Mind Body Medicine.

Essay by vogUniversity, Bachelor's September 2003

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We all have seen pictures or videos at some point in our lives that shows someone lying on a bed of nails and the question that quickly comes to mind is; "how do they do that?" Many of us think back to our own experiences with sharp objects that entailed a colorful and vivid reaction to needles received in the hospital and we immediately relive that pain. How is it that some of the more stronger and physically fit individuals shutter at the thought of a needle while others, albeit a select, can lay on a bed of nails? The answer itself is simple, mind/body medicine. However, the difficulty arises when trying to explain the history and intricacies of this approach.

Mind/body medicine is an approach to healing that uses the power of thoughts and emotions to positively influence physical health. It has been established that laughter raises endorphins in the body which in turn act as a pain reliever and it also lowers cortisol which is a stress-induced hormone (Fugh-Berman 160).

Every emotion that people experience has a corresponding physical effect on the body, whether it is positive or negative. The basis of mind/body medicine is to acknowledge this and to harness the healing effects of thoughts and emotions. The two main components of mind/body medicine is, for one, to treat the whole person and not just the source of the pain. The second component concerns itself with the notion that people can and need to take an active role in their health. Together, these two components allow the patient to regain control over their body, their health, and more importantly, their destiny. This gives a whole new meaning to the cliché, "Mind over matter."

For nearly 3 decades, the mind/body field has gradually moved beyond the notion of...