Mind Over Symptom Management

Maybe you think it’s mumbo jumbo, but we’ve all experienced the power of the mind at one time or another, even on our own bodies.  Our thoughts, whether pleasant or unpleasant, can cause the body to react in different ways.  Ever tried to slow your heart rate or breathing just with your mind.  No, I’m not talking about using “The Force.”  I’m talking about honest to goodness meditation.  Perspiration, feeling warm or cold, or blushing– these are all controlled by the autonomic nervous system which we are taught in medical school is not usually controlled by simple will.  But, we now know that is not entirely true.

Take a moment and think about a big, juicy lemon.  Now, begin sucking on the lemon in your mind.  What’s happening?  I bet dollars to donuts, your body is beginning to respond.  Your mouth is puckering and watering.  You may even smell the scent of the lemon.  All of these reactions are triggered by the mind and its memory of a lemon.

This example should underscore the power of the mind over the body and why we should develop our mental abilities to help us mange symptoms of disease.  Pain, stress, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, diabetes, all of these disease conditions can be controlled in part with our minds.  With training and practice, we can learn to control the frequency and severity of headaches, back pain,  and other emotional and physical symptoms, depending less and less on medications.

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