Mind-Body Medicine

What is Mind-Body Medicine?

Mind Body Medicine is a collection of practices that draw upon the power of the conscious mind to directly influence the functioning of the brain and body. These practices affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), the endocrine system, and the immune system. Research studies show that mind body medicine techniques are helpful in regulating overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system (stress response) and restoring balance of physiological states by activating the parasympathetic nervous system which allows rest, relaxation, social engagement, and healing. Research further shows that mind body practices produce favorable changes in physiological states help to stabilize blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, lessen the pain response, and improve immune functioning. Clinical improvements in depression, anxiety, insomnia, posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, hypertension, cancer, and HIV have been documented in studies of the mind body medicine approach.

how it works

Mind-body medicine is an approach to medicine that recognizes that our mind (our thoughts and emotions) has a vital impact on the health of our body.

Mind-body medicine is based on the following principles:

  • It is best practice to treat the whole person. (Addressing emotional distress is an essential component of standard medical care.)
  • Self-care is primary care. (People can take an active role in their own health care in an effort to prevent and heal disease by managing psychological states and reducing stress.)

Mind-body medicine is supported by physiological, epidemiological, and clinical research.  Harvard Medical School, Duke University, University of California Los Angeles, University of Miami, and University of Massachusetts are leading institutions in the research and practice of Mind-Body Medicine.

Mind Body Medicine techniques include shaking and dancing to release tension, emotion, and stress; drawing to activate the imagination and intuition; guided imagery to access our unconscious and inner knowing; dialoguing with a symptom through spontaneous writing to understand and solve problems; body scans to obtain body wisdom, mindful eating, biofeedback, and other self-care practices.