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July 14, 2011

Mind-Body Skills Course for Cancer Patients Offered in Springfield

A free six-week mind-body skills course is being offered in Springfield by Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and St. John’s Hospital.

The course, “Coping with Cancer: A Mind-Body Approach,” will meet from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on six Wednesdays – July 27, and August 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 – at Simmons Cancer Institute, 315 W. Carpenter, Springfield.  Parking is available adjacent to the building.

The course is open to patients, survivors, caregivers and family members.  Cancer patients are welcome regardless of where they are being treated.

The Coping with Cancer class is a great resource to help understand the mind-body connection and to learn new ways of managing stress and think healthy,” said Debra Alexander, who was a member of the initial class offered in the spring.  “The class helped me to gain an appreciation for finding the mindful awareness of the present moment while learning to let go, to relax my body and to quiet my mind.  At the same time, you learn to be in control and experience less stress in your life.”

The sessions will cover a variety of mind-body strategies including: understanding the mind-body connection and stress; using relaxation skills that incorporate breathing techniques, stretching, meditation and imagery; working with thoughts to enhance health; harnessing the energy of emotions as inner guides; and communicating needs effectively.

“Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is life-altering for both the cancer patient and their families,” said Linda Murphy, director of the Center for Living at St. John’s Hospital.  “A research study showed that cancer patients who participated in a mind-body based program reported a reduction in anxiety, depression and symptoms that are a result of stress.”

The course was organized by Murphy and Ellen Brotzman-DeSart, the education coordinator for the Side-by-Side program at Simmons Cancer Institute.

Registration is limited to 20 participants. To register, call 217-545-0798 weekdays or email