Mental Healing: Does Positive Thinking Act Upon Brain Neurons to Improve Health?

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Mental Healing: Does Positive Thinking Act Upon Brain Neurons to Improve Health?

Almost all of us have heard of a scenario such as this one: A woman battling cancer has lost almost all hope of recovery. She has not been able to turn to her family for support for fear of their reactions to her illness. One morning she finally breaks down and tells her husband about the cancer. Instead of being devastated and turning his back on his wife, the husband supports the wife, every step of the way, and she gradually seems to improve.

Why is it that something as seemingly innocent as love and support can prolong life or improve someone's health? Is there any neurological evidence that positive thinking, love, and help can actually stimulate the brain to improve health? And how about the placebo effect? How is it that people can get better subconsciously? It seems that some health improvement can either happen consciously (I-function) as in the case of emotional support, or subconsciously (without the I-function) as in a placebo effect.

I would like to assert for this paper, as an overview of the whole course, that some kinds of alternative medicine and mental healing do indeed work. The question is, does it have a neurological basis of brain=behavior or is there something more at work like hope or other emotions that are so far intangible in the human brain? Certain things we may never be able to find in the brain, but either way, I would like to assert that even though brain=behavior does account for most behaviors and actions in the body, that there may at least be something more. I will review all the literature I found and let the decision be yours, but also add in my two cents on the total findings for this paper.


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...m, and what is it doing? I will continue to believe, until I see otherwise, that there is a "mind" or "soul" that science will not be able to find in their search to concretely assert that brain=behavior. If it is indeed something intangible, then for at least a great many years, if ever, science can not find I-function within a mass of tissue cells in the brain.

WWW Sources

1) Mental Healing

2) Maryland Stress & Health Program

3) The Power of Positive Thinking

4)Are you Thinking Yourself Sick?

5)The Brain's Natural Opiates: Endorphines

6)Intrusive Thoughts Proven To Undermine Health

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