Beyond Mind-Body Medicine: Tapping Body Wisdom for Deeper Health
Apr 29, 2013 01:22PM
● By Barbara Gosselin
Belief in the effectiveness of mind-body medicine is steadily growing. At Massachusetts General Hospital, the Benson-Henry Institute is dedicated to this important science. Many other hospitals and health institutions have also developed similar centers, most of which define mind-body medicine as self-care that employs stress reduction techniques leading to improved physical health.
Stress reduction techniques, at their core, are about using the power of the mind to exert an influence on the body. There is wide agreement today that these techniques are a vital part of any health and wellness plan. Stress, which is chronic in today’s society, has been shown to be a major contributor to such health issues as heart disease, stroke and chronic pain. Stress reduction strategies are helpful in managing and reducing these conditions.
Meanwhile, there is another aspect to the mind-body connection that is equally powerful, and often overlooked. It recognizes that the body itself contains innate wisdom and intelligence that, when tapped, can lead to deep and profound healing. This intelligence can not only aid the management or eradication of physical symptoms, it can also facilitate deep healing on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
When experiencing physical symptoms, it can be useful to employ such stress management techniques as relaxation or meditation to get into a deeply relaxed and connected state, but the work doesn’t stop there. From this deeply relaxed state, a person can become openly curious about the symptom, allowing any thoughts, images, emotions or impressions to arise. Without having any agenda, that person can follow each thing as it arises and leads to something else. In this way, the body can lead the mind to a place of very deep healing.
There may be some unresolved issue from the past that is being held in the body, creating tension and pain. Or, there might be an emotional pattern or limiting belief that is being reflected in the body. Awareness of these things allows the body to soften, and the symptom to begin to release from its core. Thus, both the physical symptom and underlying cause are addressed.
Typically, this is not a simple, straightforward process. The body often communicates in metaphors and symbols, and there may be defense mechanisms in place that can complicate the process. With guidance, patience and openness, profound healing can occur that leads to a place of deep peace and fulfillment. It’s a journey into awareness, compassion and deep presence, and one that’s well worth taking.
Barbara Gosselin is a Physical Therapist who practices Holistic Bodywork and Craniosacral Therapy at 393 Mass Ave., Arlington. For more information, call 781-507-4226 or visit HolisticHealingPT.com.