Asian health practices and beliefs have reported and demonstrated a connection between mind and body for millennia. Western culture is not as tuned into their ways of thinking, although there are correlations between prayer and healing. If a person can potentially cause a condition to arise psychosomatically, can he or she also heal the body by thinking hard enough about a cure?
What is the Mind Body Connection?
According to many people around the world, the mind can be tuned into bodily problems and be consciously used to heal without drugs or other treatments. A person prays, meditates, visualizes healing, enters a healing circle, or just adopts a positive attitude in which she denies her ill health.
The condition could be terminal, stage-4 cancer of the pancreas. It might be a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia or eczema. The process can take some time or it might happen overnight. One might act alone or with a group.
Individuals sometimes report either complete or partial cessation of symptoms without medical treatment. When tested under x-ray or analyzed using MRI or CT scanning and blood tests are conducted, evidence supports the patient’s claims. Some of these reports are particularly amazing given how advanced a disease was before it disappeared. While the condition could reappear, this doesn’t limit the sense that something miraculous has taken place: healing that the sophisticated medical world was unable to bring about.
Scientists regard reports of the mind-body connection as a challenge. How do they quantify reports where a patient’s disease, cancer, or injury healed spontaneously without medical intervention? They are not necessarily skeptical or downright negative but training and personality prevent easy adjustment to these notions.
For these cases to be seen as legitimate they must have been diagnosed by a doctor so there is proof it existed to start with. Where healing appears to have come about as a result of prayer or thought, one cannot easily dismiss these solid claims. Arguing that medical reports with blood counts and x-ray results are invalid is hard to justify. Scientists can, however, dismiss so-called self-healing reported by someone who diagnosed her own condition.
What does a doctor or researcher do with these reports? He might collect and publish them as was done in the Spontaneous Remission Bibliography Project. He might store them in his mind for later reference. He could dismiss and ignore them, painting a dire picture for his patient: the sickness will come back; this is just the calm before the storm. It all depends on how open-minded or threatened he feels.
Mind over Matter: Healing Pain
One of the commonest claims is that a person was able to overcome intense pain without the use of drugs, surgery, or therapy. Patients might have tried various routes but found them ineffective. There could be religious reasons or fear behind their choice not to take opiates or undergo a surgical procedure. Whatever their reasons, thousands of people worldwide use prayer or meditation as a means of mentally modifying the experience of pain. They see experience as psychological and believe they can visualize the end of inflammation for periods of time.
Counseling patients often hear that their attitude affects whether they will be successful and happy or unsuccessful and miserable. Psychologists believe the mind is a powerful tool. You can talk yourself into being sick or unhappy. A person can talk himself out of feeling stressed or become more assertive by thinking differently.
If the mind is this powerful, why is it so hard to believe in the mind-body connection as far as healing goes? Everything is connected to the brain where messages meet and are dispensed throughout the body. It’s completely sensible as far as psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors are concerned that a person can talk himself into feeling good.
What about Serious Illness
Imagining confidence and a general sense of well-being is far different from overcoming cancer. Imagine you have a tumor in one of your organs the size of an egg. Doctors cannot remove it and have tried radiation therapy, but to no avail. The prognosis is terrible and you don’t have long to live. Most people would prepare their wills, enjoy one last holiday, and say goodbye to friends. With the mind-over-body approach people actually reduce the size of their tumors and even eliminate them.
Is this science or miracle? Can this phenomenon be explained as an act of human will or a Godly blessing? Discussion and disagreement will continue since there is no fingerprint for the human brain. All the evidence is in the result.