Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mind-Body Connection

Of course, the mind-body connection has been acknowledged. But it hasn't been persued rigorously as it should be. It doesn't seem to have been taken as seriously as it deserves to be. It's a huge breakthrough, but I guess there's no money in it. Personally I think that rabbit hole goes very, very deep, and if followed would lead to a true medical revolution.

Patient, heal thyself. This is medicine summed up. Doctors help the body be in a more favorable position for it, but they don't do the healing. Even with such a mechanical, physical thing as a broken bone, all they do is line up the pieces for the body to knit back together. Sometimes it's more invasive or intensive: antibiotics to help the immune system play catch-up from a downhill position, or cutting out an appendix that's about to blow. But I think we go into the hospital with the wrong state of mind when we go in and say, "doctor, make me better." We aren't machines and the doctors mechanics; it doesn't work that way.

Maybe the faith healing has the same foundation. If the mind and the body are one, as two sides of the same coin, say, then powerful belief in a divine healing will surge through the physical realm of the body as well, in the same way that stress can bring a body into dis-ease. It's just a move in the opposite direction. The context that surrounds those freaky looking Christian healings that go on in tents across the country doesn't appeal to me personally, so such a faith healing would likely not work on me.

But I do believe in meditation, in fasting, in exercise and healthy diet, things like Tai Chi and yoga, the power of words and thoughts; occasionally I believe in prayer and "good vibes" (I come and go on the issue), and so on. Chiropractic and other alternative medicine like acupuncture and such also seem very legit, as they seem to combine the physical and mental/spiritual sides of the patient, rather than only admitting to the physical. Of course a lot of this stuff is without much or any foundation in fact; even what they say about diet comes and goes, it's more like fashion than science.

So what I'm saying is that maybe this whole edifice of medical science, all the stuff about germ theory and pharmaceuticals and all of it... is one big placebo effect we've been confusing with a mechanical cause-effect. I personally believe that in an otherwise healthy person, stress or dis-ease in the body-mind is the ultimate cause of disease. Germs don't so much cause the problem, but take advantage of it and produce the symptoms we call illness. Maybe the witch-doctors were right all along, though of course I favor a mix of both sides. I could write tons on this and will probably return to the issue.


  1. Here's an interesting article you may want to read: German doctors advised to give out placebos. Apparently this is because in many cases the placebo was found to be more effective than the actual medicine itself!