28 November 2022

The MYRIAD trial. World’s largest mindfulness trial, early adolescence, mostly negative results… What can we make of it?

The MYRIAD study, the largest mindfulness study ever, and just published, has trialled a particular approach to mindfulness training as a universal intervention. It was a very large, well-designed English study that included over 8,300 children between the ages of 11 and 13. It was run by a high-quality research team with a big budget. 

The results were mostly negative.

Therefore, the MYRIAD trial results pose a clear challenge to the generally high levels of confidence and enthusiasm for using mindfulness practices in school programs—which often bring with them strong claims of being ‘evidence- based’. In this study, the mindfulness intervention did not do any better than Treatment as Usual (established social and emotional learning training).

The study’s authors concluded: Universal SBMT is not recommended in this format in early adolescence. Future research should explore social−emotional learning programmes adapted to the unique needs of young people.

So how do we interpret the results? This week we take a deep dive, and also include recently published studies examining mindfulness in schools programs that did record positive findings. My own limited experience with young children in schools has been very positive, so it would be good to hear comments from any teachers or parents with their own direct experiences, but first

  

 Thought for the day

     Acquire inner peace 

     And a thousand persons around you 

     Will find peace.

St. Seraphim of Sarov, 18th Century Russian Hermit

 

Clearly, we cannot ignore the MYRIAD study; its results do fly in the face of a good body of research attesting to the positive benefits of school-based mindfulness programs for adolescent mental health and behaviour problems (see the results of three evidence-based review papers below). So, what conclusion are we to take from the MYRIAD study? Is it that mindfulness does not work, or that mindfulness works but not for people of this age group, or that mindfulness works but the program delivered was not a good program, or that the research was poorly done and therefore delivered a false finding? Well, the research team were high quality and it was a thoroughly designed and well thought through study, so it is unlikely to be the latter. Then let us explore the other possibilities.

There seem to be several issues:
1. The results could be accurate and a warning signal.

2. The study focused upon children 11 – 13. So it really says nothing clear about younger children or adolescents aged 15 – 16 etc. It may be children in primary school could usefully be grouped together, and be considered separately from those in secondary or tertiary education, but this remains to be seen.

3. The real challenge for running mindfulness programs for children is to make them interesting, relevant and to contextualise them to their lives and what is important to them. It seems many children in this study did not like the practice and did not spend time doing it. 

It appears, those who did like it, and did practice, did gain significant benefits. Perhaps they needed to be engaged better, or the children will need an opt out clause, or maybe mindfulness interventions are particularly challenging to deliver successfully to whole cohorts of students rather than just those who self-select to do it.

4. This study taught one style of mindfulness to over 8,000 children. Previous studies, where results were positive, were much smaller and may have adapted more to their limited audiences. It may be one learning from this study is the need for more prior consultation and then to adapt promotion and methodology to fit individual schools, communities and children. This is a need experienced in most public health initiatives. In other words, if mindfulness is to be adopted widely, there may be a need to be flexible with delivery and teaching styles.

5. The training provided for teachers in this study was comprehensive. Many current programs have much lighter trainings. It seems likely a high level of training is likely to be important. Some studies have shown results are better when programs are presented by external experts, rather than internal teachers. 

6. There was a small increase in some negative outcomes (e.g. more reporting of attentional problems, more obsessional traits, becoming less mindful) for some participants in the mindfulness group. Whether that is a negative outcome of the mindfulness intervention or simply an outcome of students being more aware of something they were previously not noticing is a question that is hard to answer. If the children are becoming more aware of what they were previously not noticing, then the solution is not necessarily to stop teaching them mindfulness but rather to help them to gently but mindfully work with these challenges. Possible responses to this observation might be to include better support for those students who are really struggling, and that the way we work with children be adapted to different needs.

Finally, whether this paper answers all the questions or whether it raises more questions than answers (e.g. why this program did not work, what kinds of school-based programs do work for adolescents and why?) is hard to say. It certainly cannot be ignored, but it is likely to provide a lot of impetus to naysayers, and at the same time be a challenge to people delivering whole of school mindfulness programs to reflect long and hard on what they are delivering and how they do it. 

It is clear much more research is needed – soon.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Gratitude to Professor Craig Hassed of Monash University’s Centre for Consciousness and Mindfulness Studies, and Assoc-Professor Nicholas Van Dam of the University of Melbourne’s Contemplative Studies Centre for their assistance in collating and reviewing this post.

RECENT RESEARCH

Here are recently published studies examining mindfulness in schools programs that did record positive findings.

Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Studies (RCTs) shows Mindfulness-Based Interventions improve the mental health and wellbeing of youth – 2019.

Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are an increasingly popular way of attempting to improve the behavioural, cognitive and mental health outcomes of children and adolescents, though there is a suggestion that enthusiasm has moved ahead of the evidence base. Most evaluations of MBIs are either uncontrolled or nonrandomized trials. 

In this study, a systematic literature search of RCTs of MBIs was conducted up to October 2017. Thirty-three independent studies including 3,666 children and adolescents were included.  Across all RCTs the research found significant positive effects of MBIs, relative to controls, for the outcome categories of Mindfulness, Executive Functioning, Attention, Depression, Anxiety/Stress and Negative Behaviours, with small effect sizes (Cohen's d), ranging from .16 to .30. However, when considering only those RCTs with active control groups, significant benefits of an MBI were restricted to the outcomes of Mindfulness (d = .42), Depression (d = .47) and Anxiety/Stress (d = .18) only. 

Conclusions: This meta-analysis reinforces the efficacy of using MBIs for improving the mental health and wellbeing of youth as assessed using the gold standard RCT methodology. 

Dunning DL et al. Research Review: The effects of mindfulness-based interventions on cognition and mental health in children and adolescents - a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2019 Mar;60(3):244-258. 

Update for the Dunning meta-analysis – 2022

The previous meta-analysis from this team (2019), suggested that MBPs show promising effectiveness, but highlighted a lack of high-quality, adequately powered randomised controlled trials (RCTs). This updated meta-analysis assesses the-state-of the-art of MBPs for young people in light of new studies.

Sixty-six RCTs, involving 20 138 participants (9552 receiving an MBP and 10 586 controls), were identified. Compared with passive controls, MBPs were effective in improving anxiety/stress, attention, executive functioning, and negative and social behaviour. Compared against active controls, MBPs were more effective in reducing anxiety/stress and improving mindfulness. In studies with a follow-up, there were no significant positive effects of MBPs. No consistent pattern favoured MBPs as a universal versus selective intervention.

Conclusions The enthusiasm for MBPs in youth has arguably run ahead of the evidence. While MBPs show promising results for some outcomes, in general, the evidence is of low quality and inconclusive. We discuss a conceptual model and the theory-driven innovation required to realise the potential of MBPs in supporting youth mental health.

Dunning D, Tudor K, Radley L, et al. Do mindfulness-based programmes improve the cognitive skills, behaviour and mental health of children and adolescents? An updated meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Evidence-Based Mental Health 2022;25:135-142.

Mindfulness leads to less disruptive behaviour - 2017

The purpose of this meta-analytic review was to add to the literature by synthesizing single-case research on Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) with children and adolescents. Specifically, the effect of MBIs on youths’ disruptive behaviour was examined in 10 studies published between 2006 and 2014. Results indicated that, on average, MBIs had a medium effect on disruptive behaviour during treatment. The average effect of MBIs during maintenance phases was larger. Potential moderators of intervention effects were also explored. Implications for future research and practice regarding MBIs with youth and in schools are discussed.

Klingbeil D et al. (2017). Effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions on Disruptive Behavior: A Meta-Analysis of Single-Case Research. Psychology in the Schools. 54. 10.1002/pits.21982.

How well do Mindfulness-Based Interventions work for school children? - 2022

This systematic review published in 2022 set out to assess the current literature on mindfulness-based school interventions (MBSIs) by evaluating evidence across specific outcomes for youth. 

The researchers evaluated 77 studies with a total sample of 12,358 students across five continents, assessing the quality of each study through a robust coding system for evidence-based guidelines. The highest quality evidence ('A Grade') across outcomes indicated that MBSIs increased prosocial behaviour, resilience, executive function, attention and mindfulness, and decreased anxiety, attention problems/ADHD behaviours and conduct behaviours. 

The highest quality evidence for well-being was split, with some studies showing increased well-being and some showing no improvements. The highest quality evidence suggests MBSIs have a null effect on depression symptoms. 

Conclusion: This review demonstrates the promise of incorporating mindfulness interventions in school settings for improving certain youth outcomes. The authors urge researchers interested in MBSIs to study their effectiveness using more rigorous designs (e.g., RCTs with active control groups, multi-method outcome assessment, and follow-up evaluation), to minimize bias and promote higher quality - not just increased quantity - evidence that can be relied upon to guide school-based practice. 

Phan ML et al. Mindfulness-based school interventions: A systematic review of outcome evidence quality by study design. Mindfulness (N Y). 2022 Jul;13(7):1591-1613. 



19 October 2022

Discriminating Awareness

Everyone loves a good story. What follows is one of the best, that is then garnished with a particularly fine piece of political spin. But is comes too with a caveat that is worth pondering, so this week, enjoy a great story and what it has to offer, but first

Thought for the day

The teachings of the Buddha are skilful means; 

They are not absolute truth. 

The Buddha said,

“My teachings are a finger pointing to the moon. 

Do not get caught in thinking that the finger is the moon. 

It is because of the finger that you can see the moon.”

JUDY Rudd, is an amateur genealogy researcher in southern Queensland and has been doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's great-great uncle, Remus Rudd, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Melbourne in 1889.

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows at the Melbourne Gaol.

On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is an inscription: 

Remus Rudd, horse thief, sent to Melbourne Gaol 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Melbourne-Geelong train six times. 

Caught by Victoria Police Force, convicted and hanged in 1889.

So Judy emailed Prime Minister Rudd for information about their great-great uncle.



Believe it or not, Kevin Rudd's staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

Remus Rudd was famous in Victoria during the mid to late 1800s. 

His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Melbourne-Geelong Railroad.

Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad.

In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the Victoria Police Force. 

In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honour, when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.

Sounds believable; almost appealing...

But then, there is truth, there is political spin, and there is fake news.

Sad to say, this story comes under the heading of fake news. Much as we might like to think dear Mr Rudd would spin a story about an errant ancestor, it just ain’t true.

Although the man in the picture was indeed a train robber, his name was not Remus, nor was he Australian. Thomas “Black Jack” Ketchum was a train robber in America, hanged in 1901 in Clayton, in the US state of New Mexico. 

The photo became famous partly because, according to a Colorado Encyclopedia entry none of his executioners were experienced at hangings, which led to Ketchum’s decapitation when his body fell through the gallows.

While Ketchum did have siblings it is unlikely he is related to any of the politicians that this long-running internet hoax has linked to the photo of his hanging.

So a great story. Not a true story, but a great story; and all the better as it can provoke us to reflect upon how readily we might take a story to be true, to be spun or to be false. 

Separating fact from fiction... Discriminating awareness.

 


03 October 2022

Contemplating death can bring you more alive

Consider this an odd title? Maybe… However, we all know that one day we will die; and that leaves us all with a fundamental choice. Do we live our life in fear and denial of death, or do we live a life informed by death? It is obvious our attitude to death heavily informs how we live.

The basic proposition is that while the first option has more immediate appeal, the latter will actually serve us much, much better. 

Contemplating death can bring you more alive. 

Contemplating death can change your life for the better...

So this week, how to contemplate death constructively? How to plan for a good death? All prompted by me speaking on this theme for the Vajrayana Institute’s free online conference Dharma in Daily Life on Saturday the 8th October, but first

     Thought for the day

         What a beautiful and what a healing mystery it is 

         That from contemplating, continually and fearlessly, 

         The truth of change and impermanence, 

         We come slowly to find ourselves face to face, 

         In gratitude and joy, 

         With the truth of the changeless, 

         With the truth of the deathless, unending nature of mind!

                                             Sogyal Rinpoche



Reflect for a moment… 

It is clear… Fear and denial of death lead to either a defensive life, or a cavalier one. To withdrawal, to holding back, to anxiety and instability. Or to extravagance, bravado, risk taking, to the eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die style of living.

By contrast, a life informed by death means we take nothing for granted, we appreciate all we have, we make the most of relationships, we leave as little undone as possible. We are more present, more engaged, more grateful. More truly alive.

Most of us reach adulthood with little real reflection upon death. If, and when, we do realise the merit of doing so, then the question arises, how do we do it? 

Having worked with thousands of people facing life-threatening illness over 4 decades, what follows is a summary of the guidelines we shared in our self-help, lifestyle-based programs, and is reproduced from my book You Can Conquer Cancer - available as an audio book or in hard copy

May this checklist be of use for you, and if you follow through, you may well come to experience how contemplating death can bring you more alive.

END OF LIFE CHECKLIST                           

i) The practical matters - “getting your affairs in order”  

·            Prepare or update your will.

·            Attend to your financial affairs and ensure your partner can access joint accounts and other key financial and legal matters if necessary.

·            Create an Enduring Power of Attorney (a simple Power of Attorney ceases if you become incapacitated).

·            Consider establishing a Living Will or Enduring Power of Attorney – Medical Treatment form. This will set out your preferences and directions for end of life treatment options. These directions would provide guidance to medical staff and family if you become incapacitated, are not likely to recover, and choices need to be made regarding being left to die naturally or to have major interventions. You can also mention the levels of pain medication desired (maximum or minimal) and whether you would elect to have CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if your heart were to stop in this end stage of life. You could also nominate who you might want present (or absent) at the end of life and indicate a preference for being at home, in hospital or a hospice.

·            Consider your possessions. Do you prefer for some items to go to particular people? If so, make sure this is clear; maybe consider giving some things away while you are alive.

·            Designate who you wish to look after any children, parents or other dependants if you and / or your partner were to die. Make sure the designated people know and agree.

·            Complete as many of the tasks in your life as possible. Give priority to your “Bucket List”. Aim to die free of regret for things left undone – either do them or let them go.

ii) Communicate. Do not die leaving people wondering!

·            Express your love. You may think they know, maybe they are psychic, but tell them anyway!

·            Consider leaving messages for significant people to be read or viewed at significant times. This can be particularly useful and comforting if you have young children now. Ideally, your write or record your messages and deliver them in person on the 18th birthday or at the wedding; but if you are not there, the message will have real meaning.

·            Consider documenting your life. You could simply create a photo album from childhood on, or collate any old videos or DVD’s. Or you could be more personal and specifically record your insights, reflections, regrets, passions etc.

·            Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Resentment is like a cancer in itself. Forgiveness heals the heart and sets us free. Review the forgiveness section in the Healthy Emotions chapter and do it! Forgive others. Forgive yourself.

iii) Immediately after death

·            What preferences do you have for your body? Should it be left undisturbed for a while, and if so, for how long? In hospitals especially, there is often a need to clear beds for the next person (a tough reality), but family and friends may find great value in being able to sit quietly with the body after death. Also some spiritual traditions indicate there is real benefit for the person who has died if the body is left undisturbed for even up to 3 days after death. This length of time may not be practical, but you may choose to indicate your own preference.

·            What procedures do you want carried out with your body? Have you registered for organ donation? Embalming is a highly invasive procedure and only legally required if the body is being transported internationally. Have you a preference for who should wash the body and what clothes it will be dressed in?

·            Have you a preference for a particular type of coffin or casket?

·            Burial or cremation? Where?

iv) Funeral Service

·            Do you want one? If so, will it be closed to include only the immediate family, or open for everyone who wishes to attend? Be reminded a funeral can help those left behind a great deal and consider wherever possible what will help them.

·            Where will the service be held and who will officiate – a civil celebrant or a member of your religious tradition?

·            What style of service? Traditional according to your religion? Themed such as New Orleans Jazz? What emphasis will there be on the celebration of life and the grief of loss?

·            What music, poems, readings to include? 

·            Who will speak? Who gives the main eulogy? Will others reflect on your life, offer readings etc?

·            Are there particular interest groups to include and feature such as sporting or service clubs?

·            What about after the funeral? Will there be a wake? If so where, who organizes it and how will it be financed and provided?

v) Anything else important?

If so add it to your list.

A healthy lifestyle makes for a good death

A surprising number of people make the mistake of approaching death in an unhealthy way. Some people tell me “I tried the diet and the meditation. It helped for a while, but now I am approaching death I am going back to my old way”. This is a crucial point. Eating well makes it easier to die well. Why? 

Because heavy foods and junk foods add a burden to your system. High fat diets make for sticky blood and lead to higher risks of embolism, stroke and heart failure. Bad diets promote inflammation that is both uncomfortable and is likely to aggravate any health issues you have. Bad diets are degenerative, whereas our healthy diet is regenerative and anti-inflammatory. Meditation is also anti-inflammatory and regenerative, whilst it also clears the mind, reduces anxiety and pain and helps us connect with who we really are.

If I thought I was really closer to dying rather than just the fact of knowing I could die any day, I would be even more particular about what I ate and drank, and I would meditate even more than the average one hour per day I do currently.

Be gentle on yourself. 

Live well and die well.

Contemplating death can bring you more alive. 


19 September 2022

The Allevi8 meditation app is changing

One of the few constants in life is change. 

Many of you who read this blog have downloaded the Allevi8 meditation app I have been involved in developing, so thank you for the support.

This is to advise of significant changes we plan around Allevi8’s content, the opportunities it will provide to meet online with experienced meditation teachers, and how the pricing will change, but first


   Thought for the day

           Happiness is your nature.

           It is not wrong to desire it. 

          What is wrong is seeking it outside

          When it is inside

                      Sri Ramana Maharshi






Our Allevi8 app has been developed to help people with a serious intention to meditate, to do so regularly and well. We are particularly focussed upon sharing techniques well proven to assist those affected by physical or mental illness; including stress and anxiety.
Two years on since our launch, we have received a good deal of positive feedback, whilst the evidence-base provided by published research grows stronger and stronger. However, we realise there is more we need to do to best meet our aims. 

Maybe you can relate to the big issue… 

We all know, and the research makes it very clear; the more we meditate, the more we benefit. 

No surprise there. 

However, over decades now, I have asked 2 important questions of literally thousands of people during meditation workshops, conferences and retreats, with disconcerting results. 

First question: Over the last few weeks, who feels they have done as much meditation practice as they would personally have liked? 


A. Only a very small percentage say Yes

Second question: Over the last few weeks, who feels well satisfied with the quality of their meditation practice? 

A. Again, only very small percentage say Yes; the rest, an often forlorn NO.

So Allevi8 was actually born out of this knowledge. 

We knew many people would like to practice more, and many feel their experience of meditation could be better. 

We had hoped the accessibility of the app, the targeted techniques for specific issues such as anxiety and sleep disorders, along with our innovations of the weekly group meditation and the more recently introduced online mentoring would make a difference. 

And while the feedback has been good, and the numbers of people using Allevi8 builds steadily, our own research makes one thing very clear. 

Those who do engage with our online mentors are practicing significantly more often than those who do not. Also, they are feeling better about their experiences in meditation, and perhaps of greatest significance, they are reporting significantly better health and wellbeing outcomes.

So we can make a common observation… We each take up meditation with good intentions, but then all too often life gets in the way, and the resolve to practice daily slides into the reality of occasional practice. Worse, it is when we are stressed or unwell we need to meditate more, and often at these times we put off our practice even more.  

How then to turn this around? 

Because all of us at Allevi8 are passionate about meditation, we want to provide the best service through the app that we feel is possible. We envision Allevi8 as a high quality, innovate app committed to providing the best outcomes for its users. We are not so interested in just having more people use the app, we are committed to providing a meditation app with related services that provide the best possible support to build regular and satisfying practice.

With this in mind, we plan to continue to provide access to all the tracks on Allevi8 for free. However, for those who want the full benefits, for those keen to practice regularly and well, we are introducing a new 'Group Mentoring' offering. This will provide access to the weekly group meditation sessions: Allevi8@8, along with access to a small group mentoring session once each month. It seems clear from our feedback and internal research, that providing access to online support from our trained meditation teacher/mentors makes a significant difference.

To be transparent, we also need a system that will enable Allevi8 to become financially sustainable. For example, over the past 2 years, all our mentors have donated their time to contribute to Allevi8@8. We hope you will appreciate and understand the need to change the cost structure at the same time that we are increasing what we are offering through the app. 

Along with the option of the free Allevi8 app, we feel this new paying model is an ideal, cost-effective combination to provide ongoing support that in turn leads to sustained and effective practice. 
Priced at AU$30 per month (inc GST), the new offering will include the weekly Allevi8@8 sessions (which will no longer be free as of November 2022), and a further practice session each month in a smaller group of up to 6 participants, also led by one of our Meditation mentors. 


The Allevi8@8 sessions will continue as they are now - in that they will focus on a particular practice within the Allevi8 app and feature one of our meditation teachers sharing some interesting background, theory and tips before leading us through the practice.





For the new monthly teaching and practice sessions in small groups, we will make available multiple sessions through the month at different times, with each session geared to focus upon one of the seven issues featured on the Allevi8 app. Each of these groups could contain anything from one person up to six as a maximum. You will receive an e-mail at the beginning of each month, showing you the available sessions for the month. You can simply choose which issue you wish to work on that month and book yourself into a corresponding session. 

Also, we will continue to provide mentoring on a one to one basis for those who would like even more personalised attention and support. 

I do hope this new offering is of interest, and invite you to go to allevi8.net  where you can sign up for Group Mentoring. 

With sincere thanks for your continued support and best wishes; may your daily practice flourish...



 


 


12 September 2022

How to get the most from treatment

If you have been diagnosed with a significant illness, you will probably have endured enough bad news already… So it is a pleasure to be able to bring you some good news – and to share some wonderful new techniques freely via the Allevi8 app.

I am one of those fortunate people who has been through some very tough health challenges, endured, survived, and learnt from it all. So in the spirit of sharing this good fortune, those of us involved with Allevi8 have added a new section to the app specifically on how to get the best from any treatment you may receive, including how best to prepare for surgery. In all, there are 8 new tracks and these are listed below... And remember, the access to all of this on the Allevi8 app is free, with a Pay it Forward option. 

So this week, how to get the best from your treatment, but first

       Thought for the day


When given a challenging situation
Your brain has not encountered before,
It can reorganise and restructure to respond to that situation.
The more often your brain is exposed to that new challenge – like learning a musical instrument, for instance –  the more it reorganises and makes that path more established.
Our brains are constantly being shaped wittingly or unwittingly – most of the time unwittingly
We are raising the possibility to intentionally train our brains to improve well-being.
                          

                          Professor Richard Davidson

 

Consider this...

How much difference can you make to anything you do? Seems to me there is common sense in this. Clearly when it comes to healing, there is what can be done for us – and what we can do for ourselves. If we are fearful, anxious, confused, it may well be we end up working against our treatment. 

So the exercises here are intended to help you to feel empowered; clear in your mind, at ease and relaxed, confident to work with and get the best from your treatment.

But first a little history. As a young veterinarian, I developed bone cancer in my right leg and it was amputated in 1975. The cancer re-appeared later that year and despite a very short prognosis, and with the help of medical and self-help lifestyle based measures (like meditation, good nutrition exercise and so on), I was fortunate to recover against the odds. 

In response to many enquiries around what had helped me, I went on to co-found the world’s first lifestyle-based self-help programs for people affected by cancer and multiple sclerosis.


So by now, the mind-body exercises we share on the Allevi8 app have been well tested through decades of
clinical experience. 

They are well supported by a growing body of research and I have gathered, summarized and made available key research papers on the allevi8.net website.




How then to use this section of Allevi8 and to get the best from your treatment?

The first thing I would encourage you to do is to have some confidence. I have personally witnessed these techniques make a big difference in the lives of many people. I have seen many people who started treatment fearful and anxious, who quite quickly found inner peace and a clarity of conviction.

Clearly with any treatment there is a natural distribution where most people get an average response, some do not so well, and some do particularly well. It is my belief, and my experience, that using these techniques regularly can give you the best chance of getting the best from your treatment.

So what to do? 

If you are dealing with significant illness and receiving treatment, the suggestion is to do two of the exercises in this section of the app daily; if you are really keen, even three.

The suggestion is to practice what we call in this section of the Allevi8 app the Daily Healing Meditation at least once each day. 

This exercise will guide you into a deep relaxation of body and mind. 

As you do relax more deeply like this, your body settles into its own natural balance. 

The key principle behind all this is that when your body is in balance, all your body’s natural healing capacities come to the fore, and as such, they create an ideal inner environment in which to heal.

So this main Daily Healing Meditation is all about relaxing deeply and letting go. 

Some people find it so helpful they actually do it 2 to 3 times daily. 


But there are more possibilities...

In this section of the Allevi8 app, two other key exercises support this main practice. There is Relaxation with Harp (featuring Peter Roberts), and the shorter Rapid Relaxation. This latter exercise is ideal to do discretely when wanting to relax before an appointment, or if you feel tension rising through the day and want to let it go… You can experiment with both and it will be obvious to you whether they are helpful or not for you.

The remaining exercises in this section of the app involve guided imagery that more specifically engage with your treatment, including radiotherapy and preparing for surgery. These exercises use powerful principles of mind-body medicine and can act synergistically with the relaxation-based exercises.

To repeat, the spirit of experimenting is important. People are different and that is why we have different exercise on the app. Best to try the other exercises in this section of the app and notice which ones resonate; which ones you are drawn to and feel good doing. Ideally do one of these extra exercises at least once daily. Also, you may find exercises from other sections of Allevi8 helpful in your healing journey. Let your own inner wisdom guide you here.

Now a heads up… 

We are in the final stages of developing a new model for those wanting more guidance and support with the Allevi8 techniques. Once released, if you join this new Allevi8 Group Mentoring Program you will have access to a monthly small group mentoring session in a group of up to 6 like-minded people. Each group will be led by one of our highly trained and experienced meditation teachers and mentors. Each of these groups will address one of the sections from the app, so it could be Getting the Best out of Your Treatment, or Better Sleep, Managing Stress, Healing and so on… So if you do have questions or need clarification, you will be able to ask there. Also, these Allevi8 Group Mentoring sessions will include a personally guided practice. You will find the link to the new program and these sessions on the app once it is released, and we will notify everyone once it is released.


Next, the Allevi8 Mentoring Program will also include access to our weekly Allevi8@8 sessions, where as many of you will know, in a larger group you will receive extra guidance and support, along with a guided practice led by one of our mentors. 

These Allevi8@8 sessions are presented weekly with a highlight being the very popular Healing Meditation sessions held on the first Monday each month.



Finally, just to say all of us here at Allevi8 have a deep commitment to assisting you in your healing process. We have a deep respect for what can be done for you – and what you can do for yourself. Get the best from both – from your treatment and your own efforts – and truly remarkable things become possible.

Please do give us feedback and let us know how we can support you best.

Our wish is for you to recover quickly and fully, 

That you do gain the best from your treatment, 

And that you do go on to have a long, happy, and fulfilling life.

 

The Allevi8 tracks: Getting the most from treatment

1. An Introduction recorded on video from Ian Gawler

2. The Healing Journey – guided imagery based upon a series of archetypal healing images 

3. Relaxation with Harp – the progressive muscle relaxation exercise without the step of contracting the muscles, but including the wonderfully soothing and healing harp of Peter Roberts

4. Rapid Relaxation – a short deep relaxation exercise using breath and gentle movements

5. Daily Healing Meditation – the full relaxation, mindfulness into stillness meditation practice for regular use

6. Preparing for surgery – what can help develop a positive state of mind plus how to use imagery to make the most of surgery

7. Working with my medical treatment – featuring Cathy Brown, the Allevi8 head of our therapeutic meditation mentor’s group. A series of relaxations and guided imagery pieces designed to get the best from drug treatments; and to minimize any potential side-effects

8. Working with my radiotherapy – similar to the treatment exercise, but here using guided imagery and light to work with radiotherapy; and again, to minimize any potential side-effects.