Healing the soul, healing the body?


“The doctor said that my back hurts not at all because of arthrosis and it is quite possible that it will soon pass. I didn’t really believe it, because for almost a year I woke up with pain! But the next morning, my back was in perfect order and still does not hurt, although several years have passed, ”says 52-year-old Anna.

According to her, this doctor did not possess any special charm. And by profession he was not at all a rheumatologist, but a gynecologist. Why did his words have such a magical effect?

Miracles of the unconscious

The cure is the enigma of the unconscious. Tibetan Lama Phakya Rinpoche1 told how in the early 2000s meditation helped him cope with gangrene in his leg when doctors insisted on amputation. But the Dalai Lama, to whom he turned for advice, wrote: “Why are you seeking healing outside of yourself? There is healing wisdom in you, and when you are healed, you will teach the world to heal. “

Five years later, he even walked without crutches: daily meditation and healthy eating did their job. A result that only a true virtuoso of meditation can achieve! But this incident proves that the therapeutic power of our spirit is not an illusion.

Man is a single whole. Our mental activity influences biology and physiology

Chinese medicine also believes that our “I”, psyche and body form a trinity. Psychoanalysis shares the same point of view.

“I talk to my body even when I don’t know about it,” said Jacques Lacan. Recent scientific discoveries in the field of neuroscience have confirmed these assumptions. Since the 1990s, numerous studies have been conducted that have identified the links between the immune system, hormones and the mental system.

Classical pharmacological medicine, in accordance with the concept of the body as a machine, takes into account only our material shell – the body, but a person is a whole. Our mental activity influences biology and physiology.

So, with diabetes, which, at first glance, has little in common with psychological disorders, the condition improves when the patient develops a trusting relationship with the attending physician2

Healing the soul, healing the body?

The power of imagination

The term “psychosomatics” was introduced in 1818 by the Austrian psychiatrist Johann-Christian August Heinroth. He argued that sexual impulses affected epilepsy, tuberculosis, and cancer.

But the first psychosomatic physician in the modern sense was Freud’s contemporary Georg Groddeck. He believed that any bodily symptom has a hidden meaning that needs to be carefully analyzed: for example, a sore throat can mean that a person is fed up …

Of course, this concept should be approached with caution. Merely understanding the causes of the disorder is not enough to recover. Alas, the soul causes us diseases faster than it cures them.

Modern medicine no longer considers the disease in isolation, but seeks to take into account diverse factors

Other approaches (notably Ericksonian hypnosis, NLP) appeal to the creative power of imagination and its healing properties. They are based on the good old method of self-hypnosis, developed in the 1920s by Emile Couet, who stated: “If, being sick, we imagine that recovery will come soon, then it will really come if possible. Even if recovery does not occur, the suffering decreases to the extent possible “3

He offered a simple formula: “Every day in all respects I am getting better,” which the patient had to repeat in the morning and evening.

Carl Simonton, an oncologist who developed therapeutic imaging techniques in the 1970s, shared a similar view. It is still used in the treatment of cancer patients. For example, one can imagine that a disease is a castle that should be destroyed, and the immune system is a tank, hurricane or tsunami participating in its destruction …

The idea is to mobilize the internal resources of the body, letting the imagination run wild and imagining that we ourselves are expelling the affected cells from the body.

On all fronts

Modern medicine no longer considers the disease in isolation, but seeks to take into account diverse factors.

“In the 70s of the XX century, a grandiose medical forum was held in India, which was attended by health officials from more than 2/3 of the world’s countries. The forum proposed a biopsychosocial model for the development of the disease, – says psychotherapist, specialist in body-oriented psychotherapy Arthur Chubarkin. – That is, in addition to biological (genetics, virus, hypothermia …), psychological (behavior, personality type, degree of infantilism) and social factors (whether a person lives his own life, the state of medicine in his country) began to be considered equally as the causes of the disease. The Forum proposed to simultaneously influence all three groups of reasons for the sake of healing patients. “

Today we no longer wait for the thunder to break out and have to run to the doctors. There are more and more people who daily use practices that have a beneficial effect on both the soul and the body: meditation, yoga, relaxation …

We also tend to prioritize behaviors that create bonds with other people: empathy, altruism, and gratitude. Perhaps having a good relationship with everyone around us is the best path to good health.

1 In the book “Meditation Saved Me” (co-authored with Sophia Stril-Revere).

2 The History of Psychosomatics, lecture June 18, 2012, at societedepsychosomatiqueintegrative.com.

3 Emile Couet “School of self-control through conscious (deliberate) self-hypnosis” (LCI, 2007).

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