Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Bloch

In 1988, Peter Golenbock wrote “Personal Fouls” in which he stated that North Carolina State players’ grades were fixed by Coach Valvano, positive drug tests were kept secret, and players received money, cars, etc., from a special fund. He also maintained that Valvano looked the other way when star player Charles Shackleford was allowed to steal teammates’ sneakers and sell them without being punished. As a result of Golenbock’s book, the chancellor of the university was forced to resign and Valvano was stripped of his athletic directorship. And there’s a reason why shortly thereafter Valvano was diagnosed with cancer. When I was associated with the R.A. Bloch Cancer Support Center in Kansas City, Missouri, co-founder Richard Bloch (H&R Block) was convinced there was a direct correlation between stress and illness. And Jim Valvano was an excellent example. Had he not been famous, and was just a high school basketball coach somewhere, he probably would still be alive today.

 

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A number of years ago, the late Dr. Carl Simonton (who first identified the mind-body connection) came up with the discovery of what he called the Surveillance Mechanism Theory as related to the detection and treatment of cancer. Simply stated, the SMT maintains that we all have cancer cells in our bodies but that our immune systems are constantly gobbling them up Pac-Man style. However, when we encounter stress in our lives our bodies give off hormones that impair our immune systems, allowing the cancer cells to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. This appears to be the case involving former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer.

From my perspective, and most physicians will agree, there’s a correlation between high self-esteem and wellness and low self-esteem and illness.

When I lived in Kansas City, Missouri in the late 1980s, I volunteered my services at the RA Bloch Cancer Support Center. On various Sunday mornings, with the encouragement of co-founder Richard Bloch, I would meet with newly diagnosed cancer patients in a support group environment. At the outset I would explain to them that even though they had been diagnosed as having cancer, that was not their primary problem. Their primary problem was that each had a suppressed (or impaired) immune system and that we were going to focus on their immune systems and participate in exercises designed to enhance their immune systems. Since research has shown that the most conspicuous characteristic of cancer patients is bottled up emotions I would have everyone sit in a circle and each person would tell his or her own story about stress in their lives. Each would interact with others and bring their emotions to the surface. Once they began talking about their issues, many for the first time, they experienced an increase in self-esteem resulting in an enhanced immune system. At that point they were then introduced to the use of a visualization technique where they would “see” their own healthy t-cells attacking their cancer cells. This exercise was accompanied by Patti LaBelle’s recording of “New Attitude.”

So based on the above, my recommendation to Coach Paterno would be that he either involve himself in a support group or seek the services of a psychotherapist who could help him through this difficult period in his life.

One last point: What I have recommended should only be considered as a supplemental program. It should not replace any treatment prescribed by a physician or oncologist.

We often read or hear in the media where athletes have been diagnosed with cancer. More than likely these athletes are repressing their feelings, which not only affects their self esteem and their performance level, but also their health.

Here’s how it works: When you withhold (or repress) your feelings and emotions it’s a form of lying that demeans you and lowers your self-esteem. As your self-esteem is lowered you begin to see the world around you from a negative perspective (“we see things as we are”) and create stress for yourself based on how you view your life’s issues. As a result of the stress, your body begins to give off hormones that impair your immune system.

According to the “Surveillance Mechanism Theory,” which was developed by Dr. Carl Simonton, we all have cancer cells in our bodies that are constantly being devoured by our immune system Pac-Man style. But when we encounter stress in our lives, our immune system becomes impaired and the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. The result is: we are soon diagnosed as having cancer.

Many physicians will agree that a relationship exists between high self-esteem and wellness, and low self-esteem and illness. When I lived in Kansas City, Missouri in the late 1980s, I volunteered my services at the RA Bloch Cancer Support Center. On various Sunday mornings, with the encouragement of co-founder Richard Bloch, I would meet with newly diagnosed cancer patients in a support group environment. At the outset I would explain to them that even though they had been diagnosed with cancer, that was not their primary problem. Their primary problem was that each had a suppressed (or impaired) immune system. Since research has shown the most conspicuous characteristic of cancer patients is bottled up emotions, we would have each person in the group tell his or her own story about stress in their lives. Each would interact with others in the room and, at the same time, bring their emotions to the surface. After talking about their issues (many for the first time) their repressed feelings began to disappear and they immediately felt better about themselves. Once they began talking about their issues, they experienced an increase in self-esteem resulting in an enhanced immune system. At that point they were then ready to use a visualization technique where they would “see” their own healthy t-cells attacking their cancer cells. This exercise was accompanied by Patti LaBelle’s recording of “New Attitude.” At that time I had a story- board that I used in those sessions showing the t-cells coming together, mobilizing, and forming an arrow. The arrow would zoom toward a large glob that represented a cancer cell and the arrow would attack the glob which would then deflate and dissipate.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to locate the storyboard. But I believe cancer patients reading this can create their own visual image of t-cells attacking cancer cells and use Patti LaBelle’s recording to accompany it. I’m sure Patti would not mind since she herself is a cancer survivor. Later, patients would listen only to the music track and the images that were embedded in their minds would recreate themselves, automatically.

Also, it’s important to remember that when cancer patients enhance their own self-esteem, they automatically enhance the potency of their immune systems.

One last point: What I have recommended should only be considered as a supplemental program. It should not replace any treatment recommended by a physician or oncologist


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