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.”

A quote from Dr. Max Gerson

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.
Medical Director
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


8 Responses to “Healing and the Mind/Body Connection”
  1. Kit - Lighthouse clinic NZ says:

    Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a great tool to help you learn to manage your own mind while healing or just for good emotional health in general. it teaches you that you cannot avoid the pain that life brings, but you don’t have to have the suffering.  It also uses mindfulness and a value guided life as its central tenants. it is great for fear, distress, pain and general psychological suffering. Many psychologists will use ACT as a adjunct to other tools in their practice. I use this therapy in my clinic and find it very useful for a range of people. Good Health and happiness – Kit

  2. JJeles says:

    guided meditation is effective. imagine you taking a shower and the water is green.the healing color washes away all impurities out of the body.in trancendental meditation imagine that you are in violet flames which purifies your body . best whishes Joe Jeles

  3. Mark Hall says:

    Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Is extremely effective in stress reduction and fully backed by science. The founder, Gary Craig, just re-did his old website and it’s now at http://www.garythink.com This is by far the most simple and effective tool I have ever heard of. Even for veterans with PTSD.

  4. Abundantlife says:

    I agree with all the comments and the importance of the body-mind-emotions-spirit connection that true long term sustainable physical healing (cancer cure) will not occur with diet alone (but that is a great place to start-Thank you Dr Gerson), without “healing” your past self defeating beliefs/attitudes/thought patterns that trigger biochemical physical changes as well as emotional responses that motivate the behaviours/habits/actions that become a lifestyle and life purpose.It’s holographic and produces the best results. I’ve found with myself and my clients that it’s about taking ownership/responsibility for the choices we alone make in life. While that is ours alone its also about not “doing” it alone. It’s essential to create partnership’s and join “forces”on all levels to connect and TRUST not only with the healing, loving power and resources within ourself but with gratitude to the healing, loving power and resources all around us (God, universe or what ever your “belief” names it), and with other people. Truth  (not just information) is universal and is the birth right of everyone on the planet and is not confined to any one culture, language, history, religion, methodology or modality. There are many fabulous effective ancient and modern systems available now. Truth is everywhere if we look for it. With the sharing of information (Thank you Dr Gerson) and the “shrinking” of DIFFERENCES as the earth becomes ONE “global village” of 
    shared knowledge and emotional experiences, I feel we are becoming more aware that these essential truths are basic to our survival and require us to get closer to the goodness of our ESSENTIAL nature-within and nature without. “Know the truth and it will set you free” to live a life of abundance filled with health, happiness, love and peace. World peace begins with a peaceful heart and a full tummy of nutritious food and functioning digestive system. “If its going to be its up to me”
    Heather at Abundant Life Centre Charleville Australia

  5. Mira says:

     GREAT SUGGESTIONS!!!! I used to do shower thing- real shower, with bright light, but I’ll try with green one.

  6. Alexsandra says:


    Can somebody explain the phrase: “Fear can cause complications
    and even the appearance of serious organic disease.” Organic disease?

    I really appreciate it.

    Thank you

  7. GersonInstitute says:

    “Organic disease” means a disease related to or affecting a bodily organ.

  8. Nathan says:

    Does anyone know if the Gerson Therapy has been tried with Alzheimer’s patients?


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