Mind body healing acknowledges the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors directly affect health. It unleashes your mind’s healing potential.
It helps you use your mind to create what you want in life: better health, better relationships, greater prosperity, greater movement toward your purpose in life, and natural healing.
Mind Body Scientists and Their Science
Although used by human kind through the ages the link between mind, body, and health gained scientific recognition through the work of scientist like these: Hans Selye, MD, Herbert Benson, MD, Candace Pert, PhD, and Martin Seligman, PhD.
Hans Selye, MD defined the physical effects of psychological stress. His work set the foundation for the now widely accepted damaging effects of chronic stress.
Herbert Benson, MD coined the term relaxation response and began teaching people how to use this response to cure chronic stress and its harmful effects.
Candace Pert, PhD provided physical evidence of the minds’ influence on the body—the mind body connection. She discovered that human cells naturally have opiate (narcotic) receptors. These tiny receptors are where drugs like morphine, heroin, and opium act to produce their effects.
This discovery led to the understanding that you produce your own naturally occurring opiate-like substances. These substances, endorphins, are responsible for your experience of “feeling good”—joy, bliss.
Endorphin is just one of two hundred peptides now known in the brain and body. These peptides (a string of amino acids called proteins) communicate emotions all the way to the cellular level that you are happy or angry, relaxed or tense, hungry or full, and more.
Martin Seligman, PhD uncovered the process of learned-helplessness, where animals and humans learn to be helpless, passive and depressed when confronted with unsolvable problems or inescapable noise. Later he realized that not all of his research subjects learned helplessness in these situations. Some met these situations with strength, making them invulnerable to helplessness.
Out of his study of what contributes to these strengths, he developed the concept of “learned-optimism” and the new “positive psychology” that focuses on strength building versus disease treatment.
The work of these great minds shines light on how our environment influences us— how we interpret our environment affects our emotional state—how our emotional state affects us at the cellular level—and how we can use this information to support our healing system.
Mind body healing gives you the tools and techniques to make the most of your mind’s powerful influence on your health and healing!
From Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine: Clinical Services for Mind and Body to Massachusetts General Hospital Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine to The Silva Method, the techniques of mind body healing have proven time and time again to enhance health and healing.
Research and Benefits
There are hundreds of research studies documenting the effectiveness of mind body healing techniques.
The National Center For Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) report in their review of mind body healing research that both positive and negative emotions influence people’s susceptibility to infection. People with higher levels of stress or negative moods develop more severe illness than those who report less stress or positive moods.
Repeatedly studies prove that mind body healing:
- increases energy levels
- promotes relaxing brain wave activity (alpha state)
- lowers blood pressure
- lowers pulse rate
- lowers respiratory rate
- enhances immune system function
- enhances the sense of well being
- helps treat heart disease: reduces cardiac events and deaths and helps recovery
- helps manage arthritis: reduces pain and need for doctor visits
- helps treat cancer: lessens the disease and treatment-related symptoms, improves mood and quality of life
- turns on genes associated with energy metabolism, cell function, insulin secretion, and telomere maintenance and turns off those involved in inflammation
How Mind Body Healing Works
Mind Body Healing works though a number of methods. All increase awareness and require practice of certain techniques.
Athletes have long used many of the methods of mind body healing. They know mental training is as important as physical training.
Their success depends on their awareness and improvement of their performance. They focus on confidence building thoughts; visualize themselves doing their sport perfectly, as well as physically practicing their sport.
Similarly, you can use mind body healing methods to enhance you health and life.
Mind Body Healing Methods
Biofeedback often uses computers to provide immediate and detailed information that helps you learn how to use your thoughts, posture, breathing, and emotions to make bodily changes.
It can help you learn to relax and to regulate many physical conditions such as impaired bladder function, anxiety, nervous conditions, circulation problems (such as Raynard’s disease), chronic pain, and many others.
The basis of cognitive therapy is that much stress and emotional suffering comes from the way you perceive things.
Often negative, unrealistic, and distorted thoughts cause stress and unnecessary problems. With this method, you become more aware of these “automatic” unwanted thoughts. Once aware of them, you can learn how to change them.
Diaphragmatic breathing is your natural-born way of breathing. Learn how to use this method of breathing to boost your health and vitality.
Learned Optimism focuses on strength building. It helps people develop positive emotions and positive strengths.
Research finds that positive emotions help you live happier and longer.
Meditation is the practice of letting go of everyday concerns and distractions and just being.
There are many forms of this nourishing and energizing practice. All build insight into your true nature and peace.
For more information click on the “Meditation” Navigation Button.
Relaxation techniques counteract the damaging effects of stress and enhance your well being.
They release muscle tension and quiet the mind. There are many techniques.
For more information click on the “Relaxation” Navigation Button.
Despite the hocus pocus stereotype often shown on TV, hypnosis is not magical or sinister.
It is a self induced, focused attention that can make it easier for you to relax and control you body’s functions. It’s easy to learn and is effective in the management of chronic illnesses, pain, pregnancy and delivery, and anxiety.
Social support is in itself healing. David Spiegel, MD, reports that research shows a strong relationship of close social relationships with a lower risk of dying at any age.
Visualization (guided imagery) uses your imagination to produce relaxation and healing. Research has proven that mental images produce physiological, biochemical, and immune system changes that affect health.
Unleash the potential of your mind!
Mind body healing empowers YOU. It respects and enhances your capacity for self-knowledge, self-healing, and self-care through evidence-based techniques.
Sources and Resources
Candace B. Pert with Nancy Marriot, Everything Your Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d (Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2006).
Daniel Goleman and Joel Gurin, Mind Body Medicine: How to Use Your Mind for Better Health (New York: Consumer Reports Books, 1993).
Herbert Benson and Eileen M. Stuart, The Wellness Book: The Comprehensive Guide to Maintaining Health and Treating Stress-Related Illness (New York: Simon & Schuster 1993).
Martin E. P. Seligman, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment (New York: The Free Press, 2002).
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “Mind-Body Medicine: An Overview (Backgrounder Report),” May, 2007, http://www.nccam.nih.gov.