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Mind-Body Connection for Better Health

By:  V Savant | Date: 21 Mar 2024

What Science Says About the Mind-Body Connection for Better Health

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Alternative Medicine

Mind-Body Connection for Better Health

Introduction:

The importance of psychosomatic health or mind-body connection has been emphasized by pre-historic physicians and philosophers. But with the advent of allopathy, or modern medicine, this biomedical model lost its luster; they considered the mind and the body as separate entities.

Over the last two decades, this outdated idea has come back into vogue. We now acknowledge that the mind influences the body's immune, endocrine, and neurological systems.
 

Current trends:

Integrative medicine and alternative medicine are highly based on the concept of the mind-body connection. Stalwarts in the field of medicine in the USA have dedicated departments in various medical institutes to research mind-body connections.
 
The present generation is aware of holistic health and the demand for integrative medicine is on the rise.

What makes the mind-body connection so important?

Chronic states of stress, anxiety, emotional distress, and insomnia.

Stimulates the pituitary gland.

Overproduction by the adrenal gland

Increase of stress hormones such as cortisol

Modulates the immune system directly or indirectly. 

Studies have linked these responses to adverse effects in cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. 

Constituents of the mind-body connection:

The mind is distinctively different from the brain. The faculties of the brain that make you think, feel, understand, react, and remember are called the mind. It is challenging to harness the energy of the mind.

Mind-body exercises or mindful movements comprise:

●    Sequential movements
●    Controlled breathing
●    Attention regulation

Methods:

1.    Tai Chi Chuan 

A style of exercise popular in China that involves deliberate, rhythmic, and coordinated movements carried out in a series of precisely prescribed stances and positions. 
It is often called "meditation in motion." It improves body flexibility and balance. It releases stress and calms the mind. It is crucial for inducing a good night's sleep.

2.    Qigong

The word literally translates to ‘energy work’; it synchronizes eye movements with exercises while concentrating on the breath and movement of the body. 
According to its origin, qigong can take many different forms, some of which are related to the body and mind. 

The eyes - it is the command center for the soul that guides the energy flow in the body.
Body movements - these are sequenced and follow the energy meridians.
Mental focus - the eyes track the body movements while the mind focuses on the hand motions.
Qigong is the ultimate practice of mind-body connection.

3.    Yoga
This ancient custom, which has existed since the dawn of civilization, doesn't require much explanation. Originating from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’, meaning ‘ to unite’- yoga unites man to nature ( the body to the mind ).
As a form of fitness and health therapy, yoga has reached the height of its popularity today.

4.    Meditation 

It is a practice of "focused awareness." The technique nullifies the effects of stress by calming the mind.

Benefits of the mind-body connection:

1.    In colds, flu, and viral infection - it boosts immunity to fight against environmental pathogens.
2.    Protection against autoimmune diseases and allergies.
3.    Wound healing is faster.
4.    It is hostile to cancerous cells in the body.
5.    It regulates blood pressure, keeping the heart healthy.
6.    It controls blood sugar and keeps diabetes at bay.
7.    Useful in reducing arthritis pains.
8.    Helps in better nutrient absorption.
9.    Makes your skin glow.
10.    Keeps you better focused  at work.

Conclusion:

MRI studies of the brain show that mind-body exercises affect the brain's plasticity. It affects neural transmissions in certain areas of the brain that have health benefits. Additional research and study are needed to fully utilize the field's potential.
 

References:


1.    Brower V. Mind-body research moves towards the mainstream. EMBO Rep. 2006 Apr;7(4):358-61. doi: 10.1038/sj.embor.7400671. PMID: 16585935; PMCID: PMC1456909.
2.    Zhang X, Zong B, Zhao W, Li L. Effects of mind–body exercise on brain structure and function: A systematic review on MRI studies. Brain Sciences. 2021 Feb 7;11(2):205.
3.    Littrell J. The mind-body connection: not just a theory anymore. Social work in health care. 2008 Feb 28;46(4):17-37.
4.    https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/what-is-qi-gong/
 

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