What is the Mind-Body connection and are there pieces missing?

While western scientists forty years ago used to take the view that the mind and body were distinctly separate entities, it is pretty safe to assume now that most people appreciate that the mind and body are intimately connected. The term “mind over matter” has become well accepted in today’s society and this is particularly the case with our health and wellbeing. When we feel depressed, we are more likely to feel pain, experience tiredness and sleep poorly compared to when we are feeling good about ourselves.

Even as a doctor, I had my own ‘mind over matter’ experiences. Ironically, for many years I administered numerous injections and inserted intravenous needles into people despite having a minor fear of needles. When I myself am about to receive an injection, I find that when I look at the needles, I feel the pain so much more. However if I look away and never see the needle at all, the pain is much more tolerable. Emotions such as fear, can increase our sensation of pain. Even as early as 1975, psychologist Robert Adder showed that mental and emotional cues could affect our immune system and our ability to defend against illness. Mainstream science has certainly made connection between our mind (mental and emotional state) and our body (physical state). However the new paradigm of energy (or the ‘ancient’ paradigm of energy, depending on how you look at it), is now more recognised as the connector between the mind and body.

In truth, mind and body alone do not impact on our health. Our spirit or soul is the third aspect of our wellbeing. This is certainly a challenge for many people to comprehend, yet one read of the works of Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Neil Diamond Walshe, Eckhart Tolle and many other religious and spiritual theories will convince you that our soul or spirit does exist. However, what people tend to forget is to connect the dots between mind, body and spirit and how all three elements are integrated via the energy paradigm and determine our overall wellbeing.

Mind-Body medicine is now thought in many US medical schools and around the world while renewing interest in techniques such as yoga and meditation for therapeutic purposes. There are several mind-body healing techniques being used today which include biofeedback, hypnosis, autogenic training and so on. The objective of these techniques is to get the body and mind to relax and to reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body, so that your immune system is better able to fight off illness. Whilst their approach to treating the stress hormones is valid, it seems just as valid, if not more so, to treat the root cause of the illness, which is detected in the disruption of the energy system.

Do you consider your Mind, Body and Spirit every time you get an illness?