Piotr Rajski, M.A.
Cancer is believed to have multiple, interacting causes. Many interdependent factors, such as environmental pollution, unhealthy life styles (e.g. tobacco smoking), improper diet, chronic stress, etc. - in various combinations can contribute to the development of cancer. Cancer is treated in many ways, but most of them, through failing to take into account the complicity of cancer causes, do not produce satisfying results. This paper offers rationale for use of the little known breathing technique as a wholistic, complementary treatment of cancer.
Conscious Connected Breathing, known also as Rebirthing, Intuitive Energy
Breathing or Circular Breathing is a self-healing skill, originating in
USA in the 70s by Leonard Orr. Most people can learn in ten 1 to 2 hours
breathing sessions. It is the ability to breathe energy as well as air.
It involves merging of the inhalation with the exhalation in a gentle relaxed
rhythm in an intuitive way. This way of breathing floods the body with
energy, which cleans and nourishes the body physically, emotionally and
spiritually. The result of this breathing is relaxation, enhanced contact
with one's body, peace and contentment. The advantages of this approach
are presented in the context of four hypotheses of cancer, namely metabolic,
toxicity, energy and psychosomatic.
Metabolic Hypothesis of Cancer and Oxygen Therapies.
The metabolic theory/hypothesis of cancer maintains that cancer cells only grow in the absence of oxygen. Cancer cells exhibit so called anaerobic mode of metabolism, meaning that they thrive under the conditions of high-sugar low-oxygen, but fare poorly under low-sugar high-oxygen conditions.
This hypothesis gave the prompt for so called oxygen therapies of cancer. In these therapies one tries to introduce sufficient oxygen into the body's cells to reverse the cancer process and "suffocate", so to speak, the tumor with too much oxygen.
According to Diamond, Cowden & Goldberg (1997), there are two principal types of oxygen therapy, classified according to the chemical process involved: oxygenation and oxidation.
Oxygenation is the process of enriching the oxygen content of the blood or tissues. One oxygenation therapy is known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It introduces oxygen to the body in a pressurized chamber. Pure oxygen is delivered for 30-60 minutes to the patient inside sealed chamber at high pressure. The patient absorbs concentrated oxygen through the skin as well as through inhalation. Manfred Von Ardenne (1990) who investigated use of oxygen in treatment of cancer patients found it to be most effective when used in combination with regular aerobic exercise, hyperthermia, intermittently induced hyperglycemia, daily administration of vitamins and other agents.
Another oxygen therapy uses ozone and relies on both oxidation and oxygenation pathways. According to Diamond, Cowden & Goldberg, ozone is used primarily to kill viruses, destroy bacteria and eliminate fungi. Ozone produces important benefits in the human body, including the oxygenation of blood, improved blood circulation and stimulation of the immune system. It can be administered intravenously, intra-arterially, intra-muscularly, intra-articularly and subcutaneously. These authors quote researches in which ozone was found among others to: (1) selectively inhibit cancer cell growth in tissue culture for cancer of the lung, breast and uterus; (2) enhance the tumor-fighting ability of standard cancer drugs; (3) reduce pain while increasing energy levels and appetite. For instance, practitioners at the Hospital Santa Monica in Mexico have reported a 3-year remission rate of 70% with advanced cancer patients who were treated with ozone, botanicals, nutrition, DMSO (Dimethylsulfoxide), hyperthermia and other natural modalities.
Diamond, Cowden & Goldberg caution about some adverse effects associated
with intravenously administered ozone, such as inflammation of veins, chest
pain, shortness of breath, cardiac arrhythmia and etc.
Conscious Connected Breathing (CCB) as an Oxygen Therapy.
As indicated earlier CCB is a method of deep breathing and relaxation. In this method the client is asked to harmoniously connect his/her inhalation with exhalation. This kind of breathing intensifies the circulation of oxygen and energy throughout the client's body. Clients typically report having physical symptoms, such as vibration, tingling, muscle spasms, emotional symptoms that are most often discharged through crying, laughter, angry outbursts or bliss, and, after the cycle is completed, a sense of profound peace and relaxation.
CCB is mainly used during self-improvement seminars but in this writer's opinion has greater therapeutic potential than its New Age reputation. Beverly Kam Rubin (1983) investigated cognitive, affective and physiological outcomes of Rebirthing on the sample of students. She reported short and long term improvement in locus of control, self-esteem, anxiety reduction and more positive thinking in the subjects tested. According to her, physiological measurements of air volume exhalation, oxygen and carbon dioxide expiration, pulse volume, pulse propagation time, skin potential response and electromyograph all showed significant changes during the breathing process.
To my knowledge Rebirthing has never been systematically used in treating cancer. There are many anecdotal data that a lot of people respond well to this breathing. I myself had one case, in which a non-malignant tumor had disappeared after six breathing sessions. I have heard a few anecdotal reports of "cured cancer" from fellow CCB instructors.
Regardless the lack of scientific evidence of its effectiveness, CCB
seems to deserve a serious chance as one of the oxygen therapies of cancer.
The method is natural, fairly simple and does not require any expensive
instruments. It can be done in group settings, which further reduces costs.
It seems to be a more natural way of providing cancer patients with oxygen
than in hyperbaric oxygen therapy or ozone therapy. More important, after
mastering the technique patients can practice it on their own, thus to
become more active agents in their healing process.
Toxicity Hypothesis of Cancer.
"Why is there so much cancer today?" - asks Goldberg. "In simple fact, we are being slowly poisoned to death. The list of poisons includes pollution, pesticides, carcinogens in our food, air, water, electromagnetic radiation, tobacco smoke, antibiotics, conventional drugs, hormone therapies, irradiated foods, nuclear radiation, mercury toxicity from dental fillings, diet and nutritional deficiencies, parasites, X rays, toxic emotions, and more." (Diamond, Cowden, Goldberg; P.12). Many therapies attempt to treat cancer through detoxifying the body of the patient. Among these are Gerson Diet Therapy, Metabolic-Nutritional Therapy, Biological Dentistry, Chelation Therapy, Kelley Metabolic Therapy and others. What these therapies seem to overlook is that approximately 70% of the body toxins is released through the breathing process (Jones; 1982). From this point of view CCB is uniquely suited to respond to the needs of cancer patients as it not only detoxifies the body, but also the mind and emotions of the cancer patient.
This writer who has been practicing CCB since 1983, employed the method
in the treatment program for alcoholics in the Day Psychiatric Division
in Siemianowice, Poland. Seven 4-week long day treatment programs were
offered in 1986-87 to approximately 70 persons. The results of the program
were quite encouraging. Self-reported abstinence one year after the treatment
was above 50%. Many clients reported reduced cravings, which would suggest
that CCB had an impact also on physiological level. With the group of coworkers
we considered CCB to have had a "vacuum cleaner" effect on the body. The
level of detoxification achieved by some of them was of such intensity
that they could no longer visit their favorite bars or even associate with
their drinking companions.
Energy Hypothesis of Cancer.
According to this hypothesis, imbalances of energy, which acts on a deeper cellular level than biochemicals, can precede disruptions in biochemical balance and lead to disease. This notion is characteristic for so called “energy medicine” or “bioenergetic medicine” ( Diamond, Cowden, Goldberg. 1997. P.1022), which “refers to diagnostic procedures and therapies that use an energy field – electrical, magnetic, sonic, acoustic, microwave, infrared – to screen for health conditions by detecting imbalances in the body’s energy fields, and then correct them.” (Ibid.).
It sounds very difficult, but in fact is much simpler. People, who try CCB for the first time, often report that it was their first experience of feeling the energy of the body. As was said, in CCB the client is "flooded" with energy, and even the most alienated persons cannot ignore something so intense. CCB session not only cleans and restores their energy fields, but makes them more aware that they are "energies". In the result, they are more willing to consciously take care of the energy of the body by avoiding harmful life styles and practicing "cleanliness".
In this regard CCB instructors typically recommend taking a bath or a shower twice a day, physical work or exercise, vegetarian diet and spending time with a natural, wood-burning fire. All these activities can be practiced by the clients themselves. They can also be seen as detoxification.
Psychosomatic Hypothesis of Cancer.
Less and less people question now that there is a connection between emotions and cancer. Cancer patients seem to have tendency toward resentment, self-pity, low self-esteem, inhibition of feelings, especially anger and grief, difficulty developing and maintaining meaningful and lasting relationships (findings of Carl and Stephanie Simonton, quoted after: Gunnel Minett. 1994). If combined with a loss or accumulated stress, these dispositions may lead to disturbances in body's immune defense system. CCB, by influencing both body and emotions of the patient may prevent these dynamics. It also seems to restore our vitality. The sense of the contact with our body and emotions achieved through CCB sessions is unparalleled.
Relaxation provided by CCB can reduce fear and depression. Ventilation of feelings, which typically takes place during CCB, helps to release so called "toxic emotions", such as anger, grief, guilt and perceived lack of self-worth. Comfort, sense of well being achieved through CCB could help patients to get rid of the negative thinking, thus to create better conditions for a more positive and assertive attitude toward one's own life and treatment. If done in groups CCB could give an occasion for "social connectedness", which was found to contribute positively to longevity of cancer patients. In other words, CCB could also offer advantages of a weekly support group.
CCB seems also to satisfy and make our clients more aware of their regressive needs. By this I understand mostly natural desire to be taken care of by somebody, present to some extent in every sick person. Occasionally, however, it may lead to the situation in which the patient may be interested in maintaining the symptom. CCB appears to be one of the most interesting and constructive ways of addressing the issue. People, who breathe with this method, not only have a chance to achieve a sense of being comforted by someone, but learn practical skills (relaxation, contact with one's own body) and insights that help them to cope by themselves.
In summary, CCB deserves serious clinical attention and a part in a wholistic treatment of cancer because:
1. It is a natural method of providing the body (tumor cells) with extra
volumes of oxygen
2. It helps to get rid of body toxins and so called "toxic emotions"
3. It reduces fear and improves sense of well being
4. It satisfies and makes a person more aware of regressive needs
5. It provides opportunity for "social connectedness"
6. It is easy to master and can be self-employed by a recovering cancer patient.
Ardenne Von Manfred. (1990). Oxygen Multistep Therapy, Physiological and Technical Foundations. New York, Thiene Medical.
Diamond John W., Cowden Lee W., Goldberg Burton. (1997). An Alternative Medicine Definite Guide to Cancer. Tiburon, Future Medicine Pub.
Gunnel Minett. (1994). Breath & Spirit. Aquarian/Thorsons
Jones Eve. (1982). An Introduction to Rebirthing for Health Professionals. In: Sondra Ray. (1982). Celebration of Breath, Celestial Arts.
Rubin Beverly K. (1983). Cognitive, Affective and Physiological Outcomes
of Rebirthing. Washington, American University.
German translation of this text by Dr. Wilfried Ehrmann is available in the Atman, Austrian magazine devoted to Rebirthing-Breathwork and other forms of breath therapies, at www.atman.at
Last updated: 2003/01/03