Mind-Body Medicine:

WHAT YOU NEED
TO KNOW

What is Mind-Body Medicine?

Mind-Body Medicine is based on the fundamental premise that health or lack of it is a function of alignment of the Body, Mind and the Spirit. A human being feels healthy when there is complete alignment of the 3 systems. This alignment could get disturbed at the Physical (Body), Emotional & Mental (Mind) or Spiritual (Spirit) level, manifesting in form of an ailment or disease. Mind-Body Medicine uses the incredible power of physical conditioning (diet, sleep, exercise), empowering emotions & thoughts and spiritual awakening to solve health issues in a wholesome manner.

Although Mind-Body Medicine originated thousands of years ago in the East, research in the West over the last 30-40 years has conclusively demonstrated that the Mind alters physical functioning and plays highly significant role in impacting health & well-being.

Common reasons people opt for Mind-Body Medicine

(or use it as an alternative or supplement to conventional medicine)

  • Mind-Body Medicine is Evidence Based (uses experience of the caregiver, patient values and evidence from research), while conventional medicine relies largely on experience of caregiver only
  • Mind-Body Medicine uses the incredible self-healing powers of the Mind & Body
  • Mind-Body Medicine helps make conventional drug-based therapy more effective
  • People have limiting beliefs at sub-conscious level
  • More and more people are looking for natural therapies
  • Mind-Body Medicine has been existing for more than 2500 years
  • Hundreds of patients overcame life-threatening conditions such as Cancer by complementing conventional therapy with Mind-Body Medicine
  • It is now no longer necessary to go to India (or East) for this medicine
  • People find the impact of Mind-Body Medicine to be life long
  • It reduces the side-effects of chemical based therapies

Even when people are undergoing conventional treatment, many physicians and patients realise the benefits Mind-Body medicine can provide to increase the efficacy, ameliorate the side-effects and accelerate healing, thus opting for it to supplement care.

The difference between Mind-Body and Conventional Medicine

When people first hear about Mind-Body medicine, they think of it as an alternative therapy which is taken when conventional medicine has failed. However, once they realise that it is not an alternative but a complementary therapy, they choose Mind-Body medicine for faster healing.

Millions of people across the world choose Mind-Body Medicine because it gives even more reasons to believe in chances of recovery.

Reason#1: Emotional Healing

Studies after Studies have proven that how we feel is a very strong indicator of how we will heal. Since emotional healing is not covered necessarily in conventional medicine, once clients start Mind-Body Medicine, they start the process of emotional healing to increase the chances of recovery

Reason#2: Spiritual Healing

Many people undergo a treatment without the full conviction of recovery. While they are acting in the right direction, they carry limiting beliefs at the sub-conscious level which prevent them from deriving benefits of their treatment. Mind-Body Medicine helps in removing the limiting beliefs and helps in spiritual awakening, thereby tapping into the incredible powers of self-healing

Reason#3: Body Cleansing

The Indian system of medicine, from which Mind-Body Medicine originated, works on a clean body for effective healing. Our lifestyle and dietary preferences accumulate toxins in the body which need to get released through breathing, food and sleep. Once the body is cleansed, the impact of any other treatment becomes much more effective.

Reason#4: Science backed

Till recent years, the benefits of Mind-Body Medicine were restricted to the people in the East. However, with multiple research done in the last 30-40 years, including work of psychologists such as Martin Seligman, Mind-Body Medicine is now practiced in some or the other form in conventional medicine centres worldwide. While empirically it was known to be effective, we now have data to prove its effectiveness as well

Why clients and physicians often opt for Mind-Body Medicine?

The above reasons are not the only ones why clients and physicians opt for Mind-Body Medicine. In the same way as conventional medicine works for many clients and physicians, people prefer Mind-Body medicine for the following reasons:

  • It is a healthy ‘Way of Life’, and not just medicine
  • People feel good during the experience of receiving Mind-Body Medicine
  • It does not interfere with the conventional therapy – only enhances the effectiveness
  • The side effects of Mind-Body Medicine are also positive – more kindness, self-esteem enhancement and happiness
  • It focuses on natural & life-reinforcing aspects – eating healthy, encouraging positive thoughts and emotions, letting go of negative thoughts & emotions, spiritual awakening

Does Mind-Body Medicine work?

There are several studies that prove the efficacy of Mind-Body Medicine. Here are a few we have curated:

  1. A large-scale meta-analysis reveals that Mindfulness-Based Interventions are superior to standard treatment: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21963234
  2. Although our understanding has continued to progress, this article explains with intimate detail how psychological stress affects our immune system: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/
  3. Mind-Body Skills groups reduce biological indicators of stress in medical students. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3137844/
  4. Meditation can actually grow your brain. Lazar and colleagues measured increased cortical thickness in experienced meditators, particularly in older participants. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361002/
  5. Dean Ornish demonstrates the effects of a comprehensive mind-body medicine program at altering the genetic expression of specific genes related to prostate cancer. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2430265/
  6. Stress and its impact on overall health and longevity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16399915
  7. Mind Body medicine and immune system outcomes https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3516431/
  8. Use of Mind-Body therapies in the US https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1494676/
  9. Clinical impact of stress and relaxation responses https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724877/
  10. Mind-Body Genomics https://hms.harvard.edu/news/genetics/mind-body-genomics-5-1-13

When should one go for Mind-Body Medicine?

Mind-Body medicine is a natural form of medicine and hence it is generally applied in a broad manner. Since it uses the self-healing powers of the mind, supplemented with food as a medicine in some cases, it could be used as a way of life to feel healthy and full of life. Since there are dozens of therapy options available these days, there are some tips to keep in mind when deciding to go for Mind-Body Medicine:

Meditation
  • If you are already consulting a doctor, it is always advisable to have him/her in confidence before you opt for Mind-Body medicine. While it is completely complementary, having your doctor informed helps him/her have full control of your health
  • Many people opt for Mind-Body medicine as first line of treatment, which means that when they are not feeling well, they first opt for Mind-Body medicine. Since it is natural, this helps in most cases. However, an expert & trusting coach will always guide when to supplement mind-body medicine with another therapy such as allopathy
  • Some people opt for Mind-Body medicine when nothing else has worked. This is especially the case in life threatening conditions such as cancer. While Mind-Body medicine have proven to work in such cases as well, it is not a miraculous method. Understand that it addresses holistic needs of your health by aligning the mind, body and spirit. It works fastest when the mis-alignment is not too high.
  • Do you feel more comfortable with a therapy that uses self-healing powers of your mind and body? Then you must get started with Mind-Body Medicine
  • Do you want the option of being anonymous during your healing program? An online Mind-Body program that provides anonymity would be good then
  • Would you prefer a therapy that is more personalised by the process of more frequent and detailed discussion with your coach? Mind-Body Medicine would be a good choice
 

Why is Mind-Body Medicine not mainstream?

Mind-Body Medicine was always the mainstream form of healing in the East. Since its origins are in India, forms of Mind-Body Medicine such as Meditation, Ayurveda and Yoga were hugely popular and the only form of being well there. Over the last few decades, it has started become mainstream in other parts of the world as well. Few highlights are:

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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) that was developed in 1970s at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. It uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness and yoga. MBSR instructors are now in nearly every US state and more than 30 countries
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United States National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) does not consider mind-body interventions as within the purview of complementary and alternative medicine when there is sufficient scientific evidence for the benefit of such practices along with their professional application in conventional medicine.
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Mind-Body research has moved towards the mainstream , given the widespread use in conventional medicine, effectiveness and complementary nature to the conventional therapy. https://goo.gl/cZTj6Q
Here are some centers which have integrated Mind-Body medicine:

Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts Medical Center
https://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/

The Mind-Body Medicine Research Group at California Pacific Medical Centre Research Institute
http://www.cpmc.org/professionals/research/programs/behavioral/mindbody.html

Mind-Body Medicine at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America
http://www.cancercenter.com/treatments/mind-body-medicine/

Mind-Body Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences
http://psychiatry.arizona.edu/patient-care/mind-body-medicine

Mind-Body Medicine program at the School of Medicine, Georgetown University
https://som.georgetown.edu/medicaleducation/mindbody

Mind-Body Medical group at the Chopra Centre
http://www.chopra.com/mind-body-medical-group#sm.0001xhvly55cxcz4vz72a86pdgwcq

The centre for Mind-Body Medicine
https://cmbm.org/

Different ways of receiving Mind-Body Medicine: At a Centre, Video/Audio Chat, Texting

Traditionally, Mind-Body medicines have been delivered at a Center. In the west, the most common form of Mind-Body intervention is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as recognized by the United States National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). In the East, people traveled to an Ashram and benefit from guidance of a trained expert. Depending on your location, availability of facilities, time, affordability and preferences, you can choose one of the many options these days:

  • Mind-Body Retreat centre, when you have more than a week available to spend in a reputed centre
  • Local health care facility which also has a Mind-Body research institute
  • Independent practitioners of Mind-Body medicine, who can integrate the therapy with conventional medicine if needed (avoid conflicts)
  • Video calls based online Mind-Body medicine option if you need comfort of home
  • Audio calls based online Mind-Body medicine option if you are not comfortable with visuals
  • Text based therapy for the simple reason of convenience and anonymity as you need not do this live
  • Integrated facility that gives you the option to choose how to receive care – at a centre, Video call, Audio call or Texting

Frequently asked questions about Mind-Body Medicine

1

Is Mind-Body Medicine effective as a form of medicine?

 

Mind-Body Medicine existed much before conventional form of medicine came into being. Ayurveda and Yoga were the earliest form of medicine which were based on a whole body approach – meaning that any disease or lack of health is a function of balance in the body, and not just the affected organ. This approach has worked for thousands of years, but was not as well documented as other forms of medicine. Now, there are multiple research studies which have documented the effectiveness of practices such as Mindfulness Meditation and Food as medicine. You can refer to the some of the studies given in earlier sections as reference. You can also refer to this reference from University of Minnesota:

2

Does online therapy work as well as in-office therapy?

 

In-office treatment works better for some people, but online therapy is an equally viable treatment and works for the vast majority of clients. Here are 2 studies you may find interesting:

  • http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201100206
  • Linda Godleski, M.D.; Adam Darkins, M.D., M.P.H.; John Peters, M.S. (2014) Outcomes of 98,609 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Patients Enrolled in Telemental Health Services, 2006–2010
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20183695 
  • Andersson, G., & Cuijpers, P. (2009). Internet-based and other computerized psychological treatments for adult depression: A meta-analysis. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 38(4), 196-205.
3

What if I am already receiving a therapy, other than Mind-Body medicine?

 

Mind-Body medicine is best used in conjunction with another form of medicine. Since it uses the incredible powers of self-healing in the mind & body, for which a client needs to get trained, the outcomes are slower than other forms of medicine. This is one reason why Mind Body Medicine is not popular to treat acute illnesses.
If you are receiving a therapy, check with your doctor if you would benefit from the following:

  • Mindfulness Meditation for relaxation and letting go of self-defeating thoughts
  • Yoga or a form of exercise for physical fitness and happiness
  • Healthy food based diet tailored to your BMI and allergy profile, which has been researched to help in your condition

In case your doctor says yes, consider Mind-Body medicine for the enhanced effectiveness it can provide to you in your care.You can read more in this article on complementary Medicine on WebMD:

4

Is therapy secure on internet? Will my privacy be protected?

 

Events such as hacking are equivalent of offline robbery. Anyone interested in patient data would hack providers who are online or rob an offline center. They way cyber security has evolved, such events have gone down significantly. However, if your therapist shares your data with others, your privacy is no longer protected. This can happen online or offline.

Ethical rules for therapists require they protect your privacy. With the exception of several rare situations (such as clients being at risk of harming themselves or others), they will not reveal the content of your conversations to others.

5

Who should not use Mind-Body medicine?

 

Like in-office therapy, people who are an immediate threat to themselves or others should call a suicide hotline or seek psychiatric treatment before committing to therapy.

There are age limitations depending on the therapist or therapy network you consult. Many therapists accept clients under 18 with or without parental consent. Most therapy networks require the person be 18 or older.

Medicine for problems of life today

Mind-Body Medicine is the way for many people to receive safe, natural and complementary treatment to complex health issues. Using the incredible healing powers of the Mind & Body, it can increase the effectiveness of an existing therapy manifolds or can help accelerate the healing on a standalone basis.

Receiving Mind-Body medicine online can help millions of people who are otherwise not receiving it due to affordability, inconvenience or cultural factors. As per the US CDC, about half of the US population of adults has one or more chronic health issue – almost all of which have a lifestyle issue as a cause. When we look underneath, lifestyle issues are linked to a gradual shift away from how nature intended us to be.

It is time, we use ancient wisdom, technology and medical evidences to get us back to our best health for a joyful life!

Ready to try online therapy?

Institute of Awaken Mindfulness