Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mind - body connection in health and illness

Mind is the master of human body. It directs and controls every function in human body. Every condition, every experience of life is the result of our mental attitude. The mind creates 50,000 thoughts a day. Every person has a powerful mind. The mind is the forerunner of all actions(Buddha).Human beings use only 10% of their mind power. Mind is a great Big magnet. The greatest discovery of all time is the mind.The mind can be consciously built-up, cultivated, developed and used. Meditation, reflection or prayer can quiet the restless nature of the mind. Optimal health is a manifestation of harmony within the body, mind and spirit.Psychological health, which encompasses both our emotional and mental health, is instrumental in determining physical health. Mind – emotion- behaviour interconnections of health and illness are going to fundamentally change our approach to health care.

The mind has 3 aspects:
1. the aspect being or substance.
2.the aspect of thought with the subdivisions of reason, feeling, emotion, desire, will.
3.the aspect of acting.
The mind has 3 divisions:
1.The conscious mind - the center of human thoughts, emotions,feelings, sensations, behaviours.
2.The subconscious mind - the center of habits, skills, behaviours, reflexes, conditional responses,
   emotional reactions.
3.The higher conscious mind / universal mind - it controls the 'awareness of awareness.'


Emotional well-being is defined as the ability to feel and express the entire range of human emotions from anger to love and to control them, not to be controlled by them.
Mental well-being is the ‘psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment.’
Physical well-being is defined as the optimal condition of each of the body’s physiological systems.

The mind - body concept 

The mind body concept is defined as the interaction that takes place between our thoughts, our body and our external world. A new science that studies this link is called psychoneuroimmunology (PNI).  Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) seeks to understand the complex communications between and among the nervous system, the psyche and the immune system and their implications for health. PNI describes ways in which our emotions and attitude, can affect our health and also the outcome of medical treatment.


The term ‘psychosomatic’ refers to the connection or interaction between the body and mind. The terms psychosomatics (meaning that the mind can influence the health of the body) and psychogenic (meaning that mind can causes diseases in the body) interchangeably. Well-being integrates mental health (mind) and physical health (body) resulting in more holistic approaches to disease prevention and health promotion. In terms of health and wellness, the whole is made up of four components: mind, body, spirit and emotions. The holistic wellness is composed of the integration, balance and harmony of these four components.

Power of emotions

Emotions are very strong feelings within the human mind. Emotions are states of mind that arise as a result of specific life experiences. Emotions are critical to our survival. There are 5 basic emotions: anger, fear, gladness, sorrow and shame. These main emotions branch into secondary emotions, and then branch into a third set, called tertiary emotions.  Emotions have many facets: they involve feelings and experience, they involve physiology and behaviour and they involve cognitions and conceptualizations. Emotions change the way the human mind solves problems. The emotional system changes how the cognitive system operates. The emotions are neuropeptides that affect the functioning, reproduction and health of the cell.  Positive emotions tend to open us up to our environment for exploration and discovery. They encourage us to discover a purpose and seek intimacy. They help us to understand others through empathy and compassion. They teach us our beliefs, desires and values.  Negative emotions can cause disease. Negative emotions can cause disease. Anxiety, depression, anger and frustration are some of the mind’s negative emotions that greatly affect the body’s health. Chronic stress may prevent body’s homeostasis and lead to ill health.

                         Stressà FatigueàExhaustionà Lowered immunityà Ill health.

Mind –body medicine

The intimate connection between mental and physical health has long been recognized; mental health can affect illness and disease while illness may affect mental health. The mind-body medicine has provided evidence that psychological factors can play a major role in reducing the risk of most major diseases. There are four interacting information processing systems in humans: the mind (the functioning of the brain), the endocrine system, the nervous system and the immune system. These information processing systems become the part of the mind-body network—nervous, hormonal, digestive, and immune— and they communicate with one another via peptides and their receptors. The mind-body network is composed of neuropeptides, short chains of amino acids that extend “to every molecular corner of the body” and transmit messages across organs, cells, tissues, and DNA.  Over 100 molecules of neuropeptides have been identified that carry messages between the brain, the endocrine system and the immune system. Neuropeptides therefore act as a type of informational molecules that units and coordinates all the cells, tissues, glands, organs and systems of the body.  Their unique ability to modulate chemical and physical responses in the body has earned them the title ‘healing molecule’. Peptide rich areas are not only present in the brain, but also in the gut, that is why many of us experience emotions there as “gut reactions.” Since there is undoubtedly bidirectional communication between the brain and the body, thoughts and feelings may manifest as physical symptoms. Our mind and emotions play a critical role in our health. Mind-body therapies can help to improve psychological functioning and quality of life and may help to ease symptoms of diseases. Mind-body medicine focuses on treatments that promote health including relaxation, hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation, yoga and biofeedback.

"There is no illness of the body apart from the mind." -SOCRATES

“Mind moves matter.” –VIRGIL, the Roman poet.

"A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full
  description of a happy state in this world."   - JOHN LOCKE, 
                                                                            Philosopher, 1693.

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