The Science

“For hundreds of years, Western medicine has looked at mind and body as totally separate entities, to the point where saying something ‘is all in your head’ implied that it was imaginary. Now we’ve found how changing the activity of the mind can alter the way basic genetic instructions are implemented.”
Herbert Benson MD, Harvard Medical School


Until recently mind body research was considered quackery in scientific circles. But with the advent of new technology the scientific fields of psychiatry, neuroscience, immunology, endocrinology and genetics are increasingly coming together to consider how the mind, brain and biological systems work together to affect health. It’s a field of research often called to as Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), which looks at the interaction between different processes in the body that have traditionally been studied separately.

“If there was a patentable product that has those kinds of effects, we’d be all over it; we’d be spending billions of dollars on research and rolling it out in no time at all.”
Craig Hassed MD, Monash University

 

Mind body research is now in a golden age with scientists around the world learning increasingly more about how the mind and body interact. They study things such as the physiology of the stress response and how we can counter its harmful effects with the relaxation response.

 

Researchers are looking at the biological mechanisms triggered during meditation which can influence the expression of genes, and even the rate at which we age. They’re starting to understand role of belief and the powerful placebo and nocebo responses, how emotions can impact the course of an illness, and ultimately how the mind can affect the outcome of disease.

“There is no doubt that when you take it to the next level, the mind and the body are connected, and that when those connections are intact and in balance you have health and when they’re broken you have disease.”
Esther Sternberg MD, University of Arizona

 

Learn more about the world-leading scientists, researchers and doctors in The Connection.

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