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Archive for the ‘Mind-Body Medicine’ tag

Mind Body Medicine and Fertility- Free Reiki Series

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

September 27th, 2017 at 9:35 pm

I am excited to report that Long Island IVF’s’ Fertility Meditation Reiki series has been an amazing addition to our Mind Body Medicine program. The most recent free series runs from October 2-October 30 at 6:30-7:30 pm each Monday night.

Register here to reserve your spot. Come to any or all of the sessions—no need to be a patient.

The interconnection between mind and body makes it imperative that we treat the whole person, and not just one organ or one system of the person.  Our mind influences our thoughts.  Our thoughts influence our feelings, our feelings influence the biochemistry of our physical body.  Physiological changes in the brain are reflected in our hormones – stress hormones (cortisol) and reproductive hormones.

The chicken/egg dilemma:

It doesn’t really matter which came first — physical/biochemical issues affecting the mind OR the mind affecting the physical/biochemistry.   It’s all connected, so what DOES matter is treating the WHOLE system – mind and body.

A factual premise of Mind Body Medicine is based on eliciting what has been termed  “The Relaxation Response (RR).”   The RR is the physiological opposite of the stress response.  Therefore, when the RR is elicited, stress hormone levels (cortisol) decrease, and allow a more harmonious flow of reproductive hormones, as well as creating a cascade of positive changes in the physiological body.  This all works toward treating infertility!

The methods to achieve these changes are active meditation work, breath work,  as well as Reiki healing (opening and clearing of energy centers in the body). These methods cause the interference of the body’s stress responses including the interference of the brain’s release of stress hormones.

Research has shown that the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, etc. from the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, can actually inhibit the release of our reproductive hormones!  Additionally, other physiological symptoms of stress hormones cause constriction of blood vessels and put the body in a hypervigilant state –NOT conducive to fertility. You may not even be aware of these symptoms, but the constant day-in and day-out stress of infertility often causes consistent overflow of these stress hormones, therefore impacting your fertility.

 

A powerful way to increase the energy of Mind Body work is by working in a group.

The Fertility Meditation and Reiki sessions have been a wonderful example of increased healing energy flow. We proceed through guided breath work, guided meditation, and guided Reiki healing, joining our energy to bring about physical, emotional, and spiritual changes.  You don’t have to have had experience in meditation or Reiki – anyone can do it!  The Mind Body group is a place where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support. I am often told by group members that the sharing of information has been enormously helpful to them.

Reiki is a Japanese method of stress reduction, relaxation, and healing. “Ki” means life force energy, and “Rei” means universal/spiritual. We are alive because of life force energy flowing through us. We all feel energy – or the lack thereof – without having to see it or touch it. So, we know it exists.

Life force energy flows through pathways in the body which are energy centers – also known as chakras. The chakras will affect, and are affected by emotions. When certain energy centers have low energy or blocked energy, we may become sick or “dis-eased” in certain areas. The practice of Reiki heals by guiding Ki – life force energy – throughout the energy centers in the body. By guiding energy to flow freely, we clear and open the energy centers, healing both the physical and emotional “dis-ease.”

The first time we offered our free Reiki series last summer, the response to this holistic and healing therapy was overwhelmingly positive. If you missed the last series, or can’t make the October 2017 series, we will have upcoming series scheduled throughout the year.

Infertility, and life in general, is stressful. Why not let us help you reduce that stress and regain some control? If you are experiencing fertility issues, you are encouraged to attend these sessions to fully do all that you can to treat infertility and provide coping and healing skills you will then have for life! Register for free now.

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Long Island IVF’s Complete Mind Body Program

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

May 2nd, 2014 at 7:29 am

 

credit: david castillo/freedigitalphotos.net

With Mother’s Day around the bend, and Bereaved Mother’s Day coming this Sunday (for those who have suffered baby or child loss), it’s a good time to remind you of Long Island IVF’s many supportive counselors on staff, and to call your attention to the Mind Body Program and its benefits.

Bina Benisch is a Registered Professional Nurse and a psychotherapist with an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. She did her Mind Body Medicine training at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Bina is the support group coordinator, patient advocate, and stress management psychotherapist for Long Island IVF, working with both female and male patients. Her groups are wildly popular, and she always has room for more.

Bina explains the Long Island IVF Mind Body Program and its benefits for those couples trying to conceive:

 

Life changes.  You’ve had your intentions, your hopes, and your dreams of where life would take you.  What you may not have envisioned is suddenly being a member of the population that struggles with infertility.  Being diagnosed with infertility – for any reason – “unexplained,” male factor, or female factor, can feel like a lonely, isolating experience for many reasons.  The fact is that most women never expected to be in this position, and this is often one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life.  Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and anger can be overwhelming during infertility.  Often, anger masks the feelings of loss experienced month after month of trying to conceive without success. Infertility impacts on one’s marriage, self-esteem, sexual relationship, family, friends, job, and financial security. 

Our Mind Body Program provides a space where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support.  I have been told by women who have participated in the Mind Body Support Group that they experience a huge relief by connecting with other women who really “get it,” who understand these unique feelings. During the sessions, I take part of the time to teach Mind Body methods to elicit the relaxation response (emotional and physiological relaxation).  In this way, you can learn to practice these methods on your own on a daily basis

 

 

In our Mind Body support group, patients experience the opportunity to share information, feelings, or their own personal stories. You may be surprised to see how your support can help others or you may be relieved to hear others experiencing the same type of thoughts and feelings as you experience. Often, the supportive nature of this group, and the connection that develops between members, fosters a healing process.
Feelings of isolation, anger, and stress are slowly relieved. Our Mind Body program focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response is actually a physical state that counteracts the stress response. You can think of it as the physiological opposite of the body’s stress response. We cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time.

Therefore when a person elicits the relaxation response, the body’s stress response is halted, stress hormones diminish.  It is important to understand fertility holistically. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones. These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind body strategies which help to alleviate the stress responses which may inhibit fertility.

All mind body methods ultimately cause the breathing to become deeper and slower. This causes stress responses such as heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood pressure to decrease. The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided visual imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness, and meditation. Awareness of the mind body connection allows us to use our minds to make changes in our physiology. This holistic treatment – combining bio-medical science with mind body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect.  The fact is, body and mind work together.

Let’s not forget the men. Men often feel uncertain about the ‘right’ way to support their partners, and don’t realize how they themselves are affected. We now offer our “Just For Guys Group.” In sharing how infertility affects the men, their relationships, and each man’s deepest sense of self, these men gain insight, and experience support during what can be an isolating and difficult time.

We invite and encourage you to take advantage of this unique area of support provided by The Mind Body Program at Long Island IVF. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1bGAvNb

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If you have ever met Bina or been part of one of her groups and would like to share your experience, please do so.

Photo credit: David Castillo http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php

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Infertility Podcast Series: Journey to the Crib: Chapter 26: Alternative Therapies and Holistic Medicine

By David Kreiner MD

September 7th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Welcome to the Journey to the CribPodcast.  We will have a blog discussion each week with each chapter.  This podcast covers Chapter Twenty-Six: Alternative Therapies and Holistic Medicine. You, the listener, are invited to ask questions and make comments.  You can access the podcast here: http://podcast.longislandivf.com/?p=130

Alternative Therapies and Holistic Medicine

This chapter was written by our in house Mind-Body specialist, Bina Benisch.  She follows the popular Mind-Body program at Boston IVF that was shown in studies to improve pregnancy rates. 

The Mind-Body program at Long Island IVF focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind-Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response.   This counteracts the stress of a fertility cycle.  As a result, the body’s stress response is halted and hormones diminish.  Stress responses such as heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate decrease.  The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided vision, imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness and meditation. 

We work with “cognitive restructuring” which is examining our negative thoughts.  We learn to understand where there is distortion and reframe our thoughts positively and realistically.  In so doing we can change those negative thoughts and alleviate the anxiety attached to them. 

Awareness of the Mind-Body connection allows us to use our mind to make changes in our physiology.  This holistic treatment combining medical science with Mind-Body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect. 

Used as an adjunct, not only do we expect Mind-Body treatment help you cope with the stress of the fertility process but improve your chances of success as well. 

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Was this helpful in answering your questions about alternative therapies and holistic medicine like the Mind-Body connection? Do you have an experience with the Mind-Body program you’d like to share? 

Please share your thoughts about this podcast here. And ask any questions.

 

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