You are on page 1of 25

Gerson Therapy

Mind, Body, Spirit Guide


Table of Contents

Introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 1
Psychological Aspects of the Gerson Therapy ......................................................................... 2-3
Complementary Therapies .................................................................................................................. 4
Mind/Body Therapies ....................................................................................................................... 5-9
Creative/Expressive Arts Therapies ......................................................................................10-11
Therapeutic Bodywork ................................................................................................................12-14
Spirituality .............................................................................................................................................. 15
Body Movement Therapies ........................................................................................................16-19
Mind & Body Support Resource Guide ..................................................................................20-23
The Gerson Institute

Introduction

The Gerson Therapy is a comprehensive nutrition-based healing method, aiming to


cure cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases. It concentrates on healing the
problems of the body, but since mental, emotional and spiritual factors also play a
vital role in restoring health and well-being, added to the physical aspect they make
the Gerson Therapy truly holistic.

This guide is offered to you as an educational aid and reference guide to all the
activities that can support you in your journey to optimum health, by enhancing
your emotional, mental and physical well-being. The choice is wide - pick those
methods that appeal to you most. All of them are designed to reduce stress and
create a calm, confident attitude to the many challenges that confront us while
following the Gerson Therapy.

Although this guide only contains tried and tested activities, these are meant to be
merely complementary, not substitutes for professional medical care and advice.
Gerson patients should consult their Gerson practitioner before engaging in
therapeutic bodywork or movement other than walking and Qigong. The Gerson
Institute expressly disclaims all responsibility for any adverse effects due to the use
of the information contained in this guide.

1
The Gerson Institute

Psychological Aspects of the Gerson Therapy


* This article is by Beata Bishop, London-based psychotherapist, author and former
BBC feature writer, who recovered from Stage 4 metastasized malignant melanoma on
the Gerson Therapy in 1983.1

When we embark on the Gerson Therapy, there is a huge amount to learn about its
theory and practice, combined with adopting a totally new and unfamiliar lifestyle
that will rule us for a long time. Under these demanding circumstances its
important not to forget that beside the physical aspects of the healing work there is
also the all-important body-mind link, the unbreakable unity of the body and the
mind, or the psyche. What goes on in your heart and psyche has a huge influence on
the outcome of the therapy: it can support or undermine, or indeed sabotage it in
many subtle ways.

Here are the basic facts: the body and the mind, or psyche, form a single unit. They
become ill together and need to be healed together. They affect each other all the
time. Consider how light, active and energetic your body feels when you are happy
but when you are depressed and miserable, the same body feels heavy, slow and
reluctant to do anything. As a wise doctor once said, Your every thought is a
biochemical act. From this it follows that we need to be aware of our moods,
emotions and general outlook, bearing in mind that a positive, hopeful and
determined attitude makes it easier to deal with whatever life throws at us, while
the opposite is also true. This does NOT mean that negative feelings should be
suppressed: denying them would only make them stronger. It does mean that we
need to release and handle them wisely.

How do we do that? The first task is to be aware of your thoughts and especially
your feelings at all times. Observe them, listen to them. Acknowledge that following
the Gerson therapy is a hard journey, but then having cancer or some other serious
disease demands hard work to defeat. There will be times of anxiety, uncertainty,
anger, boredom I know, I had them all. Acknowledge them. Then ask: whats the
reason for these feelings? Yes, Gerson is tough, but what would I rather do? What
other option do I have? Frankly, none that hold out the same hope for true recovery.

Feed your mind! During enema time read a good book or listen to music. Invite a
friend to a Gerson lunch, enjoy a chat, remain open to life and to the outside world.
Dont wonder what things will be like in three months time: doing that is a waste of
time. Instead, remain rooted in the here-and-now, the only reality you have.

This brings us straight to the realities of detoxification, one of the pillars of the
Gerson program. Its main purpose is to free the system from the multiple toxins
stored in the body, but by affecting the brain and the central nervous system it also
stirs up psychological toxins from the past: sorrow, anger, resentment, fear,
strongly denied and often forgotten negative feelings. Bursting out together with the

2
physical detoxification, these are part of the so-called flare-ups or healing reactions,
which can be very trying for the patient and those who care for her or him. Yet
they must be welcomed, because they signal that the body is responding to the
therapy and has started to heal. As long as it is understood that the patients
uncharacteristic and often unpleasant behaviour is the temporary result of the
detoxification process, no harm will be done. Its also comforting to remember that
King Solomon, the wisest man of all times, wore a ring with the inscription, This,
too, will pass. Its passing may be speeded up by various relaxation techniques or a
few sessions with a counsellor or psychotherapist; our guide enables you to find the
right kind of help.

It also helps greatly to have spiritual interests, within or without a particular


religion. What are your greatest inner values in life? How can you best serve them?
This is the time to answer those questions. I remember being told by one of the
eminent Gerson doctors at the Mexican clinic that patients who had religious faith or
spiritual beliefs often did better than those without them.

Finally, imagination can be your best ally in keeping your body-mind link healthy.
We create a good part of our reality through our assumptions and beliefs. Using our
imagination wisely, we can create a wished-for state and situation for ourselves, as
if we sent a request for it to the Universe. Here is a simple exercise which I found
very helpful during my two years on the Gerson Therapy: try it.

Sit comfortably, with both feet on the ground, close your eyes, begin to breathe
slowly and deeply. Count your breaths from one to four, 1,2,3,4, a dozen times. If any
thought intrudes, tie it to a big balloon and let it float away. . Now create inwardly
a beautiful ideal place, real or imaginary, where you feel secure. See it in every
detail. BE THERE, outside time and spacefeeling at peacethis is your personal
oasis, its yours alone.no-one can take it away. And now SEE YOURSELF AS YOU
WISH TO BE: healthy, energetic, active, sereneable to give and receive lovedoing
work you really enjoy. Fix that image in your mind and heart and return to it daily.

---------------------------------------------------------
All this is based on my personal experience, gained while doing the Gerson Therapy.
It is not magic and carries no guarantee. But if you practise it with trust and
confidence, itll help you to make the most of the body-mind link in your healing
journey.

3
The Gerson Institute

Complementary Therapies
In addition to the intensive Gerson Therapy regimen, the Gerson Institute has
approved the use of certain adjuvant treatments. These are scientifically-based
additions that the Gerson Institute staff and Gerson trained physicians have found
useful in enhancing healing and improving the chances of recovery in some patients.
None of the supplemental treatments described below should be considered stand-
alone treatments for cancer or any other disease. They are used only as an adjunct
to the full Gerson protocol.

Acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicines are healing techniques from


the East that have been used for over 5,000 years. Acupuncture is the use of fine-
gauged needles inserted into specific points on the body to stimulate Qi [chee] or
disperse energy traveling along the meridians. The effects of acupuncture are well
established. Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins and other
neurotransmitters and hormones, and thus used to reduce pain, increase relaxation,
and enhance healing.2 The addition of certain Chinese herbs, along with the use of
acupuncture, acupressure, and Oriental diagnosis methods are frequently helpful in
stimulating immune responses and enhancing healing.

Homeopathic Medicines are natural remedies that work with the bodys natural
healing capacity. They have no side effects and can be combined with all other
treatments. These can be effective for symptomatic relief of pain, nausea, and
healing reaction symptoms. Homeopathy uses mostly naturally occurring
substances such as herbs, minerals, or plants prepared in a special diluted,
potentized formula. The active ingredient is present in such tiny amounts that it
serves to activate functions within the bodys own system. Homeopathic remedies
are not toxic to the body in any way, do not interfere with the normal functions of
the body, and can be extremely effective in the control of a variety of symptoms
associated with cancer. A practitioner of homeopathy should be consulted for
appropriate use of homeopathic medicine.

Chiropractic Manipulation and Massage are body-based therapies frequently


helpful in reducing pain, improving mobility, and enhancing well-being. (For more
information on different types of massage, see Therapeutic Body Work on page 12.
It is recommended that massage be at a very light pressure for a cancer patient, and
for someone with bone cancer, a high velocity adjustment would not be applied.

4
2 Lyn W. Freeman & G. Frank Lawlis, Mosbys Complementary & Alternative Medicine, (St. Louis: Mosby, 2001)
The Gerson Institute

Mind/Body Therapies
Stress Reduction/Relaxation Techniques

The primary aim of the Gerson Therapy is detoxification and rebuilding the
damaged immune system, but we must make sure that the psychological factors do
not sabotage the physical healing. Stress, negative emotions, fear, and anxiety affect
both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, causing an increase in
blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen consumption. Relaxation is
the key to controlling stress. A relaxed state will allow healing to occur at a
maximum rate. Relaxation slows down the heart rate, reduces adrenaline levels,
calms tense muscles, regulates breathing and the metabolic rate, and lowers blood
pressure. There are many techniques that are available to help us relax and reduce
stress.

Relaxation techniques can be used to help overcome a problem or illness and to


replace negative and destructive emotions with positive, life-enhancing alternatives.
The following relaxation techniques can help boost the immune system, increase
well-being, and combat the negative psychological effects of detoxification.
Learning how to reduce stress is important for health maintenance and has a
therapeutic benefit. Breathing techniques, meditating, spending time in nature,
reading inspirational books, enjoying music and art, observing a moment of
gratitude before meals, and spending more time with people who raise your spirits
may enhance a sense of well-being and health.

Relaxation Techniques:

1. Counseling/Psychotherapy

2. Breath Work

3. Creative Visualization and Imagery linked to self-healing

4. Meditation

5. Hypnosis

6. Affirmations

Counseling/Psychotherapy: Most newly diagnosed cancer patients are in a state of


shock, distress or panic, or a combination of all three. Recent research has made it
abundantly clear that our inner state has a direct impact on our organism and
especially on the immune system, so its integral to help the patient move from a
frightened, negative frame of mind to a calmer and more positive one.

5
The Gerson Institute

This is where expert counseling plays a major role. Its main purpose is to listen,
enabling the patient to release and freely express his or her chaotic emotions.
Doctors and nurses have neither the time nor the training to act as safe, non-
judgmental listeners, while most patients try to shield their family members from
their distress and pretend to be brave and positive, while feeling the exact opposite.

The counselors job is to listen with total attention and accept whatever the patient
has to say. She/he doesnt offer comfort and encouragement until later, when the
patient has calmed down and is able and willing to answer questions and consider
what to do next and what options are best for them. Sometimes a single session is
enough, but often several may be needed to consolidate the work and leave the
patient in the right frame of mind to embark on their healing journey.

Breath Work: Breath is vital to life. Breathing provides our body with oxygen,
removes carbon dioxide, and affects our autonomic and central nervous systems. In
Eastern thought, breath is the life force and the key mediating factor between mind
and body. Our breath is a reflection of our mind and state of health. Breath work is
an active meditation for integrating spirit and body, while reclaiming a sense of
personal wholeness. Breath work is essential to spiritual quest and personal
transformation, as well as optimal health and well-being. The breath can be used to
center ourselves and regulate bodily functions. Through simple techniques
involving the breath, one learns how to eliminate stress, improve vitality, and
expand awareness by observing your breath. Panic attacks, high blood pressure,
and problems related to stress can be managed with simple breathing techniques.

Tips for the Gerson patient to practice breathing techniques:

1. Observe your breath without influencing it. Notice how fast or slow you are
breathing. This is a good way to direct your thoughts away from pain or
stressful situations. This can be done any time: while resting, walking,
holding an enema, waiting, etc.
2. Find a quiet place to sit with no distractions. Sit in a chair with your back
straight and both feet flat on the ground. You may keep your eyes open, but
closing your eyes will help you concentrate and focus.
3. Relax your shoulders and head and exhale to release all tension.
4. Begin taking some deep abdominal breaths by expanding your abdomen
outward and exhaling it inwards. Inhale through the nose to a count of 4;
hold your breath to a count of 7, and then exhale through your mouth slowly.
Repeat.
5. Abdominal breathing allows our muscles to expand and take in the most air.
You should notice that your belly moves outward and not your chest. This
provides maximum oxygen to the tissues and organs of the body. Great for
Gerson patients!

6
The Gerson Institute

Visualization/Imagery: This is the conscious use of your imagination in order to


create attractive and positive images that can be used to heal or change aspects of
your life. You need to be relaxed to be able to visualize. When used well, it can help
deepen the relaxation process and overcome many of the mental and emotional
problems that can lead to ill health. Images from nature are often used in visual art
therapy to induce relaxation. Some relaxation therapists, in particular Dr. Carl and
Stephanie Simonton and Dr. Jean Achterberg, were pioneers with imagery and
cancer treatments. They encourage people to destroy their cancers and relieve other
serious health problems by imagining their medication or treatment destroying the
disease, and visualizing the body using its healing power to get well.3 In the case of
Gerson patients, juicing fortifies and bathes the body in nourishment while enemas
truly cleanse and release toxins. This can be enhanced with positive visualizations.

Guided Imagery: This is a therapeutic process that facilitates working with the
mind and body to activate innate healing potential. Usually, the person is guided by
a practitioner or audio with specific words, images, or suggestions to elicit a positive
response. The healing power of imagery can affect one psychologically, mentally,
and emotionally.

Tip for the Gerson patient: This is excellent for symptom management such as
nausea, pain, anxiety, fear, etc.

Interactive Guided Imagery: This takes the process to an even deeper level by
eliciting and working with a persons own images, both positive and negative. This
process is best facilitated by a practitioner guiding a person in bringing to mind a
suitable image and then directly interacting with this image, often in dialogue. For
instance, the image could be for something that is healing. Then by talking with this
image, one may uncover what is needed to heal. This is often the most meaningful
and self-empowering way to use imagery, as it taps into ones own inner resources.

Meditation: Meditation is a way of clearing and quieting the mind to create a state
of conscious awareness, relieve muscle tension, and facilitate inner peace.
Meditation is used to help relax the mind by focusing on a single point of reference.
The basic components of meditation involve learning to focus awareness by either
observing the breath, visualizing a mental image, repeating a word, sound, thought,
prayer, or phrase. Those first attempting to meditate will find their attention
running away with every single thought that goes through their minds. However,
with patience and practice, concentration will become more focused.

The health benefits of meditation have been well documented scientifically and
described by Dr. Herbert Benson as the relaxation response. It is a psycho-
physiological state where the muscles of the body are released of tension and lactic
acid, where the heart rate, blood pressure, and respirations are decreased, when the
brain is in an alpha state (alert, yet calm), and the parasympathetic nervous system
is activated.
7
3Sheila Lavery, Karen Sullivan, et al., Alternative Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide to Therapies and
Remedies, (Thunder Bay Press, 1996)
The Gerson Institute

Meditation can be practiced anywhere; during juicing, washing vegetables, coffee


breaks, rest periods, etc. Meditation can be done sitting in a chair, lying down, or
even by walking slowly and mindfully. For those who have trouble sitting still, Tai
Chi, Qigong, and Yoga are also very enjoyable forms of activities that can bring about
the same effects as meditation. One can learn to meditate from self-help books,
instructional audiotapes, meditation classes, or stress-reduction programs. Once
you learn a technique that you are comfortable with and enjoy, you must practice it
over time to reap the benefits. Meditation is most effective when done for 15-20
minutes in the morning and evening, while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed.
Meditation is commonly used in combination with visualization and will enhance
relaxation and strengthen total being. Here is a simple meditation exercise for a
beginner. The instructions below will help you to learn to breathe deeply and
slowly, relax your body and quiet your mind:

Sit comfortably, with a straight back, feet flat on the ground.


Close your eyes and take three deep breaths.
Focus on your breathing. Feel the breath moving in and out of your body. Do
this for a few minutes, until you feel yourself relax. To help you focus on the
breath, you can count each in-breath then slowly exhale.
Check over your body for any areas of tension or tightness. When you find an
area that feels tense, focus on that area and breathe into it as you exhale.
When you feel the area relax, move on to any other areas and breathe into
them until they relax.
Continue to breathe slowly and experience your relaxed body. If you notice
your mind beginning to fill up with thoughts or begin to feel restless, return
to counting your in-breaths and slow your breathing down.
Sit for 15 minutes in the beginning and gradually increase until you can sit
for at least 20 minutes comfortably.
When you have completed the meditation, return your attention to the room.
Allow your eyes to look at your surroundings with a soft, relaxed gaze.
Get up from your chair slowly. As you go about your chores, remind yourself
to relax, stay present in the moment, and focus on what is at hand.

Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that puts patients in a


trance-like state to facilitate healing and change.4 A hypnotherapist will help
reprogram self-limiting unconscious patterns, and hypnosis is used to improve
physical and mental health. Cancer patients can find relief from pain with hypnosis
by reducing anxiety. The trance state that is induced by hypnosis is not a sleep
state, though you may look like you are asleep. Modern therapists today do not
command or control patients with hypnosis, but rather use hypnosis to suggest
changes. In a trance state, our minds are more open and willing to accept new
information, the therapist is not controlling what we say or do. Each client may
experience hypnosis differently, relative to the technique being used and the
psychology of the client. For some, it is a heightened sense of awareness, and for

8
4Sheila Lavery, Karen Sullivan, et al., Alternative Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide to Therapies and
Remedies, (Thunder Bay Press, 1996)
The Gerson Institute

others, a profound relaxation. A well-trained clinician using hypnotherapy can help


clients suffering from depression, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, stress, insomnia,
substance abuse, phobias, memory loss, panic attacks, and more. Hypnosis can also
be self-induced. Gerson patients benefit most from hypnotherapy by using it to
induce relaxation and deal with the emotional upheavals stirred up by
detoxification.

Affirmations: Creating a dialogue with ourselves by expressing positive verbal and


nonverbal messages to our bodies can boost the spirit and immune system
immensely. A positive, hopeful, determined outlook and attitude will promote a
strong and healthy mind, body, and spirit. Daily affirmations that we love life, want
life and will be healthy will empower us and give us strength and hope. The journey
to complete health in mind, body and spirit requires that we reprogram our
consciousness and change harmful concepts to a more positive outlook. The first
step is to create an open dialogue with ourselves and define our deepest values.
Take those values that you hold dear and use them as your guiding light. Express
your affirmations, desires, and hopes in the present tense, assertively and with
oomph! Nurture your spirit and body with words that will affirm your deepest
desires and your consciousness will reprogram your body and mind to embody
those values that you believe and set. Have faith and confidence that there will be a
light at the end of the tunnel.

My life is a gift and I reclaim it now!


I will do the Gerson Therapy as long as it takes to heal me!
This illness will come to pass.
I experience this day with joy and gratitude.
I am stronger than any disease caused by a temporary imbalance.
Organic juices and foods communicate health and recovery to my body and mind.
Enemas cleanse and release all toxins from my body.
My immune system is boosted with each warm, soothing enema.

9
The Gerson Institute

Creative/Expressive Art Therapies


Creative and expressive art therapies may offer an outlet for personal expression,
can reduce stress and pain, and induce relaxation. The Gerson Therapy is a very
rigorous therapy, and activities that give an emotional outlet for patients will assist
the healing process tremendously. Expressive activities and therapies that are
effective and non-toxic for Gerson patients include listening to music, drawing,
journaling, and poetry writing.

Music/Sound Therapy: This is used as an expressive art form designed to help the
individual move into harmony and balance. Through the use of music, individuals
explore emotional, spiritual, and behavioral issues. Sound works to rebalance our
bioenergetic systems. Music and rhythmic sounds can influence the mind and body
and instill a state of inner peace that can speed recovery. Sound Therapy
encompasses a broad spectrum of methods that includes music therapy, Tomatis
method, chanting, toning, and vibrational therapy. The basis of all these methods is
that music or sounds can directly affect our emotions and nervous system, while
resonating with our own natural cellular wavelengths. Music therapy involves
listening to music to help reduce stress or tension. Chanting and toning, commonly
used in many healing ceremonies, use the voice to draw out certain vowel sounds.
Both methods have a very meditative effect, and can release pain or stress.

Sound Therapy has been used throughout the world for over fifty years and is
described in the best-selling book The Mozart Effect, by Don Campbell. The Mozart
Effect is an inclusive term that signifies the transformational powers of music in
health, education, and well-being.5 Psychoacoustics is the study of the effects of
music and sound in the human nervous system. It demonstrates that music can
trigger the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins, reduce levels of stress
hormones, and even boost immune function. Certain tones and rhythmic
combinations such as soft music or rhythmic sounds such as raindrops falling on a
roof, a waterfall, waves from the sea, and sounds produced from a crystal singing
bowl, can stimulate the mind and body and offer therapeutic benefits. Some forms
of sound therapy such as the Tomatis method involves listening to Gregorian chants
and classical music to help retrain the ear. All these tones have a therapeutic effect
because they resonate within our own natural wavelengths and influence the brain.6
Music therapy can be used to help ease anxiety in heart attack patients, reduce post-
surgical complications, manage chronic pain, and alleviate depression. Continual
use over time results in a gradual improvement in the way the brain processes
information. One can benefit from sound therapy at home with the use of recorded
audiotapes or listening to the sounds of nature. We remain healthy when we stay
close to nature, in mind, body, and spirit.

10
5 Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect, (Avon Books, 1997)
6 Andrew Weil, Sound Healing, Self-Healing February 1998, pg. 6
The Gerson Institute

Tips for the Gerson patient:


1. Listen to upbeat music to energize you for the first coffee enema and juice
of the morning.
2. Listen to relaxing music during a coffee break, while practicing
breathing exercises.
3. Listen to calming music during stressful situations and healing reactions.
4. Practice toning when you need to release stress, such as releasing a big
sigh with an ahhh sound.
5. Make your own music by singing in the shower, humming while
preparing juices, cleaning up, chanting positive mantras or singing prayer
songs.

Art Therapy: Art therapy involves the patients creative side by making art to
enhance well-being. Creating art can be a useful way to reduce stress, alleviate
depression, get in touch with your emotions, and feel better about yourself. Gerson
patients should avoid the use of any toxic oils or paints. Instead try using pens,
pencils, or non-toxic colored pens/markers as a form of media. You need not be an
artist to express yourself any drawing is a powerful way for you to express
feelings. It can allow you to view whats going on inside, and help you process or
release any emotions you are holding in. Art can be an insight so valuable to your
unique healing process.

Journal Writing: A highly effective way to express our emotions, journal writing is
very soothing for the mind and body. Many people have discovered that keeping a
journal of their thoughts and feelings during the healing process can be very
therapeutic, relaxing, and conducive to healing. Think about writing out your joys,
fears, experiences, ahas! all that expresses your process and journey. This is
also helpful at times of reflection when you may want to look back at the journey;
a journey that can only be transformational in its essence.

11
The Gerson Institute

Therapeutic Bodywork
What is bodywork? Bodywork is any therapy that involves touch and/or pressure
on the body. Bodywork includes massage therapy and various types of energy
healing therapies that do not necessarily require physical contact. Massage therapy
involves the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for therapeutic purposes.
Energy healing treatments involve a conscious and intentional process of directing
and balancing energy through the hands of the practitioner to the client to facilitate
the healing process. Both massage and energy healing treatments can promote
relaxation, relieve pain, and enhance the healing process.

What is the role or benefit of bodywork for Gerson patients? Massage and
energy healing therapies can greatly benefit Gerson patients on both a physical and
emotional level. Massage helps improve overall body health and stimulates both the
lymphatic system and immune system. Regular massage can help normalize blood
pressure and improve circulation, allowing the blood to flow freely to cells with
oxygen and needed nutrients. Additional benefits of massage therapy include deep
relaxation, stress reduction, and relief of muscle tension and spasm.

On a therapeutic level, massage can help release stored emotions in the body.
Complete healing involves the removal of toxins, but in addition it also helps to let
go of grief, pain, and unexpressed emotions held in the body. Tense, rigid muscles
are not good for the body and suppressed emotions are harmful for the mind. When
we experience grief or trauma, these emotions create physiological changes that
affect the body. Massage can free the old emotions that are stored in the body by
triggering neuropeptides and endorphins that relax the muscles. Healing has set in
and emotions stored in the muscles are released with appropriate bodywork.

The massage styles that involve holding pressure points are often very useful in
relaxing tense muscles. Body oil and lotions should not be used, but water or
glycerin can be used as a substitute. Dr. Gerson recommended rubbing the surface
of the skin daily with vinegar and rubbing alcohol (2 tablespoons of each, in a glass
of water) to help the skin to release toxins. There are some conditions in which
massage may not be recommended (especially bony metastasis) that require
consultation with a physician. It is not advisable to get a massage when there is an
infectious skin disease, an inflammatory condition such as thrombosis, bone
metastasis, when there is severe pain, or just after eating. There is no evidence that
massage poses a risk to cancer patients, while its benefits include a significant
increase in immune-boosting natural killer cells, which is well documented.7

Tip for the Gerson patient: Gerson patients should only do gentle and relaxing
massages, and not any form of vigorous massages, which could spread the cancer.

12
7 Andrew Weil, The Healing Power Massage, Self-Healing 1999, pg. 2-3
The Gerson Institute

The following forms of massage are gentle and therapeutic:


1. Lymphasizing
2. Shiatsu
3. Reflexology
4. Acupressure

Lymphasizing: A stroking form of massage to stimulate lymphatic flow for pain


control. One method of doing this is to have a friend lightly stroke or massage your
body with long, quick strokes over the torso, arms, and legs for ten or fifteen
minutes. Another method is to stand on a miniature trampoline and very gently
bounce on it for 30 seconds to one minute up to several times a day, depending on a
patients condition, for the first 3-6 months. You want your feet to never be more
than an inch off the surface of the trampoline. A patient unable to stand can sit in a
chair with his/her feet placed on the mini-tramp while a friend gently bounces the
trampoline. This can be done for 1-2 minutes for the first 3-6 months. Many
patients with severe pain have reported dramatic relief. For more information,
refer to Dr. Samuel Wests book, The Golden Seven Plus One.

Gentle Shiatsu: A Japanese healing art deeply rooted in the philosophy and
practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Shiatsu is used to heal illnesses by
balancing the flow of chi, or vital energy, thus strengthening the immune system.
Shiatsu is similar to acupressure in that it uses firm finger pressure applied to
specific points on the meridian lines.

Reflexology: A safe and effective form of treatment. Reflexologists believe that


parts of the body and organs can be stimulated by applying pressure to points on
the feet and hands. Applying pressure to these points is believed to stimulate
energy by a reflex action to a related muscle or organ to encourage healing.
Depending on points chosen, the therapy is used to ease tension, reduce
inflammation, improve circulation, and eliminate body toxins. The treatment is
relaxing and can help relieve stress, anxiety, backache, cold, headache, and digestive
problems.

Acupressure: An ancient Chinese technique involving the use of finger and hand
pressure over specific points on the body to relieve pain and discomfort to release
tension and restore the natural flow of energy in the body.

Energy Therapies
1. Therapeutic/Healing Touch
2. Jin Shin Jyutsu
3. Reiki

13
The Gerson Institute

Healing Touch/Therapeutic Touch: These therapies are both energy-based


approaches to healing and offered primarily by nurses. Therapeutic touch does not
actually involve any direct touch, while healing touch uses light touch to clear, align,
and balance the bodys energy system. Healing touch includes elements of
therapeutic touch and other energy-based therapies. The practitioner uses his/her
hands to assess and balance the energy field surrounding the body in order to
promote your own natural ability to heal.

Practitioners of healing touch use the mind to set a healing intention for the
patients highest good to stimulate the bodys bioelectrical energy field, thus
directing energy from their hands to the client. This is based on the whole
mind/body connection. During a treatment, the practitioners energy field interacts
with the patients energy field and shifts occur. Healing touch is not magic, the effect
is similar to acupuncture. It can be thought of as an energetic massage to stimulate
physiological changes in the patient at the cellular level to promote healing.
Therapeutic touch has shown good results in several studies. A recent review in the
Annals of Internal Medicine (June 6, 2000) found that therapeutic touch has been
shown to help osteoarthritis of the knee, tension headaches, and pain.8

Reiki: Reiki means universal life energy in Japanese. In a typical Reiki session,
Reiki is applied using specific hand positions to direct the flow of universal energy
into the recipients body. Reiki works by balancing and restoring the individuals
energy to enhance the bodys natural healing abilities and promote optimum health.
The experience during and following a Reiki session is different for each individual
and the practitioner. However, most people comment that they feel very relaxed
after a Reiki session. Reiki is often used as an adjunctive treatment for acute or
chronic pain. 9

Jin Shin Jyutsu: This oriental system of healing is quite similar to acupressure and
Shiatsu, in that it is based on the idea that our bodies contain several energy
pathways, similar to acupuncture meridians. These pathways become blocked
because of stress, illness, lifestyle habits, or negative attitudes. The practitioner will
assess the clients energy imbalance by checking the clients energy pulses. The
practitioner will then release the energy blockages and promote the flow of energy
by gently placing her hands on various combinations of 52 sites throughout the
body. Jin Shin Jyutsu can be used to promote relaxation, but also for acute or
chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia. 10

14
8 Andrew Weil, Energy Medicine: A New Frontier Self-Healing October 2000, pg. 6
9 Andrew Weil, Energy Medicine: A New Frontier Self-Healing October 2000, pg. 6-7
10 Andrew Weil Energy Medicine: A New Frontier Self-Healing October 2000, pg. 7
The Gerson Institute

Spirituality
The Gerson Therapy treats the whole body and is used worldwide by many persons
of different faiths, cultures, and religions. Faith and hope are closely related to our
spirituality. These are two extremely important elements in any religious or
spiritual practice. Spirituality speaks to our recognition of our interconnectedness
with something or someone beyond the self and our egos. It allows insights into the
greater wholeness of ourselves and the universes, both large and small, that we
may live and participate within. It is one part of the path for seeking the inner peace
that truly heals.

All religions have some sort of focus on prayer and spirituality that can be used to
help the patient heal. Faith alone is medicine for the soul. Faith, reflection, prayer,
and meditation are aspects of religion that can help a person overcome illness.
Spiritual healing will help one overcome negative emotions and attitudes that play a
part in immune suppression. One does not have to be affiliated to a religion to
benefit from such practices as prayer and meditation. The importance of spirituality
in healing cannot be underestimated, and a part of the healing process is to be able
to find a deep connection and peace within us.

Prayer: Prayer, in one form or another, is a spiritual practice found in nearly every
culture and is one of the most common complementary practices to standardized
medical treatment. Dr. Herbert Benson reports that prayer can ease anxiety, mild
depression, pain, nausea, tension, and migraine headaches.11 Prayer can be
practiced at any time and any place to help comfort and heal regardless of religious
preference.

15
11 Robert R.
Wells Prayer and Spirituality Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, (Gale group, 2001) seen
at http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/g2603/0006/2603000601/pl/article.jhtml?term=
The Gerson Institute

Body Movement Therapies


Gerson did not speak directly about exercise, but he did speak to the importance of
providing all of the necessary support for healing to occur. It is important for the
patient to understand that they need all their available energy for healing,
particularly in the early stages of recovery. Rest is particularly important at this
time. In the first several months of healing, Gerson physicians typically limit
exercise to 5-10 minutes of walking or body movement each day. Exercising
more than this can take energy away from healing, and in some cases, pose serious
risks.

The following exercises are alternative therapeutic exercises that can enhance
healing and help bring about peace and relaxation for Gerson patients.

1. Qigong [chee-gong]
2. Hatha Yoga
3. Tai Chi
4. Expressive Body Movement Therapy
5. The Alexander Technique
6. Feldenkrais Method
7. Trager Approach

Qigong: Qigong is interpreted as cultivation of vital energy. Qigong uses slow,


symmetrical, graceful movements and patterned breathing techniques to enable the
person to regulate and direct the flow of chi within their own body. Qigong follows
the Chinese five-element theory and works with the meridian system. Meditation,
relaxation, and guided imagery techniques are often combined with the movements.
An excellent exercise to reduce stress, Qigong has also been used by the Chinese in
cancer therapy. Qigong energizes the bodys vital forces, balances yin and yang,
strengthens blood circulation, and improves emotional and mental states. In China
there are Qigong Cancer Survivor groups who continue to meet and practice
Qigong for health maintenance. One can use videos to learn this gentle healing art
form.

Gentle Yoga: Yoga is an ancient mind-body exercise system that incorporates body
postures called asanas with breathing exercises and meditation techniques. An
exercise for the mind, body, and spirit, the regular practice of yoga can leave one
feeling calm and energized. Yoga may increase physical well-being, promote
relaxation, and improve flexibility, balance, strength, and cardiovascular efficiency.
Spiritual development is encouraged, as one learns how to relax the mind and
release tensions of the body. Regular practice of yoga can bring one to a place of
inner peace and wholeness by reducing stress and expanding mindfulness and
consciousness.12

16
12Sheila Lavery, Karen Sullivan, et al. Alternative Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide to Therapies and
Remedies, (Thunder Bay Press, 1996) pg. 128-129
The Gerson Institute

Many forms of yoga styles exist. Some are more vigorous than others to help
promote strength, endurance, and flexibility. Gerson patients should only practice
yoga forms that are restorative and meditative. One example is Hatha Yoga,
which is the most common style of yoga designed to balance, align, and integrate the
internal energies of the body. Hatha Yoga can promote relaxation of the mind
through visualization, breathing, and meditation techniques.

Tips for the Gerson patient: A gentle form of yoga is only recommended after 3 months
on Gerson Therapy.

Tai Chi: This Chinese martial art features slow, smoothly linked, balance-shifting
motions designed to harmonize the circulation of energy (chi) around the body.
Recent studies have found that Tai Chi has a wide range of health benefits, such as
improving muscle strength, flexibility, range of motion, balance, and mood. It also
helps in reducing the risk of hip fractures in the elderly, and even lowering blood
pressure. Tai Chi classes are often offered through adult education programs,
massage therapy schools, and YMCAs/YWCAs. However, for the Gerson patient a
simple instructional video may be most convenient and effective.13

Tips for the Gerson patient: Recommended after 6-12 months on Gerson Therapy.

Expressive Body Movement Therapy: Expressive body movement therapy,


sometimes known as creative dance therapy, provides an outlet for people to
express their feelings and emotions. Dance can nurture the spirit and is a tonic for
the body, mind, and spirit. Creative dancing allows you to stay physically active as
well as socially engaged. Dancing doesnt need to be exhaustive, choreographed, or
look pretty, but it can be a way of getting in touch with our bodies. Expressive Body
Movement Therapy has been shown to reduce chronic pain and enhance circulatory
and respiratory functions. As nonverbal forms of expression, movement and dance
can benefit people who have trouble talking about their feelings. It allows people to
be more in touch with their bodies.

The Alexander Technique: This technique was developed by F. M. Alexander in


the 1890's. It focuses on the alignment of the spine, particularly the relationship
between the head and the neck, and what is called "good use" of the body. Using
verbal instructions and light touch, the practitioner guides the student towards
correct alignment both on the table and in everyday movements, such as sitting and
walking. The goal is to find, through this new awareness and correct relationship of
the parts of the body, a natural, easy and correct way of moving and using one's
body in everyday activities of life. www.alexandertech.com

The Alexander Technique is often used by people with postural problems, chronic
back and neck pain, or a desire for improved performance in sports or the
performing arts. Much of what is known about the benefits of the technique has

17
13Sheila Lavery, Karen Sullivan, et al. Alternative Healthcare: A Comprehensive Guide to Therapies and
Remedies, (Thunder Bay Press, 1996) pg. 128-129
The Gerson Institute

been anecdotal. More recently, small scientific studies have suggested benefits for
stress reduction, back pain during pregnancy and chronic pain (Atchison, 1999),
pregnancy and childbirth (Stallibrass, 1997), enhanced relaxation (Kerr, 2000),
improved balance in older women (Dennis, 1999), enhanced respiratory function
(Austin, 1992) and improvement in posture, spasticity and anxiety in people with
learning disabilities (Maitland, 1996).

The Feldenkrais Method: Developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, this method


consists of a large number of simple movement exercises that offer the student new
ways of moving that are pain-free and not governed by tension and habit
(www.feldenkrais.com). The work consists of two parts: 1) a series of movement
lessons called Awareness through Movement, which are verbally guided by a
teacher in group sessions, and 2) Functional Integration, which are individual,
hands-on sessions during which the student is gently guided through various
movement sequences by the practitioner. Recent studies of the Feldenkrais Method
suggest that it may be useful for anxiety (Kolt, 2000), neck and shoulder pain,
disabilities (Lundblad, 1999), and anxiety in multiple sclerosis patients (Johnson,
1999).

The Trager Approach: Based on the work of Milton Trager, MD, this combines
table work and simple movement practices (called Mentastics) to help the
body/mind re-learn ways of moving through life that are easier, lighter and freer
(www.trager.com). Table work consists of gentle rocking, stretching, compressing,
and range of motion movements that are thought to allow the release of
unconscious restrictive holding patterns that create pain, tension, stiffness and
restricted movement. The Mentastics can be used to practice these new beneficial
movement patterns in daily life, and support the changes that are experienced
during the table work portion of the session.

Benefits of the Trager Approach have been suggested by case studies. A recent study
on the combination of the Trager Approach and acupuncture found that the
treatment was effective in reducing shoulder pain in spinal cord injury patients
(Dyson-Hudson, 2001). An earlier study demonstrated positive effects on chest
mobility in patients with chronic lung disease (Witt, 1986).

18
The Gerson Institute

The following is a sample exercise in therapeutic movement:

Therapeutic movement is done to help the body maintain its strength and flexibility
or to help to re-educate a movement that has been limited due to injury or long
periods of inactivity. It is especially helpful for those who are ill and spend long
periods of time in a sitting or lying position. It helps to promote circulation and to
energize the body.

Begin by lying down on a firm, comfortable surface.


Begin at the head, by slowly turning the head as far as you can comfortably
move it, to the left and then slowly to the right. You can begin the movement
with an inhale, and then exhale as you move to the left. Inhale at the end of
the movement and then exhale as you move to the right.
Raise your right arm so that it is perpendicular to your body. Slowly make a
circular movement with your arm, keeping your elbow and wrist
straight. Make 5 slow circles in one direction and then 5 slow circles in the
opposite direction. Repeat with your left arm.
Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the surface you are lying
on. Slowly raise your right leg, to a 45 degree angle, keeping your left leg
bent. With toes pointed, make 3 slow circles in one direction and then 3 slow
circles in the opposite direction with your right leg, returning it to a bent
position. Repeat with your left leg.
Slowly straighten both legs and flex and extend your ankles, by alternately
pointing your toes and then flexing your feet toward your head. Flex and
extend 5 times with each foot. Rotate your right ankle in one direction and
the reverse, doing 5 circles each way. Repeat with the left ankle.

19
The Gerson Institute

Mind & Body Support Resource Guide

*Recommended must read


**Book carried by Gerson Institute

Mind and Spirituality:

-**A Time to Heal, by Beata Bishop (Penguin)


-*Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan (E.P. Dutton)
-The Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton, PhD
-*Getting Well Again, by Dr. Carl & Stephanie Simonton (Bantam) Simonton Cancer
Center, www.simontoncenter.com
-*Paradox & Healing: Medicine, Mythology, and Transformation, by Dr. Michael
Greenwood & Dr. Peter Nun (Vancouver, Paradox, 1994)
-The Power of the Mind to Heal, by Joan & Miroslav Borysenko (Hay House, Inc.)
-The Healing Power of Faith, by Harold G. Koenig, M.D. (Simon & Shuster, 1999)
-Love, Medicine, & Miracles, by Dr. Bernie Siegal (Harper Perennial)
101 Exercises for the Soul: A Divine Workout Plan for Body, Mind, and Spirit
-Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine, by Larry Dossey,
M.D. (Harper Collins)
-Beyond Illness, by Dr. Larry Dossey (New Science Library)
-Recovering the Soul, by Dr. Larry Dossey (Bantam)
-Meaning and Medicine, by Dr. Larry Dossey
-Miracles Do Happen, by Dr. C. Norman Shealy (Element Books, Inc.)
-The Art of Happiness, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler, M.D.
(Riverhead, a division of Penguin Putnam)
-Anatomy of an Illness, by Norman Cousins (Bantam)
-Secrets of Your Own Healing Power, a double audiotape lecture by Dr. Wayne Dyer
-When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress Disease, by Gabor Mate, MD

Connection:

-*Loving What Is, by Byron Katie www.thework.org


-Radical Forgiveness, by Colin C. Tipping
- The Healer Within: The New Medicine of Mind and Body, by Steven Locke The new
science of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) shows astounding ways in which
emotions and attitudes, both negative and positive, can affect health and treatment
of illness.
- How to Live Between Office Visits, by Bernie Siegel, M.D. This book answers the
questions weve all wanted to ask about dealing with lifes challenges and ups and
downs. The answers help guide readers to look into their own hearts and find
strength in the face of adversity, whether it is a life-threatening illness or other
challenges.

20
The Gerson Institute

- Love, Medicine and Miracles, by Bernie Siegel, M.D. A nationally acclaimed


surgeon presents case histories of incurable cancer victims who have regained
health through mental and emotional control of their bodies.
- Meaning and Medicine Doctors Tales of Breakthrough and Healing, by Larry
Dossey, M.D. Vital new evidence of the mind-body connection offers supporting
proof that even genetic diseases can yield to the power of ones belief. Dossey shows
that health and illness are sometimes more of a matter of being than doing, and that
the individual is often a more potent healer than doctors and drugs.
- Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, by Joan Borysenko, Ph. D.

Imagery:

-Imagery in Healing, by Jeanne Achterberg (New Science Library)


-The Power of the Mind to Heal, by Joan and Miroslav Borysenko
-Your Body Believes Every Word You Say, by Barbara Hoberman Levine (Connecticut,
R.B. Luce, 2000)
-The Healing Journey, by Carl O. Simonton & Reid M. Henson (New York, Bantam,
1992)
-Staying Well With Guided Imagery, by Belleruth Naparstek (Warner Books, 1995)
*Belleruth Naparsteks Guided Imagery Resource Center at
http://healthjourneys.com/ or through her New York based company Image Paths,
Inc., at 1-800-800-8661, provides resources for guided imagery for health and
healing.
For more information, contact the Academy for Guided Imagery, Inc., 1-800-726-
2070

Meditation:

-How to Meditate, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD. (Back Bay Books, 1999)


-Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. (Hyperion, 1994)
-Mindfulness Meditation Practice Tapes Series 1 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, available at
Stress Reduction Tapes, P.O. Box 547, Lexington, MA 02420, or online at
www.mindfulnesstapes.com
-Meditation for Optimum Health, 2-CD/tape set by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Jon
Kabat-Zinn, PhD. Send order to: Self-Healing, Meditation for Optimum Health, P.O.
Box 2132, Marion, OH 43306-8232. Toll free number: 1-888-337-9345.

Homeopathic Medicine:

-The Consumers Guide to Homeopathy, by Dana Ullman, M.P.H.


-The Patients Guide to Homeopathic Medicine, by Robert Ullman, N.D. and Judyth
Reichenberg-Ullman, N.D.

21
The Gerson Institute

Music/Sound Therapy:

-Sounds of Healing, by Mitchell L. Gaynor, M.D. (Broadway Books, 1999)


-The Mozart Effect, by Don Campbell (Avon, 1997)
-Alan Roubiks music CD called HADO Music Series I Immunity/Pain Relief at
www.roubikrecords.com
-Sound Body, Sound Mind: Music for Healing With Andrew Weil, M.D. Available at
bookstores and record stores, or directly from Upaya 1-800-354-3943
-For a music therapist nearest you, write to the American Music Therapy
Association, 8455 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910
-Sounds True Catalogue: learning tapes for the inner life. For more information
contact: Sounds True, P.O. Box 8010, Boulder, CO 80306. Phone (303) 665-3151
www.soundstrue.com

Creative Expressive Art Therapy:

-The Art Therapy Sourcebook, by Cathy Malchiodi (Lowell House, 1998)


-Visual Journaling, by Barbara Ganim and Susan Fox (Quest Books, 1999)
-Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making, by John Fox (Tarcher/Putnam,
1997)

Energy Therapies:

-A Doctors Guide to Therapeutic Touch, by Susan Wager, MD (Perigee, 1996)


-Healing Touch: A Resource Guide for Health Care Professionals, by Dorothea Hover-
Kramer, EdD, RN, (Delmar Publishers, 1996)
-The Touch of Healing, by Alice Burmeister with Tom Monte (Bantam, 1997)
-Healing Touch International, endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses
Association. Contact information: Colorado Center for Healing Touch, Inc., 12477
W. Cedar Drive, Suite 206, Lakewood, CO 80228. 1-303-989-0581
www.healingtouch.net
-To locate a practitioner, call the Nurse Healers-Professional Associates
International at (801) 273-3399 or www.therapeutic-touch.org
-Reiki Energy Medicine, by Libby Barnett and Maggie Chambers (Healing Arts Press,
1996)
-To locate a practitioner, call the Reiki Alliance at (208) 783-3535.
-Jin Sin Jyustu: to locate a practitioner, call Jin Shin Jyutsu, Inc. 602-998-9331
Emotional Freedom Technique, A technique developed by Gary Craig that helps
remove emotional trauma and heal physical symptoms, www.emofree.com

Body Movements:

Yoga Journal (instructional videos) 1-800 436-9642


To locate a therapeutic yoga instructor, call the International Association of Yoga
Therapists at (707) 928-9898
22
The Gerson Institute

Living Arts Catalog offers a variety of books and videos on yoga, meditation and
massage along with a wide selection of clothing and home enhancements. 1 800-
254-8464
Dance as a Healing Art by Anna Halprin (LifeRhythm, 2000)
For a dance therapist near you, call the American Dance Therapy Association at 410-
997-4040

Newsletter:

-Gerson Healing Newsletter, a bimonthly publication that contains information about


-Gerson Therapy including stories of patients healing and health and well-being. To
subscribe, contact the Gerson Institute at 1-888-4GERSON or 1 619-685-5353 or
www.gerson.org

NOTE: Books and tapes not offered by the Gerson Institute can be found at most
major bookstores or ordered online at www.amazon.com

23