Do you know that our thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes can negatively affect our biological functioning?
Our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are!
Today I want to share with you….Mind Body Medicine….
What is Mind-Body Medicine?
The University of Maryland Medical Centre states:
“Mind-body medicine uses the power of thoughts and emotions to influence physical health. As Hippocrates once wrote, “The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. “This is mind-body medicine in a nutshell.”
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The History of Mind-Body Medicine
“The concept that the mind is important in health and illness dates back to ancient times. In the West, the notion that mind and body were separate began during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras. Increasing numbers of scientific and technological discoveries furthered this split and led to an emphasis on disease-based models, pathological changes, and external cures. The role of mind and belief in health and illness began to re-enter Western health care in the 20th century, led by discoveries about pain control via the placebo effect and effects of stress on health.”
Mind-body medicine focuses on: The ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, experiential, and behavioral factors can directly affect health.
Ancient healing practices like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine have always emphasized the links between the mind and the body. Holistic Practitioners of Eastern Medicine, Homeopathic Practitioners, Drs of Naturopathy, and recently Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine in Western Medicine, understand the relationship between our physical body and emotions.
Western Medicine is now beginning to agree with these ancient practices.
- In 1964, a psychologist George Solomon, investigated the impact emotions had on inflammation and the immune system, when patients worsened with depression.
- In 1975, a psychologist, Robert Ader, found mental and emotional cues affected the immune system.
- In the late 1960's, Herbert Benson, Clinical Professor of Medicine at Harvard University, created the phrase ‘relaxation response' to describe physiological changes that occur with meditation. He discovered this while doing secret research and observing meditation practitioners. Though there was public acceptance of mind-body connection in those days, it was seen as taboo by Western Medicine. He was reprimanded for publishing his book ‘relaxation response'…but…
- By 1994 Benson's found the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Harvard University.
Understanding Mind and Body Medicine Today
Since the advent of new technology…Western Medicine is now finding that the mind, brain and biological systems are in fact working together to affect our health!
Western Medicine now states…”There is no real division between mind and body because of networks of communication that exist between the brain and neurological, endocrine and immune systems.”
” There is no doubt that when you take it to the next level, the mind and the body are connected, and that when those connections are intact and in balance you have health
and when they're broken you have disease.”
Esther Sternberg MD, University of Arizona
How Does Mind-Body Medicine Work?
When physically or emotionally stressed the body releases stress hormones that affect your systems and organs, this can disrupt heart and immune function, while depression and distress can diminish the body's natural capacity to heal.
It has been found that certain emotions have been associated with disease eg. hostile attitudes increase heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, and abnormal cholesterol. High blood pressure is associated with feelings of hopelessness. How one deals with their emotions determine how long they will survive with chronic disease.
Mind-body medicine techniques help the mind and body to relax and reduce the level of stress hormones in the body, helping you achieve homeostasis by balancing the parasympathetic system (rest and digest) and sympathetic system (fight or flight), allowing the immune system to fight illness effectively.
Taking care of our emotional well-being is so important for the health of our body, and creating a healthy dialogue between body and mind can help bring harmony.
How Self-Talk and Mind-Body Medicine Helped Me:
I began experiencing the benefits of Mind-Body Medicine in 2007 when I explored meditation practice. I also learned natural therapies like Emotional Freedom Technique that worked with stress and emotions. By combining these practices along with good lifestyle habits and eating healthy living foods, I experienced amazing results!
Exercise – I prefer quiet when I exercise, as opposed to the loud music found in gyms. This allows me to listen to my breath for single pointed focus. I tune into my body and talk to it for improved performance.
Health and Healing – I do this in bed before I sleep, because our bodies heal during sleep. I place my hand on my heart to connect with Soul center, this is important because it is the center of your being (body, Soul, mind), and I talk to my body and encourage it to use its innate intelligence to heal. Sometimes I visualize the areas that need healing.
Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep – I connect with my body at any moment of the night or day, when under stress, and reassure it that all will be okay. I do breath-work meditations – I breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 7, and breathe out for 8, this slows down the heart and induces sleep.
Importantly…I like to observe the problem and try learn what the experience is teaching me.
I have been practicing Self-Talk since 2007. It has helped me to get through my greatest challenges in 2014 and 2015.
Mind Body exercises that give Olympic Athletes the edge
To sharpen skills and improve technique a golfer will tell himself “swing at the hip”. To build strength and confidence before the game motivational self talk is used to get their energy flowing eg. “I can do this”.
Athletes performs a mental exercise with visualization. They mentally rehearse the process and visualize the desired performance. Science shows that this visualization technique is a mental exercise that conditions your mind and body to act accordingly in the real world – and that brings results!
This teaches them to look at the event from a different perspective, to look at their failures as learning opportunities. Reframing gives athletes power and resilience to keep pushing ahead.
This is growing in popularity with many athletes. Simple 15 to 30 minute breathing meditations improve focus and concentration, bringing them to a state of ‘Flow' and ‘being in the zone' – highly energized and focused, with a loss of sense of time and self.
Quotes from Meditating Celebrities:
“In moments of madness, meditation has helped me find moments of serenity.”
Sir Paul McCartney
“Meditation is helping you to tap into something that's already inside of you….that's you, in essence. That's something that was super-empowering for me
once I grasped that.”
“In meditation, I can let go of everything. I'm not Hugh Jackman. I'm not a dad. I'm not a husband. I'm just dipping into that powerful source that creates everything. I take a little bath in it. Nothing has ever opened my eyes like Transcendental Meditation has. It makes me calm and happy, and well, it gives me some peace and quiet in what's a pretty chaotic life!”
The Connection – Mind Your Body Documentary
I recommend this great documentary to learn more about Mind and Body healing….
This article is reprinted with permission from Jess @ Bodhi Chi
Yours in Health,
P.S. Please share this with your friends and I welcome your comments below: