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Body Mind Medicine

Copyright (c) 2009 Stephen Lau

Your mind is directly related to your body. Your mental state affects your physical well being. This body-mind medicine is the foundation of Oriental medicine.

Not until recently did modern Western medicine begin to recognize the dynamic relationship between the mind and physical illness. Now, there is "psychoneuroimmunology" which is the study of how the mind, the brain, and the immune system affect one another in terms of overall health.

There is strong evidence that your thoughts, feelings, and moods affect the production of your brain chemicals, which directly impact the physiological system in your body. In other words, there is scientific evidence in body and mind interactions in human diseases, or the efficacy of body-mind medicine.

To illustrate body-mind medicine, your heart is more than just a circulatory pump. To the Chinese, the "heart" is an organ of "thinking" ("think with your heart"), which means your heart is a storage of your thoughts and emotions, and therefore is responsible for any positive or negative impact on the beating of your heart, or more specifically on your heart health.

William Harvey, the first scientist who established a link between the heart and the mind, or body-mind medicine, said: "Every affection of the mind that is attended with either pain or pleasure, hope or fear, is the cause of an agitation whose influence extends to the heart."

Your emotions can have a significant impact on your heart health, in terms of regulating your blood pressure and heart beat and rhythm, through the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. In addition, your negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety, can adversely affect your cardiovascular system through the release of hormones, such as adrenaline and non-adrenaline, which can cause blood clotting and hardening of arteries.

In Chinese medicine, there are seven emotions: joy, anger, worry, contemplation, sorrow, fear, and anxiety. These emotions can cause diseases and disorders, or they may be a result of distress of the internal body organs. Chinese healing focuses on the body-mind medicine.

Your mind may also increase your cancer risk. Depressed individuals have a higher risk for cancer. The reason is that if you are depressed, your immune system is impaired, and weakened immunity may be a contributing factor to abnormality of cells and tissues. As a matter of fact, several studies have been conducted to determine if personality characteristics may predispose an individual to cancer. In one study, for example, women after undergoing breast biopsies and being diagnosed with malignancy were found to be less capable of expressing their anger openly than those whose biopsies were negative. In other words, repressed and suppressed emotions adversely affect the immune system, which in turn may provide a breeding ground for cancer development. In another study at UCLA, findings indicated that emotional counseling and education not only improve immunity from cancer but also reduce the risk of cancer relapse. This attests to the significance of body-mind medicine.

Your mind may also have an impact on your diabetes because your emotions have a direct influence on your blood sugar and insulin production. In animal studies, it has been demonstrated that a stressful environment is conducive to elevation of blood sugars.

Body-mind medicine should play a pivotal role in modern medicine. The mind and body are two fully integrated features of life. Therefore, diseases in the mind are reflected as diseases in the body. So, to stay healthy, take care of not just your body but also your mind. Negative emotions may play havoc with your overall health.

About Author Stephen Lau :

For more information on how to be healthy the Oriental way, go to Stephen Lau's websites: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom; and Are You Healthy? (<a href="" target="_blank"></a>). Stephen Lau is a writer and researcher with websites on longevity, eating disorders, mental depression, Chinese natural healing and Zen health.

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Article Added on Saturday, September 26, 2009
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