Mind-Body Connection: How the Brain Can Protect the Heart
 by T. Jared Bunch, MD

mind body placebo effect A number of years ago, I cared for a patient with a unique heart problem. Her dog of many years was out in the backyard and unfortunately ended up with a paw stuck in a metal trap set for a raccoon. My patient ran to the dog’s aid. Frantic from being caught in the trap, the dog bit my patient. She was ultimately able to free the animal, but as she returned to her house she suddenly felt dizzy and collapsed.

Fortunately, someone started CPR immediately. Paramedics arrived in a few minutes to deliver a life-saving shock to her heart to stop a cardiac arrest. In the hospital, we found that the bottom two-thirds of her heart had dilated and stopped pumping, but her coronary arteries were normal. The diagnosis was stress-related heart disease (cardiomyopathy), which is also called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken-heart syndrome. As her stress decreased over the next few weeks, her heart completely recovered.

This is just one story illustrating the fact that mind and heart are intimately connected. In some circumstances, our hearts can fail and go into cardiac arrest from stress alone. With this concept in mind, many discoveries about stress and heart disease are more understandable. For example, I have previously written about how relationships with our spouses and how we control our emotions can directly impact our heart health, independent of traditional heart risk factors.

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Understanding The Placebo Effect
 by Kelly Neill

mind body placebo effect Most of us have heard about the placebo effect, but how does it work? Is it really possible that the effectiveness of medications might depend on what we believe about them? If so, how many of us have felt better because of a placebo effect at some point, without realizing it? And if a cure for whatever ails us is in the mind, then why don't we make better use of this phenomenon?

Magazine articles and news programs report on the placebo effect, hinting at the possibility that the brain may exert more control over health and disease in the rest of the body than we ever imagined. Numerous case studies, clinical research and incidental medical findings illustrate how the mind and body are so interconnected that healing often happens when we merely believe that an effective treatment has been administered, even when that treatment is a sham. Sugar pills, as it turns out, can - and often do - possess all the power of real medications. Digging deeper, we find that many prescription drugs fail to show a therapeutic benefit when tested against these so-called "dummy pills," if they are tested against them at all.

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6 Stories That Will Make You Believe in the Power of Your Mind to Heal You
 by Lissa Rankin, MD

mind body belief My book Mind Over Medicine is full of data scientifically proving that the mind can heal - or harm - the body. But data can be dry, and sometimes what resonates most deeply within our souls are stories. So sit back, grab a cup of tea, and let’s have story time. I’m going to tell you a few true stories that will demonstrate to you how powerfully the mind affects your physiology.

The Story of Mr. Wright

As reported by Bruno Klopfer in the Journal of Projective Techniques in 1957, Dr. West was treating Mr. Wright, who had an advanced cancer called lymphosarcoma. All treatments had failed, and time was running out. Mr. Wright’s neck, chest, abdomen, armpits, and groin were filled with tumors the size of oranges, his spleen and liver were enlarged, and his cancer was causing his chest to fill up with two quarts of milky fluid every day, which had to be drained in order for him to breathe. Dr. West didn’t expect him to last a week.

But Mr. Wright desperately wanted to live, and he hung his hope on a promising new drug called Krebiozen. He begged his doctor to treat him with the new drug, but the drug was only being offered in clinical trials to people who were believed to have at least three months left to live. Mr. Wright was too sick to qualify.

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Why Do We Feel Sick All the Time? Metaphysical Cures For What Ails Us
 by Steven E. Hodes, MD

mind body metaphysical curesWe are not truly "ill," in the sense that we do not have a significant malfunction of an organ or organ system that can be readily diagnosed by traditional contemporary medical testing. But we certainly experience bouts of discomfort, pain or distress - in other words, we just don’t feel right!

And we often feel it physically - in particular parts of our bodies, such as head, back and joints, chest and abdomen. We experience pain, discomfort, heaviness and a variety of other vaguely abnormal sensations which seem to either focus in on one part of our bodies, or in an overall sense of general discontent and "dis-ease."

We feel it emotionally as well, in the form of blues and blahs, anxiety, fatigue, frustration, unhappiness; lack of focus, strength, appetite, sleep, sex drive; and an absence of enthusiasm, motivation, and joie de vivre. From a spiritual perspective, it may be experienced as a sense of emptiness, confusion, lack of direction, an absence of meaning and also, a loss of faith. I am not referring to a loss of faith in a Divine Being but in oneself and the reason for being here on earth.

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mind body medicine


mind body medicine