Mind-Body Healing Arthritis Alternatives
The Mind
Why use the mind to heal the body?
  Suggested First Steps  
  The Mind
Why Mind-Body?
Relaxation Quickies
Expressing Feelings
Power of Thoughts

  Food and Diet
  Healthy Foods
Foods to Avoid
Testing for Allergies
Mind-Body Eating
  Bodywork and Exercise
Alexander Technique
Nordic Walking
  About the Author  

Controlling stress is an important part of any healing program. When an individual experiences stress, the brain sends messages throughout the body to initiate the "fight or flight" response. The heart rate increases. Digestive functions are suppressed so there will be increased blood flow to muscles. Muscles tense up, getting ready for physical action. Immune function is suppressed.

These events occur if you are in real physical danger, or if you are having anxious thoughts about trying events in your life. The body does not know the difference between real physical danger and the mind in a state of worry, imagining fearful situations. In each instance the "fight or flight" mechanism is activated.

When the perception of danger is over the "fight or flight" mechanism turns off, the body relaxes, the heart rate goes down, blood pressure goes down, muscles can relax, proper digestion can occur, the immune system is strengthened.

Problems occur when the stress is chronic, and the body doesn't get an adequate chance to relax.

Studies show chronic stress can create health problems, and that it is possible to get relief from these health problems by using relaxation techniques.

Herbert Benson reported to the U.S. House of Representatives that an estimated 60 to 90 percent of visits to physicians are prompted by conditions related to stress. He also reported on a study of patients with insomnia. Before behavioral and relaxation response treatment, patients took an average of 78 minutes to fall asleep. Afterwards, the patient average was 19 minutes.


Herbert Benson, MD: Role of the Mind in Physical Healing and Health before the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations, 5 November 1997.

Surgery Study:

Patients who are about to undergo surgery are frequently anxious and nervous. Patients who are relaxed before and after an operation are more likely to do well during surgery and afterwards.

A study of patients undergoing colorectal surgery showed those who used guided imagery before and after the surgery needed 37% less pain medication and were able to leave the hospital sooner than the control group.


Delicious Magazine,
July 1999: "Natural Healing: Managing an Operation"

Another Study (Reported in Arthritis Today, March-April 1999):

Two groups of patients with psoriasis received ultra-violet light treatment for severe skin lesions.

One group received only the standard ultra-violet light treatment.

The second group also listened to relaxation tapes during the treatment. The tapes guided the patients to focus on their breath and to visualize the treatment healing the lesions.

The group that listened to the relaxation tapes healed nearly four times faster than the group that did not listen to the tapes.

The study was led by Jon Kabut-Zinn, Ph.D, at the Stress Reduction Clinic of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts (USA).

Diane Reibel, Ph.D is director of the Stress Reduction Program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She says, "Patients with arthritis consistently report significant pain relief by the end of the eight-week Mindfulness Meditation-based stress reduction program."

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