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Mind-Body Medicine

Mind-Body Medicine focuses on the interactions between mind and body and the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social and spiritual factors can directly affect health.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Mind-body medicine uses the power of thoughts and emotions to influence physical health. As Hippocrates once wrote, ‘The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.’ This is mind-body medicine in a nutshell.

“Most ancient healing practices, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, emphasize the links between the mind and the body. Western medical views were shaped by systems of thought that emphasized the opposite — the mind and body are separate.

“In 1964, psychiatrist George Solomon noticed that people with rheumatoid arthritis got worse when they were depressed. He began to investigate the impact emotions had on inflammation and the immune system in general. The new field was called psychoneuroimmunology (“psycho” for psychology; “neuro” for neurology, or nervous system; and “immunology” for immunity).

“In the 1960s and early 1970s, a physician named Herbert Benson, who coined the term “relaxation response,” studied how meditation could affect blood pressure. More understanding of the mind-body link came in 1975, when psychologist Robert Ader showed that mental and emotional cues could affect the immune system.

“Today, there is renewed interest in age old traditions such as yoga and meditation. No longer viewed with suspicion, mind-body programs are now established at prestigious medical schools in the United States and around the world.” (University of Maryland Medical Center)

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