Jul 5, 2013

Our thoughts can either make us ill or heal us

It is a connection that has been recognized since the beginning of recorded history, says Jeanne Achterberg-Lawlis, Ph.D., author of lmagery in Healing: Shamanism and Modern Medicine. 

Socrates said, "There is no illness of the body apart from the mind." But what may have been recognized by healers 2,400 years ago was generally not recognized by most healers of 10 or 20 years ago. For back around the turn of the 20th century, allopathic medicine (based on vaccines and pills) came to so strongly dominate the scene in America that all other medical theories were summarily dismissed.

The allopathic approach emphasized that for every disease there was one germ and there was (or soon would be) one drug that could be administered to kill it. Legislation was enacted to outlaw many traditional healing practices, including those that suggested a patient's thinking might affect his health, says Dr. Achterberg-Lawlis.

In the early 1980s, she and her husband, G. Frank Lawlis, Ph.D., conducted studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center, showing that the life expectancies of terminal cancer patients could be accurately predicted by looking at each patient's attitude. "But nobody wanted to hear about it," she says. "We found it very difficult to get published in medical journals."


Today, however, the attitude is different. In the past several years those same journals have exploded with articles about the power of the mind to heal. In one study, for example, grief-stricken widows and widowers were found to have fewer white blood cells, which defend the body against foreign invaders. In another study, researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook found a definite correlation between good moods and high amounts of another germ-fighter in the saliva. Conversely, people who reported feeling down on the day of the test showed lower-than-normal amounts of the same health defender.

Researchers at the Ohio State University College of Medicine who took blood samples from 38 married and 38 separated or divorced women came up with similar conclusions. Married women with marriage problems were generally depressed in both spirit and immune function. Women suffering through the first year of separation from their husband had "significantly poorer" immune defenses.

New research has even given us important clues about the specific ways we may modify our thinking patterns to achieve unsurpassed health. (Boost Your Brain Power, by Ellen Michaud, Russell Wild and the editors of Prevention Magazine)