The Mind-Body Connection

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From “The Foot Book: Healing the Body Through Reflexology,” by Devaki Berkson, 1977

Anyone who has a neck has a mind-body connection, assuming the mind is in the brain, which has not been proven.  In fact, with the medical mucky-mucks pontificating about “evidence-based” medicine, I have to ask what evidence do we have that the mind exists at all?  In fact, what evidence do we have that life exists?  We can’t measure either of these on our fancy instruments.

Albert Einstein, who sought in vain for a unified field theory to link the different universal forces, like gravity, and strong and weak nuclear forces, took life for granted, as Western medicine and science do.  Oriental philosophy does somewhat better, with its acceptance of “qi” or “chi,” loosely translated as “life force.”  Philosophically, I prefer the Oriental paradigm, which assumes a living cosmos, emanating from the inside out, like a holograph.  Embryos grow from the inside out, as do plants from seeds.

While people know the brain is in the head, they forget that nerves extend from the brain to almost every cell in the body, in a feedback loop that transmits information and directions back and forth with dazzling complexity.   Chemical messengers and neurotransmitters number in the thousands.   Only a few have been studied, and even these are poorly understood.

The so-called “scientific method,” a construct of the mechanized Western model, assumes cause and effect, yet it requires limiting any “scientific study” to one variable. This creates an artificial situation which attempts to control for confounding factors and leads to skewed results.  Alternatively, the Oriental model, which sees disease, for instance, as a pattern of dis-harmonies, is inclusive.  It presumes there are no single causes and that dis-harmonies create patterns of dis-equilibrium. Disciplines like acupuncture strive to re-balance “qi” to improve health and quality of life.

Ear acupuncture and reflexology are based on the idea that there are correspondences between points on the ears, hands, and feet and the various organs and structures in the body.

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Acupuncture does not lend itself to the “scientific method.”  Because it is holistic, it cannot be reduced to “cause and effect” studies.  Also, studies into acupuncture can’t be double-blinded, as the acupuncturist presumably knows which points are the “real ones.”

However, as East and West develop more ties, acupuncture is receiving more attention and acceptance, especially for such conditions as pain and substance abuse.

Reflexology, which is a specific form of massage, does not get as much attention, but it has the advantage that anyone can do it.  I make no claims about its healing properties, but I can vouch for the fact that foot and hand massage feel good and constitute a safe form of touching in a skin-starved society.

 

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6 thoughts on “The Mind-Body Connection

  1. Bindu Krishnan

    Fantastic post on a topic that is close to my heart. There is a deep connection between the mind and the body. If this subject interests you, please read Dr. Deepak Chopra’s books as he is a Ayurvedic doc besides studying to be a regular allopathic doctor. Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine where each body is treated uniquely and herbs, fruits, vegetables and plant extracts are used as medicines. There are also specific oil massages for different conditions – its holistic and not about popping a pill for every symptom. The idea is that you treat the psychosomatic cause and the dis-ease goes away.

    From the western world – Louise Hay brings out this deep mind-body connection. Do read her book “You can heal your life” if you haven’t already. Amazing.

    Reply
    1. katharineotto Post author

      I’m familiar with both Deepak Chopra and Louise Hay and have read two or three of Chopra’s books. I believe “prana” is the Indian corollary to “qi,” as both recognize that life force is the key to health.

      The major contrast between Western and Eastern (including Ayurvedic) medicine seems to be in the approach. While Eastern practitioners seem to see the body as an ally in the healing process, the West approaches it as an enemy to be conquered and subdued. “Placebo” effect–the patient’s belief in the treatment–is considered a distracting annoyance.

      Unfortunately, Westerners are taught to put responsibility for healing outside themselves–pills, doctors, surgeries–and to become passive recipients. My understanding is that Easterners seek to engage the patient in her own healing, thus emphasizing a partnership between patient and practitioner. We could use a lot more of the Eastern philosophies in our system.

      By the way, “The Tao of Physics,” by
      Fritjof Capra, an astrophysicist, promotes a theory that modern physics closely resembles the esoteric and mystical traditions of the East. It’s compelling, but goes into quantum physics theory more deeply than I can follow.

      Thanks for the affirmation.

      Reply
  2. Holistic Wayfarer

    “I was put on the merry-go-round of -ologists who each tried hard to name the -itis while examining the body part parceled out under their specialty. Who, coming up short but well-meaning, then dispensed drugs that provided the illusion that I was better. No, no one I had trusted for curative expertise had connected the dots, thought the symptoms had anything to do with one another.” From my blog on integrative nutrition. Great post.

    Reply
    1. katharineotto Post author

      I will be most interested in your response to my intended 2017 series of blogs, from my “years past” journals. For me, 2017 was about the health care/snare racket and how it costs us in multi-dimensional ways.

      Thanks for your response, Holistic. Simpatico.

      Reply

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