Mind-Body Medicine

Mind-Body Medicine

Mind-Body medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on the link and interactions between the non-physical mind and the physical body. Historically, modern allopathic medicine has always treated the physical body as a separate and distinct entity from the mind. However, over the past 40 years or so, medical researchers have been seeing an ever growing collection of evidence showing not only a distinct link between mind and body, but that the mind can powerfully influence the body.

Thus, in order for us to be able to achieve optimum holistic health, it is important that we fully understand this important mind-body link. Healing of the body is often mediated through chemicals, neuropeptides and hormones. On the other hand, healing of the mind can be mediated through energy and information, in the form of energy healing and change in thinking habits, beliefs and attitudes.

Here we will be taking a look at:

  1. Mind-Body Link: The Scientific Evidence
    1. Mind and Body
      1. Benson-Henry Institute: Clinical findings from their researches
      2. Neurology Today: Scientific Evidence supports Mind-Body medicine
      3. NCCAM: Mind-Body Medicine – An Overview
      4. Society for Integrative Oncology: Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Integrative Oncology – Complementary Therapies and Botanicals
      5. Article: The Mind-Body Connection – Granny was right after all
    2. Mind and Emotions
      1. Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion: A Review by the Smithsonian magazine
      2. Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief
      3. Positive Emotions: Barbara Frederickson’s Broaden and Build Theory
      4. Is there a link between happiness and health?
        1. Happiness = Health
        2. Happiness improves health and lengthens life, review finds
        3. Happiness helps people stay healthy
        4. The Health Benefits of Happiness
  2. The Stress Response and the Relaxation Response
    1. The Stress Response (also known as the Fight or Flight Response)
      1. The Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis (Hormonal)
      2. The Neurological (Sympathetic Pathway) and Hormonal (HPA Axis) Pathways
    2. The Relaxation Response: [Video] – Easy Ways to Take the Edge Off
    3. Physiological Changes in the Stress and Relaxation Responses
    4. Physiological Changes in a well regulated Immune System
  3. Effective Methodologies that evoke the Relaxation Response
    1. Meditation
      1. What is meditation
        1. Buddhist meditation
          1. Metta meditation
          2. Samatha meditation
          3. Vipassana meditation
        2. Hindu meditation
        3. Other meditations
          1. The Nazarene Way
          2. Sufi Meditation of the Heart
      2. Types of Meditation
        1. Concentration Meditation
          1. Breathing meditation
          2. Loving-Kindness meditation
          3. Transcendental meditation
        2. Mindfulness Meditation
          1. Insight meditation
        3. Others
      3. Meditation and Health
        1. Psychosomatic Medicine: Mindfulness based Stress Reduction and Psoriasis
        2. National Psoriatic Foundation: Can quieting the mind quiet psoriasis?
        3. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Meditation Practices for Health: State of the Research
      4. Use of Meditation in Healthcare
        1. Anxiety
        2. Depression
        3. Stress
        4. Insomnia
        5. Pain
        6. Physical or emotional symptoms that may be associated with chronic illnesses (such as heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and cancer) and their treatment
        7. General well-being
      5. If you are using meditation for healing:
        1. Do not use meditation as a replacement for conventional care or as a reason to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem.
        2. Get guidance from an experienced meditation instructor
        3. Look for published research studies on meditation for the health condition in which you are interested
        4. Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health
      6. Adverse Effects of Meditation
        1. Can meditation be bad for you?
        2. When meditation isn’t calming
        3. Meditation and Psychosis
    2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
    3. Biofeedback
    4. Hypnosis
    5. Yoga
  4. Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
    1. How the Mind influences the Body
      1. Today, science knows for a fact that mind indeed influences the body. The question now is not whether the mind affects the body but how much it affects the body. Is the erroneous thinking in our mind the primary cause of diseases in our body? If so, can this process be reversed by correcting those erroneous thoughts or beliefs? How?
      2. We recognize that the creative power of the mind is limitless. The mind can literally kill us as well as heal us. Thus we should make our mind the first line of defense against diseases (physical and mental) and it behooves us to cultivate our mind to the best of our ability. This should be our primary task if we are to achieve a holistic and optimum health that is not only free from diseases and pain but also gives us energy and vitality to appreciate life to the fullest.
    2. What is a healthy mind?
    3. How to achieve a healthy mind state?
    4. Is it possible for the mind to be totally free from stress?
  5. Healing the Mind
    1. While a healthy, perfect mind is highly desirable, it is not easy to come by. In my own experience, it is easier to heal the body than to heal the mind. However, since most, if not all, of our bodily diseases have their causes in the mind, it is imperative that we heal the mind.
    2. Why is it so difficult to heal the mind? Perhaps it is because most of the pain are so deeply buried in our subconscious mind that we do not even recognize its existence. And even if we do, we may not want or have the courage to face it or acknowledge it. Without this acknowledgement, healing cannot begin.
    3. Once acknowledged, however, the opportunity for healing arises. There are many different methods and tools to heal the mind. Some of these are widely accepted and practiced in allopathic medicine while others can be found in the complementary or alternative medicine. Still others are found in the traditional practices of various cultures around the world.
    4. In no particular order, here is a small sample of methods used for mental healing:
      1. Meditation
        1. Brains of Buddhist monks scanned in meditation study
        2. A Glimpse into the Meditating Mind
        3. Can meditation change your brain?
        4. Brain scans show meditation changes minds, increases attention
        5. Study shows compassion meditation changes the brain
      2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
      3. Hypnotherapy
      4. Past Life Regressions
      5. Family Constellation
      6. Shamanism
  6. Mind Science and Spirituality
    1. Mind and Life Institute
    2. Investigating the Mind
    3. Mind Science Foundation
Personalities in Mind-Body Medicine:

Healing Tools:

  1. The Relaxation Response instructions and guide
  2. Loving-Kindness (Metta) meditation instructions

Articles:

  1. Dr. Ong: Achieving Optimum Health
  2. University of Maryland Medical Center: An Overview of Mind-Body Medicine
  3. Journal of American Board of Family Medicine: Mind-Body Medicine: State of the Science, Implications for Practice
  4. Dalai Lama: Buddhism is a Science of the Mind

References:

  1. Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
  2. University of Maryland Medical Center – Mind Body medicine
  3. Carnegie Mellon University – Dept of Psychology – Mind body medicine
  4. Georgetown University School of Medicine – Mind Body program

Other Resources:

  1. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  2. Center for Mind-Body Medicine
  3. Institute of HeartMath

More Useful Links:

  1. Kuala Lumpur Buddhist Mental Health Association
  2. Wikipedia: Stress in Biology