Let the Mind-Body Connection
work for you!
'Miracles do not happen
in contradiction to nature,
but only in contradiction to
what is known to us of nature'
--St Augustine, 4th century philosopher, theologian and mystic
The Mind-Body connection--
Is there one? What is it? How does it help your health?
Patricia Luck, of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, answers with a definite "YES." Mind-Body, or Mindfulness, or Psychoneuroimmunology: three names for the same discipline. Researchers in this field say it's showing encouraging results in the area of increased well-being and the ability to perhaps influence certain changes within the brain itself, and consequently influence the immune system.
In this time of escalating costs of health care,
- taking care of your anxiety levels,
- reducing your stress,
- and improving your self-regulating abilities
are quite welcome.
"In the ever-changing world of cancer care, exploring treatment approaches that are holistic and emphasise the patient's role in the healing process is essential," writes David Speigel(1)
And other good news: research in the field of neuroplasticity disproves that long-held view that our brain as an adult is unable to alter its organizational structure. Says Ives-Deliperi (PhD research student), "the brain is able to alter its organization due to axonal sprouting--this can be the result of direct-willed mental control."
In a Nutshell...
* Modern lifestyle and stress are distancing the thinking mind (verbal, rational, analytical) from the emotional mind (emotional, intuitive and non-verbal).
* Compared with the thinking mind, the emotional mind is closely linked to autonomic and immune physiology.
* Our bodies react to our perception of a stressful stimulus rather than the stimulus itself.
* Therapeutic touch can modulate neuroendocrine and immune processes.
(These conclusions on the connection of mind and body, by Anil Ramjee, were printed in Your SA Journal of CPD, January 2008.)(2)
An Example from my own life...
Perhaps you'd like something a little less scientific? If so, read on...
(If not, skip down to next headline!)
This morning, we were two-thirds of the way through our workout, and our yoga instructor, Karen, spoke up:
"Notice how your muscles have relaxed since you came in today. Compliment them. Say nice things to them in your thoughts. We're often so critical of our own bodies, and that doesn't promote our health."
So, apparently it matters not only what you say about your body, but also what you think! That surprised me, even though I'd heard about the connection between what you think and how healthy you are.
When you hear the words "mind - body" connection, you may immediately think of certain activities. Or, perhaps, this phrase is a mystery still! Specifically, it includes such activities as:
- guided imagery
- energy healing, such as reiki
- culturally-based therapies, such as yoga and Ayurveda
- music therapy, and even
- Emotional Feeling Therapy.
What it Works For...
In December 2008 explorers of the connection between mind and body found these holistic therapies to benefit those with the following physical and mental issues:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- psychogenic death phenomena
- behavioral and learning problems in children
- bridging the gap between spirituality and mental health,
- and dermatology
SciTech Book News reported in its December 2008 publication. The contributors come from a range of medical specialties--alternative, integrative and complementary.
Additional positive comments:
Hypnotherapy has a long, proud, and perhaps often misunderstood tradition, but is increasingly found to have an impact on symptom resolution itself. Modlin takes us through its current applications in 'Clinical hypnosis and psychoneuroimmunology'. Despite a large body of documentation showing hypnotherapy to be relevant and effective in managing illness, the scientific research is still sparse. Guided imagery, as discussed by Friedland, has been shown effectively to decrease stress, anxiety and anticipatory pain, and its uses in surgery are well documented.
-Patricia Luck (3)
To access her article, use the URL in bibliography just below.
- 1. David Speigel quoted in article by Sylvia Rodrigues "Mind-body medicine in oncology: 'mind matters.'—David Spiegel". CME: Your SA Journal of CPD. FindArticles.com. 14 Apr, 2009. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6811/is_1_26/ai_n28504599/
- 2.Anil Ramjee "Mind-body medicine—concepts and controversies: mind-body medicine looks at the psychophysiology of thought and belief". CME: Your SA Journal of CPD. FindArticles.com. 14 Apr, 2009. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6811/is_1_26/ai_n28504597/ ANIL RAMJEE, Family Physician, Welgelegen, Cape Town, South Africa
- 3. Patricia Luck, lecturer, medical director, etc. Her article: "Psychoneuroimmunology: mind-body medicine". CME: Your SA Journal of CPD. FindArticles.com. 14 Apr, 2009. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6811/is_1_26/ai_n28504631/
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