What is the Mind-Body Connection?

The mind-body connection is often referenced in modern medicine thanks to a growing awareness that our mind affects our health, and increasingly the mind-body connection is being acknowledged as a key, contributing factor in maintaining health, as well as in healing illness.  The mind-body connection simply refers to the interrelatedness of our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs and that they can play a starring role in the evolution of painful symptoms and disease in the body.

Modern medicine has acknowledged this in many ways, including:

  1. Writing 14 million prescriptions for yoga last year
  2. Prescribing mood altering drugs such as anti-depressants for diseases such as fibromyalgia, gastric reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome
  3. Funding studies to explore the mind-body connection, especially as it relates to post-traumatic stress

While these acknowledgements represent movement towards building bridges of connection between holistic and medical doctors, perhaps a deeper exploration of the mind-body connection will empower you to take charge of your health even more.  Here are some beliefs that may support you to affect positive, lasting changes in your own healing in conjunction.  Applying this knowledge will serve to strengthen your relationship with yourself and your doctor.

How does the mind-body connection help me to heal and stay healthy?

Illness AND health have a mental cause and physical expression.  Each thought we have stimulates a feeling, and these feelings and emotions such as joy, fear, anger, love, sadness and excitement have their physiological equivalent in the brain including the neurotransmitters serotonin, adrenaline, dopamine, PEA, and acetylcholine to name a few.  These neurotransmitters have a direct relationship with all of your body’s cells, and with each organ being more sensitive to certain neurotransmitters than others, certain health conditions may be predicted by understanding the link between emotions, brain chemistry, and your vital organs.  Chinese Medicine has established such an understanding.

By understand the direct relationship between your mind – including your thoughts and emotions – and the direct role they play in the functionality of your beautifully designed body, you are placed in the driver’s seat – only now you may feel more like your health destination is your choice, rather than a mystery or an accident.

How does Chinese Medicine promote healing of the mind-body connection?

Chinese Medicine has acknowledged for over 4,000 years that our emotions affect the body in very predictable ways – ways that we may understand, and therefore utilize to both prevent and treat diseases with acupuncture and movement practices such as Qi-Gong and T’ai Chi.  The fundamental understanding is that each emotion affects a particular organ; when an organ is affected, there are certain symptoms, known as organ patterns that may be expressed.

Here are a few of the common mind-body connections that Classical Chinese Medicine acknowledges:

  1. Anger and the Liver Meridian: Can manifest as tension, irregular or painful menstruation, headaches, irritability, depression, pain of all kinds, gas, irregular digestion, insomnia with dream-disturbed sleep, and poor vision or eye problems.
  2. Excitement, Anxiety and the Heart: Can manifest as heart palpitations, forgetfulness, palpitations, lack of focus, poor concentration, insomnia with too many thoughts when falling asleep, impaired blood circulation, and darkening of the facial complexion.
  3. Worry, Pensiveness and the Spleen/Stomach: Can manifest as weak digestion, nausea, loose and/ or frequent bowel movements, reduced appetite, craving of sweets, loss of memory in school, and memorizing facts in studies, swelling, tiredness, and muscle weakness.
  4. Sadness, Loss, Grief and the Lung: Can manifest as frequent colds and upper respiratory infections, reduced immunity, sore throat and hoarseness, dry skin, sinus problems, allergies, fatigue, shortness of breath, and lethargy.
  5. Fear, Trauma, Shock and the Kidneys: Can manifest as low back pain, leg pain and swelling, ankle edema, poor memory of recent events, names and faces, hair loss, hearing loss, knee pain, impaired fertility, and overall feeling of decline in vitality.

How do we heal ourselves permanently?

In order to permanently heal a condition, we must first dissolve the mental causes that contributed to its development.  This will facilitate healing the brain chemistry, the nervous system, and the vital organs where the condition may be located.  Acupuncture and its associated modalities also correct the brain chemistry imbalances that are the result of the mind-body connection in the evolution of disease.

Most often, since you may not know what the mental cause of our illness is, you may find it difficult to know where to begin.  Chinese Medicine and the emotional principles can provide you with an excellent starting point to begin the mind-body exploration, or deepen the search that you may have already established.  By combining a holistic approach to healing that also includes taking charge of your thoughts, feelings and beliefs so that they support your overall treatment and health goals in conjunction with other complementary medicine treatments such as acupuncture, your results will be sustainable and enduring.

Lasting results is what most people want – and what your health care provider wants for you too.  To achieve this aim, taking charge of your mental health while receiving treatment from your provider, as well as afterwards will insure that you get healthy – and stay that way.  Then, when an occasional health bump in the road comes you will feel much more at ease knowing that first you may seek to understand the mental causes, and if a visit to your physician is required, that you will be well soon.  Holistic medicine honors that your body knows how to heal itself.  To inquire further about Holistic and Chinese Medicine or to schedule an appointment, please contact Integrative Med Solutions and Dr. Lisanti directly at 914-337-2980.

3 Responses to “The Importance of the Mind-Body Connection for Lasting Healing”

  1. I find the relationship between specific organs/meridians and emotions interesting. Looking over your list I see a meridian or two I need to be working on, along with their associated emotions.

  2. I need help, for the first time ever i have been experiencing anxiety and sadness and fear. alot has happened to me over the last two years and although always a top producer in my company of 9 years, i feel overwhelmed and that the toxic enviroment is the a place i cannot go right now. i need to get myslf back , i used to be strong , my family thereapist urges me to find an M.D.

  3. I need help, for the first time ever i have been experiencing anxiety and sadness and fear. alot has happened to me over the last two years and although always a top producer in my company of 9 years, i feel overwhelmed and that the toxic enviroment is the a place i cannot go right now. i need to get myslf back , i used to be strong , my family thereapist urges me to find an M.D. who can help me with time off Family Emergency Leave Act. California, but how can i find someone who realizes i need time to get well, or else i have to quit my job which frightens me during this recession. I want to keep my health benefits to get holistic care, i feel i have deserved this help . any suggesions, i’m in Sacramento, ca. area thanks

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