Mind-body medicine focuses on the interactions between mind and body. Mental, emotional, social and spiritual factors are very powerful and they can directly affect our health. As chronic stress may be related to up to 80% of all illnesses, mind-body medicine is a very important tool, used in achieving overall health. At the same time, our physical state can have a large impact on our mental state. Chronic pain, disability and injuries can trigger emotional responses that have a negative effect on our mental health.
For me, mind-body medicine is one of the most underestimated but most important aspects of treatment. Philip Battiade
Our feelings are the result of the release of specific chemicals in our body. Neurotransmitters and hormones are responsible for making us feel the way we feel. This cascade of chemical reactions is very delicate, and is susceptible to being upset by outside factors. Stress, bad diet, exposure to toxic chemicals, and environmental toxins all disturb the delicate balance, resulting in changes in our mood. This is reflected in our physical state. Tight muscles, high blood pressure, chronic pain and a damaged immune system can be the result of neurochemical imbalance. Mind-body medicine explores techniques that are effective in changing the chemical ‘soup’ in our bodies to positively affect our health.
There are many techniques that are employed in mind-body medicine. Many studies prove the efficacy of mind-body medicine techniques in lowering blood pressure and stress hormone levels, relieving pain and improving immune functioning. These techniques have also triggered improvements in clinical conditions such as HIV, cancer, insomnia, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. These techniques may include meditation, bodywork, dance, movement, guided imagery, mindful nutrition and biofeedback. We also like to explore ways in which our patients can learn to express their thoughts and feelings through better communication, art and journals. Sometimes, just enjoying the opportunity to spend time and talk with our practitioners is the key that unlocks a vicious circle in the mind-body connection.