Prescription: Turn that frown upside-down


Researchers are now saying that some of women’s greatest health challenges can be remedied with one thing: happiness. Simple enough, right?

A team of researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, questioned 255 women with breast cancer about their well-being and their levels of happiness, optimism, anxiety and depression before they were diagnosed. They studied them against 367 healthy control subjects. The study, published in the journal BMC Cancer, concluded that those with a positive outlook on life were better protected against the disease.

This comes on the heels of another recent study published in the British Medical Journal that certain common infertility treatments don’t work. Some doctors suggested couples would be far better off taking therapeutic measures…to stay positive.

I have no doubt that a person’s mental state can have serious implications for her health. It just makes for a tricky course of treatment. Telling a woman that her anxiety and depression are making her infertile and cancer-prone is like telling a grieving person that all that darn grieving is prolonging their grief.


Prescription: Turn that frown upside-down

  1. Is that anywhere near Negev, Israel?

  2. The good news about the bad news for infertile couples

    In its August 25, 2008 edition, Maclean’s Magazine listed a study out of the University of Aberdeen as “bad news” because it suggests that positive thinking may be more effective than most common fertility treatments.

    The real bad news is that Maclean’s so flippantly dismisses a scientific study that is part of a growing body of research surrounding infertility—research that tells us what many health practitioners (conventional and alternative) already know: a person’s emotional well-being can have a profound impact on their physical well-being. Common infertility treatments can be extremely stressful; stress itself can have a negative effect on fertility.

    Dr. Alice Domar, director of Mind/Body Centre for Women’s Health at the Boston IVF clinic has shown that the stress associated with infertility can be equal to the stress of having a serious illness. The Boston IVF Clinic offers its clients a wide array of mind/body therapies to increase the chances of conceiving. Studies conducted in 2004 at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, Israel by Dr. Eliahu Levitas demonstrated that the use of hypnosis during embryo transfer doubled IVF success. Hmm, there seems to be a lot of “bad” news out there.

    For fertility couples I work with in my hypnotherapy and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practice, this news is anything but grim! They usually arrive at my door desperate–after enduring years of invasive procedures that have drained their bank accounts, tied them to stressful schedules, and left them hopeless, exhausted, still without any medical explanation for their infertility—and childless.

    The work that mind/body practictioners (such as hypnotherapists and EFT practitioners) do with infertile couples is non-invasive, uplifting, and stress-free. It is also thorough–our clients learn how to harness the body-mind connection in order to aid conception. It’s a powerful process. Believe me, they are not simply being told to “cheer up.” Most of my clients walk out of their sessions feeling empowered, focused, and positive—and many couples conceive within a few months of starting hypnotherapy or EFT treatment (naturally or with continued IVF treatments).

    While the evidence that I (and other practitioners) can offer is mainly anecdotal, I’m excited that more and more research is confirming what we are already witnessing in our ongoing work with couples. Hypnotherapy and EFT may not be the only solutions to infertility but they are important ones. The results of the study from the University of Aberdeen should not be seen as a slap in the face to frustrated infertile couples; rather, it is offering them a tool—and an effective one too—something that can be used alone or in conjunction with the other tools that the medical establishment has to offer. I say that is excellent news for people to consider.

    Kathleen Milligan, DSW, EFT III, NGH Cht. CBE

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