Breast Cancer Awareness and Compassionate Listening

by Kristin Harrison, RMT
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I would like to acknowledge some thoughts that have been shared with me over the years while offering therapeutic touch to people living with cancer. My intention is that hearing these comments direct from the source may offer one some insight and compassion towards another’s point of view. These comments are not direct quotes but rather a collection of thoughts based on my personal experiences, and are not meant to speak for all people living with cancer. There is no judgment; these loving words are expressed with a higher purpose to create awareness.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, and honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around” ~Leo Buscaglia

Hearing that a loved one has cancer is a frightening and surreal moment. In the midst of emotions, one may not know what to say or how to react. The following are five statements that have been shared with me while offering Reiki and bodywork to people living with cancer.

1. Everything is going to be all right.

This doesn’t make me feel better. I know this may not necessarily be true and it just makes me feel dismissed and not heard.
What I really want to hear is that you’re going to be there for me through the good times and the bad, and that I am not going to go through this journey alone. Offer to help me so that I don’t have to ask you. I want compassion, not pity; comfort, not advice.

2. I am more than my cancer; please treat me kindly, not differently.

If you don’t know what to say, it’s okay not to say anything at all. Just offer the comfort of your presence, a hug, or an arm around my shoulders. Allowing some silence without rushing to fill it, gives me a chance to say what’s on my mind, in my own time.
I like to hear success stories, not horror stories. And please remember that I can always use a good laugh.

3. Please don’t assume that because you may think I look good, that I must be feeling better.

Unless you’ve been treated for the same type of cancer, have undergone exactly the same treatment, and have had the same response, you really don’t know how I feel.
You have no idea what it’s like, and it’s upsetting to me when you act like you do.
The sad truth is that my cancer can be progressive and I can still look fine.
What you may not know is that when I work, attend functions, and go about my life living with cancer, that I may spend a good deal of time preparing by taking extra naps or cutting out other activities.
Instead please ask me something like, “How are your mood and spirits holding up through this? This gives me a chance to tell you how I am feeling, if I choose to.

4. Congratulations, you’re done with your treatments!

As a caregiver or friend, you may feel excited when a course of treatment is done, but my feelings are much more mixed. During my treatment, I feel more so that I am taking action, and focusing on a solution. When my treatment is finished, I may feel anxious and uncertain – What’s next? What do I do now?

Instead, please give me a chance to express how I’m feeling. Or ask me “How are you feeling now that you’re finishing up with your treatments?” I need to know that you are not only listening to me, but that you hear me.

5. I want my caregiver to take good care of him/herself.

Thank you for being supportive and encouraging. Thank you for being there for me. Please take care of YOU! It’s ok – and I insist! – that you take time for yourself to see your friends, enjoy your hobbies, live YOUR life. Taking care of yourself allows you to be more present when you are with me, and I want you to know that I recognize that.

Additionally, here are some recommended sites worth checking out:
Please click daily to give Free Mammograms:

Local Support Groups, Education Meetings, and Free Screening Sites:

Kristin Harrison offers gentle and natural skilled therapeutic touch through Reiki and other holistic therapies within in Londonderry, NH.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, 50% of all “Think Pink” aromatherapy products will be donated to support breast cancer research. “Think Pink” is a soothing blend of lavender, geranium and sandalwood.
To learn more about Kristin, please visit or call 603-935-9261.

Healing Hands Chiropractic is a full-service family wellness center in Londonderry, NH offering prenatal & pediatric chiropractic care, acupuncture, cognitive-behavioral therapy, reiki & aromatherapy, massage therapy and birth classes.

Stress in September

by Shalon Da~Nai, LMT

back to school stressIts that time of year again. The carefree days of summer are gone. It can be a stressful time as schedules fill up and the pace of life seems to turn from a walk to a run. Everyone has experienced some kind of stress in their lives and many deal with it on a daily basis. Stress can be caused by a plethora of things; the daily demands of life, personal relationships and deadlines at work as well as bigger life changes and transitions ie the loss of a job or a loved one. Even positive things can cause stress like planning a wedding, the birth of a child or a child’s first day of school.

We all know what stress is, but how does it affect us and our body?  Noticeable physical responses to stress include an increase in heart rate, sweating, rapid breathing and heightening of the senses. These are all symptoms of the “Fight or Flight” response that nature has equipped us with for our own protection. Unfortunately our physiology can not tell the difference between a life or death situation and a rough day at the office. Anything that causes us stress will cause the same release of the hormones Adrenaline and Cortisol. Over time, heightened stress states can affect our moods, sleeping habits, eating habits and energy levels. Physical aches and pains may develop. Even our memory and ability to conceive can be impinged. If stressful conditions persist it may increase the risk of more severe disease ie: heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and disorders of the autoimmune system.
So what are some ways we can manage our stress so that it does not weaken our Body and Mind?  There are many coping techniques available. The most basic and easy tool to reduce stress is simply to breathe. Slow, deep breaths can lower a fast heart rate and make you feel more calm. Exercise is not only good for your cardiovascular and muscular systems, it also reduces stress hormones and releases endorphins, which are those “feel good” hormones. Meditation can take the use of breath a step further and invites the mind to quiet. Letting go of stressful thoughts is the key to reducing stress levels, but it may not be as simple as it sounds. It is good to practice these methods. The more you do it, the more adept you will be at coping and will be able to balance yourself quickly.

Therapeutic services like Massage Therapy and Reiki (and of course chiropractic care) focus on lowering stress levels and can bring you to a deep state of calm. Massage packs all the benefits of breath, exercise and meditation into one synergistic experience that takes little effort for the recipient. Not only does it reduce stress hormones, Cortisol and Adrenaline, it also releases endorphins and reduces physical pain or tension.
It’s important to take stress seriously, as it can have some very harmful effects. Mastering your ability to manage your stress will make you healthier, happier and more emotionally balanced. You will be more productive at work or at school and your personal relationships will benefit as well. Everyone experiences stress differently. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to experience it at all?

Reiki Therapy Can Help Increase Fertility, Promote Good Prenatal Health & Ease Labor Pains

Reiki is a very ancient form of healing which originated in Tibet and was re-discovered and further developed by a Japanese monk named Dr. Mikao Usui. It is a natural hands-on method of energy balancing for the purpose of stress reduction and relaxation.

Reiki therapy can be used for many conditions and situations. It is especially useful in helping infertility because it is safe and gentle. It helps you reach a deep state of relaxation where you become receptive to receiving healing, thus allowing physiological and emotional changes to take place within your body.

There is a variety of health benefits associated with Reiki treatments. Some of these benefits include:

  • reduced levels of stress
  • increased energy levels
  • improved immune system health
  • reduced muscle pain
  • reduced levels of anxiety and depression
  • improved methods of detoxification

Because Reiki healing works to improve your overall physical and mental health, it can in turn improve your chances of getting pregnant by promoting overall reproductive health by minimizing conditions and illnesses that can contribute to infertility. Reiki therapy can help to maintain good reproductive health that is beneficial for both men and women. Also, because stress is often linked to fertility problems, Reiki therapy can be beneficial in cases in which stress is contributing to problems getting pregnant.

In addition to promoting good preconception health, Reiki treatments can also help promote good prenatal health. A recent study found that Reiki healing sessions reduced stress during pregnancy by 94% while nausea and morning sickness were reduced by 80% after Reiki treatment sessions. In addition, the study found that quality of sleep is improved by 86% when Reiki treatment is conducted during pregnancy.

Reiki healing can also help to minimize labor pains as well as to provide relief to muscles and reduce other discomforts linked to the birthing process.

To learn more about the benefits of Reiki please visit

To book a Reiki session with Dr. Jessica Caruso please call 603-434-3456 or email

Discount packages for Reiki treatments are available upon request.