Connecting mind & body for healing

Ever hear a doctor tell someone it's psychosomatic? Or say ''it's all in your head.'' Most people are insulted, and from the doctors standpoint they are saying ''there isn't anything wrong; go home.'' We go home feeling insulted, other times relieved, that there isn't anything seriously wrong. From the standpoint of those of us in holistic medicine, the doctor's diagnosis is exactly correct regardless. Let's look at the word psychosomatic. Psycho meaning mind or psyche, somatic meaning physical symptoms in the body. In other words, where the mind goes, the body will follow.

To truly understand this concept can simplify and speed healing as the mind has a very powerful influence over the body. But first we need to change how we look, talk, listen, act and feel about our body -- not just the physical body but the emotional and the spiritual body as well.

Let's look at how we talk to ourselves and the message we may be sending. Remember that the mind is a very powerful organ which will respond to your every command. When you witness a frightening event such as a serious car accident, or experience a sad emotional event such as the death of a family member, or suffer some kind of betrayal at the hands of a friend, what do we say to ourselves? -- that makes me sick, I can't stand that, my heart is broken.

The subconscious message we just sent may indeed in the weeks, months or years to come make us very sick. The pain we suffered is real and, we must deal with that pain. When we don't deal with the pain our emotional or spiritual body has suffered, we then turn it into physical symptoms, everything from headaches, indigestion, depression, suppressed immune systems, heart attacks you name it. Because that's what you did, you named it, (my heart is broken.) Then, if you are genetically predisposed to say heart disease, you may indeed suffer the pain of that unresolved emotional hurt, experienced in the emotional body, transferred to the physical body in the form of heart disease.

Here's another way of looking at this concept. Most everyone has heard of the placebo effect and, granted, if I have a raging full blown case of pneumonia, please don't give me a sugar pill; thank you very much. But study after study will show a curious thing happening time and again in the researchers' double blind studies of drugs. Placebos, or sugar pills, are generally administered double-blind, meaning that neither the person giving the pill nor the person receiving it knows whether it's the real thing. Placebos do work, at least sometimes.

While confusing to researchers and disheartening to pharmaceutical companies, it does suggest that the power of a patient's belief (the spiritual body) in that pill may be as important as what's actually in it. We as a country, at least those of us in medicine, have very seldom looked at the positive side of this, which is, ''let's watch the power of that person's mind; what a very powerful tool they have here. Let's study those people who, in spite of a terrible disease, seem to get well on sugar pills.''

Unfortunately, what we tend to do is look at those who got well on sugar pills and label them as nuts. I want to be in that group, I hate taking any kind of medicine!

Strategies for Healing:

Find support with a group of positive people who are experiencing, or who have experienced, similar problems and have compatible approaches. Limit time with friends or family who give you negative feedback, or distract you, or cause excessive worry.

Look to a higher power -- whether through prayer, meditation, nature or new creative endeavors. This could be a time to tend your inner life of spirit. Work with what makes you feel calm and brings you energy. I watch my solar plexus, when I suddenly feel it untwist I know I've found my answer.

Listen to your self talk -- about your illness, yourself, your body image. You must stop sending negative messages. Shift from saying things like ''I can't live with this pain anymore'' to a more neutral statement like '' this pain is severe.''

Find health-care providers who will listen to you and develop treatment approaches that are right for you. Be up front about what you are comfortable with given your finances, time and energy.

Take care of yourself -- in all ways. Eat good food, sleep and rest, drink plenty of water. Attend as well to your spiritual and emotional needs.

Is it psychosomatic? Let's hope so!

Till next time, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online May 8, 2001

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