The Mind-Body Connection

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Overview This paper will discuss the mind-body connection and it's relevance to health care professionals and to the public. It will explore the history of the mind-body connection, as well as state research that has been done on the subject. The reader will gain an understanding of the various techniques used in mind-body therapy, as well as their effectiveness. What is the Mind-Body Connection? It is the idea that the mind and body are not separate entities. Rather, they are intricately connected, interacting with each other in many ways. The body's three main regulatory systems are the central nervous system (which includes the brain), the endocrine system (which produces hormones), and the immune system. These three systems work together and affect one another. Researchers who study the mind-body connection examine these interactions, and are particularly interested in the effects of emotions and thoughts on physical health. History of the Mind-Body Connection The concept of the interconnection between the brain and body has been around for quite a while. Ancient healing practices, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine emphasized important links between the mind and body. Hippocrates once wrote: "The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well." This statement reflects the belief of ancient philosophers that emotions and health are deeply connected. In later centuries, however, this belief was cast aside. Medical professionals focused on identifying and treating symptoms through physical means such as drugs and surgery, and mostly ignored the role of mental states in the prevention and treatment of disease. To most doctors, the immune system was regarded as an autonomous entity, operating independently of the mind and behavior. Since the 1960's, however, researchers have realized that these ideas are incorrect, and have since been looking at the mind-body connection more closely and with more respect. In 1964, George Solomon, a psychiatrist, noticed that rheumatoid arthritis worsened when people were depressed. He was fascinated by this connection, and began to investigate the impact of emotions on inflammation and immune function in general. His studies were the beginning of the new field of psychoneuroimmunology, which examines the relationships between the mind (psyche), bra... ... middle of paper ... ...f good health in both areas, and learn to take care of their bodies and brains by keeping active, sleeping properly, eating nutritiously, and taking time to relax. Furthermore, people should understand that moods matter, not just to mental health, but to phsyical health as well. If someone is suffering from and emotional illness such as depression or anxiety, they should seek treatment, since evidence is mounting that these conditions can lead to physical illness and a shorter life. Bibliography Books: Martin, P. (1997). The Healing Mind. St. Martin's Press. Mate, G. (2003). When the Body Says No. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Websites: http://www.ajc.com/health/altmed/shared/health/alt_medicine/ConsModalities/MindBody http://www.healthyroads.com/myhealth/content/mindbody/articles/art_MindBodyTherapyOverviewOfHealingMethods.asp Journals: Latorre, M. (2000). A Holistic View of Psychotherapy: Connecting Mind, Body, and Spirit. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 36:2, 67-68. Simon, D. (2004). Practicing Mind-Body-Soul Medicine. Alternative Therapies, 10:6, 62-68. Wolsko et al. (2004). Mind-Body Medical Therapies. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 19, 43-49.
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