Healing and the Mind/Body Connection
Special guest post by Dr. Kayla Smith, N.D.
Anyone diagnosed with a serious illness is very well aware of the stressful impact this has on the mind, the emotions and the body. There can be a whole range of reactions, from fear and anxiety to anger and despair.
We know from the research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology that our consciousness sustains thought, which arises from emotions which in turn affects the physical body right down to the function of our cells. Thoughts create neuropeptides and hormones via the nervous system which attach to receptors on the cells of our immune system. It has been shown that stress can deplete our NK (natural killer cell) activity which lowers our immune response.
Dr. Gerson said of the connection between mental distress and physical illness:
“A successful therapy requires harmony of the physical and psychological functions in order to achieve a restoration of the body in its entirety.“
“Fear can cause complications and even the appearance of serious organic disease.”
On the other hand, positive feelings such as hope, love, courage, optimism, gratitude, determination and a deep connection to the sacredness and purpose of life can strengthen our immune system.
Those who choose the Gerson Therapy as their approach to healing are people who trust their body’s own healing mechanism. They are also people who take a certain degree of responsibility for their own healing. They are self-empowered and this in itself can help to activate their healer within.
Beata Bishop, author of A Time to Heal, has written a very helpful article on the “Psychological Support for the Gerson Patient” in Chapter 24 of Healing the Gerson Way. She recently spent some time with me reviewing the Mind/Body/Spririt Reference and Resource Guide, available from our book store, and enthusiastically recommended one of the books it referenced—Cancer as a Turning Point, by Lawrence LeShan, PhD.
I promptly acquired a copy and found it very enlightening. Lawrence LeShan has been considered by some as the father of body-mind medicine and he has a unique way of working with his clients. In a nutshell: he attempts to find out what has blocked a person’s zest and enthusiasm for life. He believes each person has a “life song” that they are not singing. Leshan found, over and over again, that when a person can relate and create in a way that is most fulfilling, the body defenses increase, they respond better to treatment and their overall outcome is much more favorable.
This is just one of the many resources listed in the Gerson Institute’s Mind/Body/Spirit Reference and Resource Guide, which explains a wide range of therapies including those modalities that are complimentary to the Gerson Therapy as well as stress reduction techniques, types of creative/expressive arts, types of bodywork and body movement therapies, and lists of helpful books and CDs that support the healing process.
I urge anyone looking for additional support on their healing journey to read the Mind/Body/Spirit Guide and find the freedom to sing your life song with joy!
Dr. Kayla Smith, N.D.
The Gerson Institute
You can find The Mind/Body/Spirit Resource and Reference Guide in our online bookstore.
Note: This post is reprinted from the July/August 2012 issue of the Gerson Institute’s quarterly newsletter, The Healing News. To receive our newsletter and read many more articles on health, wellness and patient recoveries, simply make a donation–of any size!–to the Gerson Institute.
Have you used any techniques or therapies to support the psychological and emotional aspects of your healing process?
Top image via Flickr