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You may have heard some talk about mind body medicine, but what exactly is it and what potential does it have to help you deal with whatever health issues you may be dealing with?
Hippocrates wrote "The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well."


MBM stresses the interactions between our thoughts and our health.  Most of us have noticed that when we are feeling depressed or overwhelmed, that is often when we come down with some cold, flu or potentially more serious health problem.  The MBM approach often comes down to helping patients deal with stress by giving them outlets—such as exercise ranging from yoga or Tai Chi to more strenuous activity –and providing counseling and lifestyle alternatives that can benefit the patient.3 




The approaches in MBM also include prayer or meditation, behavioral, music or biofeedback therapy, massage, guided imagery, hypnosis and aromatherapy, among others. These approaches are currently actively being used and researched for cancer therapy4,   infectious diseases in the elderly5,   autism6,   heart disease3,7, pain management8,9,  and pediatrics10.

How can you use MBM?


Stress –whether it comes from your work or your personal life can cause all sorts of problems. Stress is a normal response of the body to situations or events that are perceived as “dangerous” in some way. Humans evolved in a stressful world. Our stress responses evolved right along with us to protect us from dangerous people, animals, environments or any emergency situation.  Stress is related to the “Fight or Flight” response.  In the “Fight or Flight” response, a person is faced with some sort of dangerous situation where they have to decide which is going to be the best response—stay and fight or take off for the nearest tree to climb or cave to hide away in! Under any kind of stress, the body produces a variety of hormones and other substances that can affect our response to stress—mind body medicine assumes that we can control the production of those stress-related hormones and substances by controlling how we react to stress.  Deep breathing is a good example.  Have you ever been in a situation where you were scared or anxious and controlled it to at least some extent by slowing down your breathing?  That is a form of stress relief practiced in MBM.




The important things to emphasize are reducing the amount of stress in your life and taking a positive attitude.  Reducing stress can be a challenge for many, but it may just mean taking an hour or so every day to relax.  It may mean taking a class in Tai Chi or yoga or taking a few long walks.  It may mean some therapy to channel or deal with anger or grief.  It depends on what the sources of stress are for you.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • 1. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/mind-body-000355.htm (Accessed 8/11)
  • 2. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/backgrounds/mindbody.htm#intro(Accessed 8/11)
  • 3. Frishman WH, Beravol P, Carosella C., Alternative and complementary medicine for preventing and treating cardiovascular disease Dis Mon - 01-MAR-2009, 55(3): 121-92.
  • 4. Gordon JS., Mind-body medicine and cancer. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am - 01-AUG-2008, 22(4): 683-708, ix.
  • 5. Heffner KL., Neuroendocrine effects of stress on immunity in the elderly: implications for inflammatory disease. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am - 01-FEB-2011, 31(1): 95-108.
  • 6. . Bertoglio K, Hendren RL., New developments in autism. Psychiatr Clin North Am - 01-MAR-2009, 32(1): 1-14.
  • 7. Pratt C., Alternative prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, part 2. Prim Care - 01-JUN-2010, 37(2): 339-66
  • 8. Teets RY., Integrative medicine approach to chronic pain. Prim Care - 01-JUN-2010, 37(2): 407-21.
  • 9. Morone NE, Greco CM., Mind-body interventions for chronic pain in older adults: a structured review. Pain Med - 01-MAY-2007, 8(4): 359-75
  • 10. Rosen LD, Breuner CC., Primary care from infancy to adolescence. Pediatr Clin North Am - 01-DEC-2007, 54(6): 837-58, ix