Mind-body medicine is an approach to wellness that uses a whole person approach combining medical, lifestyle, psychological and behavioral interventions to address the underlying causes of dis-ease, promoting better physical and mental health.
Stress and Your Health
There have been numerous studies that have shown a link between psychological stress and physical health issues including premature cognitive and cellular aging, higher rates of heart disease and decreased immune system function. When the mind or body is stressed, it causes a release of hormones that have a direct impact on all the organs and systems in your body. Additionally, different emotions have been shown to have an impact on specific diseases. For example:
Hostility leads to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, abnormal cholesterol levels and insulin resistance. Anxiety and depression can decrease the body’s ability to heal itself. Hopelessness and defensiveness may lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, which can cause a myriad of health issues.
By incorporating mind-body medicine into treatment of these conditions, stress and the subsequent hormones are reduced, allowing the body to both deal with and fight illness.
Benefits of Mind-Body Medicine (Clinical Psychophysiology)
The therapies used in mind-body medicine, which can include yoga, meditation, tai chi, hypnosis, biofeedback, clinical psychophysiology and relaxation techniques focus on interactions between behavior, the brain, the body and the mind to bring about positive changes in health.
By incorporating techniques designed to increase relaxation and decrease stress, the body regains its abilities to heal itself. This provides several health benefits that can have a major impact on illnesses and recovery.
- Reduced need for medications as tension and stress levels are lowered
- Coping skills are increased, allowing you to better deal with both the physical and mental aspects of your illness
- Your immune system reacts to the lowered stress hormones, allowing function to improve
- Symptoms of depression and anxiety are reduced or eliminated
- The risks of serious illnesses such as coronary heart disease and high blood pressure are reduced
- Decreased negative emotions and increased positivity may help increase survival rates of certain chronic illnesses, including cancer.
The benefits of mind-body medicine are numerous, and current research shows that addressing the interconnectedness of the mind and body can have a dramatic effect on physical and mental health and bring about positive improvements throughout the body.
While some mind-body medicine pioneers and New Age teachers talk about how we can heal ourselves, Dr. Lissa Rankin was a skeptical physician, trained in evidence-based academic medicine and raised by a closed-minded physician father.
But after witnessing patients who declined conventional medical treatment, only to experience spontaneous remissions from seemingly ""incurable"" illnesses, she couldn't deny the possibility that patients might hold within them the power to heal themselves. Her curiosity led her to dig deep into the medical literature to scientifically prove that the mind can heal the body.
Her search uncovered not only proof that you can heal yourself, but also the shocking physiological mechanisms of how emotions like fear, loneliness, pessimism, and depression can make the body sick, while love, intimate connection, optimism, and faith can cure you.
Relation Response Training
The wide array of mind-body therapies has been reported to positively influence physical health. Dr. Kevin Barrows is founder and director of mindfulness programs at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, where he helps patients to cope with the stress of everyday life and the stress of illness. He explores the art and science of mind-body medicine. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [2/2010] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 17627]