Mind Body Medicine – What is It?

Mind Body Medicine is a well-respected, practical blending of “Western” medical traditions, along with “Eastern.” Mind/Body Medicine was first pioneered by Dr. Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School beginning in the mid-70s. Dr. Benson was most well-known for popularizing the “Relaxation Response,” a simple form of stress relief and self meditation.Mind Body Medicine is dedicated to broadening conventional medical wisdom to more routinely include the many practical, easy and inexpensive practices espoused in his version of Mind-Body Medicine. Dr. Benson and his colleagues at Harvard demonstrated conclusively through scientific research that stress reduction could vastly improve health on many different levels.The Whole Person ApproachMind/Body medicine considers the entire, integrated person. Traditional medicine as practiced in Western culture tends to segment the body into individual systems and pieces. In other words, doctors are taught to look at their patients as a composite of parts: the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the nervous system and so forth.Psychology is a completely different branch of medicine and is not going to be considered by the cardiologist examining your arteriogram.Honestly, that’s a real logical approach; most illnesses do seem to affect primarily one organ or system.At least, that’s how it manifests at first glance.What Dr. Howard Benson realized was that life affects the whole person. Of course, medical schools certainly teach that how well the endocrine system works affects how well the cardiovascular system works but they really don’t teach that STRESS (life) affects them all.Stress is hard to measure with any medical instrument so many doctors ignore it.Stress, emotions, fears, hassles, relationship and family issues, habits, social pressures, traditional science-based medicine has a hard time working any of that stuff into a diagnosis.Those who practice Mind-Body medicine realize that if you can manage life’s stresses, you can better manage your health.For optimum health, examining the entire mind-body-spirit is essential but unfortunately all too often ignored.

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