According to Regent’s University Psychological Services Center, up to 80% of all illnesses are related to chronic stress. When you are physically or emotionally stressed, your body releases stress hormones that can affect all your systems and organs. Since the 1960’s, thousands of studies proved the effectiveness of mind-body medicine, and it has since been practiced by professionals around the globe. Mind-Body Medicine is also sometimes referred to as holistic medicine, or holistic healing. Mind-Body Medicine focuses on the interactions between the mind and the body, and the ways in which emotional, mental, social, and spiritual factors can directly affect your health.
The key to any mind-body technique is to “train” your mind to focus on the body without distraction. In this state of “focused concentration, you may be able to improve your health. Some of the most commonly used techniques include:
Biofeedback, which teaches you to control certain bodily processes that normally occur involuntarily, such as heart rate or blood pressure. With biofeedback, you can look at a monitor that measures your heart rate for example, take control of it, and adjust it according to your needs.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, which is used to help you recognize, change, and eliminate harmful thoughts.
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, hypnosis, autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, and spirituality are the most effective. Autogenic training uses both visual imagery and body awareness to create a deep state of relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation involves slowly tensing and then releasing each muscle group in your body, starting with your toes and finishing with your head.
Mind-body techniques may help treat many different diseases, including:
- High blood pressure
- Coronary heart disease
- Pain and nausea/vomiting related to chemotherapy
- Stomach and intestinal problems (including indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, heartburn, and Crohn’s disease)
- Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, depression, and irritability
- Mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression