Awareness of the mind/body connection isn’t something new. When we talk about the mind/body connection we refer to the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes that we have that ultimately affect our biological daily functioning. The way we think can affect how healthy our body is, or not as the case may be in the majority of humans on this earth. In short, how we treat our physical body can affect our mental and emotional state. The mind/body connection is inescapable, the marriage between the two is one that lasts forever.
Most ancient medicinal systems in the world are familiar with and recognise the mind/body connection. In the past, science saw them as totally separate entities thankfully, a resurgence in the 20th century has meant once again that science focuses more research on the links between the mind and the body and the significant impact that one has upon the other.
Read more after the jump:
Recognise the Warning Signs
Our physical body can tell us a lot about our emotional happiness and well-being. When we see that something is out of line mentally, our body will let us know and it is paramount we listen. From stooping shoulders, daily chronic pain and in extreme cases, paralysis, our bodies give clear signals that something is not right and out of balance in our lives.
When something isn’t right we may feel depression, anxiety or chronic illness. Prescription medicine is the usual route when we visit the doctor to discover more why we are bt feeling right. If we would had seen a huge dramatic shift in the reduction of mental health issues or symptoms, then this would be fine. But this is not the case. Infact, poor mental health is increasing and mental health experts are unable to deal with such huge workloads.
Natural vs. Prescription
Historically, the treatment of mental disorders was to say the least, incredibly inadequate and at times, inhumane. Thankfully, treatment today has progressed and involves both psychotherapy (Cognitive therapy, Behavior therapy, Group Therapy, and ECT) and psychopharmacology (drugs used in mental disorders. Gone are the days of trepanation, water boarding and chemically induced seizures to treat mental disorders.
There are lots of natural products available utilising key natural ingredients that have been found useful for treating the mind/body connection. People need to be aware of what the implications of taking prescriptions medication can be. Luckily, there are alternatives out there, so be proactive and read articles such as Research Verified reviews to better understand what options you have and of course discover what is working for other people.
What Happens When Our Mind and Body Don’t Align
When our mind and body fall out of synch, we can experience a plethora of negative emotions and physical symptoms. They can include:
Lack of clarity & direction
Poor memory and attention
Inability to communicate effectively
Increased/decreased eating habits
Social skills can decrease
Pain body can become stronger
In extreme cases, chronic and terminal illness can occur
What Can We do to Help Ourselves?
There is mounting evidence that suggests the mind plays a significant role in disease and healing which has led to a wider acceptance of mind/body medicine and differing scientific approaches. The number of alternative health centres popping up everywhere speaks volumes about the approach we take towards health and healthcare. Times are changing. It is not unusual anymore for doctors to prescribe a course of acupuncture as oppose to antibiotics!
What Does the Research Say?
Most evidence suggests that alternative therapies provide a valuable long term, safe option for overcoming mind/body misalignment.
One such study dating back to 1987, by Jon Kabat Zinn’s looked into how mindfulness meditation affected patients suffering from chronic pain. Many participants of the study exhibited dramatically decreased levels of pain, as well as lessened anxiety and depression, after only a 10 week course in mindfulness meditation. Other research has shown the positive mental benefits of meditation, mindfulness training, yoga, and other mind-body practices.
Typical Mind and Body Therapies
CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)
Chinese martial arts
Many people like to try one thing at a time, to see how it works for them. Others like to run treatments in conjunction with one another to gain full benefit. It really depends on your personal circumstances for deciding which is the best approach for you.
Perhaps the main benefit for anyone utilizing such treatment options is the safety aspect, there are no side effects. Of course, results may take longer but there is no damage to mind or body.
The Future Looks Good
When it comes to mind/body the research is constantly evolving. In mind/body medicine, the patient is placed first and seen as a whole – a totality of body, mind, and spirit. Treatments are directed toward each aspect if these elements – one is not separate from the other. Such an approach, creates a collaboration between medical professionals and mind/body specialists, (such as nutritionists, spiritual counselors, meditation teachers, aromatherapists, homeopaths and yoga teachers).
The result is an integrated team of caregivers who address mind, body, and spirit as being a whole entity. The results so far are looking great for the human race. Long may it continue – this is just the start!
Images by Alex Huanfa Cheng for Design SCENE