The mind-body connection means that your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and feelings can have a positive or negative effect on your biological functioning. The state of your mind can affect how healthy your body is. The reverse is also true – how you treat your physical body can also have a positive or negative impact on your mental state.
The History of the Mind-Body Connection
The mind-body connection is not a new concept. Until 300 years ago almost every system of medicine in the world embraced the mind-body connection and treated the mind and body as a whole unit. The integrated approach was always maintained in the eastern healing system.
Around the 17th century western medicine started viewing the mind and the body as two distinct separate units. The school of thought at the time was that although the body could affect the mind, the mind did not affect the body. The disease process was considered completely independent of the mind.
The Positive Results from Western Viewpoint
There were definite positive benefits from modern medicine. These include technological advances such as the stethoscope, microscopy, the blood pressure cuff and many advanced techniques in surgery. This was followed by the discovery of bacteria and antibiotics.
Fixing and healing an illness became a matter of science. However, instead of letting this new science take its place alongside the previously accepted world paradigm, in a large part it totally replaced it.
What was Lost Because of the Western Perspective
Unfortunately this new science led to a separation of the human spiritual and emotional dimensions from the physical body and ignored the mind’s innate ability to heal itself.
A gradual change of opinion during the twentieth century had researchers again studying the complex links between the mind-body connections.
Scientific Studies have proven the Mind-Body Connection
In recent years science has recognized the powerful connection between mental and physical health. It is now known that your physical and mental health can be influenced by your emotions, your memories, and even by the beliefs and opinions you have of yourself.
It is also recognized that negative thought patterns and emotions cause illness and imbalances in the body. Research in the mind-body medicine have found that therapies like hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation and biofeedback are able to help restore balance in the body and encourage better health.
Mind-body practices consist of a very large and diverse group of techniques and procedures. Extensive research has confirmed that some mind-body therapies have a mental and medical benefit. These therapies include yoga, tai chi, qi gong and training in mindfulness.
There has also been research with some positive results on chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, acupuncture and breathing exercises. These practices are administered by practitioners or teachers.
Achieving a Healthier Mind-Body Connection
A lifestyle change can help you achieve a better healthier mind-body connection. Spending 15 minutes a day relaxing your mind and body will help reduce stress and tension in your life.
This can be achieved by just sitting relaxed and quiet, by meditation or by the use of guided imagery. Add to this a 30 minute a day exercise regime to strengthen your physical body and improve your emotional state of mind.
The Benefits of Massage
A weekly massage is another way to assist your body’s natural healing abilities. Physical massage improves blood circulation in your body and is the most relaxing and enjoyable way to erase tension from your body.
Obtaining Maximum Health Benefits
To improve and maximize your mind-body connection, learn some of the alternative therapies that have been proven to be beneficial in supporting and reinforcing the mind-body connection. Qi gong, tai chi and yoga are popular proven therapies.
All of these increase the body’s energy and relaxation levels, increase physical flexibility, improve the responses of the immune system and expand mental focus.
These positive changes in your lifestyle will enhance your body’s natural healing processes and enable you achieve maximum health benefits.