for healing. If you don’t have any religious faith or spiritual practice, find a meditation technique that you like and combine that with healing visualizations and affirmations.
Being creative is also a great source of healing. Play a musical instrument, sing, write, paint, sketch, knit, do photography, design something, take cooking classes, teach, do whatever creative art calls your attention.
20. Nurture Good Loving Relationships with Family, Friends and Pets.
A 75+ year study has shown that the longest lived, healthiest, happiest people are those in long term, stable, loving relationships. Whereas social isolation is detrimental to health. We are social creatures and we need that connection to feel happiest, most satisfied and fulfilled. On the other hand, unhealthy, toxic relationships can be worse for health than being alone.
You can see the TED talk on relationships, health and happiness here:
While it’s not necessarily easy to find a stable, long term, loving relationship, there are easier substitutes. Nurture your relationships with close friends and go out and get involved in clubs and groups based on your interests and hobbies. Pets also make great companions and in many cases people seem to feel more love and appreciation for their pets than their spouses!