Can the mind really heal the body?

When you’re at the age where you’ve learned to spell o-c-t-o-g-e-n-a-r-i-a-n, it is routine to wake up to nagging aches, pangs, twitches and tremors and grimace-inducing pain. All of which made worse by a “bad” LDL Cholesterol report and good God my blood pressure is high!

Predictably your doctor and co-conspiring Big Pharma push prescription meds to deal with your discomfort at a level comparable to a French chef force feeding figs down the gullet of a clipped-wing goose with a fattened liver destined for pate de fois gras and type 2 diabetes.

I resist that prescription pad approach. Two Tylenol and half dozen holistic potions make up my pharmacopeia.

Here’s what I do to stay healthy and to bypass the hotline to the Canadian Pharmacy web site.

I accept the healing connection between our so-called spiritual energy and our physical body… as do many eminent medical doctors and academics that have authored studies that make the case for self-healing and the role our mind plays in our own curative process. I meditate in the morning to try and ease my mind from the anxieties – real and self-generated – that plague me. “May I be at peace” leads off my daily meta, or loving kindness prayer. What I ask from the universe is to be gentle and free from pride; to be contented, living simply; to nurture a boundless love for all beings in the world without ill will or enmity.

Sounds kind of woo woo and self-congratulatory I admit, but there is a lot of research that makes the case for the connection between a calm mind and the body. Example: it’s been shown that if the body is stressed an excess of cortisol is released making healing difficult; conversely, the shift to a more relaxed emotional state releases the healing hormone, serotonin.

There’s more evidence: pain-sufferers report welcomed relief after undergoing hypnosis to create a state of deep relaxation; apparently, when in the trance state people in pain are able to tap into the mind-body connection, reacting to suggestions on how to slow the urges and spasms of huge networks of nerves, neurotransmitters and hormones that constantly send signals back and forth.

I’ll add my own observation based on how I dealt with last night’s yowl of pain from too much chocolate covered popcorn gulped rather than savored while watching “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Netflix. I became mindful, focusing on my breath and becoming a witness to the pain rather than at its mercy. Simply said, I “saw” the pain, which separated me from it. I “watched” it rather than allowing it to envelop me.

I’m not going to run away with myself writing about a stomach ache. Pinch me and you’ll hear me yelp. And I do not believe in suffering when pain is controllable with appropriate medications. My point is, many of my friends take statins, beta blockers and opiates like a kid with a Pez dispenser.

My simple suggestion is, pay attention to the mind-body connection. It’s a complex interrelationship. Not only do the brain and the body’s peripheral nervous system, endocrine system and immune system share a common chemical language, our beliefs and attitudes, both positive and negative, affect how healthy we are, as well.

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Filed under: Aging, Life style, Spiritual, Uncategorized

Tags: Aging

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