Recommendations

Lifestyle Medicine

What Ian has been teaching and helping people with for over 30 years is best described as Lifestyle Medicine. Lifestyle Medicine is concerned with what you can do for yourself. How you live your life. What you eat and drink, whether you smoke or not, your level of exercise, your emotional and mental health, the power of your mind including relaxation, meditation and imagery techniques, and your spiritual life.

Conventional Medicine, Complementary Medicine and Alternative Medicine all do things to you, or for you. Lifestyle Medicine is focused on what you can do for yourself. People often underestimate the therapeutic potential of lifestyle factors. The research confirms what Ian has observed over the years, that many people have achieved remarkable recoveries using these principles, often in conjunction with conventional and other therapies. As such, Lifestyle Medicine makes sense in any situation where healing is needed.

For more information about the individual elements of lifestyle medicine click the links below.

 

Healing

HEALING for Cancer Multiple Sclerosis and other illnesses

Since 1981 Ian Gawler has been committed to helping people recovering from major illness, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis.

More recently, a lot of good science has shown how powerfully lifestyle factors can play a role in recovery from illness in general and from the chronic degenerative diseases in particular.

Lifestyle Medicine is a key to being well, to healing and to staying well. It needs to be considered right at the start of a diagnosis and complements and supports any medical treatment. To be clear, this is not ‘Alternative Medicine’, not even ‘Complementary Medicine’ as such; but something that makes compelling sense in its own right. Lifestyle Medicine focuses on what we can do for ourselves and it warrants being taken up immediately by anyone diagnosed with illness; anyone planning to add their own resources to the healing equation.

Recommendations are made in 3 sections: Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and other illnesses.

 

 

 

 WHERE TO BEGIN

 

1. The main book: You Can Conquer Cancer

To find out more about the lifestyle-based, self help approach Ian has been helping people with for over 30 years, You Can Conquer Cancer is ideal.

Many people who followed the guidelines in the book report it dramatically turned their health and their life around for the better.

If you have a member of the family or friend who you think may be interested in the Gawler approach, the book is an easy way to introduce them. With the book, they can dip into it as they feel to, consider its contents and then decide if this approach is for them. 

 

2. Ian explaining his program on Video

COMING SOON
 
Professionally recorded and edited, this live presentation features Ian speaking as if he were explaining to a dear relative what he would advise them to do if they were faced with a cancer diagnosis. The 2 hour presentation covers all aspects
  • How to evaluate and get the best from medical options
  • Why addressing what you can do for your self (what Ian focusses upon) is called Lifestyle Medicine – and how to get the best from your own resources 
  • What complementary or alternate therapies make sense
  • The importance of hope and what constitutes genuine hope
  • What positive thinking is and is not
  • Stories of long-term survivors and what recommendations can be made
 
 

3. The Downloads and CDs:

i) The Gawler Cancer Program

Ian Gawler survived a particularly difficult cancer 30 years ago. In this download he discusses lessons learned from long-term survivors, important facts about how cancer develops, how your body can be activated to heal, plus important advice on how to combine the best medical and self-help options.

ii) What to do when someone you love has cancer 

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, family and friends are deeply affected. Usually these people then attempt to be as helpful as possible, frequently with very little prior experience or knowledge as to what actually will be most useful. Sometimes they withdraw, sometimes they are intrusive, over helpful or even bossy! Giving them this download, asking them to share and discuss it amongst family and friends can be very useful.

This download contains helpful information, practical wisdom and simple but profound ways of supporting the families and friends of anyone diagnosed with cancer. Ian explains what being positive thinking really is, and how families and friends can create and maintain a healing environment. 

 

3. The Gawler Cancer Foundation Support Programs

Attending a group or a residential program is the ideal way to put the Gawler approach into practice.

Ian Gawler co-founded the Gawler Cancer Foundation, established the renowned lifestyle-based, self-help cancer programs, and served as the Foundation’s Therapeutic Director for nearly 30 years before retiring from that position in 2009. He continues to contribute to some programs on a part time basis, as well as presenting workshops and speaking at conferences. For details, click here.

 

SPECIFIC ASSISTANCE

All the following aspects of cancer management and recovery are covered in You Can Conquer Cancer. Downloads specific to each aspect are detailed in each section.

 

1. Meditation

Meditation provides the ideal first step because it deals with stress, will help you to regain balance in body, mind and spirit and powerfully supports the healing process. Also, meditation brings a calm and clear mind, leading to good decision-making and to acting appropriately. If quality of life is your prime aim, begin with two or three meditation sessions of ten to twenty minutes daily, and once it is working well, maintain one or two sessions of ten to twenty minutes daily.

If you want to gain maximum benefit from meditation, begin with three sessions daily of whatever period you feel comfortable with and build as rapidly as possible to three sessions of 40 minutes, up to one hour each day.

Ian recommends starting with at least Meditation – A Complete Guide, and Mind-Body Medicine.

 

2. Imagery

Imagery can be a useful ‘optional extra’ to add to the meditation once the latter is going well. It does utilize the active, more willful side of the mind, whereas mindfulness meditation relies on the awareness, relaxation and stillness.

You could use the gentle, reliable methods such as the White Light Imagery or the Healing Journey (introduced and led by Ian on the Mindbody Medicine download).

If you choose to use more active and personalized healing images, make sure that you read and study Ian’s book The Mind the Changes Everything. This will add extra clarity on the subject.

Also, you may benefit from seeking qualified guidance. The Meditation Association of Australia can help you find a local well-qualified teacher of meditation. For details, click here.

 

3. Nutrition

Once the meditation is becoming integrated into your day, consider your dietary choices. The average Western diet is high in fat, protein, salt, sugar, alcohol and refined foods; fibre and vitamin and mineral intakes may be inadequate. The ‘average’ person would do well, therefore, to consider nutritional change.

However, do recognise that dietary change has the potential to be stressful. Make friends with your food! Spend time to think the changes through, discuss them, and plan for them. Be clear on your aims and choices and prepare well. Meditation makes change easier. Seek professional guidance. Good food can be easy, tasty and very helpful!

 

Ian makes two recommendations about diet:

(i) The Wellness Diet – Outlined on the download  Eating Well, Being Well

This is a good, sensible approach as it avoids known risk factors and concentrates on foods that are known to carry cancer-preventative factors or actively promote health. It is a plant-based, whole food diet. Its primary constituents are the fruits, vegetables and grains. Essentially, it is low in fat, protein and alcohol, avoids salt, sugar and refined foods, and has a high fibre content. Ideally this pattern becomes a lifelong way of eating, with some latitude for special occasions if you feel the need. 

 

 (ii) The Healing Diet – Outlined on the download Eating for Recovery

This is the more intense approach and is set out thoroughly in You Can Conquer Cancer. The general recommendation is to follow the Healing Diet until cancer is no longer active in the body or you are symptom-free, then gradually move to the Wellness Diet

If you are symptom free and choose to begin your dietary changes more intensively by going on the Healing Diet, continue it for two months before gradually transferring onto the Wellness Diet.

 

The recipe book: Eat Well, Be Well

This is the recipe book from the Gawler Cancer Foundation’s kitchens. If you want to learn how to produce delicious, nutritious, balanced vegetarian meals with a minimum of fat, sugar and salt, this book is a great guide. It contains 136 pages bursting with delicious recipes based on the healing wholefood plant-based diet taught in the Foundation’s retreats and programs. It is an essential guide to a healthier way of eating including juicing, food preparation tips and food storage advice and makes a wonderful gift. Everyone can use this book to eat better.

 

4. Positive Thinking 

Detailed on the download Mind Training and elaborated upon in Ian’s book The Mind that Changes Everything

With meditation and dietary considerations, Positive Thinking completes the three basic ingredients of healing and wellbeing.

If you do feel depressed or negative, start by working on a creative activity- a hobby or engaging activity. By actually doing something physical and positive, you will set the whole process in motion. Gardening is Ian’s favourite activity. Exercise also warrants being a strong priority – aim for 30 minutes daily.

 

5. Positive Emotions

Detailed on the download Emotional Health

Relationships frequently require as much healing as the physical body. Make peace with as many as you can. Use the imagery technique of forgiveness once your meditation is working well.

The immediate family may need all these principles just as much as you do. Often it is the patient whose physical symptoms reflect a malaise involving one or several other closely associated people. Encourage your family to support you and to join you in as much of your life-style as possible, particularly the big three: meditation, diet and positive thinking. You may well find it easier than they.

 

6. Pain Relief

Ian introduces the theory and leads the pain relief meditations on the download Effective Pain Management

The knowledge that we can improve our own pain management skills has been a source of relief, empowerment and deep comfort for many people. For many, it has actually transformed their life. Learning and practising these pain control exercises and being aware of the other possibilities outlined in You Can Conquer Cancer is highly recommended.

 

7. Consideration of Death and Dying

Listen to the download Understanding Death, Helping the Dying

Perhaps paradoxically, the experience here is that the better prepared we are for death, the easier it is to live well; and it may well be, the more likely we are to recover! So this is another vitally important issue that is best acknowledged, contemplated, discussed and then used as motivation to live well and to live fully in the present moment.

This download is excellent to listen to with those you are close to, and then use it as a catalyst for meaningful discussion. This download is also very useful for health practitioners – doctors or nurses helping those nearing the end of life.

Having a good death is possible when one prepares for it well. Do be reassured, with fears confronted and allayed, many people who have followed this path, when their time does come, do have a good death.

 

8. Spiritual Development

For most, this is another essential. Recognise that our endeavours in this area may be the most important of all.

Religion Follow your own preferences and inclinations here. Very few people change their religion through an experience with disease, but many find their convictions challenged. For some this leads to newfound strength. This may well be a time to explore your spirituality in more depth.

Reflection, Introspection, Contemplation Highly recommended as long as they are not associated with guilt or other negative emotions. Seek to understand your past, accept your present and work ‘in the now’ towards a happier, healthier tomorro

Belief system Your belief system can limit your horizons or leave you free to soar above any situation with a smile on your face. Spend time reading, thinking, in contemplation, and in evolving your own theories. Open yourself to the possibilities

Spiritual Healing This may be catalysed by others, but often comes with personal, inner experience. Learning to love and appreciate your own spiritual essence, is an integral part of coming to love yourself, perhaps to love God, Life, and your fellows. Once you can love yourself, you can more clearly recognise the inner essence in others. Then you can see when they too are seeking to be free of limitations and to express their inner beauty. Along with this, you can realise that it is not enough to dwell in spirit. The body needs to given due consideration

Healing is complete when harmony is found in body, mind and spirit.

 

 

FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE PREVENTION OF CANCER

The same principles apply. The degree to which you apply them depends on your priorities, beliefs and expectations.

As an ideal prevention program that would lead to good health and wellbeing, Ian recommends:

Meditation: Ten to twenty minutes once or twice daily.

Diet: The Wellness Diet as detailed in You Can Conquer Cancer.

Positive Thinking: Keep developing this, using the techniques already summarised

Make time – yes, make time – to dwell on and implement the recommendations for creative pursuits, spiritual development, positive emotions, pain management, considerations of death and dying, and healing. Imagery may find a place in your program.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2012, research evaluating the lifestyle-based self-help program Ian and his wife Dr Ruth Gawler established with Professor George Jelinek was published in the journal Neurological Science. (Hadgkiss E J et al, Health-related quality of life outcomes at 1 and 5 years after a residential retreat promoting lifestyle modification for people with multiple sclerosis; Neurol Sci
, 25 Feb 2012)

The results are quite remarkable. The research reported on 165 people who attended this program and were evaluated one and 5 years later. Many large studies tell us what to expect for the average person diagnosed with MS. After 5 years, given the best of medical treatment, the expectation is around 10% deterioration in overall quality of life, physical health composite (a collection of measures that assess mobility and other physical functions), and mental health composite.

For the 165 in the study who attended the program, instead of this average 10% decline, for all three measures there was around 20% improvement! In other words, on average these people had not only significantly reversed the disease, they were in significantly better health than when they began the program 5 years earlier.

The effect of this research in the mainstream treatment of MS is still to be seen, but it points to why we are so confident when we recommend the program.

 

So what to do?

 

1. Read ‘Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis’ by Prof George Jelinek – with a foreword by Ian Gawler

This is a wonderful book. It is well researched, backed by George’s personal experience and insights and is provided free of charge (except for postage and handling) through the Gawler Cancer Foundation 1300 651 211 for anyone with MS that asks from within Australia or New Zealand. The MS Society in New Zealand also provides it free.

 

2. Consider attending the MS program at the Gawler Cancer Foundation. For full details, click here.

 

3. Recognize your own potential.

Be aware that the people who do so well on the MS program do change their lifestyle considerably. While this leads to good health generally and to heightened wellbeing, it takes some application and becomes a lifelong commitment. The incentive is great; the results can be remarkable, so why wait?

This is an illness where what you do for yourself, and what your family and friends help you to establish and maintain, would appear to be able to make the difference between a downhill spiral and a the real possibility of a long and happy, mobile life.

 

4. View the content under Cancer – What to do, on this website.

Much of the information contained herein is directly relevant to MS.

 

5. Enjoy getting well and staying well!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since 1981 Ian Gawler has been committed to helping people recovering from major illness, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and arthritis.

More recently, a lot of good science has shown how powerfully lifestyle factors can play a role in recovery from illness in general and from the chronic degenerative diseases in particular.

 

LIFESTYLE MEDICINE

Your contribution to your own healing

What Ian has been teaching and helping people with for these last 30 years is best described as Lifestyle Medicine. Lifestyle Medicine is concerned with what you can do for yourself. How you live your life. What you eat and drink, whether you smoke or not, your level of exercise, your emotional and mental health, the power of your mind including relaxation, meditation and imagery techniques, and your spiritual life.

Conventional Medicine, Complementary Medicine and Alternative Medicine all do things to you, or for you. Lifestyle Medicine is focused on what you can do for yourself. People often underestimate the therapeutic potential of lifestyle factors. The research confirms what Ian has observed over the years, that many people have achieved remarkable recoveries using these principles, often in conjunction with conventional and other therapies.

Extensive research demonstrates Lifestyle Medicine is significantly preventative and therapeutic for heart disease, high blood pressure, type ii diabetes, alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, arthritis, obesity as well as cancer and MS and a host of what people often regard as lesser, but maybe for those involved, equally significant illnesses.

Lifestyle Medicine is a key to being well, to healing and to staying well. Based on all the evidence, it makes sense to include therapeutic lifestyle changes right at the start of a diagnosis. These changes complement and support any medical treatment. To be clear, this is not an “alternative”, but something that makes compelling sense in itself and warrants being taken up immediately by anyone diagnosed with illness and planning to add their own resources to the healing equation.

The key point with Lifestyle Medicine is that it focuses on getting the best out of any person’s capacity to contribute to their own healing. Often that contribution can be major; maybe even having the possibility of making the difference between life and death.

It is for this reason that the recommendations for Lifestyle Medicine are largely similar for most conditions; whereas what might be done medically could vary quite a deal. Here then is a summary of recommendations:

 

THE BOOKS

1. The main reference: You Can Conquer Cancer

To find out more about the lifestyle-based, self-help approach Ian has been helping people with for over 30 years, his book You Can Conquer Cancer is ideal. While the book does focus on cancer, many people who applied the guidelines set out in the book for other illness, report it dramatically turned their health and their life around for the better.

If you have a member of the family or friend who you think may be interested in the Gawler approach, the book is an easy way to introduce them. With the book, they can dip into it as they feel to, consider its contents and then decide if this approach is for them.

 

2. The recipe book: Eat Well, Be Well

This is the recipe book from the Gawler Cancer Foundation’s kitchens. If you want to learn how to produce delicious, nutritious, balanced vegetarian meals with a minimum of fat, sugar and salt, this book is a great guide. It contains 136 pages bursting with delicious recipes based on the healing wholefood plant-based diet taught in the Foundation’s retreats and programs. It is an essential guide to a healthier way of eating including juicing, food preparation tips and food storage advice and makes a wonderful gift.

 

THE DOWNLOADS AND CDs

 

1. Meditation 

When seeking healing, meditation provides the ideal first step because it deals with stress, will help you to regain balance in body, mind and spirit and powerfully supports the healing process. Also, meditation brings a calm and clear mind, leading to good decision-making and to acting appropriately.

If quality of life is your prime aim, begin with two or three meditation sessions of ten to twenty minutes daily, and once it is working well, maintain one or two sessions of ten to twenty minutes daily.

If you want to gain maximum benefit from meditation, begin with three sessions daily of whatever period you feel comfortable with and build as rapidly as possible to three sessions of 40 minutes, up to one hour each day.

For the full list of Ian’s Meditation downloads available in the webstore, click here..

Ian recommends starting with at least Meditation – a Complete Guide, and Mind-Body Medicine.

 

2. Imagery 

Imagery can be a useful ‘optional extra’ to add to the meditation once the latter is going well. It does utilize the active, more willful side of the mind, whereas mindfulness meditation relies on the awareness, relaxation and stillness.

You could use the gentle, reliable methods such as the White Light Imagery or the Healing Journey (introduced and led by Ian on the Mind Body Medicine download).

If you choose to use more active and personalized images, make sure that you read and study Ian’s book The Mind the Changes Everything. This will add extra clarity on the subject. Also, you may benefit from seeking qualified guidance.

 

3. Nutrition

Once the meditation is becoming integrated into your day, consider your dietary choices. The average Western diet is high in fat, protein, salt, sugar, alcohol and refined foods; fibre and vitamin and mineral intakes may be inadequate. The ‘average’ person would do well, therefore, to consider nutritional change.

However, do recognise that dietary change has the potential to be stressful. Spend time to think the changes through, discuss them, and plan for them. Be clear on your aims and choices. Meditation makes change easier. Seek professional guidance. Good food can be easy, tasty and very helpful!

Ian makes two recommendations:

 

(i) The Wellness Diet – Outlined on the download  Eating Well, Being Well

This is a good, sensible approach as it avoids known risk factors and concentrates on foods that are known to carry cancer-preventative factors or actively promote health. It is a plant-based, whole food diet. Its primary constituents are the fruits, vegetables and grains. Essentially, it is low in fat, protein and alcohol, avoids salt, sugar and refined foods, and has a high fibre content. Ideally this pattern becomes a lifelong way of eating, with some latitude for special occasions if you feel the need.

 

(ii) The Healing Diet – Outlined on the download Eating for Recovery

This is the more intense approach and is set out thoroughly in You Can Conquer Cancer. The general recommendation is to follow the Healing Diet until cancer is no longer active in the body or you are symptom-free, then gradually move to the Wellness Diet.

If you are symptom free and choose to begin your dietary changes more intensively by going on the Healing Diet, continue it for two months before gradually transferring onto the Wellness Diet.

 

The recipe book: Eat Well, Be Well

This is the 2012 recipe book from the Gawler Foundation’s kitchens. If you want to learn how to produce delicious, nutritious, balanced vegetarian meals with a minimum of fat, sugar and salt, this book is a great guide. It contains 136 pages bursting with delicious recipes based on the healing wholefood plant-based diet taught in the Foundation’s retreats and programs. It is an essential guide to a healthier way of eating including juicing, food preparation tips and food storage advice and makes a wonderful gift. This can really help your family be healthier.

 

4. Positive Thinking 

Detailed on the download Mind Training and elaborated upon in Ian’s book The Mind that Changes Everything.

With meditation and dietary considerations, Positive Thinking completes the three basic ingredients of healing and wellbeing.

If you do feel depressed or negative, start by working on a creative activity- a hobby or engaging activity. Look for something which naturally excites you! By actually doing something physical and positive, you will set the whole process in motion. Gardening is Ian’s favourite activity. Exercise also warrants being a strong priority – aim for 30 minutes daily.

 

5. Positive Emotions 

Detailed on the download Emotional Health

Relationships frequently require as much healing as the physical body. Bad relationships affect our health, therefore make peace with as many as you can. Use the imagery technique of forgiveness once your meditation is working well.

The immediate family may need all these principles just as much as you do. Often it is the patient whose physical symptoms reflect a malaise involving one or several other closely associated people. Encourage your family to support you and to join you in as much of your life-style as possible, particularly the big three: meditation, diet and positive thinking. You may well find it easier than they do!

 

6. Pain Relief 

Ian introduces the theory and leads the pain relief meditations on the download Effective Pain Management.

The knowledge that we can improve our own pain management skills has been a source of relief and deep comfort for many people Ian has worked with. Learning and practicing the recommended pain control exercises and being aware of the other possibilities outlined in You Can Conquer Cancer is highly recommended.

 

7. Consideration of Death and Dying 

Listen to the download: Understanding Death, Helping the Dying.

Perhaps paradoxically, the experience here is very clear here. The better prepared we are for death, the easier it is to live well; and it may well be, the more likely we are to recover! So this is another vitally important issue that is best acknowledged, contemplated, discussed and then used as motivation to live well and to live fully in the present moment.

This CD is very helpful also for health practitioners like doctors and nurses who are working with those reaching the end of life. This download can allay ‘compassion burn-out’ and helps us to deal with recurrent losses and setbacks.

With the fears confronted and allayed, and with the benefit of meditation and contemplation, death can be genuinely seen as another very natural and positive part of life. Be reassured, so many people who have followed this path, when their time does come, do have a good death.

 

8. Spiritual Development

For most, this is another essential. Recognise that your endeavours in this area may be the most important of all.

Religion Follow your own preferences here. Very few people change their religion through an experience with disease, but many find their convictions challenged. For some this leads to newfound strength through finding their own spiritual meaning in life.

Reflection, Introspection, Contemplation Highly recommended as long as they are not associated with guilt or other negative emotions. Seek to understand your past, accept your present and work ‘in the now’ towards a happier, healthier tomorrow.

Belief systems Your belief system can limit your horizons or leave you free to soar above any situation with a smile on your face. Spend time reading, thinking, in contemplation, and in evolving your own theories. Open yourself to the possibilities.

Spiritual Healing This may be catalysed by others, but often comes with personal, inner experience. Learning to love and appreciate yourself., is an integral part of coming to love others, to love God, to love Life.. Also, once you can really love yourself, you can recognise the inner truth in others. Then you can see when they too are seeking to be free of limitations and to express their inner beauty. Along with this, you can realise that it is not enough to dwell in spirit. The body needs to given due consideration.

 

Healing is complete when harmony is found in body, mind and spirit.

 
 

FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE PREVENTION OF DISEASE

(Particularly the chronic, degenerative illnesses) The same principles apply. The degree to which you apply them depends on your priorities, beliefs and expectations.

Those who have a family history of major illness would be especially wise to look at how they can prevent problems developing. We all want a healthy vibrant old age. The good news is that there is a reliable way to maximise this very real possibility!

As an ideal prevention program that would lead to good health and wellbeing, Ian reco 

    • Meditation: Ten to twenty minutes once or twice daily
    • Diet: The Wellness Diet as detailed in You Can Conquer Cancer.
    • Positive Thinking: Keep developing this, using the techniques already summarised.

Make time – yes, make time – to dwell on and implement the recommendations for creative pursuits, spiritual development, positive emotions, pain management, considerations of death and dying, and healing. Imagery may find a place in your program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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