Health and Disease, Mind-Body Connection
Our current medical system has divided mind and body problems into physical illnesses and mental illnesses and even has different specialists looking at it – doctors and psychiatrists respectively. However, mind and body division is more an artificial divide than something grounded in physical reality. A new field known as psychoneuroimmunology was created to ascertain the mechanism through which the mind and emotions can affect the nervous system and endocrine glands.
Darius Soon, 29/10/2015 – Get free updates of new posts here
The mind and the body, French philosopher Rene Descartes once said, are two fundamentally separate concepts. Descartes believed that the mind and the body were separate from one another, with no correlation or connection between the two.
For many centuries, people gradually accepted the theory that a person’s state of mind is distinct and separate from the condition of the body. The above idea has become one of the core doctrines of Western medical science, prompting doctors to focus more on physical symptoms and refer patients to psychologists and psychiatrists for psychological issues.
However, in ancient times, mind and body were never considered to be separate. Different cultures ranging from Egyptian, Chinese and Indian all believed that a person is a combination of body, mind and soul. Since a disease is created from all three influences, therefore a cure also needs to address these. Of course, since the word soul smacks of religion and thus is sensitive to people who want to separate religion from science (unfortunately this is another false separation), this has been removed out from classical literature and we are left with just body and mind (of course, we believe there is more to a person than just body and mind, but we address that aspect in other articles like “Are you just your physical body?”).
Candace Pert, PhD, in her book, Molecules of Emotions, gave a detailed account of how the mind influences the body. In fact, the concept of separating mind and body is artificial. Mind is body, and body is mind. Specifically, the subconscious mind is the body. The new discipline of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) was created to study how the mind and emotions affects the nervous system and the immune system.
Pert discovered that the state of our body chemistry determines how we feel – angry, sad, frustrated, etc. Different emotional states create weaknesses in different organs. For example, grief manifests in the lungs, anxiety in the small intestines, anger in the liver, resentment in the gallbladder, shame in the bladder. By the organs that are affected in a disease, the corresponding emotional pattern can be discerned.
“Different emotional states create weaknesses in different organs.”
A brief summary of the relationship between emotions affecting different organs are given in the table below:
|Thyroid||Humiliated, inability to express oneself, giving up, not heard, not seen|
|Heart||Self-protection, shocked, betrayal, hurt, disappointment, heart-broken|
|Lungs||Grief, hopeless, despair, sadness|
|Stomach||Anxiety, overwhelmed, powerless|
|Small intestine||Abandoned, neglected, deprived of love, warmth and intimacy|
|Large intestine||Uptight, controlling, critical.|
|Liver||Anger, frustration, withholding feelings.|
|Gallbladder||Resentment, self-pity, victimhood, blaming.|
|Spleen||Inadequacy, self-punishment, low self-worth.|
|Kidney||Anger, frustration, withholding feelings.|
|Bladder/ sex organs||Shame, shyness, embarrassed.|
The body chemistry is governed by small proteins known as peptides flowing in the blood. Memory is stored throughout the body, and this memory is accessed via the peptides when they bind to certain receptors in the cells (for more on this, read “How memories stored in your cells shape your life and your health”).
Beliefs and emotions influence the release of chemicals in the brain. A consistent pattern of certain emotional states to chemical release causes a hardwiring in the nervous system which we know as our habits and personality. In effect, our personality is shaped by our unconscious, instinctive emotional responses to experiences.
Therefore from our perspective, what we want to heal is the mind (which we do in our work). When the mind heals, the body heals as well. Our body chemistry starts to change. This then positively impact our emotional state. A person who is physically healthy is also more joyful. Similarly, a person who is joyful is healthier. There are one and the same.