Awareness of the ‘mind-body connection’ is certainly not a new idea, but it may feel unfamiliar to some in Western cultures, where the mind and body has been traditionally viewed as distinct entities for several centuries. However, this view is rapidly changing as researchers scientifically prove the complex links between the mind and body.
It has been demonstrated time and time again that the mind is a powerful tool in the face of adversity, with chronic disease and cancer being no exception, yet there is ‘little evidence‘ about the role of the mind and emotions in healing. However, scientists are now beginning to understand how the brain communicates with the body on the cellular level and this understanding of the cellular steps has blossomed thanks to Sir John Vane, who won his Nobel Prize in 1982.
Most people have heard of the ‘mind-body connection‘ and intuitively most of us understand the clear association with healing, but not necessarily how this concept actually works. Consider the well-known “placebo effect” that continues to baffle scientists in many different fields, yet clearly demonstrates how ‘real‘ the mind-body connection actually is.
“A successful therapy requires harmony of the physical and psychological functions in order to achieve a restoration of the body in its entirety.” ~ Dr. Max Gerson
Researchers now believe that patients with ‘high expectations for getting better‘, release biological chemicals to simulate the effect, while altering specific regions of the brain to achieve the believed results.
Summing up the mind-body connection in the realms of positive thoughts and emotions, as being an integral part of the healing process, one study coordinated by researcher Barbara L. Fredrickson, whose work is among the most referenced and cited in her field, concluded:
“When people open their hearts to positive emotions, they seed their own growth in ways that transform them for the better”.