27 June 2016


Sadly, I often hear of people who when first faced with a cancer diagnosis make choices they later regret - because they did not know in advance what was best, and in the heat of the moment, they made an unwise choice.

As breast cancer rates continue to rise, women faced with that diagnosis are called upon to make many choices. Often, the first major choice is how much surgery to agree to. Is it better to just have the cancerous lump removed (lumpectomy - a smaller, breast conserving operation) or go ahead and have the whole breast removed (mastectomy)?

So this week, important new evidence based upon studying over 37,000 women for 10 years provides important guidelines for anyone concerned by breast cancer, and then more on the Meditation Gateway App, but first

                  Thought for the day

              The intuitive mind is a sacred gift 

              And the rational mind is a faithful servant.

              We have created a society that honors the servant 

              And has forgotten the gift.

                                                 Albert Einstein

First be clear. In cancer medicine, as in all medicine, each individual is unique. So any woman diagnosed with breast cancer requires an individual diagnosis and an individual treatment plan.

What follows is based upon statistics. For any new woman diagnosed with breast cancer, or for that matter, any person diagnosed with any cancer, the statistics are informative but that is all. 

Statistics apply to groups of people. Individual people need individual treatment plans not statistics.

Having said that, recent statistics shed new light on a long standing question that has beset patients and clinicians alike – is a lumpectomy OK for women with breast cancer; does it have a worse or better long term outcome?

This latest large, retrospective, long-term study suggests quite strongly that breast-conserving therapy (BCT), which consists of lumpectomy with radiotherapy, might be a better option than mastectomy for many women.

The results show that the relative risk for death after 10 years was nearly 20% lower in women who underwent BCT than in those who underwent mastectomy alone. The 10-year rate of overall survival was better with BCT than with mastectomy (76.8% vs 59.7%).

In the BCT group, the overall survival benefits were observed despite the tumor size or the number of nodes affected.

This study, conducted in Holland, involved women diagnosed from 2000 to 2004, and is important because it provides 10-year follow-up data. Most recent observational studies, which have also shown better survival with BCT, have been limited to 5 years of post-treatment data, which is "quite short" for breast cancer according to researcher Dr Sabine Siesling.

"The main take-away message is that breast-conserving therapy should be the treatment of choice, especially in small tumors, when it is medically feasible," she concluded.

Curiously, while an American clinician director of the symposium, Dr Carlos Arteaga agreed with Dr Siesling’s message, he stated that the study would not likely change current guidelines. Mastectomy is generally recommended when, among other things, tumor multicentricity is present or the size of the tumor (relative to the size of the breast) dictates.

In the Dutch study, the women who underwent BCT tended to be younger and to have smaller well-differentiated ductal tumors, unifocal tumors, less hormonal therapy, and less axillary lymph node dissection.
"We think that radiation therapy may have played an important role in the difference in the outcomes from both treatments, although we cannot prove it with our data," Dr Siesling said in a press statement.

She also explained that, in the Netherlands, radiation therapy is not performed in conjunction with mastectomy.

The study has limitations, Dr Siesling acknowledged, such as potential confounders that could be at play, including the fact that there was no information about the HER2 status of the patients or their comorbidities.

"However, we do not expect these factors to overrule the large impact of all the variables we included in the analyses," she added.

Editor’s Note
What this data probably indicates is that faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, based on current evidence, breast-conserving therapy could well be the treatment of choice. It probably means one would need to be well convinced to do anything else. 

So this is not to say that a mastectomy may not be the best choice, but that one would need to be convinced by pretty good evidence that it was before agreeing to it.

What ever medical choices are made, it is of course an imperative that anyone diagnosed with cancer review their lifestyle and consider who they can minimise any potential side-effects, gain the best from any medical treatments and use their own resources to generate healing from within, to find meaning through the illness and to experience long lasting good health and contentment.

Reference Ten-Year Data: Lumpectomy and Radiotherapy Trump Mastectomy

San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) 2015: Abstract S3-05. 

BOOK : You Can Conquer Cancer

CDs/ Downloads : The Gawler Cancer Program

What To Do When Someone You Love is Diagnosed With Cancer

Lifestyle Medicine/ Self Help Programs : The Gawler Foundation


It is a delight to be able to say that very positive feedback has been coming following the recent release of our Gateway Meditation App.

The App makes it possible to access all your favourite meditations via an elegant, easy to use App with heaps of support features. With the App, you also can customise your meditation sessions and even meditate with friends in a virtual group.

The Meditation Gateway is a platform app and while several different teachers and meditation schools are using it already, several more will be doing so quite soon.

I am thrilled that all my key guided practices and teachings from the Mindbody Mastery program are now available on the Meditation Gateway App. 

Easy to use, intuitive in its design, the App has a host of features to inspire, instruct and support you as you deepen your experience of relaxation, mindfulness, meditation, imagery and contemplation.

Available for a modest monthly subscription, you can access all this today using any Apple smartphone or ipad; the Android version will follow shortly.

Go to the Meditation Gateway App. 

20 June 2016

Your chance to be in a meditation research project

Please consider taking a few minutes to fill out a questionnaire that is part of a Monash University study into the experience of stillness within meditation. This is an important study that needs your help to gather data on the experiences of stillness that occur during different meditation and mindfulness practices.

The study is doubly important as it is one of the new generation of studies that is beginning to compare experiences and outcomes that follow from different meditation styles, so please, read all about it below, and take the few minutes to complete the questionnaire – it is actually quite interesting, then more news about the new Meditation Gateway App, but first


            Thought for the day

                   Live quietly in the moment 
                  And see the beauty of all before you

                               Paramahansa Yogananda

Dominic Hoseman is leading a team of researchers at Monash University. Together, they are currently undertaking a research project exploring the experience of stillness within meditation and its relationship with mindfulness and wellbeing.

For this project, they are seeking a combination of meditators and non-meditators to participate. The research project received approval from the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (CF16/1316-2016000696).

Participants are being sort to assist by
i) participating in the study and

ii) forwarding this email/survey link among their networks in order to invite others to participate in the project.

I personally urge you to help. Your assistance is of course voluntary and anonymous.

The study is for research purposes only. It forms part of Dominic Hosemans’ Ph.D. thesis and is being conducted under the supervision of Dr. Janette Simmons, Dr. Tristan Snell, and Associate Professor Craig Hassed.

The study involves completing an online survey, which will take no more than 15 minutes to complete. ( I found it took about 5 minutes)

If you agree to participate in the study, you will remain free to withdraw at any time and to withdraw any unprocessed data.

For more information on the study, and to access the online survey, please CLICK HERE

Would love to hear your feedback - use the Comment section below...

The meditation Gateway App I have been involved in developing serves two main functions:

1. For your own use, the App enables you to access a complete meditation program including guided relaxation, concentration, mindfulness, imagery and meditation exercises. 

You can access my own teachings and guided exercises in a choice of 4 voices - my own, Ruth's or an American or Indian accent. The teachings are sent to you progressively and will be excellent as a refresher or for those just learning.

You also receive daily emails containing inspiration, new information and support.

With the App, you can customise your own practise sessions. For example you could start with a meditation bell, then combine different exercises such as relaxation and imagery, and include your own chosen length of stillness before ending with the sound of another bell.

You could also arrange with friends to create a virtual meditation group. We all know the benefit of meditating in company, but often it is not so easy to actually get together. So the App enables you to set a time, where upon it will remind you before that time, and you can all meditate to the same track.

And there is much more....

Go the Meditation Gateway App and sign up for one of the versions of Mindbody Mastery.

2. As a meditation teacher, the App functions as a platform. It is designed to enable you to upload your own material - teachings and guided exercises. This service is available at no cost to the teacher; we use a user pay method of funding. What it does mean is that your students can access your teachings through a technologically sophisticated App.

If you are a teacher interested in using the Meditation Gateway App as a platform, write to me at info@insighthealth.com.au. It is very easy to set up and then your students can interact in a very personal and direct way with you and your own material.

13 June 2016


Want the convenience of being able to access all your favourite meditations via an elegant, easy to use App with heaps of support features? How about customising your meditation sessions or meditating with friends in a virtual group? 

Well, all this and more is now possible.

I am thrilled to be able to tell you that all my key guided practices and teachings from the Mindbody Mastery program are now available through the just released Meditation Gateway App

Easy to use, intuitive in its design, the App has a host of features to inspire, instruct and support you as you deepen your experience of relaxation, mindfulness, meditation, imagery and contemplation.

Available for a modest monthly subscription, you can access all this today using any Apple smartphone or ipad; the Android version will follow shortly.

Go to the Meditation Gateway App and join Mindbody Mastery.

More details follow, but first

     Thought for the day

          If your mind is empty, 
          It is always ready for anything; 
          It is open to everything. 

          In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, 
          In the expert’s mind there are few.

                    Suzuki-Roshi, Zen master

Download the App, subscribe to the Mindbody Mastery program

The Meditation Gateway App features meditation programs from different meditation teachers, and Mindbody Mastery program is one of them. Furthermore, we have uploaded all four versions of Mindbody Mastery – in Ruth’s voice, an American female accent, an Indian male, and my own.

Simply subscribe to the program with the voice you prefer; each program has all the features that follow…

Comprehensive meditation instructions 
Ideal for beginners or for revision.

The App will send you all my best teachings in an essentialised form. Ideal for beginners or for revision. Relaxation, concentration, mindfulness, meditation, guided imagery and contemplation; it is all there. And it comes to you progressively over time, at a pace that allows for practice and integration.

All the guided exercises and teachings are available from Day One
While instruction is sent to you progressively, we know many who will use this App are experienced meditators. Therefore, we have made all the exercises, and all the teaching texts available from Day One. This means you can customize your own practice sessions and review instructions whenever you choose.

Customised sessions 
The App allows you to customize your own meditation sessions. Combine any of the Mindbody Mastery guided exercises into your own preferred sequence. What would you choose? Relaxation and mindfulness? Imagery and meditation? It is up to you. Add any amount of silent time before, in between, or after. Like to start and finish with the sound of meditation bells? All this is readily possible, and it too is easy to set up.

Virtual meditation group 

Keep in touch. Support each other. Feel the benefit of meditating in a group, even when you cannot get to one in person.

The Meditation Gateway App and your Mindbody Mastery program make it easy for you to set up a regular, or one off time to meditate online with friends. When you do so, the App automatically updates your smartphone’s calendar and sets an alarm. With a simple push of a button, you can check-in before the start of your session to let the others know that you are in. Then you can create and play a customised session that all your group will hear simultaneously.

Customised imagery
This is a pretty cool feature!

Mindbody Mastery features the very popular gratitude contemplation. The App enables you to easily add images that remind you of things you are grateful for. Use your Smartphone’s camera to take photos that the App or use photos that are already in your smartphone’s photo gallery. The App will then show these photos on-screen during the contemplation at the appropriate times.

Daily messages synced to the teaching content 
This app has evolved out of the Mindbody Mastery program when it was first developed on-line. (www.mindbodymastery.net) The on-line program was the testing ground to develop all this fancy technology and where we learnt some important things. On average, users of the Mindbody Mastery program tripled their reported frequency of practice and maybe just as remarkably, reported that the satisfaction levels with their practice also increased three fold.

It seemed clear that a key to these improvements came through the support, instruction, inspiration and encouragement provided throughout the program. The daily e-mails will continue to be a feature with the App… Enjoy!

While not everyone’s choice, “gaming” principles have been shown to be highly effective in helping many people to establish new healthy lifestyle habits.

So “meditation gaming”. If you choose to, you can track your own practice times and then see how you are faring against the leaderboard of all the other subscribers. At the end of the calendar year, the Mindbody Mastery team will offer prizes to the top 3.

Technical support?
Run into a problem? No problem. Send us a message via the App.

Coming Attractions!
Each quarter, a new feature will be added to the Meditation Gateway App. We have some great innovations already being developed for these free add-ons and will continue to respond to user feedback and requests.

How does it work financially? 
You pay a modest monthly fee (US$6.49 or AU$9 for Mindbody Mastery) and in return gain access to this technologically sophisticated, fully integrated meditation program with all its guided exercises and supports. You can unsubscribe easily any time you choose.

Want to try it out?
Join this new meditation community via the Meditation Gateway App now.

Let me know what you think of it via the Comments section below, or via info@insighthealth.com.au.