Mind Heals Body
Really !! Does Mind heal Body???
For centuries the medical world has been struggling to identify aetiology for certain diseases, and upon being unable to find a reason, such conditions h categorized as idiopathic causes.
On the other hand, the scientific fraternity identified causes of certain diseases that have a deep-seated reason in one’s Mind and termed them Psychosomatic diseases.
Some of the mind-body practices practised over generations include the following:
- Vedic Rituals
- Mediation (Mindful, Transcendental and Manthra Meditation)
The concept of Mind Body Medicine is not new. Pathanjali, the father of Yoga, discovered a connection between the Mind and the Body, and he defined this phenomenon in one of his yoga sutras as “Chitta vritti nirodhaha” (योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः).
Let us look into the literal translation.
Chitta is Mind
Vritti is fluctuations from the quiet/balanced state towards anger, avarice, joy, sadness, depression, greed, and so on.
In recent times this phenomenon and the relationship between Mind and Body were discovered around the 1960s by Harvard medical professor Dr. Herbert Benson. This phenomenon is known as the Dr. Bensons Relaxation Technique/response, a well-known phenomenon.
Dr. Benson established the phenomenon of Body-mind medicine in his research on Tibetan Monks. The Mind could control the autonomic nervous system (Wallace et al., 1971).
He had established that these monks could lower their body temperature and respiration rates and enter a wakeful hypometabolic physiological state.
Patanjali, the father of Yoga around 2500 yrs, discovered Mind’s effects on the Body. He discusses how quieting the Mind leads to stillness and prevents fluctuation, thus gaining the Mind’s peace, calmness and serenity.
Pathanjali described this in one of his yoga sutras in the Sanskrit phrase “Chitta vritti nirodha.
Chitta is Mind, Vritti is Fluctuations, and Nirodhaha to prevent or suppress.
Vritti is fluctuations in the state of the Mind that could be anger, joy, sadness, depression, greed and avarice.
When fluctuations of the Mind lead to a disturbance in the Mind, and if we cannot prevent affecting us, it drills deep into the consciousness. Then they reflect on the Body in various dimensions ending with one of many Psychosomatic diseases.
Patanjali Yoga Sutras’ first aphorism closely aligned with results obtained from Dr. Herbert Benson Mind-Body Medicine and the relaxation response technique experiment.
The outcome of the relaxation response includes a reduction in the following physiological parameters.
- blood pressure
- Heart rate,
There are also molecular changes observed, such as an increase in exhaled nitric oxide.
Mind-body medicine has significant and profound effects on human beings’ well-being. Today’s world is filled with Stress, Stress and only Stress.
Stress mounting in humans expresses itself in various physical illness and lead to many diseases or manifest as psychosomatic diseases.
- Low-back pain
- PMS ( Premenstrual Syndrome)
The Mindbody relaxation response can be a powerful addition to any system of medical science in treating patients. Body-Mind relaxation had been a preferred method in my treatment option for a patient.
As medical treatment recommendations are not based on speculations but backed by robust scientific research, Medical treatment plays a vital role in restoring a patient’s health. The doctor’s job is not only to give medicines but to advise patients on the other dimensions of Cure.
We can understand from the above image that Exercise, Diet, Yoga and Meditation play an essential role in restoring the sick to health and cure.
The good news is that the Relaxation response or the Body Mind relaxation is scientific and not a placebo effect. This could be an addition to conventional treatment options and play a significant role in preventive medicine.
References and credits:
- Patanjali Yoga Sutras.
- The relaxation Response Benson, Herbert; Proctor, William.
- Relaxation Revolution: The Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing. Scribner. Kindle Edition.