(By Robert Moss) Our thoughts can make us sick, and they can help us get well. Medical research increasingly supports the role played by the mind in physical health. Dr. Herbert Benson, founder of the Benson-Henry Institute for mind body medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. What’s new is our detailed scientific knowledge of how the mind connection operates.Scientists first proved a link between stress and disease in the early half of the century.
We can now measure changes in immune cells and the brain in ways that give us objective scientific proof of the connection between them.The body responds to mental input as if it were physically real, “explains Larry Dorsey, a physician and advocate for mind-body study since the 1980s. “Images create bodily changes–just as if the experience were really happening. Brain scans show that when we imagine an event, our thoughts “light up ” the part of the brain that are triggered during the actual event. Such singing, sports of any kinds, past anger, fears, motivation any event.
The placebo effect is an example of how the connection between brain and body works in healing. It has been demonstrated when a patient believes something will relieve pain, the body actually releases endorphins that do so. In a recent study, Parkinson,s patients who were given fake surgery or fake drug treatments produced dopamine (a chemical their bodies lack) in quantities similar to those they might have received in a genuine intervention. Medical research has suggested that 30% to 70% of successful treatments may be the result of the patient,s belief that the treatment will work.
“There is ample evidence that negative thoughts and feelings can be harmful to the body,” says Lorenzo Cohen, director of the Integrative Medical Program at the M. D. Anderson Cancer in Houston. Stress is known to be a factor in heart disease, headaches, asthma and many other illnesses.
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