Mind Body Connection

Holistic Healthcare: The Mind-Body Connection Image

Holistic health is a philosophical branch of medical care that emphasizes and studies the connection between the mind and body. Although some people consider holistic health treatments to be unscientific, many holistic practices are used in the healthcare industry.

Whereas mainstream medical practices focus more on various parts of one’s physical body and the level of wellness or disease experienced, holistic medicine views a person’s emotional and spiritual well-being (in addition to the physical) as integral factors in a person’s overall health. Healing practices focused on this connection also encourage people to participate actively in their own healthcare.

What is the Mind-Body Connection?

Many people experience the mind-body connection without even thinking about it. For example, think of the many people who suffer from ulcers due to stress. This is a very obvious example of the way one’s body responds to one’s lifestyle and the way one feels.

High blood pressure is another common ailment from stress. Whether it is a short-term bout of anger that elevates your blood pressure, or a high-stress job that keeps it elevated throughout the day, the circulatory system responds to your mind and emotions. In this case, practicing stress management techniques is essential to maintaining overall health.

Keep in mind, however, the connection between the mind and body need not only have a negative impact: love, excitement and compassion also cause reactions in blood chemistry and heart rate.

Evidence Supporting the Mind-Body Connection

People who would describe themselves as having poor emotional health more frequently suffer from one or many physical ailments. Some of the problems reported by people dealing with emotional problems include:

  • back pain
  • chest pain
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • lightheadedness
  • upset stomach
  • weight gain or loss.

Poor Emotional Health Refers to people who…

  • are not aware of their thoughts, emotions or behaviors
  • cannot deal well with stress and problems they experience
  • do not feel good about themselves or their relationships
  • have low self-esteem.

The connection between mind and body in our overall health is difficult to ignore. Research leads many doctors and psychologists to believe that attitudes and emotions affect the activity of every cell and organ in the human system.

Further evidence proving the connection between the mind and body is the fact that poor emotional health weakens the body’s immune system. People who are experiencing stressful, sad or otherwise emotionally negative periods are more likely to contract colds and other infections.

Holistic Healing Techniques

Many groups and foundations accept the connection between the human mind and body, and base their work upon it. For these people, it is common practice to address a person’s psychological well being in order to prevent disease and an unhealthy body, as well as to promote speedy recovery.

Support groups are an important part of this method of healing. People participating in these groups, such as those who overeat, or are suffering from grief or loss, acknowledge how their emotional issues affect their lives on a daily basis. These groups provide support in dealing with difficult issues and emotions, leading to healthier, happier lives.

Affects of Holistic Healing Practices

Proponents of holistic healing and alternative therapies argue that their practices can lead to:

  • a decrease in discomfort
  • an increase in mental alertness
  • faster recovery from diseases, aches and pains
  • fewer missed days of work.

Healing techniques vary widely among holistic health groups. Some holistic healing practices commonly used today include:

  • biofeedback
  • energy healing
  • energy medicine
  • hypnosis
  • individual psychotherapy
  • reiki
  • relaxation techniques
  • therapeutic touch.

Resources

Family Doctor Staff. (n.d.). Mind/body connection: How your emotions affect your health. Retrieved April 7, 2008, from the FamilyDoctor Web site: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/healthy/mental/782.html.

Michigan Psychological Foundation Staff. (n.d.). The mind-body health connection. Retrieved April 7, 2008, from the Hooah4Health Web site: http://www.hooah4health.com/mind/mindbody.htm.