11 September 2023

A new crisis: cancer in young people

The COVID pandemic has received so much attention, it is amazing these latest and deeply disturbing cancer statistics are not all over the press. 

Between 1990 and 2009 and averaged all across the world, early-onset cancer has increased by an incredible 79.1%. The number of early-onset cancer deaths has increased by 27.7%. 

79% and 27%!!! 

If that is not as significant as a pandemic, it is hard to imagine what is???

So this week, what are the facts, and what are behind them? What the …. is going on amongst our younger people, but first 

   Thought for the day

      Regardless of who we are,

      The main purpose of our life, 

      You could call it the heart of being human, 

       Is to be happy. 

       All of us share the same wish, the same right 

       To seek happiness and avoid suffering.

       If you look closely, 

       You can see there are two kinds of happiness.

       One is based on physical comfort or pleasure of the senses

       The other is based on a deeper mental contentment

                            H.H. the Dalai Lama

Early onset cancer is defined as cancer in adults under 50 years of age – or sometimes as cancers in those 18 to 25. So what this recent major study published in the British Medical Journal of Oncology is saying, is the amount of cancer in the world’s younger people is going up at an unprecedented rate.

Now you might imagine the obvious question would be: “What is causing this?” Yet most of the academic commentary I have read so far is emphasising the need to increase early detection! 

The exclamation mark is an attempt to highlight how odd this seems. Surely the need is to find out what is causing the problem and to correct it, rather than aim to diagnose and treat (given diagnosis and treatment is of course what is needed for people currently afflicted).

To be fair, the actual article did state:

Dietary risk factors (diet high in red meat, low in fruits, high in sodium and low in milk, etc), alcohol consumption and tobacco use are the main risk factors underlying early-onset cancers.

Encouraging a healthy lifestyle could reduce early-onset cancer disease burden.

However, for me there are 2 important observations:


1. Cancer is largely a lifestyle issue and the rates of cancer are going up way too rapidly in younger people. The impact of this as the years go on will be disastrous both for the people involved (as both patients, family, friends and colleagues), and for the medical system attempting to help them (a system and a workforce that seems to be buckling under ever increasing pressures).

2. Lifestyle is the cornerstone for the prevention of cancer and all the other chronic, degenerative diseases that create so much havoc, but are demonstrably preventable. 

So then two questions: 

1. Why are people around the globe drawn so strongly to an unhealthy lifestyle? 

2. And given how much so many of us know about the impact of lifestyle, why is it so many of us are find it easier to follow an unhealthy lifestyle as compared to a heathy lifestyle? 

Consider this… when it comes to exercising, do you find it easier to do some regularly, or to put it off?


When it comes to meditating, do you find it easier to do some regularly, or to put it off?

When it comes to most lifestyle factors, do you find it easier to do some regularly, or to put them off?


Now this is not about shaming or blaming, but we do need to observe there is a real crisis. How do we help ourselves and our communities to be drawn to a healthy lifestyle and sustain that?

So over to you:

It would be wonderful to hear from those of you who do maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whether that has been for a long time and you find it easy, or have gone through personal struggles to turn things around, what works for you and those close to you? 

Given up smoking, cut back on alcohol, change your dietary patterns??? How did you do it? What was easy or difficult? How have those around you reacted?

How are you going maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Please add your experiences into the Comment section below:

Comments need to be cleared, so they may take a while to appear on the blog, but maybe your own experiences or insights can help someone else… 

 

REFERENCE:

Zhao J, Xu L, Sun J, et al   Global trends in incidence, death, burden and risk factors of early-onset cancer from 1990 to 2019. BMJ Oncology 2023;2:e000049. doi: 10.1136/bmjonc-2023-000049

 Lifestyle Medicine Cancer Retreats

Good friends and ex-colleagues Liz Stillwell and Sandy Clinton will be presenting their next 5 day Residential Cancer Retreat later in October this year - 2023

Designed specifically for men and women with a cancer diagnosis this is a research-based integrative medicine lifestyle approach supporting conventional medicine cancer treatments and best cancer outcomes – based on the philosophies and teachings of the Gawler Cancer Foundation, and echoed worldwide in various centres in Canada, US and the UK. 

Liz and Sandy now offer 2 retreats per year at the Yarra Valley Living Centre, (previously The Gawler Cancer Foundation) warmly hosted by Brahma Kumaris.

Next Retreat: 27th – 31st October 2023

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Teaching sessions include Meditation, anti-cancer Nutrition, effective use of the Mind, Imagery, Spirituality and living with Purpose, Healthy Emotions, Exercise and healthy Support.

The daily Programme includes Daily Meditations & Qi gong, walking (and rest time) with fresh delicious whole food plant-based meals – all within a beautiful peaceful natural bushland setting.

Enquiries: please email us - cancerbalanceandwellbeing@gmail.com 

Facilitators: Liz Stilwell & Dr Peter Johnston (see overleaf) 

Retreat Co-ordinator: Sandy Clinton 

Harpist: Michael Johnson

Plus: Recovery stories When diagnosed with cancer, hearing real stories of real people making real recoveries inspires our belief and builds our faith in what is truly possible – and helps hold us to our intentions to maintain a healthy lifestyle focus. This retreat is for people who choose to take an active role in their health and wellbeing

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Liz Stilwell: Retreat Facilitator

Liz has an extensive 35 years in Health – Occupational Therapy in Psychiatry, then counselling, clinical hypnosis and N.L.P in private practice. She trained with The Gawler Cancer Foundation in 2004 leading 12 week Lifestyle change programmes for cancer, Mindfulness meditation courses, and counselled many people with cancer at The Gawler Cancer Foundation City branch - specialising in processes for trauma recovery, anxiety, depression and insomnia - her approach influenced by her meditation practice.

Liz later facilitated monthly Cancer Retreats and co-facilitated MS retreats. And for 5 years, Liz assisted Drs Ian and Ruth Gawler in leading annual Meditation Retreats in the Coromandel Peninsula, NZ. Liz advocates strongly for a life created and directed by the heart believing our physical health is strengthened by emotional wellbeing. She has a deep lifelong interest in spirituality and works as a spiritual carer in palliative care.

Peter Johnston:

Peter is an accredited practising dietitian with a Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics and a PhD in Human Genetics. Peter is also a fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine and has completed health coaching training with Well Start Health. He has been exclusively plant-based since 1991 after learning of the health, environmental and ethical benefits. Peter runs a private practice: Perfect Human Food Consulting, offering individual consultations, public speaking, webinars, workplace health programs, and residential reboot programs. Peter is a member of the advisory council for health charity Doctors For Nutrition. He is also a partner with Melbourne Lifestyle Medicine which offers a range of programs including residential retreats. He has expertise in the prevention, treatment and reversal of chronic diseases through the use of whole food plant-based diets and the holistic approach of lifestyle medicine. He enjoys empowering people across all life stages to attain optimal health. Peter has attended and spoken at numerous national and international conferences.

Sandy Clinton:

Sandy joined The Gawler Cancer Foundation in 2006 and has deepened her interest and appreciation for the mind-body connection since then. She has assisted hundreds of people in the Client Services role with TGCF which gave her a unique insight into the challenges people face when diagnosed with a chronic illness and wanting to improve and maintain their wellbeing. This led her to train as an Ageless Grace ® Educator, and she rejoices in delivering this brain health fitness program as often as possible. Sandy takes true joy in supporting the journey of discovery participants experience during retreats.

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Michael Johnson:

A concert performer and composer, Michael has worked for many years in the field of therapeutic support through music. His tranquil harp music has been a significant part of the retreats at the Gawler Foundation for over thirty years. He is a Music & Mindfulness co- ordinator at Delmont psychiatric Hospital and Road Trauma Support services Victoria and leads seminars, workshops and Inservice sessions for businesses for staff professional development. For over 20 years, Michael has been resident composer at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, organising the Harp in the Gardens concerts and Harp Meditations.

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04 September 2023

Meditation and Mindfulness to receive medical rebates?

Who will be the first health insurer in Australia to provide medical rebates for the therapeutic application of meditation and mindfulness? Currently, very few providers in the USA or elsewhere provide reimbursement for these widely used treatments. 

Recent research has added to compelling, existing evidence that reinforce the fact it may well be time; mindfulness-based stress reduction has been found to be as effective as a commonly used antidepressant drug for treating anxiety disorders. 

"Our study provides evidence for clinicians, insurers, and healthcare systems to recommend, include and provide reimbursement for mindfulness-based stress reduction as an effective treatment for anxiety disorders,” says Elizabeth Hoge, MD, the lead author. 

So this week we look at this new evidence, and what it means for individuals and the medical system – including medical rebates and Allevi8, but first

  

   Thought for the day

           Wisdom without compassion 

           Feels no pain

                    Gary Snyder



Significant recent research published this year in JAMA Psychiatry demonstrated guided mindfulness-based stress reduction program was as effective as use of the gold-standard drug - the antidepressant drug escitalopram - for patients with anxiety disorders. 

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have found mindfulness-based stress reduction is as effective as a common antidepressant drug for treating anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders can be highly distressing; they include generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder and fear of certain places or situations, including crowds and public transportation, all of which can lead to an increased risk for suicide, disability and distress and therefore are commonly treated in psychiatric clinics. 

Drugs that are currently prescribed for the disorders can be very effective, but many patients either have difficulty getting them, do not respond to them, or find the side effects (e.g., nausea, sexual dysfunction and drowsiness) a barrier to consistent treatment. 

Standardized mindfulness-based interventions, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), can decrease anxiety, but prior to this study, the interventions had not been studied in comparison to effective anti-anxiety drugs. 

Of note, approximately 15% of the U.S. population tried some form of meditation in 2017.

"A big advantage of mindfulness meditation is that it doesn't require a clinical degree to train someone to become a mindfulness facilitator. Additionally, sessions can be done outside of a medical setting, such as at a school or community center."

For this study, MBSR was offered weekly for eight weeks via two and a half-hour in-person classes, a day-long retreat weekend class during the 5th or 6th week, and 45-minute daily home practice exercises. 

Patients' anxiety symptoms were assessed upon enrollment and again at completion of the intervention at 8 weeks, along with post-treatment assessments at 12 and 24 weeks after enrollment. 


The patients were relatively young, with a mean age of 33 and included 156 women, which comprised 75% of the enrollees, mirroring the disease prevalence in the U.S.

Both the MBSR and the drug treatment groups saw a statistically equivalent reduction in their anxiety symptoms. 

The drop in the severity of their anxiety was significant – around 30%.



The researchers added, "It is important to note that although mindfulness meditation works, not everyone is willing to invest the time and effort to successfully complete all of the necessary sessions and do regular home practice which enhances the effect," 

"Also, virtual delivery via videoconference is likely to be effective, so long as the 'live' components are retained, such as question-and-answer periods and group discussion."



Hoge points out many phone apps do offer guided meditation, but researchers are yet to assess how apps compare with the full in-person, weekly group class experience. However, the researchers did conduct a second phase of the study during the pandemic that involved moving the treatments to an online, videoconference which will be the focus of future analyses. The researchers also hope to explore the effects of MBSR on sleep and depression.

RELEVANCE

1. This study adds to the evidence base in support of the Allevi8 app being used in therapeutic settings for anxiety disorders. Our app includes live components - direct interaction is available with experienced meditation teachers.

2. The evidence supporting health funds reimbursing meditation and mindfulness programs is now compelling. My guess is it will not be long before companies are adding these rebates as an edge to attract and retain new members. In the process, they are likely to make significant cost savings…

 

Mindfulness and sleep – more research

Also this year, research been published by Gao and colleagues exploring the benefits mindfulness might offer to those with sleep disorders. 

This study demonstrated a mechanistic link between mindfulness practice and increased emotional nonreactivity, decreased worry, and a reduction in reported sleep disturbances, suggesting that app-based mindfulness training may be a viable option to help individuals who report worry interferes with their sleep.

NOTE The Allevi8 app also features a sleep section

REFERENCES

1. Hoge AE et al. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Escitalopram for the Treatment of Adults with Anxiety Disorders. JAMA Psychiatry, 2023;80(1):13–21. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.3679

2. Gao M et al. Targeting Anxiety to Improve Sleep Disturbance: A Randomized Clinical Trial of App-Based Mindfulness Training. Psychosomatic Medicine 84(5):p 632-642, June 2022. 



14 August 2023

In praise of fast cars

What can we learn from a very fast old car?

Plenty really. I drive a Subaru WRX. Fabulous car. I was fortunate and happened to buy the 1998 model, the best looking WRX of all time. Sleek, elegant, relatively cheap, and bloody fast!

My car has just celebrated its 25th birthday, having completed over 330,00Kms. Yes 330,000Kms! And it still goes very fast!

And yes, I know that these days it is about as politically correct to admit to loving driving fast as it is to being a smoker, but it is a fact. I love speed. Always have. Never smoked :)

So this week, let’s go “Out on a Limb” once again and discover what we can learn from a very fast old car. But first, I love being still as well, so

      Thought for the day

      Profound and tranquil, free from complexity

      Uncompounded luminous clarity

      Beyond the mind of conceptual ideas

      This is the depth of the mind of the victorious ones.

      In this there is not a thing to be removed

      Nor anything that needs to be added.

      It is merely the immaculate

      Looking naturally at itself

                      Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche 



The metaphor is simple but very strong. As a fast car, to get to be 25 years old and to continue to look as good as you did in the early days, to continue to go as fast as you did in the early days; it all takes some work. Good care, regular servicing, a few running repairs, and maybe a facelift!

My WRX came with all the raw ingredients. The car looks terrific to my eye; it has beautiful lines, is compact and elegant. In many ways it looks like a modest hatchback.

But then there is this incredible turbo-charged Boxer motor that is hooked up to everything that matches. The outcome? A racing billycart. Sure the ride is a little rough, but it moves fast, handles extraordinarily well and has been incredibly reliable. I love driving this car.

But then, the truth is the car is serviced regularly by the best Subaru people I could find using only genuine parts. It has never had an accident, despite being driven very hard in its early days; more sedately of late. 

It did blow up a transmission at 30K, but Subaru recognised an in-built fault and replaced it free of charge. Being automatic, the transmission did need replacing again recently.

The only other difficulty was when the failure of a minor part led to a major engine problem at around 200K and the bottom half of the engine needed replacing. And I did have it resprayed a year or so ago.

So the simple metaphor. Compare the car to the body. My body is 73 years old. Still goes quite well despite being short of one leg, one lung and most likely one kidney. But this body of mine, like the WRX, gets very well looked after. 

Fuel

I am quite particular about what goes into it this body of mine. 

The WRX would probably run on basic unleaded; splutter along at least; but it goes best on Premium and that is also better for its engine. 

My body, like the WRX, is a combustion engine. 

You put things into it, it burns them up and it goes. 

The WRX has a relatively simple combustion engine and I am very particular about what I put in its petrol tank. 

My body has an exquisitely complex combustion engine. 

It makes logical sense to be even more attentive to what goes into my own tank.

Why not use the best? Why not eat the best?

Regular servicing

For me, regular meditation is like servicing. Worth doing daily. Going on retreat is a more deliberate form of servicing, as is having a regular massage, taking time out in the garden or going for a walk. Regeneration time. When I need to, which is often, I want to know that everything has been done, everything is ready, so that I can be at my best. 

Why not be at your best?

Respraying

This seems to be unknown or overlooked by many, but in my view, good food, really good food, is way more effective then a facelift. Eat consistently well and skin tone is good, wrinkles smooth out and an inner glow emerges. 

Why not look at your best?

Actually, I treat my body better than the WRX. 

I like to think I treat it like a Formula One racing car, where everything is taken seriously, but there is a lot of fun involved. 

That attitude certainly helped me to recover from a very difficult cancer. 

And these days, while I am not fixated, I am fairly diligent, and this attitude helps me to make the most of the bits that I do have, to live and enjoy life to the full, and to make the most of what it is that I have to offer to others.

And finally, along with the WRX’s milestone 25th birthday next month, I have no demerit driving points against my name. Not sure as the years advance if I am becoming more politically correct or just more careful?

Love that car!


RELATED BLOG

What food goes into your tank?


Bottom line comfort

I am often asked where to obtain a good meditation cushion.

Here is a link to where you can order great Zafus (buckwheat filled, round cushions) and other meditation gear...

They also have buckwheat refills for well used, flattened Zafus that need replenishing. 

https://onanea.com/

 

 


07 August 2023

Relationship – a crucial point in learning and deepening your meditation

In the Western world, relationships with teachers can be really mixed up. Because of the power differential between students and teachers, because of the dependency, the desperation that sometimes can be involved, students worry about giving their power away, of being taken advantage of or being abused.

However, the relationship we have with our meditation teacher can be crucial; it can add great depth and ease to learning and progressing along the path.

So this week, we look at something that may well be provocative, and that is not so often spoken about: the meditation teacher/student relationship, and we will look at it from both sides; but first


     Thought for the day

          The absolute truth cannot be realized 

          Within the domain of the ordinary mind. 

          And the path beyond the ordinary mind, 

          All the great wisdom traditions have told us, 

          Is through the heart. 

          This path of the heart is devotion.

                             Sogyal Rinpoche


Meditation and the student/teacher relationship

Evidence would say there can be risks involved, but in holding back, in taking a defensive stance, students may well miss out on fully developing one of the biggest supports for meditation. And in this day of heightened sensitivities, teachers may well hold back, they may well limit themselves in what they offer.

If you had gone to Dr Ainslie Meares to learn to meditate, it may not have been what you expected. He would request you read his meditation books before attending. Then at the first and subsequent meetings, he spoke little and deflected questions. It was all about how he could share his experience with you. 

Being an accomplished meditator himself, Dr Meares' understanding of the teacher’s role was to impart his experience in the most direct and effective way he could. 

As he was interested in the essence of meditation, the stillness, in his view, talking about meditation only stirred up the thinking mind and created a barrier to going beyond that and into the stillness.

So his approach involved using words to lead into meditation that were abstract, that did not invite rational analysis, that were softly and slowly spoken with plenty of gaps to allow for the silences and stillness to become more apparent.

He used his presence to convey his experience.

This was back in the 1960s to 1980s. 

In those days he also used physical touch; lightly touching his students in a way that these days where the risk of being misunderstood is high is just too risky for practitioners to do. 

Having learnt from and been mentored by Dr Meares, you may well notice a similar use of words and voice when I or people I have trained introduce meditation. In the early days of this work, we used physical touch as well; always having a male and female teacher in the room and touching people lightly on the head and shoulders. 

Sadly – as in my opinion it lessened the experience for our students – as time moved on, this part of the work just seemed too easy to be misconstrued and we stopped doing it around 2015.

Dr Meares was a deeply spiritual man, but not aligned to any specific spiritual tradition. His approach was secular. On the other hand, my even more significant teacher, Sogyal Rinpoche, grew up in and was highly trained in Tibetan Buddhism. His quote above reflects his deep connection with, his reliance upon, and his devotion to his own teachers and their unbroken lineage right back to the Buddha himself.

But maybe it is the word “devotion” that encompasses the key issue for Westerners. 

We have been so inculcated in the notion of being independent, or finding “ourselves”, of standing on our own two feet, and so on. 

And there are quite a few stories where devoted people have been taken advantage of, and have suffered as a consequence.


There is not much in this world that does not carry some risk…

But read Rinpoche’s quote again. It does have compelling logic. How do we get past this thinking mind with all its attendant emotions, and connect more directly to our still, inner essence? The path of the heart is regarded as actually being the easiest and most reliable path, and the path of the heart is devotion.

So again, that word that seems to strike fear in some – devotion.

Speaking personally, when I first became interested in Tibetan Buddhism, I really struggled with devotion. What did it mean? What would I need to give up? What would I need to commit to? Would becoming devoted to a teacher diminish me or put me at risk? Why was I holding back? What to do???
Happily, I was able to discuss this with Sogyal Rinpoche and he taught on it extensively during retreats. My own conclusion is each one of us who considers making a conscious commitment to devotion needs to listen, read, discuss and especially contemplate this deeply. It nay takes years to reach clarity.

For myself, I was really helped by coming to understand devotion is a logical conclusion. It is actually a profound commitment to the teachings, based upon an understanding of how powerfully they work, and a gratitude for being able to listen to them, to learn and to practice them. 

A good teacher embodies what they are teaching. If they do this authentically, then devotion to them is devotion to the teachings. 

The more fully we can see the teacher as a pure vessel for authentic teaching, the more fully they will fulfill their role for us.

From the teacher’s perspective, the more they can put their own ego aside (at the very least while teaching), the more effective they will be in sharing their teachings in an authentic and effective manner. 

That is why good teachers start each session with a commitment along these lines. This may well go unspoken, but it does reflect this deep inner wish to present the teachings free of impediments.

Now just to be clear, it is true one can gain a lot from a good meditation teacher while keeping a distance. But there is a greater depth on offer when one makes more of a commitment and engages more fully.

A comparison may be to experience the use of a meditation app where the connection with the person leading the practice is quite superficial. The app and the practices may well be helpful, but it is no surprise within a month of downloading a basic meditation app, only 5% of people are still using it.

This is why with Allevi8 we offer direct online contact with our trained teachers; and the difference in connection and regularity of practice is hugely different.

And it is why wherever possible, the ideal is to go to meditation teachers in person…

So maybe reflect some more on the nature of your own connection to the teacher(s) you have…

Happy meditating 


31 July 2023

Is meditation bad for your (mental) health?

You may have read or heard recent concerns mindfulness apps may be bad for your mental health?

Is this so? And if so, is there a risk in using the Allevi8 mindfulness and meditation app I have helped develop specifically to help people with their mental health, and with managing significant illness?

Also, pardon the long gap between post; there has been a lot going on that maybe warrants another post at another time, but first

          Thought for the Day


If you ask me what sort of self-control you need 

To do the work of contemplation, 

My answer is, ‘None at all!’ 

In everything else you do, 

You should practise moderation. 

Avoid extremes when eating, drinking or sleeping. 

Also, protect your body from severe cold or heat, 

Do not pray or read too long 

And do not spend too much time 

Conversing with your friends. 

In all of these things, it is important 

That you do neither too much nor too little. 

But in contemplation, 

You may throw caution to the wind. 

Indulge. 

I hope you will never stop doing this loving work 

As long as you live.

         The Cloud of Unknowing – wonderful 14th Century Christian mystical text 



Following the recent Choice investigation of mindfulness apps, Nicholas Van Dam, Director of the Contemplative Studies Centre, and Jeannie Paterson, Co-Director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Ethics, recently spoke with Life Matters on ABC Radio National about the potential for harm that apps may pose to users, particularly (but not limited to) those with existing trauma or mental health issues.`

Allevi8’s experience in this domain goes way back to the 1980’s when I was learning from and being mentored by Dr Ainslie Meares. 

Dr Meares was a world-renowned psychiatrist and the earliest driving force behind the use of meditation in a therapeutic context. 

I had recently recovered (unexpectedly by most) from a very difficult cancer using meditation as a mainstay. 

Following some press and many enquiries, I was just beginning to help others affected by cancer, stress, anxiety and other conditions.

I had the good fortune to meet regularly with Dr Meares. 


We spoke often about potential risks, potential adverse side-effects and how to avoid them. The was not much research back in those pioneering days, but Dr Meares drew on his extensive psychiatric background, and we were both working with many people dealing with a wide range of conditions.

Maybe Allevi8 can present a full webinar or conference on this subject one day, but for now, maybe it is enough to point out:


1. The techniques used on the Allevi8 app have been clinically tested on literally thousands of people by Dr Meares, myself and the large number of staff I had the privilege to work with over nearly 40 years. These people had a very wide range of physical and mental health conditions. 

Dr Meares said the only concerns he had were for people with bi-polar disorder. So in my own work, we did screen people. However, as the years moved on, a number of people reported they had not disclosed their bi-polar condition, had learnt and practices meditation and had either felt much better, actually improved or in a couple of cases, remained symptom free over long periods of time.

2. The techniques used on the Allevi8 app have been developed with safety in mind. 

A big part of what we could describe as inbuilt safety, is the initial focus on relaxing the body. 

In our experience, techniques that only include the mind can lead to dis-association, whereas an initial bodily focus is very grounding and stabilising.

3. While not formally researched, the techniques on Allevi8 have strong similarities to techniques that have been researched and have been found to have both good efficacy and low risk profiles. 

A summary of the evidence base is on the Allevi8.net website

4. In all the nearly 40 years using these techniques and with over 100,000 people having used them in residential and non-residential programs with a good deal of interaction with staff, there have been no reported major setbacks or side-effects reported by these people, and most problems have been simply around difficulty with application – learning the techniques and practicing regularly.

5. At Allevi8 we take the concerns for adverse effects very seriously. This is another reason why we developed our online mentoring system and engaged senior, well trained, and experienced teachers to fill these mentoring roles. We know that personal connection with a teacher/mentor provides a strong safeguard.

6. We do encourage anyone who may experience problems to do the obvious thing and tell us about it via the website Allevi8.net. 

So in conclusion, while aware of small potential for risk, based upon our extensive experience, we have confidence in the techniques on the Allevi8 app and commend it for your consideration and use.