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Mind Body Medicine. Essay

2749 words - 11 pages

We all have seen pictures or videos at some point in our lives that shows someone lying on a bed of nails and the question that quickly comes to mind is; "how do they do that?" Many of us think back to our own experiences with sharp objects that entailed a colorful and vivid reaction to needles received in the hospital and we immediately relive that pain. How is it that some of the more stronger and physically fit individuals shutter at the thought of a needle while others, albeit a select, can lay on a bed of nails? The answer itself is simple, mind/body medicine. However, the difficulty arises when trying to explain the history and intricacies of this approach.Mind/body medicine is an approach to healing that uses the power of thoughts and emotions to positively influence physical health. It has been established that laughter raises endorphins in the body which in turn act as a pain reliever and it also lowers cortisol which is a stress-induced hormone (Fugh-Berman 160). Every emotion that people experience has a corresponding physical effect on the body, whether it is positive or negative. The basis of mind/body medicine is to acknowledge this and to harness the healing effects of thoughts and emotions. The two main components of mind/body medicine is, for one, to treat the whole person and not just the source of the pain. The second component concerns itself with the notion that people can and need to take an active role in their health. Together, these two components allow the patient to regain control over their body, their health, and more importantly, their destiny. This gives a whole new meaning to the cliché, "Mind over matter."For nearly 3 decades, the mind/body field has gradually moved beyond the notion of segmented biological systems and this idea of a mind/body relationship having an impact on health is depicted throughout history. The beginning of its origin can be traced back to fourth century B.C.E. to Hippocrates, a Greek philosopher educated and trained in the area of medicine. Because of his work, Hippocrates has been deemed to be the Father of Western medicine.Hippocrates was the first to separate medicine from religion and disease from supernatural explanations. The basic tenet of his contributions to this area of medicine is that disease is not the result of evils and spirits, rather he equated health to a harmonious balance of the mind, body, and the environment (Goleman 1993 pg.22). Disease, therefore, results from an imbalance in these areas. He further postulated that in order to treat the disease it was important to take into consideration past medical histories of his patients and other biological factors such as temperature, nutrition, excrements, etc. In retrospect, it is clearly evident that Hippocrates was well ahead of his time.The notion of mind/body medicine was all but forgotten until it was rediscovered through research conducted by Robert Ader in a laboratory at the University of Rochester School of...

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