Daily News Lifestyles Editor, By Carol Waterloo Frazier
Many years ago, Dr. Nancy Mramor was diagnosed with leukemia. She was told the prognosis did not look good.
So she put to the test what she had been teaching for several years – mind-body medicine.
Mramor is author of “Spiritual Fitness,” as well as a licensed psychologist and educator. In the book, she presents in a concise yet easy-to-understand way the strategies for becoming spiritually fit.
“I was a special education teacher and decided to take a class in relaxation and stress management,” she related. “I found that one exercise that sent healing and prayer to another person really opened me up spiritually.”
She said studies conducted at Duke University and Harvard Medical School showed prayer does have a positive impact on healing, although she noted the study set out to disprove that belief.
“I’ve discovered in the past 10 to 15 years that what I learned 29 years ago really works,” Mramor said. “I began to incorporate mind, body and spiritual healing into my holistic psychotherapy practice.”
She isn’t the only one turning to mind-body techniques. The federal government reportedly will spend $16 million this year on this type of research, because it found nearly half the people in America used mind-body interventions in 2002.
Explaining spiritual fitness, Mramor said it “places the spirit at the center of your life.” The book offers “practical tips, tools and techniques to take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Spiritual fitness helped me overcome leukemia in 23 days when doctors told me my survival rate was slim to none. If you want your mind, body and emotions to be healthy, you first need to be spiritually fit.”
Her treatment included a combination of medicine and holistic treatment such as herbal medicines, acupuncture, prayer, visualization and chemotherapy.
“I had an oncologist who believed in holistic medicine,” she said. “After 23 days I was in remission, and although I did five more months of treatment, I didn’t have to go through the usual two-year protocol.
“I believe what I did was the right amount of medicine and holistic treatment. And if you have people praying for you like I did, it’s really magnificent and really does help.”
Describing the book, Mramor said it’s a “structured workbook to help people. Most people try to get better from the outside in, but if you start from the inside and go out you get long-term permanent benefits. This is a way of changing that is lifelong and permanent.”
Spiritual fitness, she explained, uses “special techniques to teach self-control, self-esteem and to reduce stress and anxiety as well as accomplish specific goals. People need to know that the spirit is a real part of the self and that there is a spiritual plan to life.”
While the step-by-step exercises in the book can lead to spiritual fitness, Mramor cautions not to expect overnight miracles.
“Achieving spiritual fitness is much like becoming physically fit,” she said. “You don’t just go out and run a marathon after six months of inactivity. You have to practice and build up your system. The difference is that you work with breathing, movement and a variety of mental and physical exercises that quiet the mind and open the energy of your body.”
One component of spiritual fitness, she said, involves daily quiet prayer and meditation.
“If you do that at night, you will sleep deeper and more restful and will feel more restored in the morning,” she said.
Mramor explained the difference between prayer and meditation.
“Christian author Anthony Campolo said prayer is when you talk to God,” she noted, “and meditation is when you listen for a response from God.”
For those who have a religious belief system, she said there are “social benefits of worship as well as health benefits.”
Although not everyone has the ability to be a professional healer, Mramor said people can learn to heal themselves.
“The important point is that anyone can become spiritually fit and that practice, getting in touch with your life’s purpose, and spiritual exercises are the key to optimum mind and body health and wellness,” Mramor said.
Editor’s note: Mramor will be at Border’s in Monroeville Mall March 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. to sign her book.
Dr. Nancy Mramor is a licensed psychologist with 30 years experience in clinical, health and educational psychology. She’s also licensed and certified in hypnosis, Neuro-Emotional Technique and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
She’s a graduate of Slippery Rock College with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary and special education and has a Masters of Science degree and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Duquesne University in educational psychology. She received her Ph.D. from the Saybrook Institute in San Francisco., the only place in the country at the time to offer an accreditation program in mind body psychology.
Mramor is educated in an innovative mind body technique called the “Brain Gym,” which addresses the neurological issues behind dysfunctinal patterns. A series of simiple physical exercises are done to neurologically reorganize the pattern and allow more functional patterns to be formed. The same exercises have been used by musicians and athletes and can be used to enhance moods, and assist with learning disabilities.
During the past 30 years, she has presented more than 200 lectures and workshops, usually on “Optimum Health: Mind, Body and Spirit” and “Spiritual Fitness.”
Mramor is a regular contributor for WQED-TV’s “On Q Magazine” and is featured monthly on KDKA-TV’s “Pittsburgh Today Live.” She’s also a professor at Point Park University.